Fair provides faculty insurance options

The Florida A&M University Office of Human Resources and the Florida Division of State Group Insurance joined forces Tuesday to host the FAMU Benefits Fair.

The fair, which was held in the Grand Ballroom, aimed to make University employees more knowledgeable about available health insurance options.

“This fair is giving informal information that employees can use to make more knowledgeable decisions about their insurance coverage and make changes to their benefits,” said Angela Henry, a personnel representative in FAMU’s Human Resources department.

Vendors like BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Com Benefits Dental and Vision and the State of Florida Office of Deferred Compensation attended the fair.

The fair was held during open enrollment, the time that Florida health insurance policyholders are allowed to switch health insurance companies without penalty.

According to http://www.myflorida.com, the period for open enrollment began Oct. 3 and ends at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Verla Lawson, a government analyst for the Florida Division of State Group Insurance, said, “This is the first time in six years that the fair has been at FAMU.”

Lawson said she believed the fair went well.

Andrew Chin, assistant dean of architecture agreed,

saying the fair was “very helpful. I found the fair very convenient. The representatives were very accessible,” he said.

Chin attended the fair because he is in search of additional insurance coverage.

“I am talking to companies about options for disability insurance,” Chin said.

Harold Dickey, a sales manager for Capital Insurance Agency, said, “We rely heavily on customer service. A lot of companies duplicate what we do but our service sets us apart.”

Dickey said Capital Insurance has a strong hold on the Florida market, maintaining a 68 percent handle on state health insurance in government offices.

Pamela Stone of Vista Healthplans hopes that new services her company provides will entice people to come to Vista Healthplans.

Stone, the regional account service manager for the north Florida region, said, “Some of the incentives that we are offering are $120 per year in over the counter benefits at no cost to the insured, and a new exercise incentive program.”

“Lots of people don’t know the difference between HMO’s and PPO’s, so we take pride in educating them and providing the best service to each individual,” Stone said.

Of the 40 companies slated to attend the fair, only one was unable to attend. According to Lawson, the representative for Prudential Financial was unable to get a flight out of Miami due to the recent hurricane.

Janie Greenleaf, a human resources administrator, said the fair allowed participants to “participate in health screenings and learn about changes in state health programs.”

Petra McCray found the fair “beneficial.”

McCray, a warrant distribution specialist for the comptroller’s office, said, “I am going to Capital Health from BlueCross BlueShield because they have an on-sight emergency local facility- that’s important to me because I have a child.”

Officials in charge of the fair used various methods to inform employees about the event, such as sending e-mails and putting fliers near Lee Hall and Foote-Hilyer.

“We want a larger presence on HBCUs,” said Joe Richardson a registered representative from the ING North America Insurance Corporation. “We are willing to invest and sponsor activities on campus to have an opportunity to have faculty and staff invest with us through our retirement plan,”

Richardson said: “I was very impressed with the turn out. I gave out over 300 business cards and brochures- it was a positive experience.”

Terri-Ann Morrison contributed to this article.

Contact Lynette Brown at lynette519@aol.com