Schools hold informational session on health plan
by Celia Shortt
Open enrollment for the new State Health Benefit Plan that takes effect Jan. 1 has begun, and school officials facilitated an informational session with an insurance representative about what the new plan looks like for Coweta schools employees.
According to Houze & Associates Representative Don Miller, a big change in the plan is new providers. Express Scripts is the new provider for prescriptions and pharmacy benefits. Healthways is the new wellness provider, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is the new health care provider.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is part of the nationwide network of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Those who have it will have access to the entire network should they need care while not in the state, representatives said.
Miller also said during the information session Monday evening at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts that other big differences are the provider is already chosen and fewer plans are available. Employees will have a choice of a gold, silver, or bronze plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Gold is the most expensive, and bronze is the cheapest. The pharmacy benefits are the same for each, but the deductible, out of pocket maximums, and co-insurance is different for each.
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.
With the wellness coverage through Healthways Wellness, Miller reported that participants can earn up to $480 in credits per person for 2014.
Those who are eligible for the new plan, need to register at the State Health Benefit Plan website (http://dch.georgia.gov/state-health-benefit-plan-shbp) before they meet with a benefit counselor. If they do not, their plan will default to bronze. Participants also will not be able to see any individual benefits until they register.
Open enrollment began on Monday and will continue until 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8.
The new State Health Benefit 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 the BCBS coverage.