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    Employee Benefits

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides a full range of benefits for regular salaried (or full-time) employees and on a prorated basis for qualified part-time employees. The benefit entitlements include single or family health insurance, life insurance, voluntary benefits, workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, and an outstanding retirement plan.

    The Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) offers several plans of medical benefits. Employees may choose the Option – PPO, HMO or UHC Consumer Driven – that best fits your needs. In addition, the PEBTF offers mental health and substance abuse benefits, as well as Supplemental Benefits including coverage for prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and a hearing aid benefit. Exception: Collective bargaining agreements supersede these rules for certain groups of Members (i.e., Energy Assistance Workers).

    Eligibility Rules for New Hires or Re-hires – Hired on or After August 1, 2003

    Employees hired or re-hired on or after August 1, 2003, will be eligible to enroll as follows:

    • Full-time and eligible part-time employees shall be eligible to enroll in the least expensive plan in their geographic area for medical coverage only.
    • Employees must pay a biweekly employee share as follows:
      • July 2009 - September 2010 – 2 percent of base salary if not participating in Get Healthy, 1 percent of base salary if participating in Get Healthy.
      • October 2010 - June 2011 – 3 percent of base salary if not participating in Get Healthy, 1.5 percent of base salary if participating in Get Healthy.
    • Employees may purchase a more expensive plan in their county of residence by paying the cost difference, as determined by the PEBTF.
    • Employees may purchase dependent medical coverage for the first six months of employment as a new hire or re-hire.
    • Employees may add eligible dependents for medical coverage at no additional charge in the least expensive plan six months from the date of hire (if a more expensive plan is chosen, the employee must pay the cost difference, as determined by the PEBTF). Employees and eligible dependents receive Supplemental Benefits six months from the date of hire.
    • Part time employees must pay 50 percent of the cost in addition to the above-mentioned employee shares.

    Prescription Drug Plan – effective 8/1/03

    Mandatory generic reimbursement
    Member pays the difference in cost between brand and generic drugs whenever the FDA has approved at least one generic substitute.

    Maintenance drug supply limit
    The maintenance supply limit is reduced to 90 days for mail order and for retail maintenance.

    Three-tier formulary

    Co-payments per prescription

    Network Pharmacy – up to a 30 day supply

    Preferred Brand
    Non-Preferred Brand

    $10 co-payment
    $18 co-payment
    $36 co-payment

    Retail Maintenance – at a Rite Aid Pharmacy – up to 90 day supply

    Preferred Brand
    Non-Preferred Brand

    $20 co-payment
    $36 co-payment
    $72 co-payment

    Mail Order through MEDCO – up to a 90 day supply

    Preferred Brand
    Non-Preferred Brand

    $15 co-payment
    $27 co-payment
    $54 co-payment

    Effective September 1, 2008, if an employee separates employment from the Commonwealth for more than 180 calendar days, they will be considered a new hire and will be subject to the benefit waiting period. Any separation of 180 calendar days or less will be considered a re-hire for health and life insurance benefits. Provided the employee meets all other eligibility requirements, the employee will be eligible for life insurance, PEBTF supplemental benefits, and PEBTF dependent coverage effective the first day the employee reports to work.

    Group Life Insurance

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides life insurance coverage for permanent employees through The Prudential Insurance Company of America. The amount of life insurance is equal to your annual salary (rounded to the nearest $1,000) as of the date of hire, up to a maximum of $40,000. The amount of insurance is adjusted on January 1 of each year to account for pay changes. There is a 90-day waiting period from your date of hire before coverage takes effect.

    Eligible employees will receive a "Welcome Kit" from Prudential within three months of hire. The kit will include the Booklet/Certificate that confirms coverage and outlines the contract provisions that apply, as well as a Group Insurance Beneficiary Designation/Change form.


    Employees contribute 6.25 percent of salary to the State Employees Retirement System (SERS). SERS is a contributory defined benefit plan, which means that employee's benefits are formula-based, using your Years of Credited Service, Final Average Salary and Class of Service Multiplier, not the performance of the Fund or the employers' contributions. The Final Average Salary is the highest average compensation received during any three non-overlapping periods of four consecutive calendar quarters; typically, this is the average of your last three years of compensation. If you are under Normal Retirement Age, you will incur an Early Retirement Reduction.

    2%xClass of Service MultiplierxYears of Credited ServicexFinal Average Salary=Maximum Annual Retirement

    Voluntary Benefits

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers a valuable Voluntary Benefits Program for its employees. The Voluntary Benefits Program can provide you and your family with additional protection through the convenience of payroll deductions. The Commonwealth has partnered with The Prudential Insurance Company of America to provide Optional Term Life Insurance, Dependent Term Life Insurance, and Long Term Disability Insurance and with Travelers to provide Auto and Home Insurance.

    • Prudential offers Optional Term life, Dependent Term Life, Long Term Disability, and Long Term Care Insurance at economical group rates. For all of these insurance plans, newly eligible employees will receive information from Prudential and will have 31 days to enroll.
    • Travelers offer auto and home insurance programs at special group rates. Employees can enroll with Travelers at any time.

    If you have children or other dependents that need care while you work, you can stretch your budget and pay for those expenses with pretax dollars through the Commonwealth’s Family Care Account Program (FCAP). FCAP allows you to set aside money from your gross salary to pay eligible expenses for child and other dependent day care, reducing your Federal Income and Social Security taxes.

    • Open Enrollment is held every November. The plan year begins in January.
    • Mid-year enrollments are allowed if you become eligible due to a Change in Status.

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, administered by the Treasury Department, offers nowU 529 College Savings Program which offers a range of resources specifically designed to help families save for college.

    • Named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, 529 college savings plans provide important tax advantages and are considered by many financial experts to be one of the best ways to save for college.
    • NowU offers two 529 college savings plans: the Pennsylvania 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), which is tied to the rate of college tuition inflation; and the Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan, which gives college savers the flexibility to choose from among 13 investment options managed by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest financial services companies.

    Both plans provide important tax advantages, such as a state income tax deduction on contributions to a nowU account, tax-deferred growth on earnings, and tax-free withdrawals when funds are used for qualified educational expenses.

    U.S. Savings Bonds

    U.S. Savings Bonds are available through payroll deductions. You may authorize deductions (in multiples of $1.25) from your earnings to purchase bonds in denominations of $100 to $1,000. As deductions accumulate to equal the purchase price of a bond, the State Treasury Department will purchase a bond for you and send it to the address you designate.

    Employees can purchase traditional Series EE or Series I Bonds. U.S. Savings Bonds pay interest at Treasury Market rates and can be replaced if lost, stolen or destroyed. Bonds are not subject to state or local income tax. The Bureau of Human Resources can provide further information on purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds.

    Workers' Compensation

    Should you be disabled in a work-related accident, you are protected by both workers’ compensation and the supplemental injury leave for 12 months or for the duration of the disability, whichever is less. All reasonable medical expenses incurred as a result of the work-related injury will be paid, provided you are treated by a doctor listed on the Panel of Physicians posted at your work site.

    Please direct any questions on workers’ compensation to the Benefits staff in the Bureau of Human Resources.

    Unemployment Compensation

    As an employee of the Commonwealth (except for those holding positions classified as "major, non-tenured, policy-making"), you are covered by the provisions of the PA Unemployment Compensation Law. The law compensates workers unemployed through no fault of their own. If you are found eligible, unemployment compensation will be paid to you at a rate determined by the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation Benefits and Allowances in the Department of Labor and Industry. For further information on unemployment compensation, please contact the Benefits staff in the Bureau of Human Resources.