Sonia Hodge, CMMT
Finance Director & Treasurer-Collector
Town of Abington
500 Gliniewicz Way
Abington, MA 02351
(781) 982-2121 fax
Changes & New Enrollments may be made April 25- May 10
Insurance changes are effective July 1, 2022
Payroll deductions will begin on your first June paycheck
What’s New this Year?
We are joining a new group, Massachusetts Strategic Health Group (MSHG) effective 7/1/22. This decision was made after careful thought and numerous meetings with our Insurance Advisory Committee, which is made up of representatives from union groups across the town and school departments. Joining MSHG will minimize the town’s risk exposure but still allow for our control over plan designs and premiums. Members already enrolled in Town health insurance will be automatically enrolled in the new matching plan at MSHG—you will not need to fill out a form to stay on your current plan, and your plan will not change.
How much are the premiums changing?
None of our medical rates are changing this year! Health, dental, and vision are all remaining the same. See the attached rate sheet for more. Boston Mutual basic life insurance premiums are increasing due to higher-than-expected claims. The current basic rate is $4.35/month, and it is increasing to $6/month. Only the basic B.M. $10,000 benefit rate is increasing; voluntary B.M. rates are not changing.
Where do I find information on the plans?
Health: None of the plan designs are changing. Attached are the summaries of benefits for each plan. A basic dental rider (summary included with health summaries), is automatically included in the $0 deductible EPO plan. MSHG Info Sessions will be May 5th at Town Hall—Public Safety @ 2pm; All Other Town @ 3pm; All School @ 4pm; all staff are welcome at any session, but each session will be geared toward the listed groups.
Dental and Vision: Attached are two documents outlining the benefits of the Delta Dental and Blue 20/20 plans we offer.
Life & Disability: To schedule a virtual appointment with David Flaherty at Aflac, please click here and see attached. For information about Boston Mutual, contact Doug Tracy at 800-445-4493 ext. 142. For information about UNUM, school employees can contact Lynette MacNeil at 781-982-2150.
Flex Spending: See below and attached for information and a new enrollment form.
What Do I Need to Do?
If you need to make any changes to your health, dental, vision, life, or disability plans, contact Debra Libby and submit your requests by May 10th. You can reach us all at 781-982-2131. Members already enrolled in Town health insurance will be automatically enrolled in the new matching plan at MSHG—you will not need to fill out a form to stay on your current plan, and your plan will not change.
If you’re not making any changes, you don’t need to do anything.
What network does MSHG use?
MSHG utilizes both the Harvard Pilgrim regional network and the United Healthcare national network. This means that our members will be able to access full medical care, including primary care, outside of New England WITHOUT the need for a high-cost PPO plan. Additionally, since our HMO plans will now be considered EPO plans (Exclusive Provider Organization), members will be able to see ANY in-network provider without a referral (however: some highly specialized providers may require a referral for their own purposes). High-cost PPO plans may no longer be necessary for many of the employees currently enrolled in them.
My provider doesn’t work with Harvard Pilgrim or United. What do I do?
Use the instructions in the “Find-A-Provider” attachment to search for your providers. If any of your providers are not in the new network, please complete the attached Transition of Care Form and fax it to HPI as soon as possible. The Town will be extending this option to ALL providers for 90 days beginning 7/1/22 (ignore the restrictions listed at the top of the form). This form will also allow our group administrator to reach out to the provider to get them enrolled in the network so that you will continue to have in-network coverage after those 90 days. The sooner we get this started, the better, because it is preferred to enroll providers BEFORE July 1st if at all possible.
My prescription is not covered by the new network. What do I do?
Attached is a list of prescriptions that require prior authorizations or are not covered. If you have a prescription on the list, please contact our representative Chris Myhre at MSHG at 774-321-3564 to find out what may be done to have your particular drug or an alternative covered. The earlier we get approvals in place the better since your prescription will only be covered under current rules for 90 days beginning 7/1.
What happens if my out-of-pocket costs increase as a result of moving to MSHG?
The Town has committed funds from the Self-Insured Insurance Trust Fund for two years to mitigate any unintended extra costs. Any employee who experiences an increase in out-of-pocket cost for services or prescriptions under the new health plan (including copays, coinsurance, or anything other than premiums) may submit a reimbursement request form to the Treasurer-Collector. Costs must be incurred between 7/1/22 and 6/30/24 to qualify. The reimbursement form and instructions will be posted to the Treasurer-Collector’s department webpage under “Employee Benefits” before 7/1.
You talked about the $300/$900 deductible plan last year. Is that still an option?
Yes! Attached is a Plan Comparison worksheet to compare the cost of the 3 health plans to see which might be the better deal for your specific situation. Ultimately, it will vary person to person, so we encourage you to use the worksheet to see what makes the most sense for your individual situation. The results may surprise you! Remember, paying less in premiums means you keep more of your paycheck. Part of the premium savings can be used to cover your deductible—often with money left over as savings to you! If you don’t meet your deductible that year, you just keep the money. Plus, the Flex Spending Account (FSA) can help you save even more money by making the amounts you pay out-of-pocket tax-free (see below). Disclaimer: The town does save a little when employees move to the deductible EPO plan, but the employee saves 5x more since the town pays roughly the same for both EPO plans. Bottom line, this will help employees more than it helps the town, by a lot. For many, the deductible is not met every year, but even when it is, the premium savings are likely higher than the out-of-pocket costs.
What about the Flexible Spending Accounts?
Open Enrollment for the flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for medical and dependent daycare costs is held annually in November. The medical FSA allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for costs like deductibles, copays, prescriptions, vision care, and dental care. The medical FSA is a great companion to the deductible health plans to save you even more money, and up to $500 can be rolled over to the next year if you don’t use it all. Keep in mind that you can pair the FSA with your health plan when making your open enrollment decisions this spring; then in November, be sure to fill out your enrollment form for the FSA for the calendar year 2023.
Other employee benefits:
-Benefits-eligible Town employees may take advantage of the 457b retirement investment accounts offered by Empower Smart Plan and Voya. Contact Lindsay Grasso for more information on these providers.
– Benefits-eligible School employees may take advantage of the 457b retirement investment accounts or 403b retirement investment accounts. Contact Lynette MacNeil at 781-982-2150 for eligible companies.
-ALL EMPLOYEES and their families (which includes anyone non-related that you consider family) can take advantage of the free and confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at www.perspectivesltd.com