Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HSA limits announced for 2012

On May 16, 2011, the IRS released the inflation-adjusted health savings account (HSA) contribution limits for individual and family HSAs.  The amounts are being raised for 2012, whereas the 2011 rates were unchanged from 2010.  The new annual limits will be $3,100 for individual accounts and $6,250 for family accounts (previously $3,050 and $6,150 in 2011).

The minimum deductibles for qualified high deductible health plans (HDHP) have remained unchanged for 2012, although the maximum out-of-pocket amounts have increased from $5,950 to $6,050 for individual coverage and from $11,900 to $12,100 for family coverage.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New specialty pharmacy network effective July 1, 2011 for BCBSNC members

Beginning July 1, 2011, new specialty pharmacy networks will be available for commercial BCBSNC members.  These networks are intended for members with complex chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.  These members have unique challenges that often require special administration and are very costly.

By establishing new specialty networks, BCBSNC's goal is that members can work with specialized experts to receive high quality care, while managing costs.  For more information, please view BCSBNC's online presentation (brainshark) on this topic.  You can also refer to the FAQs, Member Letter for fully insured groups, and Member Letter for CuraScript customers of self-funded groups.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

End-of-Life documents and resources for North Carolinians

This is just a reminder that there are important end-of-life documents, such as a health care power of attorney, that your employees and their family members should be sure they have executed and updated as necessary.

These forms are available at the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State Advance Health Care Directive Registry.  More information can also be found at the North Carolina Medical Society's Patient Information page.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Upcoming seminar on ERISA for employers

Join us for an employer seminar presented by Nimesh Patel, Assistant Vice President & Senior Counsel with Unum.

Topics covered will include:
• Key foundational ERISA concepts
• ERISA plan components
• ERISA exemptions
• Basic participant, beneficiary, and claimant rights under ERISA
• Disclosure requirements under ERISA
• Process involved in making a benefit determination

Choose from two sessions (Greensboro or Raleigh):
June 7th, 11:30 am - 1:45 pm (lunch provided)
3625 North Elm Street, Greensboro NC 27455

June 8th, 8:30 am - 10:45 am (breakfast provided)
4505 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh NC 27609

Space is limited - RSVP to Susan Shanahan by Wednesday, June 1st at sshanahan@senndunn.com or 336.272.7161.

This program has been pre-approved for 2 general recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BCBSNC customer service hours extended for members to 9:00 PM

Recently, BCBSNC extended customer service hours for their call centers for English-speaking insured/underwritten (individual and group) and ASO group members. The new hours for these call centers are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST. The toll-free numbers for these call centers are:

• Insured/Underwritten Group Members: 1-877-258-3334
• ASO Group Members: 1-877-275-9787
• Individual Members: 1-888-206-4697

Other Call Center Hours
Please note that the service hours for some of their other customer call centers are NOT changing at this time. Those call centers and their hours of availability are:

• Customer Service for Spanish-speaking Members: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• State Health Plan Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• North Carolina Health Choice Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• Medicare Supplemental, Blue Medicare Rx, and Medicare Advantage Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday, EST (closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day)
• Federal Employee Program Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, EST
• Group Service Advisor (formerly known as Employer Service Line) Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• Web Support (available via phone or live Web chat) Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• Dental Blue and Dental Blue Select Customer Service: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST
• Agent Contact Center for Group and Individual Markets: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST

UHC provides assistance to tornado victims in southern states

Effective immediately, UnitedHealthcare plan participants affected by the tornados in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia will have access to the following services until at least May 13, 2011.

Counseling Services: OptumHealth's toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Staffed by experienced master's-level behavioral health specialists from the company's OptumHealth business, the free help line offers assistance to callers seeking help in dealing with stress, anxiety and the grieving process. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

Early Prescription Refills: Individuals who have been displaced or do not have access to their medications, who call and identify that they have been affected by the tornados, will be able to have prescription medications filled if they have refills remaining on file at a participating retail or mail-order pharmacy. Note, this includes plan participants enrolled in all fully insured commercial products, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Medicare Part D offerings insured through UnitedHealthcare. For mail-order delivery service to affected areas or any other questions related to their prescriptions, people are encouraged to call the pharmacy number on the back of their medical ID card, or speak directly to a pharmacist about their situation.

In addition, for certain counties covered by a FEMA Declaration of Emergency, additional measures are available. The following counties are covered by a FEMA declaration:
• Alabama: All Counties
• Mississippi Counties: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Greene, Hinds, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Monroe, Neshoba, Webster
• Tennessee Counties: Bradley, Greene, Hamilton, Washington
• Georgia Counties: Bartow, Catoosa, Coweta, Dade, Floyd, Greene, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Walker
• No counties in Virginia have been covered by a FEMA Declaration at this time.

Plan participants residing in impacted counties who have been displaced from their place of residence or whose network medical facility is not accessible, and require assistance or special accommodations, can call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card for assistance.
• This includes plan participants enrolled in all fully insured commercial products residing in FEMA impacted counties. To access out of network providers, plan participants must call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card for assistance.
• Plan participants enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans residing in counties in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia where a FEMA or state emergency declaration has been declared should call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card for assistance or special accommodations in accessing services.

These special support services are effective immediately and will remain active until at least May 13, 2011.