Each year during October
employees are given the opportunity to review their existing insurance
coverage and make allowable changes. An employee’s medical family and
financial situation should be taken into account when choosing plans.
Annual Enrollment 2009—What can employees do this year
- Change or switch current health plan
- Add up to $50,000 Optional Life Insurance or enroll for
$50,000 without underwriting
- Enroll/re-enroll in MoneyPlus Flex Spending Accounts
For year 2009, the State Employee Insurance Program will offer four
Employees who currently are enrolled in MUSC Options (which will no
longer be offered) should carefully consider their health insurance
options. Should a participant in MUSC Options not select another plan
in October, they will automatically convert to the SHP Standard.
- SHP State Standard Plan (BCBS)
Factors to consider when choosing health insurance include service
coverage (worldwide versus provide in a designated area); monthly
premiums; annual deductible; coinsurance costs; prescription plans;
wellness benefits; referrals and pre-approvals; participating
physicians; and exclusions and limitations.
Although some plans have low premiums (such as SHP Savings Plan), it is
accompanied by an annual deductible of $3,000 for single coverage and
$6,000 for family coverage. The HMO plans offer a co-payment for
doctor’s visits; however, the monthly premium is greater than the SHP
Savings or Standard plan. In addition, only designated providers and
hospitals are associated with the HMO plans.
To change your health plan, visit http://www.mybenefits.sc.gov.
(Register using your BIN# on your insurance card.)
La Deidra Berry, benefits consultant for University Human Resources,
advises employees to carefully review their insurance statements and
review the claims that have been filed in the past year, to assist in
making an informed decision.
Basic, optional life
During this year’s annual enrollment, employees can increase their
optional life insurance by an additional $50,000 of coverage. If an
employee does not have optional life insurance, they can elect $50,000
(guarantee issue). Employees can elect this insurance plan in
increments of $10,000 up to $50,000. The cost of the insurance is based
on the enrollee’s age and the amount of coverage elected.
A $3,000 life insurance policy is provided to employees (under the age
of 70) enrolled in a State Employee Insurance Program health care plan.
Employees age 70 and older are provided with a $1,500 plan with health
care enrollment. These policies are provided at no cost.
Dependent life insurance is available for purchase and can provide
coverage for your dependent children and/or spouse. Employees may
enroll children for a $15,000 life insurance policy without medical
evidence of good health throughout the year. Employees can enroll their
spouse or increase spousal coverage with medical evidence of good
health anytime (up to 50 percent of employee’s optional life coverage
or $100,000 which ever is less).
Prudential Insurance Company of America was selected by the Employee
Insurance Program as MUSC’s long term care provider starting in January
2009. Long term care provides assistance with nursing home costs, home
health care and more. Enrollment for long-term care can cover an
employee, an employee’s spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent,
grandparent in-law, siblings and adult children and their spouses.
Prudential will offer opportunities for those employees currently
enrolled in long term care to enroll. In addition, they will offer a
long- term care open enrollment to all benefits eligible employees Feb.
16-March 6, 2009. More information will be provided in the future.
Prudential may be contacted for plan information at 877-214-6588.
Health Spending Accounts (HSA)—Employees may contribute pretax dollars
into an HSA account to help pay for their medical expenses/high
deductible. This plan is only available to employees enrolled in the
SHP/Savings Health Plan, (high deductible plan). The account is set up
at NBSC in an interest-bearing checking account with debit card access
to your funds. This type of account rolls from year-to-year and
employees can change their contributions anytime, (increase, reduce or
stop). (Individual $3,000, family $5,950, over 55 catch—up, additional
$1,000— account rolls from year- to-year.)
Medical Spending Accounts—Available to employees meeting conditions of
eligibility. A medical spending account allows an employee to use
pre-tax dollars to cover certain allowable medical expenses; thus,
reducing after-tax spending. This is a use it or lose it program so
employees should be careful not to overestimate their projected
expenses but this program may be of interest to people switching form
MUSC Options who haven't been used to paying many out-of-pocket
expenses. The maximum deferral for 2009 is $5,000.
Dependent Care Accounts—Available to employees with dependents in
daycare, after school care or summer camp, (dependents under the age of
12). Pre-tax dollars are deducted from the employee’s paycheck and are
reimbursed to an employee for qualified dependent care expenses, such
as daycare. (Married filing separately—$2,500/ single head of
household; $5,000/married filing jointly $5000 calendar year—use it or
New account employees must fill out an FBMC form for enrollment. Forms
can be found on the MUSC/HR/Forms Web site. Employees re-enrolling may
do so at http://www.myfbmc.com.
- The State Employee Insurance Program announced that
effective Jan. 1, 2010, employees who use tobacco may be subject to
higher premiums. Employees are encouraged to contact their health care
provider if they wish to participate in a tobacco cessation program.
MUSC’s Health 1st program also offers a smoking cessation program.
- Annual enrollment, (Oct. 1-31) is the period when employees
are able to make changes in their benefits plans. These changes may be
made at http://www.eip.sc.gov.
You will select MyBenefits to review instructions for re-enrollment or
- University: 10 a.m. to noon, Oct. 21, Room 118, Education
Center/Library. Benefits counselors are available by phone and
in-person to answer questions. For MUSC University Benefits, call
792-9679 or visit them in Room 102, Harborview Office Tower.
- Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA): 2W
Amphitheater—12:15 p.m. Oct. 21 and Oct. 22; 8:15 a.m., Oct. 24; 10
p.m., Oct. 29; and 1:15 p.m. Oct. 30. Ashley River Tower—12:15 p.m.
Oct. 17 and 8:15 a.m., Oct. 21. MUHA employees should call
792-0826 or visit 163 Rutledge Ave.
insurance requires unique needs, consideration
Deciding the type and level of benefits may be the most important
decision an individual can make. Since the opportunity to change one’s
employee benefits package comes only once a year, making the right
decision requires full consideration of one’s financial circumstances,
health status and anticipated medical needs.
The benefits package for 2009 includes four plans, the State Health
Plan (SHP) savings plan, SHP standard plan, BlueChoice HMO and Cigna
Paul Nietert, Ph.D., carries insurance for hisyoung family and does not
anticipate having any great medical expense this year. The
biostatistics associate professor chose the SHP savings, or economy
plan, which costs him $108.56 a month, which saves him about $500 a
month compared to the previous plan he had, MUSC Options, which no
longer is available as of Jan. 1, 2009.
“I figure the worst-case scenario is that I would have to come up with
$10,000, which includes a $6,000 annual deductible and $4,000 in
coinsurance,” said Nietert. “I decided that I could take the difference
between what I had been paying (in MUSC Options or a more comprehensive
plan) and invest it in a health savings account. I felt that the risk
was minimal for my family and, over time, I would save money.”
Nietert is able to invest $480 per month pre-tax, the maximum allowed
under the HSA for a family plan, which, if not used, can carry over
from year to year, accrue interest and be available for significant
out-out-pocket medical expenses or, eventually, as a retirement account.
This plan also includes preventative components that allow his family
to receive annual wellness exams and preventative screenings paid at
“The other consideration is that we think twice before going to the
doctor as long as we know it will cost us about $60, (as opposed to a
$10 copay),” he said. “And the nice thing is that it provides medical
services at the contracted rate,” which are capped for in-network
services and providers.
Because Nietert is disciplined about investing and saving money, this
plan works well for him. For others, paying a bit more each month to
ensure low-cost office visits and prescription drugs may work better.
While financial concerns drive most people toward their decisions,
assuring consistency in health care providers may be most important.
Beth Whitfield accepted a position in MUHA’s patient accounting office
four years ago with one main guarantee. “A condition of my accepting
the job here was the assurance that I could retain the same doctors
that are not a part of the MUSC network,” Whitfield said. “I had to
know, hands down, that there would never be any question that I would
be able to keep my same doctors.”
A cancer survivor, Whitfield wanted the same doctors that helped save
her life eight years ago. “When I started a new job, I didn’t want to
start all over again with my doctors,” said Whitfield. “My doctor knows
me. He knows my family and my friends. There is great comfort in having
that kind of relationship with a doctor.”
BlueChoice Companion, a health maintenance organization option,
requires prior approvals for referrals, but they also have provided
Whitfield with that continuity of provider assurance without requiring
her to incur out-of-network expenses.
Whitfield is single and will pay $148.50 per month for her insurance.
She will have a relatively low annual deductible, assume 10 percent of
coinsurance until her $1,500 annual deductible is met. For her, the
important factor was that she gets to keep her doctors.
Friday, Oct. 17, 2008