Last month Wespath offered two webinars for North Georgia Conference HealthFlex participants to walk us through the change to Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance in January 2024. (This change only applies to clergy and lay staff covered by HealthFlex. This does not apply to retirees covered by Medicare through ViaBenefits.)
A change to HealthFlex insurance providers was necessary following an IRS update to the minimum deductible that can pair with a health savings account.
In looking at available options, Blue Cross Blue Shield was the provider that best meets the needs of North Georgia United Methodists. Overall 93 to 95 percent of providers North Georgia's HealthFlex Participants are using today are still in-network, and BCBS has a stronger network of coverage in rural areas than our current provider.
This election season, November 1-16, 2023, HealthFlex participants will have six medical/behavioral health plans to choose from (categorized as gold, silver, and bronze), plus three dental plans and three vision plans.
The new plans are IRS compliant, and both NGUMC Benefits staff and Wespath believe they can be static over the next few years.
What's Changing, What's Staying the Same
Take time to review the Plan Brochures provided by Wespath:
Deductibles will be higher for the 2024 medical plans, but the out-of-pocket maximum will stay the same. You'll notice that all plans will have the same out-of-pocket max. The biggest change is to the bronze plan. When you meet your deductible with that plan you have met your out-of-pocket maximum.
It's important to remember that a higher premium doesn't mean a plan is better. The same quality and same services are available in every plan. Look at every component of the plan to determine what's best for you. During open enrollment season, use ALEX to help make your decision. Premiums for each plan can be found on the NGUMC Health and Well-being page under the Health Insurance Rates section.
As a reminder, HealthFlex always covers outpatient mental health counseling and true emergency care at in-network levels — even if your provider is not in network.
Next year, Wellbeing Programs and Incentives through Virgin Pulse will still be in place.
In 2024 Wespath will offer the addition of care coordinators through Quantum Health, a dedicated team of nurses, claims experts, and support for HealthFlex participants from diagnosis through treatment. Care coordinators will serve as a bridge between the provider and the plan.
The biggest challenge is to those currently in active treatment and whose doctor is not in-network. Learn how to check if your provider is in the BCBS network in this short video. If you fall into this category, you can apply for a short-term network extension.
For more information
Stay informed and find answers to your questions by visiting https://www.ngumc.org/healthflex.