City of Hope employees will see changes and improvements in their benefits options for 2008.
The institution has altered its Blue Cross medical plan choices, lowered the office visit copay under the Kaiser health maintenance organization (HMO) medical plan and enhanced MetLife Dental coverage. In addition, an external organization will begin to administer City of Hope employees’ flexible spending accounts.
Employees may enroll for benefits or make changes to their current benefits during open enrollment, which has already begun and will continue until Nov. 16. All benefits changes take effect Jan. 1, 2008.
In addition, City of Hope will introduce a variety of new programs and services to encourage a culture of good health in 2008.
Here is a quick guide to some of the changes:
City of Hope will replace the Blue Cross Point-of-Service (POS) Plan with a focused Blue Cross Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan. Employees currently enrolled in the POS plan will automatically be shifted to the PPO unless they choose one of two other plans offered: either the Kaiser or Blue Cross HMO options.
Shifting to the Blue Cross PPO plan instead of POS brings several benefits. Member deductibles will drop from $350 this year to $250 in 2008. If members see a doctor within the Blue Cross network, their $3,000 out-of-pocket maximum for this year will shrink to $1,500 in 2008. (Subscribers will see their out-of-pocket maximum for physicians outside the Blue Cross network increase from $3,000 this year to $4,500 in 2008, however).
Co-insurance also improves under the new plan. The PPO plan will pay for 90 percent of in-network charges and 70 percent of out-of-network charges in 2008, compared to 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, this year.
If members see a doctor within the Blue Cross network, preventive benefits will be covered in full instead of the current 20 percent co-insurance under the PPO portion of the POS plan.
City of Hope staff members outside California who use BlueCard PPO also will see their benefits mirror those of Blue Cross PPO.
The office visit co-pay for Kaiser HMO members will drop from $15 this year to $10 in 2008. All other Kaiser benefits remain the same.
Co-insurance amounts for preventive and diagnostic dental services will drop in 2008. The plan currently requires a co-insurance of 20 percent for such services from in-network dentists, but the services will require no co-insurance at all in 2008. Co-insurances for out-of-network dentists will drop from 30 percent this year to 20 percent in 2008. In addition, the 2008 plan will add orthodontic coverage for both children and adults (requiring a 50 percent co-insurance up to a $1,500 lifetime maximum.)
Flexible spending accounts
Flexible spending accounts allow City of Hope employees to set aside money from their pay before taxes to cover health, dependent care and adoption expenses.
A company called Benefit Concepts will administer the plan in 2008, which will allow enrollees to use a prepaid benefits spending card for eligible health-care expenses instead of filing reimbursement forms.
Employees may enroll or change their benefits online. To enroll, simply click the Employee Self-Service link under “Things for You to Use” on the City of Hope intranet.
More details on the changes, as well as all City of Hope benefits, are available in the new “Pathways Flexible Benefits 2008” publication. It was e-mailed to all staff earlier this month, but also is available on Human Resources’ Benefits & Employee Services intranet site.