The Hartford Optional Life Open Enrollment

Choosing the right amount of Optional Life insurance coverage is among the most important decisions you can make for your family. If they were to suddenly lose you they would also lose your paycheck. Life insurance can help provide income and financial support to your family in a difficult time, helping to ensure that mortgage or college loans are paid, funeral costs and final expenses are covered, and lost income is replaced.

During Open Enrollment from July 1-31, 2022, active employees will have the opportunity to enroll in or increase their Optional Life insurance coverage without providing Evidence of Insurability (EOI).

  • If you are not currently enrolled in Optional Life, or if your Optional Life amount is less than 4x your annual salary, you may elect up to 4x your annual salary without providing EOI;
  • If you are currently enrolled in 4x or above and would like to increase to 5x or 6x your annual salary, EOI will be required

This year’s special enrollment opportunity is available to active employees only, and for this Open Enrollment period only. For more detailed information visit the The Hartford website.

Seasons of Life and Your Life Insurance Plan

After the death of a loved one, the task of resolving the business and health affairs of the deceased, including financial and health care-related paperwork, can often be difficult. Seasons of Life and the A&M System life insurance plan are two programs that provide assistance and benefits to help handle these difficulties.

First, you or a beneficiary should contact the deceased member’s benefits office within 20 days, or as soon as reasonably possible after the death. This ensures that insurance carriers can process the claims in a timely manner.

Seasons of Life by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX)

Seasons of Life is a BCBSTX outreach program that provides personalized claims resolution assistance to members and their families who are dealing with the death of a loved one. Seasons of Life ensures that members and their families have compassionate help when they need it.

Seasons of Life begins with proactive outreach. When a member’s death is communicated to the A&M System, and BCBSTX learns of it, a customer advocate will be assigned as the family’s single point of contact for the duration of the Seasons of Life program. The family can contact the customer advocate at any time that is convenient for them to discuss insurance-related matters. The advocate completes a full review of the deceased member’s reimbursement history, claims status, and customer service history before contacting the family, so they can anticipate the family’s needs.

The Seasons of Life program gives support during this time by helping relatives of the deceased member handle health care claims and provider statements quickly and efficiently.

Life Insurance Claims

After the death of an employee/retiree covered by the A&M System life insurance plan or a covered dependent on the A&M System life insurance plan, the beneficiary should contact your benefits office or the benefits office of the deceased member. The benefits office will notify System Benefits Administration of the death to initiate a life claim. The Hartford will contact you and give you or the designated beneficiary the forms needed to apply for Basic Life/Alternate Basic Life, Optional Life or Dependent Life benefits. It is important to keep your beneficiaries up to date when you are enrolled in the plan.

The System Benefits Administration office will submit claim forms, along with supporting documentation to initiate the death claim. Once processed, benefits are normally paid directly to the beneficiaries in a lump sum via check or direct deposit into the beneficiary’s checking or savings account.

Life Insurance and Changes as You Age

You generally have the greatest need for life insurance during your working years, when your family relies heavily on your paycheck. However, you may continue to have financial obligations after you retire. Life insurance may help relieve those financial obligations, but there are certain coverage changes that take place as you age.

Before age 70, you may choose Optional Life coverage up to $100,000 in multiples of $1,000. Once you select your coverage amount, you may only increase it if you provide evidence of insurability. The maximum is always $100,000 under age 70.

On the 1st of the month following your 70th birthday, your coverage will automatically reduce to $60,000. Between 70 and 80, the coverage maximum is $60,000. After age 80, your coverage will automatically reduce to $30,000.

You can buy more coverage than you had at retirement, later increase your coverage, or enroll for the first time in Optional Life coverage after retirement if you provide evidence of insurability. You must choose a coverage amount in multiples of $1,000, and you may increase up to $100,000 if you are younger than age 70 and $60,000 if you are between ages 70 and 80.

SEBAC Highlights

The System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee met for the second time during FY20 on February 22, 2020. The current state of the benefit plans was discussed. Below are some highlights from the meeting:


  • Health plan enrollment increased slightly as the number of employees and retirees overall has increased since last year. There are currently 30,738 covered employees and retirees, and 25,819 covered dependents. Total paid claims for the health plan are slightly higher than at the same time during FY19 and total $105.7M as of the end of December.
  • System Benefits Administration is required to bid the health plan every 6 years. Requests for Proposals were submitted for two carriers, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield will remain the health insurance plan provider for FY21-FY27. Their bid offered significant savings in provider discounts over the next closest bidder.
  • The Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Request for Proposals are currently under review by the A&M System. The finalist will be announced on April 22.
  • MDLIVE, the virtual visit service that allows covered plan participants to talk to a doctor via video and phone, has been active for 18 months. We are performing better than book of business for utilization comparable to other higher education entities.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas reported that cancer continues to be the System’s highest diagnostic category followed by musculoskeletal and circulatory conditions. Breast cancer is our highest-cost cancer and most prevalent with 7/1000 claimants per year. Cervical/colorectal cancer costs remain below benchmark, which is attributed to early detection from the preventive screenings. System Benefits Administration continues to use this data to strategically assess the employee wellness program and participation in preventive screenings.
  • A&M System participants are above the BCBSTX benchmark on all preventive screenings (Colon, breast, wellness, well-baby, well-child, etc).
    A&M System Benchmark
    Cholesterol 58.5% 37%
    Annual Wellness Exam 69% 39.6%
    Mammmograms 62.7% 45.6%
  • Health plans are evolving towards a wellbeing management structure, which involves increasing targeted communications to raise awareness and boost utilization of existing programs.
  • The biggest cost driver in student plans for last year across the country, as well as in our plan, was prescription drugs.

First Things First: New Fiscal Year Benefits Checkpoints

First Things First: New Fiscal Year Benefits Checkpoints

Check your deductions

Your new benefits plan year began September 1, 2019. It is important to log into Workday through Single Sign On ( and verify the accuracy of the benefits you elected for FY20 by clicking on the Benefits worklet, then “Benefit Elections” in the View column. If you find an error in your benefit elections, contact your human resources office immediately.

Dependent SSN Reminders

As part of compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the A&M System Benefits Administration Office is required to request Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for covered dependents. This information will remain confidential. If you have dependents covered through your A&M System health plan for whom you have not provided an SSN or if you are unsure as to whether you have previously provided your dependent’s SSN(s), go online to Workday (http:// to check and enter an SSN. After logging into Workday, click on the Benefits worklet. On the Benefits screen, select “Dependents” in the Change column.

FY19 Flexible Spending Account Deadlines

If you have remaining funds in your FY19 healthcare or dependent care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you are eligible for a 2 1/2 month grace period. This means you may file eligible claims with a date of service of September 1, 2018 through November 15, 2019 to use your remaining FY19 FSA funds. All claims related to your FY19 FSA must be filed by December 31, 2019.

Total Rewards Explained

Last year, the Total Compensation Letter for employees of the A&M System was replaced with the Total Rewards page in Workday. You can find it by logging into Workday, clicking on your profile, then Compensation and the Total Rewards tab is on the far right.