The Seal of the Office of the State Comptroller

COMPTROLLER'S MEMORANDUM NO. 99-13

April 12, 1999

TO THE HEADS OF ALL STATE AGENCIES

ATTENTION: Personnel and Payroll Officers
SUBJECT: 1999 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period

I. INTRODUCTION

The 1999 health insurance open enrollment for state employees will be conducted from May 10 through May 28, 1999; coverage selected during the open enrollment period will be effective July 1, 1999.

The annual open enrollment period is the only time employees may change health plans, or add or delete dependents. Said changes are not allowed at other times; exceptions are allowed only for changes caused by or related to a change in family or work status which affects the health plan. The employee is responsible for filing the appropriate change forms within 30 days of the event that necessitates a change in enrollment or plan.

In that connection, the purpose of this memorandum is to provide an overview of the open enrollment process. Payroll-related matters will be addressed in subsequent communications from the Comptroller's Office.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Expanded Plan Choices and Carriers

A new carrier, MedSpan, has been added to the companies that provide medical coverage. M.D. Health Plan has merged with Physicians Health Service (PHS). Effective July 1, 1999 those enrolled in M.D. Health Plan will be changed to PHS unless they choose another carrier.

Anthem, PHS and MedSpan will each offer three types of plans:

  1. Point of Service
  2. Point of Enrollment - No Gatekeeper
  3. Point of Enrollment - Gatekeeper

Additionally, both the Anthem Blue Cross Preferred Point of Service plan and the Kaiser Permanente HMO will continue to be offered.

B. Open Enrollment Fairs

Open enrollment fairs will be arranged through the Health Care Analysis Unit of the Comptroller's Retirement and Benefit Services Division. All fairs will be presented during the open enrollment period. If you are interested in having representatives from Anthem Blue Cross, Physicians Health Service, Kaiser Permanente, MedSpan and CIGNA Dental visit your agency during the open enrollment, please immediately contact Helen Klein at (860) 702-3535.

Fairs will be scheduled to reach as many employees as possible. A statewide schedule of enrollment fairs will be sent to all agencies for posting and communication to employees when it becomes available. Employees may attend a fair held at any agency or location, subject to the employing agency's operating needs. Priority will be given to sites which are able to accommodate employees in the geographic area regardless of employing agency. Therefore, when requesting a fair, please provide information regarding access and parking for non-agency employees.

No appearances by insurer representatives are to be unilaterally arranged by agencies. This policy must be followed in order to guarantee the systematic, efficient, and unimpeded planning of the state-sponsored enrollment fairs.

C. Health Care Planner

The Health Care Planner, which provides a comparison of the benefits among the plans, will be mailed to all employees on or about April 26. The planner will contain information regarding applicable employee premium shares, and offer certain general guidelines to assist employees in making their choices. No marketing literature will be included with the Planner, but each insurer will be allowed to do general mailings of marketing material to all employees. Phone numbers will be listed for each insurer for those employees seeking further information on a particular plan. Also, the insurers will distribute copies of additional plan information and subscriber agreements to each agency for examination by individual employees.

D. Open Enrollment Applications

The "Health Insurance Enrollment Application" (CO-1048A) and "Choice of Health Insurance After Retirement" (CO-744) have been updated for this year to reflect new plan choices and a new carrier. They will be available through the state's forms management program, Vanguard Direct 1- (800) 369-0570, on and after May 1, 1999. Old versions of these forms should not be used, and should be discarded. Enrollment applications will not be included with the Planner or with any marketing material sent to employees, nor will insurers have applications available at the enrollment fairs. Employees electing or changing coverage may do so only through their personnel or payroll office, which will be the repository of all enrollment applications. This procedure is intended to insure that vendor marketing efforts and enrollment processing are maintained as entirely distinct functions.

E. Premiums

Additional memoranda pertaining to changes in employee health insurance premiums and monthly rates for COBRA continuation coverage will be sent to agencies when the rate charts are completed

III. CONCLUSION

To reiterate, enrollment fairs may be scheduled by immediately contacting Helen Klein at (860) 702-3535. The Comptroller's Retirement and Benefit Services Division, Health Care Analysis Unit, is available to respond to agency inquiries pertaining to the content of this Memorandum at (860) 702-3539.

Very truly yours,
Nancy Wyman
State Comptroller
NW/SW/WPM

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