Major benefits changes to State Health Plan effective Jan. 1, 2018

At a March meeting of the Board of Trustees for the State Health Plan, several major changes were approved that will affect UNC Medical Center employee’s health benefits. The Benefits office wants to make you aware of what we know at this point, so that you can start to plan accordingly for 2018 medical expenses.

The State Health Plan’s Board of Trustees approved the following benefit changes effective January 1, 2018:

Freezing family health care premiums through 2021

Starting with the 2018 rates, premiums for family coverage will not increase for the next four years (through 2021). The State Health Plan hopes this will be an initial step to improving the affordability of Plan benefits for families. There likely will be some level of premium increase to the child(ren) and spouse tiers, but that increase will be decided by the General Assembly this summer.

Eliminating the Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP 85/15)

There will only be two plan options for 2018. The State Health Plan hopes this will reduce complexity and provide long-term financial stability for the Plan. The State Health Plan considers the CDHP option to be the “richest” and, as such, presents a significant liability to the state. For current participants, because the CDHP is being eliminated, the Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) will not rollover for use in 2018. The HRA funds will only be available for claims incurred in 2017 and submitted for processing before March 31, 2018.

Reducing the number of premium credit activities from three activities to one, only keeping the tobacco attestation activity

The Plan will eliminate the premium reduction requirements to complete a Health Assessment and designate Primary Care Providers for covered family members. The State Health Plan hopes this will reduce complexity and minimize the potential for members to make a mistake during enrollment, which leads to higher premiums. The cost of not completing the tobacco attestation, or remaining a smoker, will be an additional $60 per month (or $30 per paycheck).

Increasing employee-only base premiums for the Traditional 70/30 Plan to $25 per month, and for the Enhanced 80/20 Plan to $50 per month

If you complete the one remaining premium credit activity the lowest your monthly premium for employee only coverage will be is $25 (for the 70/30 plan) or $50 (for the 80/20 plan), which comes out to $12.50 or $25 per paycheck depending on the plan you select. The State Health Plan indicated this puts North Carolina more in line with other comparable states and creates a more balanced approach for spreading cost increases across the population and promoting long-term financial stability.

Non-Medicare retirees will not be required to complete the tobacco attestation or pay a premium for the Traditional 70/30 plan. No decisions were made regarding plan options for Medicare retirees. Any decisions regarding those options will not be made until later this summer to coincide with UnitedHealthcare’s rate renewal.

Program Updates

In addition to the changes for 2018 listed above, the Plan is making the following program changes:

  • Discontinuing the maternity incentive program, “Stork Rewards,” effective March 31, 2017
    No new members will be able to enroll in the Stork Rewards program after this date. Members currently enrolled and who meet the criteria to receive the incentive will be able to do so. The Plan will continue to offer maternity coaching available through NC HealthSmart.
  • Ending subsidies for the Diabetes Prevention Program and Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL) programs
    Plan members will continue to have lifestyle coaching available through the State Health Plan's population health management program, NC HealthSmart. Members may also visit a local in-network dietitian to discuss their risk for diabetes or receive assistance with weight management, as allowed under their benefit plan. The Plan has several online resources for members, like the Diabetes Resource Center, available on the Plan’s website. The Plan will also continue to provide resources and information through its monthly ‘Member Focus’ newsletter.

The UNC Health Care benefits office will be sure to share any information we receive. You can view all the materials from the meeting where these changes were approved at this link.

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