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A look at what’s new: 2017

Open enrollment provides employees a once-a-year opportunity to review and elect benefit coverage that best suits their needs. While this year requires a 4 percent increase in premiums for employees and the University, this marks the first increase in premiums in three years, and the Purdue plans continue to trend better than national averages for healthcare inflation.

“Again we applaud our employees for being informed health care consumers,” said Candace Shaffer, interim associate director of benefits in Human Resources. “The 4 percent increase for 2017 is necessary due to increased medical and prescription costs, but we are pleased our increase is significantly less than current national medical inflation trends that are reported at 8 and 9 percent. We hope by making this adjustment now, it will help us avoid a future rate increase that is at or above the national trend.”

The same three medical plan options with Anthem will be offered again in 2017.

Overall benefit changes for 2017 include:


  • As previously mentioned, premiums for the University and for employees will increase by 4 percent.
  • Online healthcare services now available through Anthem’s LiveHealth Online.
  • Exclusion removed related to gender reassignment surgery.
  • Same-sex domestic partners and their children will no longer be eligible for coverage.
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) annual contribution limit increased to $2,550.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) annual contribution limit for individual increased to $3,400.


  • Regulations continue to change related to coverage of preventive medications. The list of preventive medications will be changed for 2017 to a legally compliant and standardized preventive list. This means that many employees and/or their dependents will be asked to review their preventive medications and seek alternatives in order to continue to be treated at the most cost-effective level. If you are affected by this change, Express Scripts will contact you directly with instructions on seeking alternative medications.
  • Each year, there are a few changes to the Express Scripts formulary drug list. If you are one of the few employees affected by this change, Express Scripts will contact you directly.
  • Additionally, there are a handful of drugs that will no longer be covered on the plan. This is a very small change and only affects a few employees who will be contacted directly by Express Scripts.
  • For more information about these changes and access to medication listings by category, please visit the dedicated open enrollment website.  Employees can also look up their prescription medications on the Express Scripts website, which has been updated for 2017.

Dependent age eligibility

  • In order to better align with the dependent age rules for medical/dental/vision coverage, changes were made to extend dependent coverage on the critical illness plan (age 26), the life insurance plans (age 26) and the accidental plan (age 26).  See the eligible dependents section on the Benefits website for details.


  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, Anthem will become the administrator for the faculty and staff dental plans (not applicable to graduate staff). While coverage will remain consistent in the plans, the new partnership will bring reduced premiums for employees and the University. 
  • An active election is required for any dental coverage, including preventive coverage.
  • Dental plan elections will now be handled separately from medical plan elections.
  • Panoramic X-rays will now be covered every five years under preventive coverage.

“We have worked hard and are continuing to work hard to improve employee wellness for years to come,” Shaffer said. “Purdue remains dedicated to ensuring its employees are offered excellent benefits and convenient access to health care that meet their needs and those of their families.”

Efforts will continue to focus on employee wellness initiatives to help reduce medical inflation by improving the health of University employees. The Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus will continue to play an integral role in employee wellness.

The Center provides numerous health management and wellness offerings throughout the year at no cost to benefits-eligible faculty, staff and their spouses covered on a Purdue health plan.  Some services are available to covered children as well.

Wellness programs are also available at the Fort Wayne and Purdue Northwest campuses.

In addition, to help faculty and staff in their efforts to continue to be wise consumers, Purdue offers Castlight as a resource to:

  • Search for providers
  • See cost information for medical services
  • View claims
  • Track deductible and out of pocket costs
  • View helpful time and money saving tips

Open enrollment ends at 6 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 11. For detailed information on open enrollment, view the dedicated open enrollment website.

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