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Benefits Buzz
October 2021
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Open Enrollment 101 – are you still comfortable with the benefits you elected last year?
2022 Benefits Open Enrollment
Monday, November 1 - Friday, November 12

Take full advantage of AU's comprehensive benefits, an important part of your total compensation package. Whether you’ve had your AU benefit elections for a long time, or if you’re wondering if you should make a switch, weigh your options and make changes to your benefits without a qualifying life event during open enrollment.

Did you know that doctor visits, hospital coverage, prescription, mental health, vision, acupuncture, massage, and more are included in your medical plan?

The difference between CareFirst and Kaiser is how their services are delivered. CareFirst allows you the flexibility to see any provider without a referral, but you pay more in premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance. Kaiser provides you a convenient one-stop-shop where all your health care services are performed at a Kaiser facility, but you have to see a provider in their network and will need a referral from your primary care doctor for most specialty visits.

In 2022, the monthly employee cost for CareFirst is increasing by 5.8%, which is $9.26 more for individual coverage. Kaiser is increasing by 2.37% or $2.47 per month for individual coverage. AU contributes 80% towards individual coverage and 65% for individual plus one and family medical coverage, and even more for those making less than $40K. You should consider how you want to receive your services and compare the costs of the two options.

Good news!

Delta Dental plans are decreasing by 5% in 2022. Again, consider your possible dental needs and compare the plans to ensure you have the right coverage. AU contributes 25% for individual dental coverage and 20% for individual plus one and family coverage.

Your open enrollment elections include medical, dental, flexible spending accounts (health care and dependent care)*, optional life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, and the legal plan.

Plan designs for our benefits remain the same, which means that co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, and coverage will not increase or change.* The costs for all other benefits are also the same as last year. Your 2022 elections are effective January 1, 2022.

*At the time of publication, the IRS had not yet released the FSA limits for 2022.
Virtual Benefits and Wellness Fair (November 1 – November 12)
Like an in-person fair, only more convenient
Benefits and Wellness Virtual Fair banner
The 2022 Benefits and Wellness Fair will be held virtually, with events scheduled daily. There are lots of opportunities to learn more about your benefits, attend financial workshops, ask questions during virtual office hours, or participate in fun activities like a virtual dance party and cooking demo.

Every session will be giving away a prize, so make sure to attend any session that you’re interested in. Check out the fair schedule and preregister for events.
Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shots Available Near Campus
Walgreens red logo
The CDC recommends that people 65 years and older and people aged 18-64 with certain underlying conditions get a booster shot if they initially received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago.

Walgreens at 3301 New Mexico Avenue NW is providing Pfizer vaccine boosters to AU community members eligible to receive the booster through October 24. Walk-ins are welcome on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 8 am – 9 am, and on Sunday, October 24, from 10 am – 4 pm. Bring a government-issued ID, your health insurance card, your original COVID vaccination card, and a completed Walgreens consent form.

Anyone eligible for a booster shot can receive it at a variety of locations, including pharmacies and health care providers. Visit to find a location near you to receive the booster shot.
Now through December 31, you can use your own babysitter to provide emergency back-up care, and Bright Horizons will reimburse you $100 per day
Bright Horizons Back-Up Care™ arranges high-quality care with an in-home care provider or in one of their centers when emergencies happen, and you need help taking care of your children or dependent adults so you can work.

Now through December 31, 2021, you can also use someone from your personal network (a neighbor, friend, or babysitter) and receive a reimbursement of $100 per day. Be sure to select Request Reimbursement during the back-up care reservation process and elect to use Out-of-Network Care.

Don’t forget that you can also exchange a Bright Horizons back-up care day for four one-hour tutoring sessions for your child for just $15, now through the end of the year. Every full-time staff and faculty member gets 15 back-up care days a year through Bright Horizons. That’s up to a total of 60 sessions for your 15 days.

Register and Reserve Back-Up Care, Username: AU, Password: Backup1. Or download the app by searching for “back-up care” in the App Store or Google Play.
Manage your finances and related stress
If you have questions about your financial future and you’re looking for guidance, attend an upcoming PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) financial education session.

All upcoming PwC sessions are held from 12:00pm 1:00pm. Plan ahead and register for one or all of the following:

Kaiser PermanenteTM Opening Well in Friendship Heights
Well by Kaiser Permanente at Friendship Heights is a modern, unique 5,000 square-foot medical center opening on October 25. Well offers personalized adult primary care and is conveniently located steps away from the Friendship Heights Metro Station on the Red Line.

Well will have four internal medicine and primary care physicians when it opens and is part of the Kaiser integrated approach to care, including thousands of specialists who all work together in one connected system.
CareFirst logo
CareFirst Offers New Behavioral Health Digital Resource
CareFirst participants can now get mental health support through its new behavioral health digital resource through 7 Cups of Tea (7 Cups), a global behavioral health company. Access more than 430,000 trained active listeners who provide real-time, confidential, emotional support. You can also explore self-guided paths, online discussion boards, and access to licensed professionals. CareFirst members do not incur a cost for using the platform, but standard benefit costs apply for appointments with a licensed therapist.

To get started, visit, and select the Behavioral Health Digital Resource tile.
AU helps protect our community with annual flu shots
AU Quad with students
Over 500 AU faculty and staff got their flu shots on campus this year! If you missed the on-campus flu clinics, contact your medical provider to find participating retail pharmacies, grocery stores, or clinics to schedule a low or no-cost flu shot.

If you don’t have health insurance and would like assistance to find flu shot options, please email
If you’re working on-campus, check out an in-person wellness activity
Are you on campus on Wednesdays? Step outside for some fresh air and to safely socialize during AhealthyU’s October walking series! Join colleagues from around campus on the AU’s Outdoor Trail, a scenic 1.25-mile loop around main campus. Meet at the Labyrinth in front of the Kay spiritual center at 12:15pm. Masks are required if the group exceeds 25 people and there is no cost to participate.

Or catch a yoga class on Tuesdays at 12:05pm in the Jacobs Fitness Center or a barre class on Thursdays at 12:15pm in the Cassell Fitness Center. Masks are required for all group fitness classes.

There is no cost for group fitness classes for RecFit members or a $5 drop-in fee for non-members. For more information about any of AhealthyU’s programs, visit the AhealthyU website.
5 Steps to protect your Fidelity AU Retirement Account from Cyber Fraud
Here are five steps you can take today to protect your Fidelity NetBenefits account better.

  1. Set up online access for your account with a unique username and password. Go to and select Register as a new user.
  2. Sign up for 2-factor authentication at login. Log in with your username and password, go to Profile > Security Center, and select 2-Factor Authentication.
  3. Add or update your mobile phone number and email address. Log in with your username and password, and go to Profile > Personal & Contact Information.
  4. Sign up for eDelivery and monitor your account. Log in with your username and password, and go to Profile > Communication. Choose to receive your documents via email.
  5. Enable Fidelity MyVoice®. The next time you call, a Fidelity Representative will offer to enroll you—you just need to give Fidelity consent to create your unique voiceprint.
American University Retire Well
Are You Ready to Retire Well?

There are two Retire Well sessions left this semester. Visit the Retire Well site for full workshop descriptions.

All upcoming sessions are held from 12:00pm 1:00pm. Plan ahead and register one or both webinars:

Thursday, October 28

Tuesday, November 2
FSA Deadlines Extended for 2020 and 2021 Contributions

If you elected to contribute to a healthcare or childcare flexible spending account in 2020 or 2021, the IRS and American University extended the deadlines to give you additional opportunities to spend down your accounts.

FSA contributions are subject to the use-it-or-lose it rule, so if you don’t spend it, you lose whatever funds are still in your account once the deadline passes.

2020 FSAs Deadlines
Spend by December 31, 2021; submit claims by January 31, 2022

2021 FSAs Deadlines
Spend by December 31, 2022; submit claims by January 31, 2023

To view your balance for your FSA accounts, visit Optum Financial (formerly ConnectYourCare).
MetLife Auto and Home is now Farmers Insurance
As part of the acquisition of MetLife Auto and Home by the Farmers Insurance Group®, MetLife Auto and Home has been rebranded as Farmers GroupSelectSM.

As an AU faculty or staff member, you are eligible for a group discount. Call 800-438-6381, or contact the AU dedicated agent, Geomara Polanco, at 703-216-9675 for a no-obligation quote.
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