Some Employees Face Higher Medical Costs Next Year
Changes affect HMO and PPO plans, prescription drug plan
Out-of-pocket medical costs will increase next year for some employees who get their health insurance through the University-offered HMO and PPO. But the University has held the increase to below the expected jump nationally, according to BU’s Human Resources department.
“Health plan premiums are projected to be increasing by 7 percent nationwide in 2013,” according to the Human Resources website. “The various plan design changes BU is implementing work together to keep the 2013 BU overall increase at 5.2 percent.”
No changes will occur for the University’s third insurance option, the high-deductible BU Health Savings Plan. All three plans are offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
Employees in the Network Blue New England HMO whose primary care doctors are not affiliated with Boston Medical Center will be charged a $30 copayment for doctor visits, up from $25 this year. (Lower copayments of $15 for those with BMC doctors are intended to steer employees to “the high-quality care available” at BMC, the teaching hospital for the School of Medicine, according to the HR website.)
The co-payment for high-tech imaging, now $25, doubles to $50 next year for those without a BMC doctor. For those with BMC docs, the copayment will remain $25.
In the PPO, deductibles—what you pay for medical care before insurance kicks in—for employees who get care outside the PPO’s physician network will increase to $500 (from $250) for an individual and to $1,000 (from $500) for a family. Those employees will also see the limit on their total out-of-pocket expenses for care increase to $2,000, from $1,000 (individual) and $4,000, from $2,000 (family).
Co-pays for brand-name prescription drugs in the HMO and PPO are also increasing, with a minimum of $50, up from $40, and a maximum of $70, up from $55. However, the co-pay for generic drugs will remain $8. If a prescription costs less than the minimum co-pay, the employee pays that lesser amount, says Peter Fiedler (COM’77), BU’s vice president for administrative services.
Employees have until December 3 to enroll in or change health plans. Find a chart comparing annual deductibles and other highlights of the three plans here. Find a comparison of premium costs here. Blue Cross’ online calculator of your costs or savings under the various plans, depending on your expected health needs, is here.
The University also offers a flexible benefits program that allows employees to pay their insurance plan premiums with before-tax dollars.1 Comments