New school health plan offers open enrollment

by Celia Shortt

Open enrollment for the 2014 State Health Benefit Plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia begins Monday. The new plan provides health insurance for Coweta County teachers, school personnel, retirees, and dependents.

Currently, these state employees are covered through a United Healthcare or Cigna plan. The coverage will end at the end of the this year and these employees and benefiting families will be expected to make the transition to BCBS’ coverage.

Under the new coverage, Coweta County School System employees will have the option of a Gold, Silver, or Bronze plan. Each option is a Preferred Provider Option (PPO) plan with a health reimbursement account (HRA). The HRA, HMO, and HDHP currently available to employees will no longer be offered.

According to state officials, the plan will reduce premiums for state employees.

“Employees picking a Bronze plan will reduce their premiums,” said Chief of the State Health Benefit Plan Trudie Nacin. “Many people picking a Silver plan will also see their premiums fall, while those choosing Gold will have an increase in their rates.”

Express Scripts will be the pharmacy provider, and Healthways is the new wellness provider.

“Piedmont Healthcare is in network for the new State Health Benefit Plan,” said Diana Lewis, spokesperson for Piedmont Healthcare.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Piedmont is not in-network for many plans, BCBS included, now being sold on the new Health Insurance Marketplace, also referred to as Obamacare. However, this does not apply to the State Health Benefit Plan to which Coweta County School system retirees benefit.

Polly Garlington, a retired Coweta teacher, called BCBS for more information. She stated that the provider service personnel told her retirees will not be affected as much if the facility is out of network because if it takes Medicare, it should take BCBS. She was also told by BCBS that they are still finalizing their provider lists and updating their website.

To provide information on the enrollment process and the new plans offered a representative from Houze & Associates will be at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Lower Fayetteville Road in Newnan at 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21 for an informational session. This session is for active Coweta school system employees only.

Open enrollment for the new State Health Benefit Plan begins on Monday and continues through Nov. 8.

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