Saved by the Benefits bell.
Today on Up To Speed: Kacie and Andy go back to class for Benefits Mythbusters 101.
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If you’re anything like Kacie and Andy, you’ve probably got a few questions about Verizon’s benefit plans as we head towards this year’s Annual Enrollment -- set to kick off for U.S. management employees on Tuesday, October 22nd.
Lucky for us, (Professor) Kevin Cammarata and the Benefits Team are taking us back to school in this episode of Up To Speed -- Benefits Mythbusters 101.
Class is in session. Let’s bust a few Benefits myths!
First, let’s go through our medical plans to make sure we are all on the same page.
We have three national plans - the PPO Plus, the HDP, and the EPN. In addition, Kaiser HMOs are available in select geographic areas.
By the way, the EPN was closed to new entrants in 2019, but employees who were in the plan at that time can stay in it for 2020.
Myth #1: The EPN costs employees the most in contributions, so it’s the best plan.
Not necessarily. It is certainly true that the EPN costs more in contributions in exchange for paying less out of pocket during the year. But many features of the EPN are the same as the PPO -- preventative care at 100%, copays for office visits, and the prescription drug plan. It also uses the same Anthem BCBS network as the PPO and HDP, but only allows you to see in-network providers. So whether it’s worth paying those higher contributions depends on how much you’ll use the plan in 2020.
Myth #2: The EPN is basically the same as the PPO Plus other than the ability to go out of network, which costs more money.
Not exactly. There are three key differences which apply if you have inpatient or outpatient services. First is the deductible where you pay the full amount. After the deductible you pay a percentage called coinsurance. Finally, the most you can pay for inpatient/outpatient is called the out-pocket-maximum. Things like office visits, which are paid for by copays, are the same.
Myth #3: All plans have copays for office visits.
Not true. In many plans, you pay for these visits the same way as other services -- through a deductible and coinsurance. The Verizon HDP is like that.
Myth #4: Nobody should enroll in the HDP (High Deductible Plan). It’s obviously worse for you.
Again, not necessarily true. It is true that the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are higher and more services are subject to those, like office visits and copays. And it is also true the contributions are the same as the PPO. The big difference is the Health Savings Account, or HSA. The HSA is a powerful way to save money. Verizon funds $500 for single coverage and $1,000 for other coverages into the HSA for HDP enrollees. And then you can save a total of up to $3,550/$7,100 for use in reimbursing current expenses or to save for later. Any funds put in the HSA are immediately vested and yours to keep. You can only use this account with the HDP.
Myth #5: I can use a Healthcare Spending Account (HCSA) with the other plans. Health Savings Account (HSA) is the same thing.
There’s a lot to debunk here! First the healthcare spending account (HCSA) that allows you to pay for up to $2,700 in healthcare expenses pretax is different than the HSA. For one, it is a “use-it-or-lose-it” by the end of the year account -- the HSA is an account that you own to use for healthcare expenses now or in the future. We’ve also added a Limited Purpose spending account this year for HDP enrollees - it works the same way as the regular spending account, but can only be used for dental and vision expenses.
Myth #6: We don’t have any resources to help employees with these complex topics.
In fact, we do! For starters, go to the enrollment landing page and look at your enrollment guides. During enrollment there will be additional tools and resources online on BenefitsConnection as well.
We know these are complex topics that deal with a range of choices. Rest assured, our Benefits team is here to help!