BCBSTX Deductible Discount Update for 2014

This past year, benefit-eligible employees had the opportunity to earn a 20% discount on the deductible for eligible SMU medical plans (the $2,500 and $5,000 high deductible plans are not eligible) offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). If you completed an onsite screening or submitted a screening completed by your physician, you were eligible for this program in 2014.

Employees who earned the discount will be notified about their discount payment the week of February 3, 2014. If you don’t receive confirmation by Friday February 7, but think you should have qualified, contact us at wellpower@smu.edu.

May I still earn the discount for 2014? Unfortunately, the deadline for earning the discount for 2014 has passed.

How do I know the discount has been applied? That’s the tricky part! The discount really isn’t a “discount” in the traditional sense of the word. Earlier in January, SMU made a payment toward your deductible of either $200 or $400, depending on your plan. So your deductible actually stays the same, but you will have already satisfied 20% of it.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t trigger an “Explanation of Benefits” or EOB, so you don’t ever see it. The only way you can verify the payment directly is to call the BCBSTX customer support line at 1-877-768-2005 and ask how much of your deductible has been met. Ask the customer service representative to look for a payment of $200 (for the $1,000 deductible plan) or $400 (for the $2,000 deductible plan). The representative won’t know anything about the deductible discount program, so refer any additional questions to Wellpower. Also, remember that the discount cannot be applied to our high deductible ($2,500 and $5,000) plans. 

What if I had a procedure done, before the payment is applied? If applicable, BCBSTX will refund any excess payment toward your deductible. Contact us at benefitsu@smu.edu if you need help with that issue.

Will the Deductible Discount Program be offered for 2015?
The program will be discontinued after 2014. One of the reasons is that many of our employees now participate in high deductible plans, which are ineligible for the discount due to IRS regulations. For those who do receive the discount payment, many will not reach their deductible by the end of the year which means the discount will not actually help them.

In addition, SMU has been seeking other methods of encouraging staff and faculty to not only get an annual screening, but to take meaningful action if their screening numbers were outside of the healthy range. As a result, SMU HR is piloting the Healthy Outcomes program in 2014 to determine whether participants in it successfully improve their screening numbers if needed, or maintain their already good health. The Healthy Outcomes program offers a $300 cash incentive to those participants who successfully complete the program.

This fall, after the Healthy Outcomes program has been evaluated, employees will receive information about what program(s) will be offered in 2015.

Email wellpower@smu.edu with any questions.

 

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