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ERS announces Summer Enrollment dates for Plan Year 2010

The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has announced the dates for Summer Enrollment for Plan Year 2010.

Summer Enrollment is the annual opportunity for employees to make changes to insurance coverage without a qualifying life event; however, Evidence of Insurability (EOI) may apply. This is also the time to enroll or change your TexFlex deduction(s) for Flex Spending Health and Dependent Day Care accounts.

This year, Summer Enrollment will begin on July 6 and will end on July 31 for ERS online data entry. Otherwise, TDCJ employees must submit the Summer Enrollment form to their unit or department Human Resources office for processing by July 24.

This year ERS will host 24 Summer Enrollment fairs across Texas. In addition, ERS will host both live and recorded Summer Enrollment webcasts for members on the ERS website.

ERS will again send benefits information and a personal enrollment statement to the home of every retiree and employee, providing benefit costs and choices, enrollment status as of September 1, 2009 and TexFlex contributions. Inserted with the personal enrollment statement will be information highlighting any benefit changes.

Now is the time to update your personal information with ERS, including your mailing and/or e-mail address and telephone number. You can make these changes by completing an Insurance Multipurpose Form at your HR office or by accessing ERS online at

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Employee Assistance Program offers counseling, treatment

sad womanWhether personal or work-related, problems can sometimes pile up to the point where people may look for outside support and guidance. For TDCJ employees, that kind of aid is readily available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) managed by Alliance Work Partners of Austin.

“The EAP is an initial contact that is available to us 24 hours a day,” said TDCJ Human Resources Director Carol Blair Johnston. “They provide all kinds of initial support and referrals. It’s free to employees and it’s confidential.”

EAP counselors can help employees work through a variety of problems, including job performance, marital difficulties, family issues, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety, grief and bereavement, legal and financial issues and parenting difficulties. Counselors can be contacted 365 days a year by way of a toll-free telephone hotline, or if desired, the agency can coordinate with EAP counselors to set up face-to-face meetings with concerned employees. Based on an assessment of initial interviews, EAP counselors can coordinate with health care providers, typically through the employee’s health care network, to set up appropriate treatment plans. Between September and December 2008, TDCJ employees made 293 calls to the EAP Helpline and 89 cases were opened or reopened. Another 48 cases were closed following referrals or short-term counseling.

Johnston describes the free employee assistance program available to TDCJ employees as “invaluable.”

“I firmly believe that the lives of many people have been changed because of this program,” she said. “And I don’t know if you can put a dollar figure on that.”

To reach an EAP counselor for a confidential conversation regarding a personal or work-related problem, employees can call toll-free at 886-832-5927.

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