Group insurance office announces changes
in health insurance coverage
The Office of Group Insurance recently announced significant changes in health insurance coverage for all benefited state employees, effective July 1.
The only change to the state of Idaho’s contract with Blue Cross will be to prescription drug coverage, says ITD Human Resource Specialist Carlin Hill. In an effort to help employees plan for the changes, HRS distributed an e-mail message to employees Monday, outlining some of the major changes.
Hill said the highlights are included in the state’s enrollment brochure posted on the Group Insurance Web sit.
“All benefited employees should read the information thoroughly and carefully,” she said. “If you have questions regarding any of the open enrollment information, please e-mail me directly. All questions will be collected and answered in the Transporter as well as individually once a clarification is received by Group Insurance.”
Summary of changes
The State minimized the premium increase for the upcoming year by making changes to the prescription drug coverage. Premiums for the medical plan will rise 6 percent for FY2010. The state share is decreasing by 6 percent, from $705.08 to $681.26 monthly.
The open enrollment period for making changes to health insurance coverage will continue through June 3. The Office of Group Insurance will not accept changes after June 3, and no exceptions will be granted.
All open enrollment elections must be submitted through the Idaho State Controller’s Employee Self Service Portal Web site. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Employees can take advantage of the open enrollment period to change from pre-tax premiums to post-tax premiums and vice versa. It also is the only time employees can change from one type of coverage plan to another, such as traditional, and PPO (preferred provider option).
The open enrollment period also is the only time employees can add dependents to their dental plan if they have previously declined coverage for them and to enroll or re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program. (See below).
Note: Dropping or adding dependents to health insurance plans can be done at any time through year. If changing plans and dependents for the month of July employees are asked to contact Hill to coordinate any changes that are planned for July so she can ensure they are done properly.
Flexible Spending Account
Open enrollment is the only time employees can enroll in FSA. To continue FSA for the new fiscal year, employees must re-enroll. The FSA does not automatically continue the following year.
Flexible Spending is a way to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for out of pocket medical expenses as well as dependent care costs.
Effective July 1, Blue Cross of Idaho will administer the state dental plan that previously was offered through Delta Dental. When making appointments, employees should advise their dental office of the change to avoid billing complications. All dental benefits and costs will remain unchanged. The transition to Blue Cross will be automatic and does not require employee action.
Employees who have declined dependent dental coverage may add family members for the new plan year.
Generic drugs prescriptions will continue to be $10 each. However, brand-name drugs will be on a new “formulary” plan. Formulary drugs will cost $25, and non-formulary will cost $50. Some prescriptions may include additional charges. Employees should become familiar with the program and its options before filling their prescriptions.
A “formulary” is a list of covered drugs that have been identified by Blue Cross in consultation with a team of health care providers. They represent prescription therapies believed to be a necessary part of a quality treatment program. Plans generally will cover the drugs listed in the formulary as long as the drug is medically necessary. Visit the Blue Cross of Idaho Web site at http://www.bcidaho.com/ for information regarding formulary prescriptions.
Effective July 1, co-pays will be required for each 30-day supply of prescriptions; the option of receiving a 90-day supply for only two co-pays no longer will be available.
Starting in November, monthly premiums will be split between the first and second checks of each month. Details will be available later this year. The new monthly premium rates are posted on the Group Insurance site (See link above).
Benefited temporary staff
Also beginning in November, the amount the state will pay each month for health insurance will be based on the number of hours employees are located to work in the payroll system. The percentage that is not covered by the state will be the responsibility each employee and will be in addition to the normal monthly premium. The allocation is included in the enrollment brochure. Details about this change will not be available until later this fall.
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Note: The Transporter will begin printing employee questions and corresponding answers related to health insurance in the May 22 edition. If you have questions, contact Carlin Hill at Human Resource Services.