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HR and Finance

Significant Changes Coming to Insurance Options

Filing folder featuring health benefits tab

Significant health insurance changes are coming for NC State staff and faculty, following an announcement by the State Health Plan (SHP) Board of Directors that it will eliminate one of the three health coverage options beginning in 2018 and will end immediately some wellness programs.

The Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP), a high-deductible option that offers lower monthly family plan coverage premiums and a health reimbursement account to pay for medical services and equipment, will end on Dec. 31.

During benefits annual enrollment this fall, the 1,304 employees (16 percent of benefit-eligible employees) who currently use that plan will need to choose between the enhanced 80/20 plan or the traditional 70/30 plan that are now available.

The moves were made to reduce the SHP’s overall financial liability in insuring some 700,000 state employees.

What’s Changing for 2017

  • Some programs will be eliminated immediately. The Diabetes Prevention program and the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less program have ended.
  • The Stork Rewards maternity incentive program is now closed to new enrollment. Members enrolled in Stork Rewards by March 31, 2017, will be able to continue with the program. The SHP will also continue to offer maternity coaching through NC HealthSmart, SHP’s healthy living initiative.
  • Members can continue to receive various types of lifestyle coaching through NC HealthSmart. Members can also visit a local in-network dietitian to discuss risks for diabetes or receive assistance with weight management, as allowed under their chosen benefit plan.

What’s Changing for 2018

  • For the first time, all state employees will pay a monthly employee-only premium for health care coverage. The monthly premium will be $25 for the 70/30 plan and $50 for the 80/20 plan (after the tobacco attestation credit has been applied).
  • For those who choose family coverage, the dependent part of the monthly premiums will be frozen for three years at the 2017 cost. Premiums for employee/spouse and employee/child(ren) coverage will increase 6.96 percent in 2018 and then freeze for the following four years.
  • Two credits that helped offset monthly premiums, one for completing a health-risk assessment and another for selecting a primary care provider, will be eliminated. The tobacco attestation will change from a $40 surcharge to a $60 surcharge for employees who do not complete the tobacco attestation or who are tobacco users not enrolled in the NC QuitLine program

What To Watch

  • For now, there are no plan design changes for the 80/20 and 70/30 plans for features such as co-pays and deductibles in 2018.
  • UnitedHealthcare will remain the Medicare Advantage Plan vendor for retirees aged 65 or older. Decisions about plan options for Medicare retirees will be made later this summer when UnitedHealthcare announces its renewal rates.

NC State HR Benefits has created a web page detailing the recently approved State Health Plan changes for 2018.