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State Health Plan Board Adjusts Benefits, Maintains Most Premium Costs For 2019

On Tuesday, the State Health Plan Board of Trustees voted to approve various benefit changes for 2019, including keeping insurance premiums frozen at their current rates for the majority of plan members and adjusting the Tobacco Cessation Plan design. Actions taken by the board include:

  1. Setting a 4% increase in employer/Retirement Systems contributions for permanent employees and retirees, as authorized by the 2018 State Budget.
  2. Setting the 2019 premium rates for the 80/20 and 70/30 health plans, which remain unchanged from 2018.
  3. Setting a 4% increase in the employer premium rate for the High Deductible Health Plan.
  4. Adopting premium rate policies of 50% and 100% for “other member groups,” such as COBRA, the National Guard, firefighters, etc.
  5. Removing the Designated Provider Program under the 80/20 plan and reducing the copays impacted by this removal to $80 for a specialist and $300 for a hospital visit.

More than 700,000 North Carolinians, including current state employees, retired state employees, and their dependents, are insured through the State Health Plan.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who oversees the plan, commended the board’s decisions.

"This is the perfect example of using our 'largeness' to hold down costs for teachers, law enforcement and other hard-working state and local employees,” Folwell said in a press release.

The board also discussed the Tobacco Cessation plan, which is rolling out a new program through the CVS Minute Clinic to encourage more members to quit smoking. This program is Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant and provides better reporting for validation, savings for the department, and improves the member’s experience via face-to-face tobacco cessation coaching sessions. This will replace the Quitline NC Multi-Call program for the 2019 Plan benefit year. Steps for participating in the smoking cessation initiative include:

  1. Complete the tobacco attestation during Open Enrollment.
  2. Benefit Focus will mail a Minute Clinic Voucher to members who attest they will complete the program.
  3. Members will have 90 days after Open Enrollment to use the voucher at any Minute Clinic.

Click here to view materials from the board meeting, which includes an appendix with detailed premium rate sheets. Click here to view media coverage on the changes approved by the board.

The board will meet next on Thursday, August 30, at 10:00 at the Office of the State Treasurer.

Jacqueline Wyatt | NCASA