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    Posted November 13, 2008

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Single Enrollment Period Set for Medical, Dental Plans

The Equity-League Health Fund has changed the annual Open Enrollment Period from May to November, and therefore, a single enrollment period for both the medical and dental plans has been established. As of November 2008, you can change your medical plan option and your self-pay dental election at the same time.

Why the change? The Trustees think it's more convenient. Also, a single enrollment period eliminates the issues that arose when participants only had six months to reach the $350 individual/$700 family out-of-network medical deductible, the $5,000 individual/$10,000 family out-of-network maximum and the $100 individual/$200 family annual pharmacy deductible-all of which were intended to be annual under the CIGNA Open Access Medical Plan (the OAP). In addition, having all plans on the same calendar page should make it easier for the Fund to secure rates that can be expected to stay in effect for the full calendar year.

As for changing coverage, if you don't do anything, you stay in the same plan you had previously, as long as you continue to be eligible for coverage and pay the required premiums. Even when you first enroll, you default into the OAP unless you make an active HMO election. If you don't live in an area where HMOs are offered, there's the OAP-period. No choice.

The medical coverage you chose in May for July 1 (or, if you did not elect to change your medical coverage, then the coverage you had prior to July 1) is in effect through December 31, 2008. If you're in the OAP and thinking of switching to an HMO, or if you're in an HMO and thinking of switching to the OAP, do so in November because your next chance to change medical plans won't come until next year's open enrollment. If you do make a change in November, that choice will go into effect on January 1, 2009, if you remain eligible and make the required premium payments.

Dental Plan
If you're eligible for self-pay dental coverage and don't enroll during the November open enrollment period, you won't have another opportunity until the November 2009 open enrollment, in which case coverage would start on January 1, 2010 or the next time you become eligible for health benefits through employer-paid coverage.

401(k) Plan
Did you know that the $7.50 monthly fee under the 401(k) Plan has been eliminated? It has been. The Equity-League 401(k) Plan has become administrative fee free as of October 1, 2008 The next quarterly statement that you will receive in January 2009, which covers the October-December 2008 activity period, will be the first time you will see no fees. If you are already in the 401(k) Plan, your account balance will accumulate at your effective rate of return without any deductions for administrative expenses. If you didn't enroll in the 401(k) Plan earlier because you were put off by the $7.50 monthly administrative fee, now's the time to take another look.

For further information on the medical, dental or 401(k) plans, call the Fund office in New York at (212) 869-9380 or visit the website

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