Delphi Question #587 (received
April 7): I have
a question about PayFlex. Does UCAR have a policy
in place whereby it routinely reviews the service
levels provided by FSA (Flexible Spending Administration)
providers such as PayFlex?
I personally, and several of my colleagues,
have experienced nothing but problems with PayFlex.
This was not the case with Denver Reserve. For example,
it now seems that PayFlex requires receipts on literally
every charge. They routinely lose the paperwork,
requiring employee time to resend it. Finding a
real, live, and helpful person on the other end
of the phone is always an adventure in frustration.
Even after receiving the paperwork, the folks at
PayFlex often turn around and dispute the charges
(for example, monthly payments for my daughter’s
PayFlex will only provide one card
(whereas Denver Reserve provided two), which makes
it a huge hassle to “share” the card
in the case of families. It always seems that the
card is with the wrong person at the time that it
is needed, such as when taking a sick child to the
Perhaps the last straw for us came
this past week. PayFlex waited until the yearly
deadline had passed, then sent us a bill for a disputed
charge with my daughter’s braces. This was
the only communication that we received from them,
and now we are spending hours trying to clear up
To put it simply, the service from
PayFlex is horrible. Surely there must be a better
FSA available to UCAR?
Response (received April
15): Thank you for your
question. We also have seen that the service level
provided by PayFlex is not as good as Denver Reserve.
(Uunfortunately, Denver Reserve was acquired by
PayFlex.) Because of the service concerns about
PayFlex, the UCAR Benefits office interviewed several
other companies that provide flexible spending
administration. PayFlex offers better services
and more benefits (such as debit cards) than any
of the other companies. We will continue to look
for vendors, and if you hear of a good one from
a colleague or friend, please let us know.
We have expressed our concerns to
PayFlex with its customer service shortcomings.
They have assured us that they are working on improving
With regard to your other points,
PayFlex is required by IRS regulation to obtain
receipts on a quarterly basis whenever a claim
is paid with your debit card. The debit card charge
must be verified as a qualified expense. If you
pay your insurance co-pay with your debit card
you should not receive a request for a receipt
of that transaction. All other card transactions
will require a copy of the receipt. If you have
been asked for a copy of your claim, be sure that
it includes the service that was provided, the
date of the service, and the amount. If you have
not sent this to PayFlex, your debit card will
be inactivated until the receipt has been submitted
Participants can order additional
cards in the name of their spouse and/or dependents
for no additional charge either by calling customer
service (800-284-4885) or by logging in to their
accounts at mypayflex.com, clicking on “debit
cards,” then clicking on “card order” and
filling out the online form.
We apologize for the problems with
PayFlex and are working on resolving them. Please
contact Cyd Perrone or Konnie Carrillo in Human
Resources with any problems you encounter with
PayFlex. We can help get the issue resolved.
Human Resources Benefits Administrator
Delphi Question #588 (received
May 21): I have
become aware that the Space Planning Committee
worked on a master plan and space guidelines for
three years. The plan was accepted, but never implemented
by NCAR. What was the reason for the change?
Response (received May
27): The guidelines, which
dealt with things like how many square feet a visitor’s
office should occupy, were accepted by the President’s
Council shortly after they were proposed. There
was no master plan in the sense of space assignments
to specific organizations. Those are handled by
the relevant entities: NCAR, UOP, and UCAR.
NCAR Deputy Director
Delphi Question #589 (received
May 23): I would
like to know why UCAR/NCAR does not have a method
in place for notifying staff of extreme weather
events along the Front Range in near real time.
I was very surprised that staff were
not informed about the severe weather conditions
outside of the Boulder area on May 22, the date
six tornadoes touched down in Colorado. A message
was circulated in the afternoon that Boulder was
under a tornado warning. However, many NCAR employees
live outside of Boulder in the communities to the
north that were directly impacted by these severe
storms, yet no information was provided about the
magnitude of these systems. Primary methods for
communicating such information to the public are
through television and radio broadcasts, which
many of us do not have immediate access to in the
workplace. I would like to know the feasibility
of implementing a system similar to reverse 911
that notifies employees by phone when events such
as these occur.
Response (received May
23): The questioner brings
up an ongoing notification issue concerning how
much and how best to provide emergency information.
We do have the capability to put out an all-staff
voicemail, similar to but not exactly a reverse
911. A message is nested in each UCAR phone and
the message light is activated. However, it still
requires the employee to notice the light and access
voicemail. We have used this on numerous occasions,
though usually associated with building closures.
In the incident with the tornadoes,
we decided to utilize e-mail and the UCAR Safety
and Security hotline at ext. 1100. The information
was released as soon as we became aware and were
able to get it posted. Typically, we take our cue
from local area emergency agencies. If they were
to recommend reverse 911 system activation, then
we would have used our voicemail system. There
were no local recommendations and we didn’t
activate our system.
In retrospect, I should have utilized
our existing voicemail system. Every emergency
situation is a learning situation. In this case,
I’ve learned to expand my thinking to include
notifications that go beyond just the local area.
I believe our current voicemail system is adequate
for emergency notifications; I just have to use
what is available. Thanks for an excellent suggestion.