Oct. 8, 2009

Changes to dental plan for 2010 announced

Endowed employees can enroll in or change their coverage in the Cornell Dental Plan (both Plan A and Plan B) during the open enrollment period, Nov. 1-30.

Plan Part A was fine-tuned last year to provide greater flexibility to participants, allowing them to apply the plan's benefits to cover what they value most. At the same time, Plan B participants have enjoyed the security of having certain procedures covered at set levels. Those who join Plan A or Plan B also receive eyeglass benefits. For 2010, First Ameritas, the insurance underwriter, will allow new applicants to enter the plan without the usual waiting periods for late entrants.

In 2009, a record number of staff and faculty participated in the dental plan. "This is good news," said Paul Bursic, director of Benefit Services. "A plan well-used is a plan well-valued."

For 2010, the endowed dental plan will undergo some changes and the premiums will rise to spread the cost of the increased use across all participants. Plan A will offer 100 percent coverage of the first $180 in eligible charges a participant incurs in the new year. Thereafter, a $150 deductible applies; once expenses reach $331, the plan covers the next $500 of eligible expenses at 80 percent, and 50 percent of all expenses at $831-$2,170, for a maximum annual benefit of $1,250. More details about Plan A and B: http://www.ohr.cornell.edu/benefits/openEnrollEndDental.html.

"As the Cornell Dental Plan matures, we continue to refine it to best meet the needs of our plan participants, as well as to encourage greater participation, while continuing to hold down the cost," said Bursic. "We hope for greater stability in use in the coming year as participants become used to the new, more generous, Plan A benefits."

Bursic noted that open enrollment will be held during November, ending on Monday, Nov. 30, with no extensions. "Federal law prohibits extensions when plans use pre-tax premiums as the dental plan does, so we encourage anyone considering the dental plan to read the materials available and to call Benefit Services with any questions," he said.