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Find Out More About Your Benefits and The Benefits Staff

Date: Sept. 12, 2000
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: Campus News

Understanding and fully using the benefits you are eligible for as a UC employee can be a daunting task. Don't worry, you don't have to go it alone. University Benefits has a crew of counselors, analysts, technicians and other staff to help you find out what you need. Here's a list you may want to save. It's a guide to help you know which Benefits staff member to call with which questions.

Your benefits counselors image of Osswald
Deborah deGroot-Osswald

Title: assistant director, benefits counseling
Phone: 556-0373
Who should call and why: She primarily serves unrepresented faculty (including College of Medicine faculty with full-time equivalency of less than 100 percent, affiliated, part-time and volunteer faculty). Topics include how to start the retirement process, tuition remission benefits and current benefits options (such as the medical plan, dental plan). Examples: How does the medical plan work out of the area? Do I need a claim form to file for medical and dental benefits? What are the eligibility requirements for tuition remission for my dependent? What happens to my vacation/sick time when I resign or retire from the university? If I go on medical leave for an extended period of time, am I eligible to apply for long-term disability and if so, how do I apply for it?

image of Benedict Adam Benedict, benefits counselor
Phone: 556-0377
Who should call and why: He primarily serves represented faculty and librarians (including members of Association of American University Professors (AAUP), College of Medicine faculty with full-time equivalency of 100 percent, occupational health residents and special fellows). Topics same as above.

image of Messenger Maritha Messenger
Phone: 556-0376
Who should call and why: She primarily serves exempt, administrative professional staff, post-doctoral fellows, visiting faculty, interns and Hoxworth, Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) nurses. Topics same as above.

image of williams
Veronica Williams, benefits counselor
Phone: 556-0375
Who should call and why: She primarily serves represented and unrepresented hourly employees. Topics same as above.

Hands-on administrators

image of young
Betty Young, Director of Benefits
Phone: 556-0380
Who should call and why: Young is responsible for the design, implementation and administration of all UC benefit programs; she monitors and handles employee issues related to the various coverage or policy/plan interpretation, develops and coordinates benefit office operations, services, procedures and program guidelines. Employees are free to call or e-mail her with questions or concerns on any benefits-related issues or services. Comments about the office's performance are also welcomed.

image of duermit
Barbara Duermit, Assistant Director of Benefits
Phone: 556-1381
Who should call and why: Her work is mostly behind-the scenes. Her primary responsibilities are for benefits operations and administration. She deals mostly with the vendors who provide university benefits. She manages and is ultimately responsible for the results of the two benefit analysts and two personnel technician IIs in the department. You should contact her if you are having any problems reaching Joanne, Patty, Mary or Becky.

More helpers from Benefits

image of beck
Linda Beck, Benefits and Payroll and Employee Information Services
Phone: 556-6381
Who should call and why: She serves mainly as the receptionist for Benefits and Payroll and Employee Information Services, so if you call the general number for the Benefits office or come to the office in person (Suite 340, University Hall), she will be the first person to whom you will speak. She checks the forms phone line for employee requests (556-5676) and mails out the forms requested (for medical insurance taxes, PERS, direct deposit forms, employees discount information, etc.)

image of heiss
Joanne Heiss, Benefits analyst
Phone: 556-0372
Who should call and why: Although most of her work is behind-the-scenes doing spreadsheets, monitoring new employee data forms for errors and funneling Choice Benefits Enrollment forms to the appropriate next step, she maintains expense and billing reports for the HMO Medical Plan and PCS Prescription Drug Program and handles alternative retirement program notification and election database. She also counsels retirees who carry medical and dental coverage through the university, rather than through their retirement plans (for example TIAA retirees).

image of myrick
Mary Myrick, Personnel tech 2
Phone: 556-0370
Who should call and why: She assists employees who need to know more about obtaining temporary medical insurance through COBRA (usually for employees who are departing the university and need to extend medical insurance or have a dependent who is no longer eligible for dependent coverage). She coordinates the bill that comes to the university for the self-funded medical and dental plan, life insurances plans and disability. She also is the primary contact for full-time faculty members or exempt monthly paid employees who are interested in applying for a Rowe loan (a small emergency loan fund) or for any UC employee interested in applying for a Walk-to-Work loan for a home purchase. If you are leaving the university and are eligible to withdraw your PERS or Alternative Retirement Funds, you can also get her assistance in getting your refund. If you are leaving UC for another employer, she may also offer assistance in obtaining a certificate needed to reduce the waiting period for an existing medical condition (called a Certificate of Prior Health Care Plan). Soon she will also field questions concerning dependent eligibility and student status for tuition remission.

image of reitz
Patty Reitz, Benefits analyst
Phone: 556-OUCH (6824)
Who should call and why: She is the primary contact for the Ohio Workers' Compensation and Unemployment Compensation programs. If your manager does not already have the UC "Initial Report on Occupational/Work-Related Injury or Illness" (A-1352 a), which should be completed within 24 hours of a work-related injury or illness, she can supply you with one. She can assist employees in filing workers' compensation claims. (Filling out an accident report is not the same thing as filing a claim.) Examples of questions she can field: "Workers' Comp covered the medical expenses associated with an injury I had last year. The injury is bothering me again. Will my medical expenses still be covered?" "I had surgery Monday for a work-related injury and my doctor says I will be off work for a month. Will I receive workers' compensation?" "I was dismissed during my probationary period. Am I eligible for unemployment?"

image of turner
Rebecca Turner, Personnel Tech 2
Phone: 556-0368
Who should call and why: Her work is mostly behind the scenes working with new employees who have filled out Choice Benefits enrollment forms or current employees who have had status changes that are changing their benefits choices. While most employees will be calling their Benefits counselor with questions on these, you may occasionally have contact with Turner when she is trying to clarify your Choice Benefits selections or paperwork. She also is the primary technician who asks for verification that the dependents you have listed for benefits are IRS dependents.

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