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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.

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  1. I am a retiree and I would like to know if UHC pays anything toward our claims or just manages our Medicare claims?

  2. basically they’re getting rid of the CDHP because state employees are idiots and don’t realize the CDHP plan has the best value. The CDHP is as close to a cadillac plan as NC State employees are going to get, and they’re doing away with it. Ridiculous. I am surprised more state employees aren’t up in arms over this. The 80/20 and 70/30 plans are trash. $800/mo to insure a family? plus ridiculous out of pocket maximum and extremely high individual deductibles on top of the premiums…sounds like the legislature is burning the barn down before the gerrymandered redistricting begins.

    1. I have to agree Chris. I don’t think most state employee’s took the time to understand that plan. It’s a shame they are about to lose it. I’m on it and it has been great for me.

  3. I am covered under united Health Care plan for state retirees. Will I have an opportunity to change plans before 2018?

  4. “The moves were made to reduce the SHP’s overall financial liability in insuring some 700,000 state employees.” Anyone care to actually explain what this means or why it’s happening? An increase in costs, and removal of cost-saving credits and health promotion programs, and there is one sentence to explain why this is happening? Not acceptable.

    1. Sarah:

      For more information on the State Health Plan’s benefit changes, you can view a presentation from the March 22 meeting of its Board of Trustees.

  5. Very disappointing – in that the Consumer Directed Health Plan has so many features that promoted wellness and prevention. The hypothesis that this will decrease the “financial liability” may be completely wrong – by not emphasizing prevention, it will cost more in disease treatment. Short sited indeed.

  6. So, I guess I can use my “bonus” to pay for the employee-only monthly premium now. That was one of the benefits to working as a State Employee – there wasn’t any monthly premium. Guess they really are trying to get all the good workers to go away.

    1. LOL, bonus!!! Yeah, even though these are cheap premiums compared to what a lot of people pay, for many state employees this = a pay cut.