Sep 23, 2008

LANL Open Enrollment 2009

Hi Frank,

Benefits is starting the more in-depth phase of communications for Open Enrollment to active and retired employees of LANL. We've got letters in the mail, some newspaper ads, New Dimensions article etc. all in the works or on the way. Here is a copy of the summary of what's happening, in case you think your readership would be interested in this information. From a "benefit dude" perspective, this is pretty unprecedented good news in this modern era of increased health care costs etc. - no rate increases in Medical or Dental rates for actives or retirees, a new Life and Disability vendor with substantially better service and much lower rates for most employees, a new Vision offering for retirees (just like UC's recent offering, but slightly cheaper)... not too shabby!

The LANL Open Enrollment Web page should be up and running later this month also.

As always, thanks for your time and for maintaining a presence out in the blogosphere.


Thanks Greg! I'm sorry I couldn't post this a week ago when you sent it. No deadlines have passed so hopefully no harm done. Please send a link to the LANL Open Enrollment web page when it's available. The information for retirees you sent is available for download here.


greg close said...

The "shell" pages are up now, for actives and retirees. Here are the Green Network links, since you can access them from anywhere:



Thanks for the free post! ;)

Anonymous said...

This is the first thing I've seen in a while that gives me some hope that LANS is not intent on running this place into the ground. Thanks, Greg, for this post.

Anonymous said...

Most of the savings probably came about from the fact that United Healthcare was tasks with weeding out employees who were abusing the system by illegally placing relatives, friends, etc. on the plan. That was a smart move and the result has been to hold down the costs.

However, LANS badly needs to hold down increases in health care costs and other benefit costs so that employees don't completely spazz-out when hit with big TCP1 salary contributions sometime next year.

Anonymous said...

Logged on and tried to sign up for retiree vision coverage on 10/28. FYI, the vision plan is *not* listed as an available plan on the default "Annual Enrollment" page when you log on but if you click "Enroll" and go through the process, the vision plan will eventually show up as an option. It was very confusing not to have the vision plan listed with all the other available plans and I wasted a half hour trying to figure out WTF was going on.

Frank Young said...

10:09 AM,
Since this post is over a month old, I might be the only person to ever see your comment. I suggest you forward your comment to Greg Close. He will at least make sure it gets to the right person. Whether that person will do anything...unknown.

greg close said...

Sorry for your difficulties, 10/28/08 10:09 AM.

Here's an explanation, for what it's worth:

The Vision plan only shows up under the "Enroll" area because it is not an available plan to you right now. It is effective next year, hence you must go through the enrollment screens for 2009 for it to pop up as an option to enroll. The same methodology is used in most on-line apps - review current benefits, then access an enrollment area to make changes/select new plans.

It's logical enough in it's fashion, I suppose. At any rate, you're better off calling the toll free YBR number well before you've wasted 1/2 hour trying to figure anything out. They can either complete the enrollment for you or help you with questions regarding the web page.

Again, sorry this didn't work out well for you.

Frank Young said...

Thanks Greg!

Anonymous said...

10:09 AM here. Frank, thanks for your suggestion but I only got back to this thread now. I did manage to sign up for it and my only intent was to warn other folks who may have been as confused as I was.

Greg, thank you for your response but I find it unacceptable. It all hinges on what "available" means. To me, it means what plans are available to me in the coming year, not what plans are currently available that very minute. Besides, the title above the list of available plans is "Your Plan Choices for Enrollment" so what do you think that means to an average person? I interpret it as "Your 2009 Plan Choices for Enrollment" and the vision plan isn't shown as being available. I don't see how it can be interpreted any other way. ybr could have included a simple message like "A new vision plan is offered for 2009. To sign up, click Enroll and complete the enrollment process" along with the other "available" plans to eliminate potential confusion but they didn't.

Here's another bug: I just logged on and got a "Your Benefits Payment is Past Due" Action Needed message with a deadline of 12/01. I logged on my bank and see the last time Hewitt pulled a premium was on 10/01 for Nov and suspect no premium has yet been pulled in Nov for Dec because 11/01 falls on a Saturday. There's presently >$2,000 in the account so paying my premium is no problem. Perhaps the error message always shows up by default until the premium's paid but why post such a hostile and erroneous message by default when no attempt to pull a premium from my account in Nov has even been made? Care to explain this one, Greg?

It's one thing to explain away programming errors, it's quite another when nothing gets fixed.

greg close said...

I can't explain it, since I have no idea who you are and therefore no way to check into the facts. Maybe there's a rational explanation, maybe it's a screw up. Either way, if you'd care for me to take a shot at solving the problem for you, then email me ( or

I'm sorry my previous answer was unsatisfactory. I won't debate it with you here - you've made up your mind and you've a right to your opinion. I doubt I'll be changing it much with anything I have to say. If anyone is really interested in an explanation of why the current YBR method is pretty typical in the industry blah blah blah, my email is up there, feel free to ask.

Thanks to 9/23/08 8:21 PM for the positive comment, btw. It's nice to occasionally hear a good word.

Anonymous said...

10:09AM here. As I'd correctly surmised, the premium was pulled on Monday 11/03, the first business day in Nov, and the error message has vanished. My comments are not an attack on LANS but to simply to point out problems with Hewitt's software. As to typical industry practice, not listing new plans won't help the people who want to sign up (it can only confuse them) so one has to ask which party benefits, if any does, from this practice?