Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Carrying Over Your 2014 Flexible Spending Accounts

Are you considering how much pre-tax money you should be setting aside in your 2015 Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts? Have a conversation with your covered dependents to accurately designate the correct amount of money you plan to use in 2015. Who needs a new pair of glasses? Think about how much your child's braces will cost. Consider summer camp expenses and daycare. Need help? The WageWorks® website is a great resource, packed with tools that will make your decision-making educated and easy.

Still Have Money Left Over from 2014?
The health system has extended the use of your 2014 Dependent Care and Healthcare FSA money through March 15. Services or products need to be utilized by March 15 and claims need to be filed by March 31, or you will lose it.

In comparison, the U.S Treasury announced the Use It or Lose It ruling last year, allowing participants to carry $500 of unused Healthcare FSA money only. The health system's generous three month grace period allows you to spend whatever amount you have leftover, and does not just limit you to $500, or to just Healthcare spendings, it also includes your Dependent Care spendings.

File Claims for 2014 through March 31, 2015
If you have money left in a 2014 Healthcare or Dependent Care FSA and plan to use it between January 1 and March 15, 2015 - don't try using that 2014 Debit Card - it will be declined. And don't use your new Debit Card, because it will then be depleting your 2015 account.

Any Healthcare of Dependent Care FSA money left from 2014 should be filed through a claim only - not a WageWorks Debit Card - by March 31. Read more about how to file a claim for a Healthcare FSA or Dependent Care FSA.

Each year you participate in an FSA, WageWorks will email you your annual savings statement at the end of the year. Very cool!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Understand Your Benefits

As Open Enrollment enters its second week, the Benefits Team continues to bring you information - just simplified. Keeping you informed about your benefits - in the most efficient way possible is important to us, and that is why we have provided you with the resources you need to fully understand and successfully enroll in your 2015 Benefits.

Questions About Your Benefits?
Refer to the employee intranet HealthPort-Human Resources-Benefits (this link will only work from an "In-Network" computer) for all the information you need. Open up the Benefit Guides folder and you will find information for all North Shore-LIJ administered plans. Open up the 2015 Open Enrollment Kit and find multiple one page documents on the most frequently researched topics, such as: the difference between the two medical plans, the two dental plans, what's in-system versus in-network. We hope these simplified explanation of your benefits will help you to appreciate and utilize them in 2015.

Questions About How to Enroll?
View this 6 minute video, which reviews everything you need to know to successfully enroll you and your dependents in the 2015 benefits.

Topics of Interest
Go ahead and post your comments if you have a suggestion for a conversation. We love feedback!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wellness Pledge Program: Final Deadline Approaches

If you have not completed any of the Wellness Pledges in exchange for your 2015 paycheck credits - you still have time. The final deadline for the 2015 Pledge Program is December 31, 2014. Although it may be too late to schedule and complete a clinical appointment but you can still submit the most important pledge of all - your online Health Assessment (HA).
Note: This program is for employees who enrolled in the 2014 Value or Buy-Up medical plan.

Health Assessment is 100% Confidential
The online assessment is administered by United Healthcare and 100% confidential. Your proof of compliance is the date you completed and submitted the health assessment through The HA takes about 15 minutes to complete, and can be completed from any computer, at any time. If you do not have your biometric numbers handy, such as your cholesterol or body mass index, you can always give your doctor a call and use the numbers from your last visit.

Here's What You Do
  • Visit
  • Login with your username and password (or register and create an account)
  • Hit the blue button on the far right side "Health Assessment"
  • Complete the security questions
  • Complete your HA to best of your ability
  • Hit submit
Paycheck Credits
Your Health Assessment is the gateway to all your other wellness pledges. By completing your HA before December 31, 2014 you will be eligible to collect partial 2015 paycheck credits of $10 per bi-weekly paycheck and  $10.83 for semi-monthly. Because you missed the first two deadline dates of September 30 and October 31, your credits will be delayed by 4-8 weeks. This credit will not be retroactive. 

Next Year's Pledge Program
We hope this newly designed program helped to give you a reality check on your preventive care routine this year. Moving into 2015 the health system will continue to offer financial incentives in exchange for your healthy actions. There will be very little change to the program in 2015. Let's review:
  • The Wellness Video Pledge will no longer be offered in 2015
  • A new pledge (currently in design) will the added to replace the Video
  • The Pledge Program will be referred to as the Annual Pledge Program to encourage your preventive care routine - all year long!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Enrolling in Your 2015 Benefits

Open Enrollment will be live within the Employee Self Service platform - 12:01 am, December 3 and through 11:59 pm, December 17. This is your annual opportunity to make changes to your benefits package.

Logging in from an In-Network Computer
Once logged in with your Universal ID and Password, hit Benefits, Open Enrollment 2015. When Open Enrollment launches you will be "Welcomed" with a brief paragraph reminding you to elect a set amount of pre-tax dollars in your 2015 Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

Logging in from and External Computer
You can enroll in your benefits from any computer. Visit, login with your Universal ID, Password and ESS Key. Once logged in, hit Personal Information - Self Service - Benefits - Open Enrollment 2015.

First Action: Flexible Spending Accounts 
To emphasize the importance of understanding your FSAs, the Benefits Team has moved them to the top of the list. To learn more about the value of Healthcare and Dependent Care FSAs, visit WageWorks or do a quick review on HealthPort-HR-Benefits-Open Enrollment Kit 2015.

What' Next?
Once you have set aside your pre-tax dollars for your FSAs, you will experience the following options on ESS during Open Enrollment: You can rollover, update or waive any of the benefits listed below.

Medical: Hit the next "Enroll" button and up pops a brief explanation on your medical plan choices, followed by what you currently have, and the rates. Scroll lower and you will have the ability to change your dependent coverage.
Hit Update or Discard and move on to the next.

Medical is followed by Spousal Surcharge Question (which you can keep as is or updated), and a line indicating how many (if any) Wellness Pledges you have satisfied.

Dental and Vision: Dental options follow. Same deal - a brief description, followed by what you currently have, the rates and dependent coverage.
Hit Update or Discard and move on to the next.

Disability: The Short- and Long-Term Disability sections gives you the opportunity to "Buy-Up". If you do select to buy-up, your choice will prompt The Hartford to send you an Evidence of Insurability form (EOI or proof of good health). This form  must be cleared before your Buy-Up Disability is active.

Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment: As in Disability you can "Buy-Up" your Life Insurance but you will have to provide EOI to Aetna. This is referred to as Supplemental Life Insurance.

Spouse and Child Life Insurance: This area will allow you to insure your dependents at different levels of coverage.

Confidential and Complete
ESS will save your information as you go through and make your choices. Even if you have hit the Submit Button, you can still change your mind over the course of OE. A message runs throughout telling you "Enrollment will not be complete until you Submit your choices." Don't let this throw you - you have until December 17 to change your mind!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Decreased Copay for In-System Urgent Care

Many minor injuries and illnesses may not warrant a trip to the local ER, yet may require some sort of clinical attention. No need to panic and spend the $150 copay for an ER visit in 2015, more and more in-system urgent care centers will be popping up within our communities at a reduced copay (in 2015) of just $30. In addition to our already established in-system centers in:

  • Bethpage: 4300 Hempstead Turnpike, 11714
  • Rego Park: 95-25 Queens Blvd., 11374

North Shore LIJ has partnered with Access Clinical Partners to create even more centers, saving you time and money on those many bumps and bruises, sneezes and belly aches.

North Shore-LIJ Partners to Create GoHealth -
In-System Urgent Care

These facilities will be open, M-F, 8 am to 8 pm and weekends, 9 am to 5 pm.
Many more in-system urgent care centers are due to open in 2015. Read more.

In-Network Urgent Care
If you are not close to any of the in-system centers that are currently open, check in with one of the many in-network/United Healthcare urgent care centers within our communities. The copay for these visits remain at $40 in 2015.

When to Seek Emergency Care
Not sure what you should do? Review United Healthcare's considerations on your level of emergency care.

Value and Buy-Up Medical Plans

What's the Difference Between the two Medical Plans??
First let's clarify that there are two plans - both administered through our carrier, United Healthcare: they are referred to as the Value and Buy-Up. The terms "In-System, In-Network and Out-of-Network" are not referring to the Medical Plans they are referring to the providers, facilities and services you use once you elect a plan. So when you are reviewing those medical plan grids in your 2015 Benefits Resource Guide (pages 4-9) understand - the Blue is Value and the Teal is Buy-Up They are two different plans with just a few basic differences. Now is when the terms  "In-System, In-Network and Out-of-Network" come into play.
  • In-System means you are using a North Shore-LIJ healthcare provider, facility or service. 
  • In-Network means you are using a United Healthcare provider, facility or service.
  • Out-of-Network means you are using a healthcare provider, facility or service outside of the health system and the United Healthcare network
No Differences Here!
There are no differences in the Value and Buy-Up Plans when you use in-system providers, and North Shore-LIJ facilities and services.
Value Plan
In-System has no annual deductible and no coinsurance 
In-System has a copay of $20 for primary care and $40 for specialty care
Buy-Up Plan
In-System has no annual deductible and no coinsurance 
In-System has a copay of $20 for primary care and $40 for specialty care

Differences Here
The differences in Value and Buy-Up Plans come up when you use in-network and/or out-of-network providers and facilities.
Value Plan
In-Network/United Healthcare has an annual deductible or $750 for an Individual and $1,500 for Family.
In-Network/United Healthcare has a coinsurance of 30%
Buy-Up Plan
In-Network/United Healthcare has an annual deductible or $500 for an Individual and $1,000 for Family
In-Network/United Healthcare has a coinsurance of 10%
Value Plan
Out-of-Network has an annual deductible or $2,500 for an Individual and $5,000 for Family
Out-of-Network has a coinsurance of 50%
Buy-Up Plan
Out-of-Network has an annual deductible or $1,000 for an Individual and $2,000 for Family
Out-of-Network has a coinsurance of 30%

To Sum it Up
If you want to have access to out-of -network providers, facilities and services you may want to consider paying a bit more per pay check for the Buy-Up Plan. 
Most employees chose the Value Plan - in fact, in 2014 the health system had 80% domestic utilization.
Visit HealthPort-HR-Benefits and print out a copy of the 2015 Medical Plan Options.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Compare Plans in Advance

With most organization's Open Enrollment occurring in November,  North Shore-LIJ recognizes that you may be considering enrolling in your spouse's plan in 2015 and may need to make an educated decision - now - and not wait until December 3 (which is when North Shore-LIJ's Open Enrollment begins). That is why we have made the necessary information available to non-union employees and Lenox Hill Hospital/MEETH Registered Nurses on HealthPort>HR>Benefits.

For the Non-Union Population
Benefit Groups
  • Benefit Group 1A generally refers to executives and physicians
  • Benefit Group 1 generally refers to directors and AVPs
  • Benefit Group 2 generally refers to managers and clinical mid-level providers
  • Benefit Group 3 generally refers to staff-level employees
Location Reference
Another thing to keep in mind as you read through your Open Enrollment materials, the term "non-365" refers to employees who do not work in a facility that operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Non-365 employees receive the same healthcare benefits as an employee working in a hospital (referred to as a 365 Employee) with slightly different plans for disability, life insurance, and Paid Time Off. There in no "Non-365" status for physicians and executives.