FAQs

2015 Annual Enrollment for Full-Time Employees Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click here for a print-ready PDF.

 

  • When is 2015 Annual Enrollment?

    Annual enrollment begins October 20 and ends November 7, 2014.

  • If I do not want to make changes to my coverage for 2015, do I still need to enroll?

    If you do not have any changes to your full-time benefits, there is no action required for the 2015 Annual Enrollment. You are required to re-enroll in the health care flexible spending account (FSA), dependent care FSA, and health savings account (HSA). Those annual pledges from 2014 will not carry over to 2015.

  • If I make changes to my benefit elections, when will those changes be effective?

    Any changes you make will be effective January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.

  • Do I need to re-enroll in my flexible spending accounts or health savings account?

    Yes. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you are required by law to re-enroll in the health care FSA, dependent care FSA, and/or HSA each year.

  • If I do not re-enroll in medical coverage, will my tobacco status carry over from 2014 to 2015?

    Yes. If you do not re-enroll in coverage from 2014 to 2015, you will keep the same tobacco status you pledged in 2014.

  • What are my annual enrollment options?

  • Are the medical plans changing this year?

    The medical plans will have similar plan designs from 2014. Please review the plan design page here to review them.

    The Option 1 and Option 2 plans will be PPO plans. Meaning, that there is an in and out-of-network plan design, and employees will receive greater plan benefits under the in-network plan. There will also be the high deductible health plan (HDHP) available, and Kaiser and HMSA will continue to be offered to employees in certain locations in 2015.

    Employees and their families should visit the My Benefits site to review the plan offerings for their location and the plan designs before electing a new plan. My Benefits can be accessed through My Lowe’s Life or www.mylowesbenefits.com.

  • What will change in 2015 for Aetna members?

    Beginning January 1, 2015, Lowe’s locations served by Aetna will be served by Meritain Health, a subsidiary of Aetna. Meritain has the same network as Aetna, and provides the same coverage. Affected members will receive a new insurance card reflecting this change.

  • What is the health screening requirement?

    Employees were required to complete a health screening during 2014 and have it on file by October 1, 2014 to be eligible for the Option 1 medical plan in 2015. To learn more about the health screening requirement, click here.

  • What happens if I enroll in Option 1 medical coverage during Annual Enrollment but have not had the health screening?

    Employees who enroll in Option 1 medical coverage for 2015 but did not have the required health screening will be moved to Option 2 medical coverage at the end of Annual Enrollment. They will be notified of the change.

  • What else is new this year?

    Below are some of the changes that will occur during this year’s annual enrollment:

    • Copays for retail clinics (such as CVS Minute Clinics, Walgreens, and Target) will be reduced by 50% for the Option 1 and Option 2 plans.
    • Lowe’s will be implementing the mandatory Maintenance Choice program for prescription drugs. In this program, employees must fill their maintenance prescriptions through mail order or at a CVS pharmacy, and will receive a 90-day supply at a discounted price.
    • Enhanced Dental and Vision plans are available, with higher benefit maximums, allowances, and other benefits.
    • Two new voluntary benefits are available: the Fixed Indemnity plan** and the commuter benefit.
    • A new carryover rule will be in place for the 2015 Healthcare Flexible Spending Account.

     

    Please refer to the “What’s New” document on My Benefits for additional information.

    ** – Due to contract filing restrictions, residents of Massachusetts are unable to enroll in the Fixed Indemnity plan.  If you are a resident of Massachusetts, and enroll in the Fixed Indemnity plan during Annual Enrollment, your enrollment in that plan will be cancelled, and any payroll deductions will be refunded.  This restriction only applies to residents of Massachusetts – if you work in the state of Massachusetts, but reside in a different state, you are not subject to this restriction.

  • What is the Maintenance Choice program? Are there other changes to the Prescription Drug benefit?

    Beginning in 2015, employees must fill their maintenance prescriptions through mail order or at a CVS pharmacy, and will receive a 90-day supply at a discounted price. Lowe’s is also making updates to the eligible formulary medication list and specialty prescription process for 2015.

     

  • How will the vision plan design change?

    Lowe’s will offer two vision plans for 2015. The new Vision High plan through VSP will have increased lenses and frames options and other additional benefits. The Low plan will have the same benefits as the current plan.

    Employees currently enrolled will be defaulted into the Low plan, if they don’t change plans or decline coverage during annual enrollment.

    Employees should visit the My Benefits site for a complete comparison of the Low and High Vision plans.

  • Are there changes to the Dental plan?

    Lowe’s will also offer two dental plans in 2015. The new Dental High plan through Cigna includes an increased annual plan maximum and orthodontia lifetime maximum. The Low plan will have the same benefits as the current plan.

    Employees currently enrolled will be defaulted into the Low plan, if they don’t change plans or decline coverage during annual enrollment.

    Employees should visit the My Benefits site for a complete comparison of the Low and High Dental plans.

  • What do I need to do if I have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA)?

    If you want to continue your FSA or HSA contributions, you’ll need to re-enroll for an FSA or HSA online during annual enrollment. Any changes you make will be effective January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. The annual pledges from 2014 will not carry over to 2015.

  • What are the pledge maximums for the healthcare FSA, dependent care FSA and health savings account (HSA) in 2015?

    Like last year, the maximum you can contribute to a healthcare FSA is $2,500. You can contribute up to $5,000 to the dependent care FSA. The health savings account maximum has been increased to $3,350 for individuals and $6,650 for families in 2015.

  • Will unused funds in the 2015 healthcare FSA carry over for 2016?

    Lowe’s is transitioning to a new carryover rule for 2015. Employees can carry over up to $500 from their 2015 healthcare FSA into 2016. Claims must be incurred between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 to be eligible, and remaining funds over $500 will be forfeited. Refer to the healthcare FSA page for more information.

  • What is the Fixed Indemnity benefit?

    The Fixed Indemnity plan** provides protection by giving cash benefits to help cover the cost of common medical services, such as ER visits, x-rays, hospital visits, and other services.

    However, the Fixed Indemnity plan does not meet the minimum standard for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. If employees only enroll in the Fixed Indemnity plan and not medical coverage through Lowe’s, they would need to get health coverage from an outside provider in order to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and not be subject to the individual mandate penalty.

    ** – Due to contract filing restrictions, residents of Massachusetts are unable to enroll in the Fixed Indemnity plan.  If you are a resident of Massachusetts, and enroll in the Fixed Indemnity plan, your enrollment in that plan will be cancelled, and any payroll deductions will be refunded.  This restriction only applies to residents of Massachusetts – if you work in the state of Massachusetts, but reside in a different state, you are not subject to this restriction.

  • What is the Commuter Benefit?

    The Commuter Spending Account, administered by WageWorks, allows you to set aside a portion of your annual earnings on a before-tax basis to pay for eligible commuter expenses.  The Commuter Spending Account offers flexibility and convenience by allowing you to enroll or change your plan elections via the WageWorks portal as often as once a month throughout the year.

    For 2014, the maximum contribution is $130 per month. Visit the Commuter Benefit page for more information.

  • Where can I learn more about all benefit options?

    The My Benefits site contains a “What’s New” document outlining key changes, a tutorial, plan designs, rates, and contact information for benefit carriers.

    Employees and their families can also search the site for information by clicking the box in the upper right-hand corner of each page.

    When you are ready to enroll, click “Enroll Now” to see your personalized coverage options and costs.

  • How do I enroll in benefits?

    Like last year, you will enroll online via Lowe’s enrollment system, Empowered Benefits. You can access our enrollment system through the “Enroll Now” link on the My Benefits website.

    Please review the Empowered Benefits tutorial on the My Benefits website or ask your HRM or Coach for assistance if you still have questions.

  • I am unsure of my current elections. Can I easily figure this out while enrolling?

    Yes. Click on the “Enroll Now” link on the My Benefits site and scroll down to the 2014 Benefits Summary.

  • How do I know my annual enrollment elections were accepted?

    You will receive a confirmation statement on the Empowered Benefits enrollment system immediately after you complete your enrollment and hit the submit button. You have the option to print and/or email the confirmation statement.

  • What if I need to make changes to my coverage after annual enrollment ends?

    Based on IRS rules, you can generally make changes during the plan year only if you have a qualified change in your family or employment status. Examples include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, moving from full-time to part-time status, or moving from part-time to full-time status. All qualified changes must be consistent with the eligible life event. You must make qualified status changes within 31 days of the event. If you do not, you must wait until the next annual enrollment to make changes to your benefits. All qualified status changes must be completed online through Lowe’s enrollment system, Empowered Benefits.

  • I want to maintain and/or improve my health, but need help. What resources does Lowe’s offer?

    Lowe’s offers additional wellness benefits through the My Life Track program. The Lowe’s My Life Track program includes several no-cost benefits, including confidential counseling support for work and/or life issues through the Family Assistance Program administered by Magellan. It also has a Quit for Life smoking cessation program and other tools and tips employees and their families can use to build better health. The My Life Track program also features a mobile app for Apple and Android devices, to make it easier for employees and their families to manage their health on the go.

  • How will Health Care Reform (HCR) impact Annual Enrollment?

    The Affordable Care Act requires most individuals in the United States (including children) to have some form of qualifying health insurance or pay a penalty in the form of a tax.

    The state and federal marketplaces have an annual enrollment window as well. The next annual enrollment window will be in the fall of 2014. However, full-time employees will not be eligible for a subsidy through those marketplaces because Lowe’s coverage for those employees meets the minimum value standard.

    Please note that outside of this annual enrollment window, the only time employees can enroll in the state or federal marketplace is with a healthcare.gov qualified status change. Please note that the qualified status changes for healthcare.gov are different from the qualified changes allowed by Lowe’s.

     

    If a Lowe’s employee does not enroll in coverage through Lowe’s before the 2015 Annual Enrollment deadline, they would need a qualified status change to be eligible for Lowe’s coverage after Annual Enrollment ends.

     

    For more information, visit the Health Care Reform page.

  • Who should I contact if I have questions about Lowe’s benefits or annual enrollment?

    If you have additional questions regarding your benefits or annual enrollment, please reach out to your HR Manager or Coach.