Table of Contents
- Notes from the Chairman
- Meet Board Member: Ed Vandertook
- Triad EAP
- CEBT's Health & Wellness Centers
- Flu Shots
- COVID Updates from Kaiser Permanente
- Healthcare Bluebook
- Deductible Reset
- ID cards and January Open Enrollment
- Health Saving, Health Reimbursement, and Flexible Spending Accounts
Notes From The CEBT Chairman
COVID – 19!
First of all, I hope this article finds you and your family healthy and safe. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic has touched the lives of all of us in one way or another. Personally, I have friends that have lost loved ones during this difficult time.
Impact on CEBT
We are seeing a drop in the number of claims that have been filed by members due to restricted access to medical services, or delays in elective surgeries. The expectation is that when the pandemic is over, the claims will go back to normal. The question is, will they dramatically jump up and exceed what is considered the normal trend for our group? One thought is that it will just go back to normal, while some might say it will jump for a period of time due to postponed elective procedures.
Impact on employers
CEBT is a nonprofit, self-insured, pool of public employers. The purpose of the Trust is to provide medical, dental, vision and life insurance in a cost-effective way for employers and their employees. Historically, as long as CEBT is financially secure to cover claims and has enough reserves to be solvent, the Board of Trustees has declared a surplus of revenue and returned excess funds (as a dividend) back to its member employers following an established set of criteria. The Board declared such a dividend at the November meeting to be paid out to employers following their renewal with CEBT in 2021.
Sometimes, employers have asked that CEBT just reduce their rates. Unfortunately, that has an adverse effect on an employers’ future claims loss ratio since the future premium deposits would not be adequate to cover a group’s actual claims experience as we move forward.
Hopefully, we will see the pandemic subside in early 2021 and we can get back to whatever the new normal looks like.
Your CEBT Board of Trustees continues to conduct its quarterly meetings as scheduled, although we have gone to virtual meetings like many of you. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for January 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM. A major decision that is made in January is the rate renewal for the groups that renew on July 1st of each year.
Stay well and enjoy the holidays.
Edward M. VanderTook
Meet Board Member & Chairman
Ed VanderTook, current CEBT Board Chairman, has an extensive background in K-12 public education. He has been in the profession for 50 years and has served as a Math teacher, Middle School principal, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction Director, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Executive Director for two BOCES, and a K-12 Superintendent in three Colorado School Districts.
While serving as the Executive Director of the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Steamboat, Ed administered a small self-insured medical, dental, and vision pool for the BOCES and its six school member districts of Hayden, Steamboat, South Routt, West Grand, East Grand, and North Park. After several years of administering the BOCES Insurance pool, the Northwest BOCES went out to bid in 1992, which is when Ed became aware of and joined the CEBT self-insured insurance pool, which was administered (at that time) by The Urman Company, now known as Willis Towers Watson.
After several years of being a member of CEBT, Ed was appointed as a Board Trustee in April of 1993. After several years of serving as a Trustee, he was selected as the Trust’s Treasurer, and then in November of 2007 was selected and still serves as the Chairman of the Board.
Employee Assistance Program
With the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we have all been confronted by something that has dramatically altered our everyday life, our relationships, our workplaces, and so much more. Many have felt fear and anxiety about the new disease and overwhelmed by the unknowns. Public health actions such as social distancing, curfews, and closures can make people feel isolated and alone. Although each person has been affected in their own way, most can agree this has been a very stressful time. Taking care of your mental health is extremely important in times like these. The Triad EAP has a network of highly qualified counselors that can help you address a variety of different issues including:
- Navigating the pandemic
- Relationship difficulties
- Drug/alcohol misuse
- Depression or anxiety
- Grief, loss or trauma
- Family and parenting issues
- Job-related problems
With the holidays approaching, many of us will have to discover new traditions and different ways to connect with loved ones or extended family. It will be more difficult to find ways to be grateful and hard adjusting to this change. Triad EAP is here to help you cope with disappointment and find the silver lining. Look out for a monthly newsletter on the Triad EAP which discusses updates, benefits, and provides resources. There are also monthly webinars that are available to join.
Please check with your employer to see if your group opted into the Triad EAP through CEBT and what it entails. For most groups, each employee can get 6 counseling sessions per year per incident. Please keep in mind that not all counselors will be in network with your medical plan if you want to continue care. Call CEBT's customer service team at (800) 332-1168 to discuss what it would like to continue mental health visits under your medical plan.
CEBT Health & Wellness Centers
The holiday season brings a lot of stress into our lives and it can be hard to stay focused on health and wellness goals. With busy schedules, family gatherings (COVID size), amazing food, and of course the stress of juggling everything, it can be overwhelming to think about managing our health on top of it all. As this crazy 2020 year comes to an end, CEBT wants to support you during this time to help you maintain and/or even improve your overall health. The CEBT Health & Wellness Centers are hosting a Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge which will run from November 16th to January 8th where you can earn prizes by simply maintaining your weight. Registration for this challenge is accessible via the Marathon eHealth Portal and is currently open through November 27th.
Challenge Details and Rules
- Record your weight once at the beginning (November 16th – 27th) and again once in the final week (January 4th – 8th). Both weigh-ins are required to be prize eligible and are self-report on the Marathon eHealth Portal
- Maintain your initial weight (within 2%) throughout the challenge
- Participate in health coaching
- Receive weekly emails with helpful information on nutrition, physical activity, and healthy habits
- You must be eligible for one of the six health center locations to participate (Loveland, Greeley, Gypsum, Glenwood, Rifle, Colorado Springs). If you are unsure of your eligibility for one of the health centers, please contact CEBT Customer Service.
- Maintaining weight (staying within 2% of initial weight) will be entered into a raffle drawing for a chance to win one of six $30 Amazon gift cards
- Complete a health coaching visit during the challenge and you’ll be entered into a raffle drawing for a change to win one of six $20 Amazon gift cards
CEBT Health & Wellness Center, Continued
Handling Holiday Stress Webinar
After registering for the Maintain, Don’t Gain challenge, you can then navigate your way over to the appointments tab in the Marathon portal to register for this helpful webinar, Handling Holiday Stress. Join Marathon Health on Monday November 30th from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM as they share ways to handle stress during the holidays. You will receive helpful tips on how to prepare during this time of year so you can enjoy these next few months, not stress about them.
- Log in either via the Marathon Health app or the Marathon eHealth Portal
- Go the “Appointments” tab
- Select “New Appointment”, “Virtual” as your appointment location, and “Group Education” as your appointment type.
- Once registered you can join the session by logging in via the Portal or the App and click on the “Next Appt: Group Education” Link under the “What’s New" section, then click Join.
CEBT Health & Wellness Centers
- Widefield: 930 Leta Drive | 719-551-5808
- Rifle: 707 Wapiti Avenue, Suite 201-A | 970-440-8085
- Glenwood Springs: 1901 Grand Avenue, Suite 200 | 970-440-8087
- Gypsum: 35 Lindbergh Drive, Suite 110 | 970-431-2871
- Loveland: 2889 N. Garfield Avenue | 970-744-2866
- Greeley: 4675 W. 20th Street Road, Unit B | 970-377-4625
Celebrating Good Health
Help us congratulate CEBT’s Healthy Like Me winner, Sarah
“I completed a health screening at the beginning of my district’s school year and discovered I was overweight. I felt uncomfortable in my body, was exhausted, and it was hard for me to be active. I have always been an active person, so the fact I had lost track of my physical health was a huge eye opener for me. I went to the CEBT Health & Wellness Center at Loveland to see Joy Callendar, PA. We began by focusing on my caloric intake and physical abilities, and then discussed my mental health. We addressed my stress levels, coping strategies, relationships, sleep quality, and more. Joy also helped me develop a plan to achieve my health goals, which included losing 20 pounds, running a half marathon, and abstaining from alcohol for a year. I began by tracking my calories. I realized I was snacking a lot to cope with stress, so I was putting more into my body than I was working off. I weaned myself off from snacking and began paying attention to how my body felt when I ate certain foods. I prioritized choosing what made me feel healthy! To date, I have lost 40 pounds and am running nine miles three times a week. My blood pressure is down, I’m sleeping six to eight hours a night, and I’m less stressed. I realized that self-shame will never work when it comes to your health. If you’re punishing yourself, your progress won’t stick long term. You need to work with your body instead of against it!"
Submit your health success story for a chance to win $250. The next submission deadline is February 28, 2021. www.marathon-health.com/HealthyLikeMe #HealthyLikeMe
With much of our focus on Covid, it’s easy to forget how important it is to still get your annual flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccination annually for those 6 months of age and older.
CEBT makes it easy for your to get your flu shot. The benefit is is zero cost to you and can be submitted under either the medical or prescription plans. if you are covered under a UMR medical plan and are going to a local pharmacy, it will be easiest to provide your Caremark prescription ID card. If you are having the vaccination administered at a doctors office during an office visit then submitting it under your UMR medical plan will be easiest. If you have any questions about your benefits, don't hesitate to call CEBT customer service at (800) 332-1168 or (303) 773-1373.
Kaiser Permanente Plans
Kaiser Permanente Colorado has administered a record-breaking number of flu shots. In addition to providing drive-up, walk-up, walk-in, and appointed visit flu shots, we expanded access by offering flu shots at participating retailers.
Supplies are Becoming More Limited
Due to the high-demand, flu shot supplies are starting to become limited. While Kaiser continues to look for additional opportunities to purchase the vaccine, they are taking steps to consolidate walk-in flu shots to the following KP Medical Offices beginning November 12:
- East Denver
- Pueblo North
- Smoky Hill
Retail Flu Shots
While supplies are limited across the state and the U.S., Kaiser Permanente members are also able to receive a flu shot at retail locations for a limited time only. Now through Dec. 31, members can go to any of the following retailers if they are offering flu vaccine:
- CVS (including CVS pharmacies inside Target)
- City Market and King Soopers
Because of their existing relationships with these stores, members will not have to pay out of pocket or file a claim for reimbursement for a flu vaccine given at one of these locations (through Dec. 31).
For the most up-to-date flu information visit kp.org/flu or call the Flu Hotline: 303-344-7600 or 1-866-868-7091.
COVID Updates from Kaiser Permanente
Your Health is Top Priority
COVID-19 New Drive-Thru Testing
Kaiser Permanente has recently launched Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing at 3 medical offices in the Denver/Boulder area (Arapahoe, Aurora Centrepoint, and Rock Creek). With the capacity for COVID-19 testing being expanded, there are nearly 1,200 patients being tested a day. Members are encouraged to use kp.org whenever possible to schedule appointments. In fact, members may quickly request a COVID-19 test by completing an e-visit on kp.org. Another option is to call the Appointment and Advice Contact Center at 303-338-4545 or 1-800-218-1059 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Safety in our Medical Offices
- You will see temperature checkpoints and a greeter station at Kaiser facility entrances to help members get the care they need safely.
- Furniture has been removed to enable physical distancing for members’ safety and protection.
- Masks are required for all members and employees
- For more information, please watch this short video message from Colorado KP leaders Mike Ramseier (regional president) and Dr. Margaret Ferguson (executive medical director) in which they discuss Kaiser Permanente’s continued COVID-19 response and how to get care safely.
HealthCare Blue Book
Shopping for healthcare isn’t quite like browsing Amazon, and certainly isn’t as fun as going to the store and bringing home something tangible. As the costs of healthcare go up and our needs for different procedures become more prominent, it’s important to educate ourselves and do our homework before scheduling high cost procedures that will eat up your out-of-pocket quickly.
Healthcare Blue Book is a healthcare transparency tool that can help you shop for your healthcare needs at a reasonable price.
A member of CEBT shares his firsthand experience with shopping HCBB:
"I have an annual CT scan that I need done and the first one I had was at the hospital which took my full $1,250 outpatient Co-pay.
This year I used HealthCare Blue Book after confirming with my doctor that I could use any facility. After all was said and done, the total I paid out of pocket was $466 and I should also be receiving a $100 reward check from HealthCare Blue Book for using a “Green” provider.
As you can see, if you have the option to choose your facility for a procedure, using HealthCare Blue Book will certainly help save your out of pocket costs and will in turn reward you for doing so."
If you have an upcoming procedure, it could be worth a lot to take a few extra minutes to research how you can save yourself and the plan money. Visit HealthCare Blue Book (company code: CEBT) to search procedures and facilities and see just how much you can be saving. BONUS: if you choose a Green provider, you’ll get a cash reward for your good choices. (Reward amounts vary based on procedures).
One thing to note is that when searching for providers, make sure that the facilities that populate from your search are in-network with your Plan. The search does not always result in an in-network provider for UHC/Choice Plus or Rocky Mountain Health Plans, so you will need to make sure they accept one of these networks. If you are unsure of your network, the UHC or RMHP logo is listed on the front of your member ID card. Once you know what network you are covered under you can search for provider by visiting the CEBT Website/UMR.
*Kaiser plans are not eligible for this tool.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s important to remind members about the medical plan deductible and out-of-pocket reset. Regardless of when you enroll for benefits, each medical plan runs on a calendar year, meaning the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses paid by each plan member will accumulate from January 1st through December 31st and will reset back to $0 every January 1st.
Dental plans also run on the calendar year. The annual maximum is the maximum amount that the dental plan will pay in a calendar year towards all your dental expenses. The annual maximum amount is available starting on January 1st and you will have until December 31st of each year to exhaust the maximum associated with the plan enrolled in. On January 1st of each year, your maximum benefit available will reset and you will have a the annual maximum for the year.
Finally, for vision, if you have a plan under UMR Vision A, benefits will run on the calendar year. If you have a vision plan under VSP (plans B or C), the benefit runs on a rolling 12 month basis. This means if you access benefits in October of 2020, your access benefits will be available again in October of 2021. This rolling 12 months is to the exact date.
ID Cards - January Open Enrollment
One additional thing to note related to year end and open enrollment is ID cards. If your employer has a January renewal and you have recently gone through the open enrollment process, ID cards will automatically be initiated for anyone who makes a plan change, or add/drops dependents. A new ID card should be received on or around January 1st which will reflect the plan changes that were made. For UMR Medical ID cards, there are two ID cards mailed to each family and any family with a dependent 16+ an additional ID card will automatically be sent for those individuals. If you need an additional card please contact Customer Service or visit the CEBT website to open a case for the ID card request.
If your employer is part of CEBT's Special District Association Pool, and you are currently using the Rocky Mountain Health Plans network, the SDA has decided to move all groups within this pool to the United Healthcare network (Choice Plus) effective January 1st, 2021. This change will result is a larger network of doctors to choose from as well as create greater cost savings to you and the plan. If you are unsure of your current medical network and if this change applies to you please contact either your employer, or CEBT Customer Service at (303) 773-1373 or (800) 332-1168. All individuals impacted by this change will receive a new UMR medical ID card, regardless of open enrollment plan changes. This change does not affect prescription, dental or vision coverage.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
What is an HSA? An HSA is a savings account where tax-free or tax-deductible deposits can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. In order to contribute to an HSA, the member must be covered under a qualified “high deductible health plan”. High deductible health plans typically have lower monthly costs (premiums) than a traditional health insurance plan but a higher deductible. Therefore, members pay less for their insurance but more for their health care until they meet their deductible. To help meet those costs, many people with HDHP’s put money that they save on monthly premiums into an HSA. An HSA can be thought of as a special bank account designed just for medical expenses. Typically when you have an HSA, you get a debit card provided by a Bank to access your funds.
Benefits of having an HSA include:
• The money you deposit is tax-free, grows tax free, and can be withdrawn tax free
• YOU own the account! If you leave your employer or retire and join Medicare, the money goes with you!
• The account rolls over from year to year and you do not have to forfeit any unused funds
Other stipulations with an HSA include that you must not be enrolled in Medicare, be claimed as dependent on someone else’s tax return, or be covered under any other health plan including a general health FSA.
The IRS sets limits each year on how much you can contribute to a Health Savings Account. For 2021 the limits are $3,600 for an individual and $7,200 for a family. There are additional $1,000 annual catch-up amounts for employees 55 or older for 2021. Visit www.irs.gov in IRS Publication 502 for a complete list of qualifying expenses.
Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is an IRS approved, tax advantaged, health benefit plan that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses and individual health insurance premiums. A Health Reimbursement Account is typically paired with a High Deductible Health Plan and is funded entirely by the employer. An employee cannot contribute any money to their HRA account. Contributions that an employer makes can be excluded from employees’ gross income. Reimbursements may be tax free if the employee pays qualified medical expenses. Unused funds in the HRA can be rolled into future years for reimbursement if set up that way. An HRA may also be offered in conjunction with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Because HRAs are employer-funded, the employer owns the money in the account. Therefore, if a person leaves employment or the job is terminated, the HRA money stays behind with the employer.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
A flexible spending account (FSA) is a tax-free account that reimburses employees for expenses not covered by any other means. There are three types of FSAs and each has its own rules and limitations. One can have a Health FSA, Limited Health FSA, or a Dependent Care FSA. For health FSAs, employees do not need to be covered by a high deductible health plan to be eligible but if they are on a high deductible health plan they cannot be contributing to an HSA. The only FSA that can be paired with an HSA is the Limited Health FSA and this can only be used for dental and vision expenses. A dependent care FSA can pay for the care of dependent children under age 13 by babysitter, day care center, or before-school or after-school program. It can also be used for care for a disabled spouse, parent or child that lives with the employee that cannot care for himself or herself.
Employers Employees contribute money via pretax payroll deductions. An employee designates how much to contribute for the year during enrollment and then money is typically deducted in equal installments each pay period. Employees cannot change their election during the year, unless there is a change in employment or family status. The employer contributions are also not subject to taxes and are not included in the employee’s gross income.
An FSA is “use it or lose it”, meaning that the employee owns the account, but the funds expire at the end of the year. Some employers offer an exception to this rule by offering a Grace Period or a Rollover (for Health FSA’s only). A Grace Period can be up to 2 ½ months of extra time to use remaining FSA funds. If the employer chooses to offer Rollover, they can allow employees to carry over up to $550 of unused funds from one year to the next. The maximum 2021 FSA contribution for a Health FSA or Limited Health FSA is $2,750. The 2021 contribution limit for a dependent care FSA is $5,000. Typically, health FSAs will provide debit cards for employees to use on eligible expenses.
*Please make sure to check with your employer for specifics for any applicable HSA/FSA/HRA accounts and set up as they are all specific to each separate employer group.
CEBT Wants to Hear From You
"Providing quality health benefit options at a competitive cost with superior service."
CEBT always strives to provide the best service for its members. Knowing what works great or how to improve helps to grow the relationships that are built through our partnerships. Feedback is always welcomed at CEBT.
If you have suggestions for topics or stories that you would like to see in these newsletters, please email Stacy Vogel on the CEBT Communications Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your ideas published.
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