Want to miss out on earning a $25 credit a month? Or pay an extra $100 a month to provide health benefits for your partner, regardless of your spouse’s employment status? USC employees who do not take the steps to re-enroll or choose new benefit options during this year’s open enrollment period will maintain their benefit elections for 2019, but could be hit in the pocketbook starting Jan. 1.

The deadline to sign up for 2019 benefit options is Nov. 12. Employees who do not choose their benefits during the open enrollment period will be automatically re-enrolled based on their 2018 medical plan election, covering the same dependents currently enrolled. Those who waived coverage in 2018 will not receive medical coverage in 2019 unless they enroll.

However, by not signing up for benefits before the deadline, employees will be forfeiting a healthy choices incentive — a $25 monthly tobacco-free credit — and those covering a spouse or domestic partner who does not have employer-provided benefits will pay a $100 monthly working spouse surcharge, which otherwise would be waived.

Flexible spending accounts for health or dependent care also would be forfeited: those account options do not roll over and must be selected during open enrollment.

During open enrollment, employees have the opportunity to access the high-quality care of the physicians of Keck Medicine of USC by choosing the USC Trojan Care EPO plan, now in its second year, or the USC PPO plan. The USC HMO plan includes most providers in Anthem’s HMO network, but excludes Keck Medicine providers. The Kaiser Permanente HMO plan is also an available option.

A major change in what employees will pay for medical insurance is the implementation of salary-based medical coverage premiums. The cost of insurance will be tied to the employee’s pay rate. This will help with parity in coverage at all levels of employment.

Another change is the new behavioral health benefit for USC Trojan Care EPO and PPO members: Lyra Health. This offering provides no-cost, convenient mental health care for employees who find themselves in need of short-term support.

New plans and rates take effect Jan. 1, 2019. For more information, go to https://openenrollment.usc.edu or call the HR Service Center at (213) 821-8100.