Open Enrollment is coming soon — beginning at 8 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 26 and ending at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 21 — with good news about premium costs and the option to keep your current plan if it’s working well for you. 

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Your Open Enrollment website and booklet will be available the week of Oct. 23, with all of the details about your options and costs, and what’s changing in 2018.

“We are pleased that we have been able to keep premium costs exceptionally low for the overwhelming majority of our people,” said Dwaine B. Duckett, vice president of Systemwide Human Resources. “Employees still have an array of choices of high value, high quality plans at low rates — allowing them to improve or maintain their health and the health of their families.”

2018 highlights

  • Continued low costs — Most faculty and staff will see medical plan premium increases of less than $10 a month across all salary and coverage levels. Premium increases for UC Care will be a bit higher, ranging from $17–$53 a month. UC will continue to adjust premiums by pay level to ensure costs are distributed fairly, and to offer dental and vision plans for you and your family at no cost to faculty and staff. See this year’s rates here.
  • Explore UC’s diverse options or stay in current plan — UC will continue to offer the same choice of quality medical plans next year. Health care needs can change over time, so take a moment to review UC’s full range of plan choices to make sure you have the best fit for you and your family.
  • Changes for 2018 — See below for details about a new pharmacy benefits administrator for UC’s preferred provider organization (PPO) plans and network changes for members of Western Health Advantage (WHA).
  • Ways to manage your costs — You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your care to keep your costs down. Here are a few suggestions:
    • If your medical need is not an emergency, save time and money by skipping the emergency room and getting the care you need from your plan’s advice nurse, telemedicine provider or urgent care center.
    • Consider enrolling in UC’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Plan with a Health Savings Account to lower your tax bill by paying for health care costs with pretax dollars.
    • To help you make informed health care choices, take advantage of tools like Castlight (available with UC’s PPO plans) to compare doctors and medical services for cost, quality and convenience.
  • Benefits to help you stay well — Seeing your doctor regularly for check-ups helps you prevent problems later on, and check-ups (and other preventive care) are free with every UC plan. You should also check your plan’s website for information about free wellness and health management tools. For example, your plan may offer fitness and nutrition classes, health coaching programs, discounts on gym memberships, and apps or online tools to help you manage your care. 

Changes to UC’s PPO pharmacy benefits

For 2018, Anthem Blue Cross will replace OptumRx in administering pharmacy benefits for all of UC’s preferred provider organization (PPO) medical plans. Anthem currently administers medical and behavioral health benefits for UC’s PPO plans, and will continue in that role in 2018. This change will affect faculty, staff and retirees enrolled in the following PPO plans:

  • Core
  • UC Care
  • UC Health Savings Plan
  • UC High Option Supplement to Medicare
  • UC Medicare PPO with Rx

UC is working to minimize disruption for members, but you should expect changes to the formulary, to processes and to pharmacy, mail order and specialty networks. There are a few steps you should take to make sure you’re prepared for the change. Please look for further details during Open Enrollment.

Changes for Western Health Advantage members

Although UC Davis Health has ended its ownership and commercial network participation in Western Health Advantage (WHA), UC and WHA have come to a special arrangement for UC employees. Through this arrangement, UC WHA members and their families may continue to see their current UC Davis Health primary care provider (PCP) or select a UC Davis Health PCP in the future. WHA members will not have access to the Advantage Referral program, which allowed you to self-refer to specialists within WHA’s network. Instead, starting in 2018, your PCP will refer you to an appropriate provider if you require specialty care. 

As soon as your Open Enrollment booklet arrives, take time to review your choices so you’ll have the right benefits for you and your family in 2018.