Open Enrollment for Benefits Starts October 22

It’s almost time! The Open Enrollment period for 2021 benefit elections is Thursday, October 22 through Friday, November 6.

What’s New for 2021?

We are pleased to announce that Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) will be our health insurance provider effective 1/1/21. The coverage is very similar to our current Cigna coverage and our premiums will not increase – employees will not pay more for this coverage (this is the fifth year our employee rates have not increased!).

Delta Dental is reducing premiums by 5.5%, with a two year rate guarantee – meaning a decrease in employee premiums for 2021, then no increase for 2022.

Employees without Long Term Disability (LTD) coverage will have the rare opportunity to enroll without a medical review!  If you don’t have this important income protection, please consider adding it during this event. Remember, Meredith will pay 50% of your premium.


Why are we changing our health insurance from Cigna to BCBS?
Both Cigna and BCBS are premium health insurance providers. With this year’s renewal, Cigna offered a 17% rate increase, based on our utilization and market trend. We were able to negotiate that rate down to 7%. However, BCBS was willing to offer us essentially the same coverage levels with no increase in current premiums. While certainly not the only consideration, we believe finances, and keeping premiums at the lowest levels possible, are an important part of the renewal review. After a great deal of consideration by both HR and our Employee Benefits Committee, we couldn’t justify the additional cost when there was a great alternative available to us. We feel confident that BCBS will be able to meet our expectations and provide exceptional customer service with the customer-focused changes they’ve put in place in recent years.

Will there be an opportunity to learn more about BCBS’s coverage? 
Yes – we will be working with BCBS to provide an on-line informational session for all who wish to attend. The dates and times will be shared soon.

Will my doctors still be available to me with BCBS? 
A review of the networks by our partners at USI have helped assure us that the networks are essentially the same, and that the primary care providers our employees and their families are currently using will continue to be available to us through BCBS.

What differences are there in the plan with Cigna and BCBS?
The insurance plans through BCBS will be very similar to our current plans. BCBS offers a lower rates for ER and mental health visits, and a different pharmacy structures, including different drug formularies, pharmacy by mail rate and pharmacy copays, so a medication on one level with Cigna may be on a different level with BCBS, with different copay amounts.

Will telehealth options be available through BCBS?
Yes – if your medical provider participates in telehealth options, they may elect to do so through the BCBS plans. BCBS will offer this option to us with a $0 co-pay. You will pay nothing for your telehealth appointment!

Do I have to fill out a form to make this change from Cigna to BCBS?    
You do not need to fill out any forms for this change if you wish to keep your coverage levels the same as they are currently. Everyone will be transitioned from Cigna to BCBS at their current coverage level. So, if you currently have employee-only coverage on the Select plan with Cigna, you will have employee-only coverage on the Select plan with BCBS UNLESS you elect to make a change. If you wish to change coverage levels (Select to Choice, or Choice to Select), add/drop coverage for a dependent(s), or add/drop coverage for yourself, you must complete a change form.

Do employees still have the option to opt-out of our health care plan? 
Yes, employees will still be able to opt-out of Meredith’s health insurance for 2021. To do so, you need to complete the annual election form and provide proof of current alternative health insurance coverage. Employees who opt-out of this coverage will receive $50.00 per month in a medical spending account to be used for out-of-pocket medical expenses. But, please keep in mind that even if you are currently opting-out of Meredith’s health insurance, you must renew this option each year for it to continue.

If I’m happy with all of my insurance options just as I have them currently, what are some of the options I still may need to consider for 2021?
Each year, those employees who are enrolled in an HSA medical spending account, FLEX medical spending account, FLEX child-care reimbursement account, or the health insurance Opt-out must complete a renewal for the upcoming year. The forms can be completed remotely. Please remember to include current proof of alternative health insurance if you wish to elect the Opt-out for 2021.

Can I meet with an HR representative to review my benefit options for 2021?  
Absolutely!  We will be glad to schedule a virtual meeting with you to discuss your options and answer any questions. Please email us at and let us know times that could work well for you. In addition, we will soon be sharing the 2021 Benefits Guide for you to review. This Guide is a great option for you to use to talk with your spouse/partner to decide which options are best for your needs. We’re also happy to include family members in a benefits discussion meeting, if you like.

Will there also be an open enrollment option for the staff Catastrophic Leave Bank?
Yes. Staff who haven’t previously joined the Catastrophic Leave Bank, and do meet the eligibility requirements, may join by completing the leave donation form during this open enrollment period.

Will I have an opportunity for prizes for completing the enrollment process the first week of Open Enrollment?  
Yes!  If your Open Enrollment elections are received by HR by October 30, your name will be added to the drawing for some great prizes. Not making any changes?  You can still enter the drawing – just send an email to by October 30 saying you aren’t making changes and your name will be added to the drawing, too.

Have other questions?  Please reach out to us at

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330
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