by Mark Stimpson
Medcial Center Human Resources Management
Are you getting the most out of your MUSC benefits? What follows is an overview that might help you answer that question.
The MoneyPlus program permits employees to pay for dental, medical and
the premiums associated with the first $50,000 of Optional Life
insurance with pre-tax dollars. For example, if you have full family
Basic Dental and the SHP Standard medical plan, your annual premiums
total more than $3,700. When you receive your W2 at the end of the
year, your taxable income is automatically reduced by this amount
before federal, state and even social security taxes are calculated.
To make sure that you are taking advantage of this option, check your
next paycheck to see if there is an asterisk beside the premium
description (eg *Blue Cross) this indicates that these premiums are
being paid with pre-tax dollars, if its not there, make a note to
inquire about enrolling in this component of the MoneyPlus program
during open enrollment in October.
An often overlooked benefit is the state’s long term disability (SLTD)
insurance. Most employees pay less than $5 per paycheck for this
coverage and, if the claim was approved, the insurance would pay
approximately two-thirds of your base monthly income if you suffered a
serious health condition which prevented you from working for at least
90 days. Check on your next paycheck that you have a deduction listed
as SLTD, and if you don’t, contact the benefits desk to inquire about
Standard State Health Plan (SHP Standard)
Often referred to as the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, the benefits of
this plan are: reasonably priced; 80/20 coverage; 100 percent coverage
after an individual reaches the out of pocket maximum of $2,000; wide
coverage network including internationally; currently, via the employee
discount program, the hospital waives charges for the 20 percent
co-insurance on the hospital charges (doesn’t apply to physician
charges) for employees and their dependents’ bills if treatment is
received at MUSC; and low prescription drug charges including a $3
discount if they are filled at MUSC.
State Health Plan Savings (SHP Savings)
This insurance is referred to as a “high-deductible” plan. It has the
lowest premiums but individual subscribers have to meet a $3,000 annual
deductible. This is most appropriate for healthy individuals who have
the cash reserves to pay the $3,000 in the event of a major unforeseen
accident or illness.
Cigna Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Cigna is a traditional HMO for which you need to select a primary care
physician who then refers you to a specialist within the network, as
needed. You must stay in network with this plan.
Bluechoice is also a traditional HMO—you have to stay in network and obtain referrals from a primary care physician to access specialists.
If you retire from MUHA, you may be eligible to take your health and
dental insurance with you at the subsidized rate for the rest of your
Medicare Supplement Plan
Assuming you meet the qualifications to take your health insurance with
you into retirement, when you reach age 65, you will have the ability
to exchange your health insurance for a Medicare supplement plan. This
plan, offered through the state, has been customized to fit together
with Medicare coverage to limit the out of pocket expenses to a
minimum. The drug coverage on this is superior to the new Medicare part
The state offers two levels of dental insurance coverage. In October
during open enrollment, you will have the opportunity to upgrade or
downgrade your coverage which will then stay in effect for a period of
The benefits of this plan are: free to employees and less than $11 per
paycheck for families; most licensed dentists will accept this
insurance; each insured person is reimbursed up to $1000 per year for
This coverage is an addition to the basic dental and offers the
following additional benefits: an extra $1,000 per person of dental
insurance benefits per year; insurance pays more since it has a more
generous reimbursement schedule.
Term life insurance is available to all benefits eligible employees and their families.
The state offers two forms of long term disability coverage and the
hospital contracted with an outside insurance company to offer
Long Term Care Insurance
Often referred to as nursing home insurance, the state contracted with
Prudential Life Insurance Company to offer this coverage. Generally
speaking, it provides money for services not usually covered under
major medical insurance.
Long term care is commonly associated with, for example, older people
with Alzheimer’s or stroke victims relearning how to cope with the
daily activities of life.
MUSC's retirement plans are the strongest component of the benefits
package. Did you know that, for participants in the Pension & the
Optional Retirement plans, the hospital contributes almost twice the
amount employees pay?
There are three mandatory plans (permanent employees must select one) and four supplemental plans.
State Pension plan (SCRS)—This is a traditional pension plan. Once you reach certain career milestones, you receive a monthly check for life.
Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)—This
plan is similar to a 401K. Employees receive a lump sum of money at
retirement based on the growth of investments selected.
Special Healthcare Retirement Plan (SHARP)—This
plan is only available to certain employees (registered nurses but not
nurse managers, dietary and laundry staff and technical support staff.
Traditional 401K, Roth 401K, 403B and 457 Plans—All four of these plans
are available to anybody that receives a paycheck from the hospital
including temporary and part time employees.
Paid Time Off (PTO), Extended Sick Leave (ESL) & Supplemental Medical Leave (SML)
- Annual accrual of a
minimum of 23 days of PTO and eight days of ESL for 40 hour per week
employees with higher accrual rates for long term employees.
- SML for eligible employees can be used for brief doctors’ visits for employees and their families without having to use any PTO.
- Up to three days of paid funeral leave for bereavement.
- Paid jury duty leave and qualified military leave.
Tax Sheltered Spending Accounts
Through the MoneyPlus program, benefits eligible employees have the
ability to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible dependent day care
medical related expenses.
The hospital is committed to helping employees improve their work
related knowledge and skills through completion of course work and
degrees offered by higher education institutions. This program includes
tuition assistance up to $5,250 per year and employees may be eligible
for a tax exclusion up to $5,250.
For more information about any of the benefits mentioned above, visit
the benefits desk in Suite 200, 163 Rutledge Ave., or call 792-0826.
For information, employees may visit http://mcintranet.musc.edu/hr.
Editor's note: This overview is not intended to be comprehensive but instead discusses selected benefits highlights only.
Friday, April 24, 2009