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Benefits Buzz
November 2021
Thanks for Participating in the 2022 Open Enrollment and Benefits & Wellness Fair
We want to thank everyone who participated in the 2022 open enrollment process and the benefits and wellness fair. We hosted over 30 fair events from our benefit providers and campus partners.

Remember, your 2022 open enrollment elections are effective on January 1, 2022.
Thank you
PwC Taking Control of Your Money
Tuesday, November 30
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Trying to save, but just can't save enough? Too much debt got you down? Do you have good credit history? Join Danielle LeStrange in this workshop as she addresses how to manage your money, maintain good credit, and take control of your debt.
Cash Grant Application for Eligible Dependent Children – Spring 2022 Deadline is January 1, 2022
Faculty and staff who were hired before July 1, 1995, are eligible for their dependent children to receive a cash grant of $725 per semester or $1,450 per academic year.

Apply online by January 1, 2022 for the spring 2022 semester.
Attending Classes this Spring? The Tuition Remission Deadline is January 14, 2022
Don’t forget that tuition remission applications must be submitted every semester that you plan on using AU’s education benefits. The deadline for spring 2022 is Friday, January 14, 2022.

AU offers tuition remission to faculty, staff, spouses, and same-sex domestic partners at American University and Wesley Theological Seminary. To be eligible, you have to be a full-time faculty or staff member with at least four months of full-time employment with the university before the last day of late registration.

You can receive tuition remission for eligible courses for a maximum of 8 credits per semester up to 20 credits per academic year. However, fees and not all courses are covered, including a $50 administrative fee. In addition, undergraduate courses for same-sex domestic partners and all graduate courses are subject to taxation, which could significantly reduce your take-home pay.
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).
CareFirst logo
Why Am I Getting a New Medical Card?
As a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law on December 27, 2020, CareFirst and Kaiser are required to reissue ID cards to all participants upon renewal, even if an account does not make any benefit changes.

CareFirst will be reissuing cards by January 1, 2022. Your current CareFirst ID card will still work if you need to make doctor's appointments prior to receiving the new ID card.

Kaiser will have digital ID cards available by January 1, 2022 for all members, and mail physical cards directly to new members and to current members whose benefits have changed or who request a physical card.
CareFirst is Redesigning Their EOB – What’s That?
An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is the document that your medical provider sends you to let you know that your claim has been processed. It is not always clear what the information on the EOB means. CareFirst has redesigned their EOB to help members more easily understand the care they receive, what they may owe for the care and how their plan benefits work.

CareFirst members can access all their EOBs online with My Account. Register today at
Changes to DC Paid Family Leave as of October 1, 2021
The DC paid family leave program expanded benefits for eligible individuals taking effect on October 1, 2021.

Here are some things you need to know:
  • Separate from and in addition to parental leave, you may now take up to 2 workweeks of prenatal leave
  • Medical leave increased from 2 workweeks to 6 workweeks
  • Wages subject to Paid Family Leave benefit calculations for claims have been expanded to be based on the highest 4 quarters of income over the past 10 quarters (previously the past 5 quarters)
  • Paid Family Leave benefits increased up to $1,009 per week for all claims with approved leave dates (previously $1,000)
  • The one-week waiting period is now waived for claims after October 1, 2021
For the most up to date information, visit the DC Paid Family Leave website, call the Office of Paid Family Leave at 202-899-3700, or reference Information on Paid Family Leave in DC.
You Can Put More Money Towards Your Retirement in 2022
The Internal Revenue Service increased the amount individuals can contribute to their 403(b) plans in 2022 to $20,500, up from $19,500 for 2021 and 2020.

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 403(b) plans remains unchanged at $6,500. Therefore, participants who are 50 and older can contribute up to $27,000, starting in 2022.
Don’t Miss Out on the Dependent Care Specials Through the End of the Year
Now through December 31, 2021, you can 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.

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.
On-Campus Childcare Available at AU
Did you know that American University has on-campus childcare for the AU community? The Child Development Center (The Center) provides developmentally appropriate, high-quality education and care for children 2-1/2 to 6 years while supporting AU families.

There are still a few openings at The Center for fall 2021 and spring 2022. Contact Veronica Chirlin at 202-885-3330 or
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