ALCOA, Tenn. (Oct. 26, 2016) -- If November is almost here, it’s almost time for the “open enrollment” period when participants in Holston Conference’s health-insurance plan are permitted to enroll or make changes to their plans.
Open enrollment lasts Nov. 1 through Nov. 30. Employees with Holston health insurance recently received a large envelope in the mail explaining changes and options for 2017.
The envelopes -- including an explanatory letter -- were mailed during the week of Oct. 17 to 1,162 Holston health-insurance participants. Most are clergy but some are non-clergy church staff.
Three key changes are important for health-plan participants to note, said Ken Luton, conference benefits officer:
1. Choose S or P
Some Tennessee-based participants may prefer “P” because some Tennessee doctors, specialists, clinics, and hospitals are only in the “P” network, Luton said. Premiums for the “P” network are higher than the “S” network because reimbursements for providers are higher.
Holston health participants using physicians and clinics in Virginia or states other than Tennessee do not have to make the choice between “S” or “P,” but are automatically in the “S” network.
Holston Conference's health-insurance plan stands to save $400,000 to $500,000 in 2017 by switching most participants to the “S” network, Luton said.
Network selection between "P" or "S" does not apply to Holston's 488 retirees on the Medicare Supplement Plan, Luton added.
2. Wellness exam
Participants and their covered spouses are required to undergo free “wellness exams” by July 30, 2017. If either participant or spouse fails to have the exam by the deadline, their insurance premium will increase $75 per month throughout 2018.
The wellness-exam requirement does not apply to retirees on the Medicare Supplement Plan, Luton said.
3. FSA increase
Since this explanatory letter about 2017 changes was mailed to Holston health-plan participants, the Internal Revenue Service increased the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funding limit from $2,550 annually to $2,600.
For more information
> Visit OpenEnrollment.Holston.org
> Listen to Ken Luton explain more in Terry Goodman's audio series, "The Wesleyan Connexion."
> Contact Ken Luton at (865) 690-4080 or kenluton@Holston.org
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.