September 2014

In This Issue
HSA Administration Change
Survey: Percent of Employers Offering Health Benefits Unchanged
Ask George
NCMS Plan Sponsors "Wake Up Walk" at Upcoming NCMS Annual Meeting
Workplace Wellness & Health Care Reform
 
 

HSA Administration Change

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has selected HealthEquity (HEQ) as their preferred Health Savings Account (HSA) administrator. HEQ is the nation's oldest, largest and fastest growing HSA administrator. HEQ replaces BenefitWallet (BW) and will offer a better employer and member experience with easier enrollment, easier online management, improved reporting, and anytime/anywhere access.

The transition to HEQ will begin with renewals on or after 11/1/14. The transition will impact NCMS Plan practices renewing 11/1/14 and then at each monthly renewal thereafter through 10/1/15. Practices that recently renewed 8/1/14 or 9/1/14, and renewing 10/1/14 will not be impacted now and will remain with BenefitWallet (BW) through their next renewal. A practice can choose to stay with BW after their transition date, but will automatically transition to HEQ if they do not indicate otherwise. This transition only impacts NCMS Plan practices currently using BW as their HSA administrator through BCBSNC.

Leading up to your practice's transition date, BCBSNC will send eligibility files to HEQ with member information and initiate the communication process with employees about their accounts and services. Members will receive a welcome kit with a debit card within 10 days of account activation. Practice contacts will also receive an employer welcome kit from HEQ with more information about how to fund employee accounts and the benefits of HEQ administration. Since this process cannot begin until you submit your NCMS Plan renewal paperwork, early submission is important to provide sufficient time for new HSA setup.

Existing individual member BW HSAs will not transfer automatically to HEQ. Members will need to act independently to either transfer their existing account balance or simply continue to spend down their BW account until the balance is exhausted, but will be responsible for any monthly service fees. Accountholders will receive information on how to transfer balances if they choose to do so.

BCBSNC will send eligibility files only to HEQ after a practice's transition date, so BW will no longer receive any newly eligible information for account set up purposes after that time. Practices that elect to stay with BW will have to manage the new account setup process on their own working with BW.

Please let your NCMS Plan agent know if you have questions, or call our office at (800) 662-7917. Even though this transition may be months away for most of you, we want to ensure that the transition is a smooth one for you and your employees.

 

Survey: Percent of Employers Offering Health Benefits Unchanged

The 2014 Employer Health Benefits Survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage. The 2014 survey included almost three thousand interviews with public and private employers. Key findings from the survey, conducted from January through May 2014, were released earlier this month.

Among the more noteworthy trends, the percentage of employers (55%) which offer health benefits to at least some of their employees and the percentage of workers covered at those employers (62%) are statistically unchanged from 2013. The considerable stability in the health benefits market may come as a surprise given the ongoing debate about the impact of the ACA. Bigger changes may be on the horizon in 2015 as the employer shared-responsibility provision takes effect for large employers (more than 100 full time equivalent employees), but the NCMS Plan will continue to provide health benefits to hundreds of practices across the state.

To review the Kaiser Family Foundation survey, visit http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/8626-employer-health-benefits-2014-summary-of-findings1.pdf. If you have questions about the NCMS Plan and the ACA, contact your NCMS Plan agent of our office at (800) 662-7917.

 

Ask George

Question: George, our practice offers a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and I have a question about the deductible. One of our employees with family coverage recently got divorced and the spouse has elected COBRA. They met their family deductible prior to the divorce. How is the deductible handled in this situation?

Answer: The HDHP family deductible is an aggregate of amounts contributed by all covered persons. In this situation, where the divorced spouse elects COBRA, the spouse becomes enrolled separately under their own identification number. Any deductible amount accumulated specifically by that spouse is credited to them under their new identification number. The total amount credited to the family aggregate deductible remains with the employee and the spouse on COBRA (now shown as "employee only") must meet whatever outstanding balance remains of their individual deductible.

Ultimately, at your group renewal, the deductible accumulation for both would be reset and both the employee and the spouse on COBRA would have a new benefit period deductible to meet.

If you have questions about deductibles and HDHPs, contact me directly with an inquiry at (919) 878-7561 or george.fanelli@mmicnc.com.

 

NCMS Plan Sponsors "Wake Up Walk" at Upcoming NCMS Annual Meeting

Are you or your physicians attending the North Carolina Medical Society Annual Meeting in October?

If so, plan to participate in the "Wake Up Walk" sponsored by the NCMS Plan on Saturday morning, October 25th. Start your morning off right by taking part in the wellness walk to promote healthy behavior and lead by example! Each participant will be entered in a raffle to win a Fitbit Flex wireless wristband, receive a resistance band and a heart-healthy breakfast.

Jason Horay, Health Promotion Coordinator for the NCMS Plan, will lead the 1.8 mile (about 30 minutes) walk through the grounds of the Grandover Resort. The walk will begin promptly at 7:15 a.m. from the Colony Terrace of the Grandover Resort. Not to worry, you will have plenty of time to prepare for the first event of the day. No pre-registration is required for this event. Just show up and be ready for a brisk start to your day.

For more information about the NCMS Annual Meeting from October visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/news-publications/ncms-annual-meeting/.

Workplace Wellness & Health Care Reform

Do you know how the Affordable Care Act impacts workplace wellness programs? Are you confident that your practice's wellness program is compliant?

Jason Horay is a valuable resource to help you understand the ACA's wellness provisions and whether your program meets the guidelines. Jason has put together a handy infographic that summarizes these issues. You can find it on our website at http://www.ncmsplan.com/practice-wellness/.

To learn more about the ACA and wellness programs, contact Jason Horay at (919) 878-7530 or jason.horay@mmicnc.com.

 

About the North Carolina Medical Society

Established in 1849, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is devoted to representing the interests of physicians and protecting the quality of patient care as the largest physician organization in the state. The NCMS Plan, sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide employee benefits plan designed specifically for North Carolina physicians.

For more information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit http://www.ncmedsoc.org/.