From Human Resources

St. Thomas will continue to offer faculty and staff a health insurance plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for the calendar year 2001.

The rate increase for the next plan year (Jan. 1, 2001, through Dec. 31, 2001) will be more than 12 percent. After much discussion by the Fringe Benefit Advisory Committee, a recommendation was sent to the Executive Vice President Cabinet asking that St. Thomas pick up the entire cost of the increase and this recommendation was approved.

Following are the monthly health insurance rates, for single and family-coverage, that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2001.

Single-coverage plan: The total monthly premium is $384.36. St. Thomas contributes $268.27 toward that amount, which lowers the faculty and staff cost to $116. 09. If the annual $1,000 in flexible credits is used to help offset the health insurance premiums, the final monthly cost will be $32.75.

Family-coverage plan. The total monthly premium is $793.60. St. Thomas contributes $485.93 toward that amount, which lowers the faculty and staff cost to $307.67. If the annual $1,000 in flexible credits is used to help offset the health insurance premium, the final monthly cost will be $224.33.

Health insurance plan changes

Although many plan design changes were considered during the discussion of the benefits to be offered in 2001, only two changes were adopted:

  • $20 office visit co-payment (from a $15 co-payment) and
  • $15 generic/$30 nongeneric drug plan (from an $11 formulary/$22 nonformulary plan).

There also may be several legislative and/or contractual changes to group health insurance coverage for 2001. We have not, as yet, received that information from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. If St. Thomas will be subject to any of those types of changes, we will include that information in the open enrollment materials that will be distributed to all benefit-eligible employees later this year.

The open enrollment materials will contain more details on the 2001 health insurance plan; watch for this informative package in your intercampus mail within the next few months.

There are still approximately 60 faculty and staff who are enrolled in the HealthPartners plan. St. Thomas will be able to continue to offer that group of faculty and staff this coverage through Dec. 31, 2001. It appears, at this time, that we will not be able to extend that agreement past the 2001 plan year.

Dental insurance plan changes

St. Thomas will offer a new, self-insured dental plan to faculty and staff. It will feature a better design and slightly lower monthly premiums. Effective Jan. 1, 2001, the monthly dental insurance rates and cost sharing will be as follows:

Single-coverage plan: The total monthly premium is $25.11. St. Thomas contributes $4.18 toward that amount, which lowers the faculty and staff cost to $20.93.

Family-coverage plan: The total monthly premium is $73.78. St. Thomas contributes $4.18 toward that amount, which lowers the faculty and staff cost to $69.60.

The new dental plan will be a combination plan, similar to the health plan, which will allow employees a choice between an in-network or out-of-network provider each time they seek services.

The best of the benefits we currently offer in our two dental plans were incorporated into the new plan. The in-network provider list will be expanded and the out-of-network deductible will be lowered to $25 per person per year (down from $50). Also, the annual maximum benefit will be $1,500 and the orthodontic lifetime maximum will also be $1,500.

Watch for your open enrollment materials later this year for more details on the new dental plan for 2001.

Be sure to complete open enrollment forms

It is important that you complete your open enrollment forms in a timely fashion to be able to take advantage of St. Thomas’ insurance subsidies, employer flexible credits, and pre-tax premium payments. If the forms are not completed, these benefits are forfeited due to the Internal Revenue Service regulations.