ICYMI: Employee benefits info: Tips, Reminders, & Thanks

The following message was sent to faculty and staff by Venessa Macro, chief administration officer, on Monday, Nov. 23.

With one week of benefits open enrollment remaining, I wanted to highlight a few things about this year’s enrollment process. I also want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the Human Resources team, as well as the University Benefits Committee for their respective roles in monitoring and administering the Drake University benefit plans. 

Drake University Health Plan – Adopting a New Network of Providers (Wellmark Blue Choice)

First, some key information about changes for those participating in the Drake Health Plan. While many features of the plan remain unchanged, the plan will use a new network of medical providers effective January 1, 2021. 

You will be asked to designate a network primary care physician and see that provider for your annual preventative exam/wellness visit. For all other covered services, participants continue to be able to choose providers—regardless of whether the provider is on the Blue Choice network. If you choose to see an out-of-network provider, consider increasing contributions to the Medical Flexible Spending Account plan to further reduce the impact of higher costs applicable to out-of-network services. Be sure to review the difference between in-network and out-of-network cost share amounts on the summary of benefits

Other key features of the Drake Health Plan are staying the same. Co-pays, deductibles, prescription drug benefit levels, out-of-pocket maximums, and monthly premiums all remain unchanged for 2021. You also may continue to obtain immunizations from a network pharmacy, as well as your medical provider. 

Tips for Making the Primary Care Physician Designation During Open Enrollment 

A very important step that everyone who participates in the health plan must take this year is to designate a primary care provider. When you enroll, you must enter the name and provider number for the primary care provider for you and everyone in your family who is on the Drake Health Plan. For step-by-step instructions on how to find your primary care physician in the directory, we have prepared a tutorial for your easy reference.  

Here are some things I found helpful when completing this process: 

  • Check to see if your provider participates in the Blue Choice Plan by searching for them by name in the Wellmark directory.  
  • Skip the request for a three-letter prefix when accessing the directory and browse by plan, using the Blue Choice POS plan.  
  • If the provider number does not show on the directory screen for your provider, try clicking on their name and then on “more information” link associated with the location for their offices on the right side of the screen. 
  • You can also always contact Wellmark directly to get the provider number at 800-362-2230.
  • Members who wish to designate an obstetrician or gynecologist as a co-care provider can contact Wellmark Customer Service at 800-362-2230 after January 1, 2021.

Please review carefully the information provided by HR in myDrake. Issues like how to ensure out of state dependents elect a primary care physician properly and what to do if you need care outside of Iowa, are all addressed in that document. Also, for additional enrollment instructions, check out this helpful video created by Anthony Leto, HR Systems and Recruitment Coordinator.
The Commitment to Employee Benefits   

Medical and dental rates will remain unchanged for 2021. In the current health care environment, where annual increases nationwide are trending at about 6%, this is certainly good news. Human Resources and the University Benefits Committee deserves thanks for making key changes over the past several years resulting in a more stable plan with less volatility and greater predictability. The change to the Blue Choice network is one example of this type of change. While changes are sometimes difficult, benefit plan design decisions balance the pressures of rising costs with the aim of providing competitive, quality benefits. 

We are mindful now more than ever of the importance of benefits protections. We hope that the efforts to review benefit plan design annually, coupled with competitive market pricing, and ongoing communication, will increase your awareness of the benefits offered and the University’s commitment of resources to provide those benefits for you and your family. For the key core benefits of health, dental, flex, life insurance, and disability benefits, the open enrollment platform guides you through coverage and the dollars dedicated to these benefits on your behalf. Even if you are not making changes to your coverage, I hope you will spend some time reviewing each benefit summary. 

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or the HR team and remember to enroll by November 30. 

 — Venessa Macro, Chief Administration Officer