Another Choice: New Health Care Plan Offered

Another Choice: New Health Care Plan Offered

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Employees will have another health care plan to choose from during the 2014 open enrollment, one that offers lower premiums and a USNH contribution to a tax-free health savings account to help offset high deductibles.  

Open enrollment is Oct. 21-Nov. 1. 

With the Choice Plan, available to all benefits eligible faculty and staff not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you don’t need to designate a primary care physician or obtain a referral to see a specialist. And, there are no copays.

Based on 2014 rates, a one-person HMO for a single person costs about $71 per month, compared to $30 a month with the Choice Plan—a savings of approximately $489 a year. The two-person HMO premium is $198 per month while the Choice Plan is $108 monthly, saving more than $1,000 annually. You can view the USNH medical and dental 2014 rate sheet here

As with HMOs and POS plans, there is no charge with the Choice Plan for preventive services such as annual physicals, immunizations or mammograms. And employees can still participate in the wellness connection programs that include gym membership, health education classes and member rewards benefits. 

When you visit the doctor, you don’t pay anything until your claim has been processed. Then, if you have not met your annual deductible (in network, $1,500 single; $3,000 two person/family) you can use your available health savings account (HSA) funds to pay qualified medical expenses. Once you have reached your in network annual deductible, the Choice Plan pays 90 percent of eligible medical expenses. 

USNH will contribute ($500 single; $1,000 two person/family) to an HSA for those eligible employees who opt for the Choice Plan. You must be on a low premium, high-deductible health plan to be eligible for an HSA. 

An HSA differs from a flexible spending account (FSA) in that it is employee-owned and earns interest. Unlike an FSA, where unspent money is forfeited after a specific period, the unused balance in an HSA rolls over year to year. What’s more, HSA funds can be invested once a certain threshold is met. 

To help you decide if the Choice Plan is right for you, check out the plan cost estimator that provides a comparison between it and other plans. Scroll down to access the login and password.

Read a list of frequently asked questions here

Informational sessions on the Choice Plan will be held Tuesday, Oct. 22 in the MUB, room 207 on a 45 minute rotating basis from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. More information on the Choice Plan and HSAs can be found in USNH/Harvard Pilgrim’s online tutorials.