We encourage you to re-evaluate your benefits each year to ensure you are enrolled in the best option for you and your family. For information on FY18 changes to the medical plans and the prescription drug plan or other helpful resources, please refer to the other pages in this section and the pages below. For your convenience, we will provide information for both the previous and upcoming fiscal years on all pages throughout the annual enrollment period.
Benefits annual enrollment for active faculty and staff is completed online via Esther. Esther can be accessed from any online device, including your computer, tablet, or phone.
FY18 annual enrollment begins Monday, April 10, 2017.
The FY18 benefits period is July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.
The absolute deadline to complete your benefits annual enrollment is Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5:00pm. There are no extensions or grace periods.
Continuing to make smart choices when you use your health plan helps to save us all money – remember that our plan premiums are directly related to our plan spending!
- View the Emergency Room and Urgent Care tab of the Components of Your Medical Plan page to understand the differences between an urgent care center and an emergency room.
- Save money on prescription drugs by using the mail order pharmacy service and consider generic alternatives to your brand-name drugs (if available). Learn more by visiting the Prescription Drug Information page.
- Stay up-to-date on your annual preventive exams – this may help or prevent illness, diseases, or other future health problems. Annual preventive services are covered at 100%
- Establish a relationship with your primary care physician – having one physician who helps you maintain your health saves you time and money!
Your Esther ID is your employee ID number (with the E but without the 0's) and the password you selected. If you cannot remember your password, please enter your ID and click the “Forgot PIN” button. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance or call xBENE (x2363) if you are not able to retrieve your pin on your own.
You can use the Aetna DocFind tool to see if your doctor would be covered under a new plan. Click here for a video that shows you how to use this tool.
If you want to leave your benefits exactly as they are today, you do not need to complete annual enrollment in Esther. We recommend that you log in to Esther, and confirm your choices, but that is not required. The only exception is if you want to use a flexible spending account for medical or dependent care expenses or contribute to a Health Savings Account. You must renew these each year. This is an IRS requirement.
If you need to speak with someone in person, call the benefits hotline at 713-348-4663.
You may also attend this year's RiceFest. Staff members from Human Resources will be available to assist you with any questions you may have regarding your coverage or the open enrollment process.