Asante announces changes to benefits for 2021
This is the time of year when we announce any upcoming changes to the benefits package following a review of our Asante employee benefits plans, utilization, costs and enhancements.
You’ll recall that effective Jan. 1, 2020, Asante implemented a focused strategy to encourage employees and covered dependents to use Asante Physician Partners and Asante Health Network providers to increase quality and reduce overall costs of the medical plan.
One of the ways to ensure success for this strategy is to encourage our local non-Asante providers to join AHN, a clinically integrated network. By doing this we have increased the number of provider groups by more than 45%, resulting in additional choices for us all within Category 1 (formerly known as Tier 1), where we have the best plan provisions.
For 2021, we will continue to promote that strategy and have made no changes to the overall four-category plan design. We are also still offering the three medical plans — the PPO plan, the Savings Health Plan and the Reimbursement Health Plan — so you may choose the one that best suits your individual circumstances. We also will allow for another “transition year” for primary care and OB/Gyn services, moving those not contracted with AHN to Category 2 instead of Category 3 for calendar year 2021.
Here are the changes being planned for 2021. Watch for complete details as open enrollment approaches this fall.
Health Plan benefit enhancements
- Increasing physical therapy visits to encourage conservative treatment approaches and avoid surgery when possible
- Increasing the treatments covered for varicose veins when medically necessary
- Providing a fertility treatment benefit
- Including all non-AHN-contracted primary care providers, obstetricians and gynecologists in Category 2 (instead of Category 3) for calendar year 2021.
Wellness Program updates
These provide contributions to your Health Equity health savings or health reimbursement accounts when you complete these three activity categories.
- Age-appropriate preventive exam
- Interactive program on physical, mental or financial wellness
- Engagement in Journi, the new Regence communication platform
Health premium adjustments
Over the past three years, PPO plan premiums have had only a modest 3.5% increase. The premiums for the Savings Health Plan haven’t increased from 2017 rates, and premiums for the Reimbursement Health Plan haven’t risen in more than five years. Based on the current plan use and planned enhancements, premiums will experience a moderate increase in 2021.
- The PPO plan will increase by 9.8%, and the other two plans will see an increase of 5.3%.
- For full-time employee-only coverage, employees who take part in the wellness program will see an increase of less than $4 pretax per month.
- The Reimbursement Health Plan remains free to full-time employees who take part in the wellness plan.
- Other coverage levels will increase based on the percentages noted.
- For employees in the PPO plan, increases range from $3.88 to $40.56 per month.
- For employees in the Savings Health and Reimbursement Health plans, increases range from $0.60 to $16.14 per month.
Dental premium adjustments
Asante will continue to offer three dental plans: the MetLife core and buy-up plans and the Willamette Dental “DMO” plan.
- The MetLife core plan premium will have a 2.5% increase.
- The MetLife buy-up plan will have an 8.2% increase, partly to account for increased benefits:
- In-network benefit coverage increases from 80% to 100% for basic services.
- Calendar year maximum increases from $2,000 to $2,250.
- Willamette Dental plan premiums remain static.
Vision Plan adjustments
- VSP vision plan, core plan premiums remain static at this year’s rates.
- Benefits increase: SunCare benefit offers sunglasses in lieu of frames and lenses
- VSP buy-up plan premiums increase from 8 to 11% ($1 to $2.42 per month, depending on your coverage level), partly to account for increased benefits:
- Frame allowance benefit will increase from $180 to $200.
- SunCare benefit offers sunglasses in lieu of frames and lenses.
If you need answers for a personal work matter, please contact the author or department directly.