Educate employees about their benefits with the September Benefits & Me Newsletter.
Blue Cross NC Extends Telehealth Policy through End of 2022
Blue Cross NC is extending their current telehealth policy through December 31, 2022, which was originally expanded at the onset of the pandemic. The policy will continue to cover virtual visits the same as in-person visits for all group plan members as well as Medicare Advantage members.
Inova is Joining Optima's Network
Effective September 1, 2022, Optima Health includes all Inova® Health System hospitals, facilities, physician practices, and providers as in-network for group and individual members.
As a result, Optima Health is expanding its group and individual plan offerings into Northern Virginia.
The Inflation Reduction Act Contains Health Reforms
While the Inflation Reduction Act is primarily aimed at fighting inflation and reducing carbon emissions, it also contains a number of reforms that will impact health coverage. The health reforms included in the bill have staggered effective dates and will be implemented over the next several years.
The bill’s health reforms primarily impact those with Medicare coverage. Specifically, the bill implements the following measures:
- It allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of certain Medicare drugs each year. The negotiations will take effect in 2026 for 10 drugs covered by Medicare, increasing to 20 drugs in 2029.
- Beginning in 2023, the cost of insulin will be capped at $35 per month for people with diabetes enrolled in Medicare.
- Beginning in 2025, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs will be capped at $2,000 per year for Medicare beneficiaries.
The bill also implements a three-year extension on increased health insurance subsidies for coverage purchased through an Exchange. These enhanced subsidies were originally provided as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
Updated Employee Assistance Program from Principal
Effective September 1, 2022, Principal's Core EAP now includes these additional services:
- Three counseling sessions per person, per year. These sessions are available in-person, virtually via text message, live chat, video, or phone.
- Legal, financial, and identity theft services. Members receive one free 60-minute consultation for legal assistance and identity theft resources, and three free 30-minute consultations for financial coaching.
- Workplace support services. A mandatory referral for employees who are having performance issues, providing an opportunity to resolve the problem.
- Critical incident response services. After a traumatic event, confidential sessions are offered (up to three hours per year) to help minimize the long-term effects on staff and the organization.
Medical Loss Ratio Rebates for 2021
We previously announced that Optima would issue rebate checks to large group clients in September. After a final assessment, Optima will only be issuing rebate checks to Individual and Family Plan subscribers who paid premiums in 2021.
Optima will not be issuing rebate checks to any small or large group clients for the plan year 2021.
The information herein should not be construed as legal or tax advice in any way. This content is provided for informational purposes only. You should seek the advice of your attorney or tax consultant for additional or specific information.