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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 2, Number 9 October 2001

Town Meetings on Administrative Flexibility
Don’t Miss This Opportunity
Now is your chance to give input into what you think an ideal personnel system would be if you could design one for UNC at Chapel Hill.

Chancellor Moeser has appointed and charged a committee to recommend key features that UNC at Chapel Hill should incorporate into its own personnel system.
This committee wants your input.

Topic:  Your Ideas On Designing A New Personnel System
Town Meeting Schedule

Thursday, October 18 10:30 to Noon 100 Hamilton Hall
Friday, October 19 10:30 to Noon 133 Rosenau Hall
Friday, October 19 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 109 Fetzer Gym

Participation in these meetings is considered work time, as long as essential departmental operations are sustained.  Ask your supervisor for permission to attend, and be sure to invite him/her to join us in these important discussions.

Legislation proposed this year would have given each State university the authority to design its own personnel system, separate from the Office of State Personnel.  Although the legislation was not approved in this session, the General Assembly did create a committee to study the issue and report its findings to the 2003 session of the General Assembly.  In anticipation of this, the Chancellor has appointed a group named the Personnel Flexibility Committee made up of campus staff, faculty and administrators. This committee is to study best practices in personnel systems at other public research universities and to collect input from across the campus to recommend a Personnel System for UNC at Chapel Hill that would best benefit everyone.
 The Personnel Flexibility Committee’s input subcommittee is sponsoring a series of town meetings to get your ideas on which characteristics should be included into a personnel system.  The three campus meetings are a beginning to capture your thoughts.  There will also be smaller focus groups organized to provide staff and faculty opportunities for further discussion.  We will use input from these gatherings to design a campus survey.  The input received from the survey, town meetings and focus groups will be compiled and sent forward to the Chancellor.

We are all faced with great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
—source unknown

Staff Development Brochure Arrives
Supporting Career Growth, a new brochure produced by the Career Development Committee of the Employee Forum, landed in the mailboxes of all UNC staff. We encourage you to read the brochure and consider the many possibilities that are open to you as a staff member of the University. Bobbie Lesane is a testament to the opportunities available. Read her story in this brochure and join us in congratulating Bobbie on her success. And remember—you can be the next success story!

University Committee Assignments News
Lee Edmark, Employee Forum delegate from Division 8 (Professional) and chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee (UCAC), has been appointed to serve a two-year term as the Forumís representative on the License Advisory Board. This Board is charged with protecting the integrity of the UNC logo and preparing reports on license-related activities.

Policy Response:  North Carolina Flex Plan
Since the enrollment for NCFlex occurs this month, InTouch decided to explore the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in the program.

What advantages are there in enrolling in North Carolina Flex?

The main advantage is that an enrollee can save 30-40% on covered health expenses because these expenses are counted on a pre-tax basis.  Covered expenses include dental premiums, vision care premiums, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and out-of-pocket health care expenses for you and your dependents.  You can also save taxes on dependent or child day care coverage expenses.  Contributions for NCFlex benefits occur through payroll deduction, and you can choose which program to sign up for and how much to contribute.

Hold on, you said I would need to contribute to the program through a payroll deduction?

Yes, when you sign up with NCFlex, you essentially set up an account for yourself from which you receive reimbursement throughout the year for covered expenses.  The amount of the contribution (your account) is subtracted from your taxable income at the end of the year.  So, you essentially use this money tax-free.

What if I don’t spend all the money in my account by the end of the year?

Well, unfortunately, it reverts to the State.  And, once you commit to an amount for your account during the sign-up period, you cannot change your contribution level unless there is a change to your family status (such as marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, change in employment status for you or your spouse, or death of a spouse or eligible, covered dependent).  So, if you are considering enrollment in NCFlex, you need to estimate conservatively exactly how much you will spend on health care in the coming year.

How does the reimbursement system work?

After you set the level of contributions for your account, you receive reimbursements for covered expenses starting January 1, 2002.  If, for example, you decided to contribute $10 a month, you would have an overall account of $120.  This money would be deducted from your taxable income, much like 403(b) account contributions and parking permit fees are.  If you had a doctorís bill for $100 January 15, 2002, you would pay that bill yourself, then submit your claim form to NCFlex .  NCFlex would then send you a check for $100, and you would have $20 left over in your NCFlex account.  (Of course, you would still be committed to contribute $10 a month for the rest of 2002.)

So, how long before I receive my reimbursement check?

The Forum has received word that the administering company enters written claims into its system once a week, and enters electronic claims once a day.  We have heard that reimbursements have been somewhat slow in years past, but that the administering company is working to speed up claims processing.

What if my income is too low to pay federal taxes?

Unfortunately, the NCFlex program is probably not for you.

I donít know how much I spent on health care expenses last year, and Iím afraid of losing the money in my account at the end of the year.

Thatís understandable.  The key to the NCFlex program is figuring out how much you will spend in the coming year on covered health care expenses, and conservatively matching that with your payroll contributions.  Maybe only contribute the minimum amount your first year, and then ramp up your contributions the next year when you can more adequately gauge your annual expenses.  Remember, if you are going to spend the money anyway, itís better to spend it before taxes!

Which plan/contribution amount/choice is right for me?

Well, we cannot really tell, since we donít know your personal situation.  The best solution is to study the NCFlex brochure, which should arrive in your mailboxes before too long.  Or, you can visit for up-to-date information.  If you need further help, contact Human Resources Benefits at 962-3071 or