Please note: This information was mailed to Bledsoe Health Trust retirees in September 2017.
RETIREE PLAN: These changes will take effect on January 1, 2018 for Plans 1 and 2:
- Your annual deductible will increase to $500/person (currently, it is $300/person for Plan 1 and $250/person for Plan 2).
- The medical out-of-pocket maximum will change: Plan 1 will decrease to $5,000/person (currently, it is $5,300/person).
- Plan 2 will increase to $5,000/person (currently, it is $1,250/person).
- Monthly contribution rates will increase on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019. Rates for Medicare-eligible participants who are 65 and older will increase 3%.
- Rates for pre-Medicare participants who are 64 and younger will increase 10%.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ANNUAL DEDUCTIBLE?
RETIREE PLAN: This is the amount you pay for covered medical services every year before the Plan pays benefits. For example, beginning January 1, 2018, you will pay for the cost of your medical services until you have paid $500/person. Then, the plan will begin to pay benefits.
For families, the Plan pays benefits for each individual as soon as he or she has met the per-person deductible.
Tip: If you’ve already paid the deductible for 2017, you’ll want to schedule and receive any additional medical services you need before January 1, 2018.
Did you know? If you pay for medical services you receive in October, November or December, but have not met the full deductible by the end of the plan year, that amount carries forward and is applied to the deductible for the next year.
WHAT IS THE MEDICAL OUT-OF-POCKET MAXIMUM?
This is the most you’ll pay each year through deductibles, copays and coinsurance for covered medical services. The Bledsoe Health Trust medical out-of-pocket maximum for retirees is $5,000 per person effective January 1, 2018. Once you reach the out-of-pocket maximum, the Health Plan pays 100% for covered medical services for the rest of the year.
The medical out-of-pocket maximum does not include prescription, dental, and vision copays and coinsurance or any amounts you pay for services the Plan does not cover; for example, the billed amount that exceeds the Plan’s allowed amount or prescription costs exceeding the Plan’s limit.
Tip: Take some time to estimate your out-of-pocket costs in 2018 (see the Annual Health Care Costs Estimator on the last page). It’s a good idea to save money every month to pay for these expenses.
Did you know? You can keep your out-of-pocket costs down by choosing a Preferred Provider in the Regence network. To find one, go to or.regence.com and look for doctors in the Preferred network. Or call 800-245-9272 to request a free directory.
WHO CAN I CALL IF I HAVE QUESTIONS about these changes and how they affect me?
Please contact the Trust Administrative Office / Northwest Administrators, Inc. (NWA) at 866-239-1708 (toll-free) or 503-238-6961.
HOW DOES THE BLEDSOE RETIREE HEALTH PLAN COMPARE TO OTHER PLANS?
RETIREE PLAN: How accessible is health care coverage for retirees in the U.S.?
Fewer than one in five workers today are employed by organizations offering retiree health benefits. One of the advantages you have through membership in the Bledsoe Health Trust is that the Trust offers qualifying members retiree coverage, regardless of the size of the company you worked for.
RETIREE PLAN: How much does employer-sponsored retiree health care coverage cost?
Nationally, the average health benefit cost per retiree is roughly twice as much for pre-65 retirees as it is for Medicare-eligible retirees. The average annual health benefit cost per retiree is about $12,000 for pre-Medicare retirees and $5,000 for Medicare-eligible retirees.
On the other hand, the Bledsoe Health Trust has worked very hard to keep costs down for the Retiree Health Plan. As a result, the average annual cost of coverage per retiree in the Bledsoe Health Trust is only $7,400 for pre-Medicare retirees and only $2,800 for Medicare-eligible retirees.
RETIREE PLAN: Do the increased monthly retiree contributions cover the cost of providing retiree benefits?
Partially. The balance is subsidized by using a portion of the employer contributions that are made on behalf of the active members. At our last report, that subsidy averaged $96 per active member per month. As the costs for providing retiree benefits continue to increase, it is expected that this subsidy will also continue to increase because retiree contributions will not fully cover all of the increased cost. This is a significant challenge for the Trust that will need to be continually managed going forward.