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Open Enrollment for the UUA Health Plan

Open Enrollment for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Heath Plan for all eligible staff takes place during the month of November. Eligible staff may join the plan effective January 1, even if they have not taken advantage of past enrollment opportunities.

Through December 2, 2016, eligible employees of UUA congregations and UUA-related employers may enroll in the UUA Health Plan and/or make changes to their existing health insurance coverage.  For currently participating employees of Subscribing Employers or for Subscribing Individuals, there is nothing to do to continue coverage for 2017. The coverage for current participants will be carried over and billed at the 2017 rates.  All Plan Participants are free to change plans (from High Deductible to Standard PPO, or to switch out of the Standard PPO to any of our High deductible plans) by notifying the UUA Health Plan office at healthinsurance [at] uua [dot] org

2017 Highlights:  UUA Health Plan

  • We are adding a Vision Plan for all Health Plan participants, giving all members coverage for lenses, frames, and contacts.
  • We have a new Telemedicine benefit, which gives members more treatment options evenings and weekends
  • We have improved access to hearing aids by allowing out-of-network purchases, giving members the option to use large retailers
  • There is a small adjustment to coinsurance percentages, with no increase in the deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums
  • Base rates for all plans will increase 4.7%

Eligibility:  For our congregations and related organizations, Open Enrollment is an opportunity for  all eligible staff to join the plan effective January 1, 2017, even if they have not taken advantage of past enrollment opportunities. Eligible individuals are employees (those receiving a W2, and not independent contractors) scheduled to work 750 hours or more per year.  

Plan Background:  The UUA Health Plan is a self-insured ERISA/Church plan, owned and managed by the UUA through the UUA Employee Benefits Trust.  We contract with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide enrollment and claims services, and access to the extensive network of Blue Cross Blue Shield providers in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Summaries of Benefits and Coverage:   This is a requirement under the Affordable Care Act, first introduced in 2013.  We have created a revised SBC for each of the four PPO plans we offer. The descriptions are designed to help employees understand their plan choices for 2017. Currently, 80% of all subscribers are in the Standard PPO plan. The SBC’s are posted on the UUA Health Plan website. A paper copy is available to anyone who requests it by emailing healthinsurance [at] uua [dot] org.

New Two-Page SummariesThese are the same summaries found on the UUA website and included in the PPO coverage booklets. They are designed to be a helpful reference whenever a member needs to see their benefits at a glance. Because these two-page summaries are not restricted by the rules governing a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), they are more readable than the SBCs.  

What's New For 2017?

January 1, 2017 MARKS A MILESTONE YEAR – THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UUA HEALTH PLAN

Ten years ago we launched an unprecedented effort – a health plan based on UU values, available to all of our congregations, offering a clear path to provide quality health insurance to every eligible employee in our congregations – something that hundreds of ministers and other congregational staff did not have in 2006.

In the intervening years, the Affordable Care Act has brought near-universal access to coverage, but the Obamacare plans have struggled with benefits, rate increases, doctor and hospital shortages, and insurance companies’ dropping out. 

Ten years later the UUA Health Plan is strong, well-funded, and committed to fairness and equity in the plans we offer. The UUA Health Plan is the plan of choice for over half of all congregations with qualifying staff.

We offer quality plan choices, competitive rates, a dedication to benefits that reflect UU values, and a level of personal service that no insurance company can match.

A NEW VISION PLAN

Many plan participants have asked for an expanded Vision benefit. Our health plan has always included coverage for an annual eye exam from an optometrist or ophthalmologist – and will continue to do that – and has always covered treatment of eye disease.  Plan Participants will not need to change doctors to continue receiving care.  Our new Vision Benefit covers lenses, frames, and contact lenses, and offers coverage for the services of participating opticians. It is a separate plan from member health benefits, but it will be noted on a new member ID card to make it easy for you to identify yourself to participating providers. Details are provided in the Davis Vision Designer Advantage III brochure. There is no separate Vision enrollment – it is linked to the Health Plan.

A NEW TELEMEDICINE BENEFIT

A few years ago we added walk-in clinic coverage for simple health issues, a really good alternative to the emergency room on evenings, weekends, and holidays. For 2017, we are going a step further with a Telemedicine option – in nearly all states (with the exception of Texas and Arkansas) members will be able to connect online with a licensed physician who can diagnose routine medical issues and write prescriptions. Participants in the Standard PPO will have access to this benefit for a consult fee of $10. Participants in our High Deductible plans will pay only $40, which will count toward your deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. Details are provided in the document See A Doctor On Your Time.

MAKING HEARING AIDS MORE ACCESSIBLE

Our Standard PPO Plan has one of the best hearing aid benefits in the country -- $3,000 every 24 months, using in-network providers. After reviewing member experience with hearing aid purchases, we are changing the benefit to allow for out-of-network purchases at the same $3,000 level. This means that members will be able to take advantage of very large hearing aid suppliers (such as Costco) at a substantial discount.

OTHER HEALTH PLAN CHANGES

In order to keep pace with changes in the health insurance industry, we are adjusting the coinsurance percentage in the Standard PPO to 85% in-network and 65% out-of-network.  There will be no change to the individual or family deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.

THINGS YOU NEED TO DO NOW - Congregations:

  • Review all of the plans, from the “Gold” level Standard PPO, to the “Silver” level high-deductible plans that we have offered from Plan inception, to the “Bronze” level high-deductible plan that we first offered in 2014.  In conversation with your staff, decide how you want to provide health insurance next year.
  • Take a careful look at how you fund health insurance for your staff and how that translates into affordability for your employees.  UUA Fair Compensation guidelines continue to recommend that congregations contribute 80% of the cost of individual coverage and 50% of the incremental cost of family coverage.  Consider how your congregation will structure contributions and whether it would make sense to base contributions on a “Silver” plan.  At the same time, consider what effect that could have on your existing staff and what effect it might have on recruiting future staff.
  • If your congregation participates in the UUA Health Plan, review your personnel files, and make sure you have a record of a health plan election or rejection for every eligible employee (everyone projected to work at least 750 hours.)
  • Tell your employees to carefully review the 2017 UUA Health Plans, and decide whether to keep their current plan, change plans, or enroll for the first time. If they think that their family income may qualify them for a subsidized plan through the Affordable Care Act (either state-sponsored or the Federal Exchange on www.healthcare.gov), they should follow-up on the Exchange website.
  • THINGS YOU NEED TO DO NOW - Employees

  • Review all of the plans, from the “Gold” level Standard PPO, to the “Silver” level high-deductible plans that we have offered from Plan inception, to the “Bronze” level high-deductible plan that we first offered in 2014. 
  • Remember that you also have the option to add dependents who were not previously covered.
  • If you decide to change plans, notify www.healthinsurance [at] uua [dot] org (healthinsurance [at] uua [dot] org) by December 2. To enroll for the first time, use the online application below:
  • Enrollment Application
  • Dependent Enrollment Application
  • Rate Calculator

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For more information contact healthinsurance@uua.org.