Employee Benefits Updates
Penn State Intercom......May 1, 2003

The Office of Human Resources has a number of benefits updates.

Multiple Service Election for SERS

SERS participants who have rendered service with a Pennsylvania public school may elect multiple service. Multiple service is the crediting of state service with prior Pennsylvania Public School service for receipt of a combined benefit at the time of retirement. Service rendered as a school teacher, bus driver administrator or office staff may qualify.

Historically, SERS participants were given one opportunity to elect multiple service at the time that they enrolled in SERS. Act 2001-9 provides SERS participants who may have failed to make a multiple service election one last opportunity to do so. The act allows active contributing members of the State Employees' Retirement System to elect multiple service before Dec. 31.

Requests for Multiple Service forms were included with the recent annual SERS statement. Forms also are available by contacting the SERS office at (800) 633-5641 or the form can be downloaded from the SERS Web site at http://www.sers.state.pa.us/.

HIPAA privacy notices

The Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) requires health-plan providers and health plans to comply with the privacy regulations included in the legislation. In addition to establishing procedures to safeguard medical and personal information, providers and health plans are required to provide participants with a written notice of the privacy practices. These notices describe how medical and personal information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.

Since federal law requires each plan to provide this form, most employees will receive more than one privacy notice. Questions regarding the HIPAA privacy notification should be directed to the Employee Benefits Division at (814) 865-1473 or to Penn State University Privacy Office, 201 Old Main, University Park, PA 16802, (814) 863-3049.

Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)
now includes financial services

Participants in the Penn State EAP who may be experiencing some financial concerns, may contact Value Options for assistance. These financial concerns can include debt problems, retirement planning, family budgeting and other personal financial issues.

Through this service, participants receive consultation and counseling with a financial planner. Consultations are provided through a vendor relationship with Consolidated Legal Concepts, Inc. (CLC), a Roseville, Calif.-based company. All calls are routed through the PSU Value Options EAP number, (866) 749-1735. If a caller indicates a need for financial consultation, the Value Options representative will connect him or her with a specialist at CLC. The CLC specialist will provide general information, available resources and assist with budget and goal development. These services do not include investment advice.

Life Events Web page

In many situations, such as changes in family relationships and changes in employment, there are University offices, benefits, policies or other programs that provide guidance or assistance. In an effort to provide a single source of information, the Life Events Web page was developed. Located on the Office of Human Resources Web site at http://www.ohr.psu.edu/lifeevents/index.
the Life Events page is designed to answer the most commonly asked questions for those beginning their Penn State career, those contemplating retirement and family status changes.

Park and walk, walk, walk

Health Matters, in the Office of Human Resources, is launching a new program this fall called "Park and Walk, Walk, Walk." Participants will use pedometers to track the steps they take each day for eight weeks.

Using a pedometer to track steps taken throughout the day helps raise awareness of one's current activity level and enables a person to set goals for improving activity.

Staff and faculty interested in learning more about the program should call Health Matters at (814) 865-3085 or visit the Health Matters Web site at http://www.ohr.psu.edu/health/home.htm. Information also will be included in the Fall 2003 Health Matters program booklet. The program fee will depend upon the choice of pedometer and will range from $41 to $53. The fee includes a pedometer, a step tracking log and the required training session.