October 2021

Screenshot of Open Enrollment guides


October 26 through November 4 is Harvard Benefits Open Enrollment: your once-a-year opportunity to make changes to your health and welfare benefit elections—decisions that will take effect January 1, 2022. From medical, dental, and vision care to tax-advantaged medical reimbursement accounts, this is your chance to select the benefits that best meet your needs and those of your family.

Your enrollment guide will be delivered digitally if you are faculty, nonunion staff, or a member of HUCTW. Members of other unions and employees who are on leave will receive printed guides through the US mail.

Generally, if you do nothing, your 2021 elections will continue for 2022. One exception: your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) elections, which save you money in taxes while helping you pay out-of-pocket health expenses or dependent care expenses. You must elect every year, even if you have an account for 2021. This year, you may contribute up to $2,750 to a Health FSA and up to $5,000 per family to a Dependent Care FSA.

There are only small changes for 2022, which do not require you to take any action.

  • Harvard’s salary tiers that are used to set premium rates for medical plans are adjusting upward for faculty, nonunion staff, and HUCTW members.
  • Some medications used to manage chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes may be available at reduced or no cost, under new federal guidelines.
  • Anyone enrolled in a Harvard medical plan will be issued a medical ID card that lists cost-share amounts.

For more details, visit the 2022 Open Enrollment website.


Doctor and patient talking

What’s better than recovering from illness? Never getting sick in the first place!

Though some research suggests the pandemic has negatively impacted preventive care, Harvard benefits data indicate that our faculty and staff have made good use of their important health benefits, including being above average in terms of getting preventive screenings and related care.

Let’s keep it up! If you have put off routine care such as a mammogram or pneumococcus or shingles vaccines, it’s time to get back to it. Check your plan—preventive care with in-network providers is usually covered. Plus:

  • Get your flu shot:  HUHS will be providing flu shots for the entire Harvard community, including family of HUGHP members, by appointment, at clinics beginning October 4.
  • Schedule preventive care: Make use of fully covered, in-network benefits, like eye exams, dental cleanings, and annual physicals, and prepare for your visit with these tips.
  • Make sure your screenings are up to date: HMS Health Publishing’s checklists for women and men can help you be sure. (P.S. Did you know you can use code HARVARD25 for a 25% employee discount on HMS Health Publishing Special Reports?)
  • Work on your mindfulness: Sign up for (free!) mindfulness programs this fall from the Office of Work/Life to manage anxiety, deal with loss and grief, relieve burnout, increase resiliency, and improve overall wellbeing.
  • New: As of 2022, certain medications used to prevent or manage chronic medical conditions—such as asthma and diabetes—may be available at a reduced or no cost under new federal guidelines. See the 2022 Open Enrollment section for more information.

All HUGHP and BCBS members can find additional details on their preventive health benefits on this helpful Blue Cross Blue Shield MA fact sheet.

Mind & Body

As we expand our communities, we open ourselves up to more possibilities and opportunities.

  • Find a supportive network while promoting equal opportunity, cultural awareness, and the diversity of our community by exploring Harvard University’s Employee Resource Groups.
  • Weather Reports: The Climate of Now is a series of powerful online talks with writers, theologians, biologists, and activists who are reckoning with planetary health and our related wellbeing.
  • Plan ahead by reviewing and printing or bookmarking the holiday calendar for 2022.

Learning & Growing

Stay agile and flexible in your thinking as you plan the future of your career.

  • If you are new to LinkedIn, learn how to get the most from the networking platform and develop your online reputation by attending Write a LinkedIn Profile That Works for You on October 13 (HarvardKey required).
  • Deepen your knowledge of accessibility at work, affirmative action, and diversity recruitment by attending monthly, expert-led Inclusive Hiring Talent Acquisition & Diversity forums—a.k.a. TAD Talks (HarvardKey required).
  • Keep up with changes in education in the wake of COVID-19—and their implications for our children’s future—with HGSE’s Education Now webinar series.

Living & Working

Autumn is a season of change and a perfect time to discover programs that help develop and support positive changes in your work and home life.

Finances & Security

You can protect yourself, your personal information, and your property with these resources.