Long Term Disability
During the year, the GIC requested bids for Long Term Disability benefits for state employees for a new contract effective July 1, 2012. After a rigorous bidding process among four bidders, the GIC awarded a new three-year contract with two one-year renewal options to Unum. This new contract will save state employees $6 million over the first three years compared to what they were paying, while maintaining the same level of benefits. Rates went down for the average enrollee by over 15 percent. Employees between the ages of 45 and 64, who pay the highest premiums, will save the most.
Six bidders responded to the GIC’s procurement for dental benefits for active state employees covered by the GIC Manager Dental/Vision Program and the GIC Retiree Dental Program for state retirees and survivors. After an extensive bidding process, a new three-year contract, with two one-year renewal options, was awarded to MetLife effective July 1, 2012. The GIC negotiated the elimination of the six-month waiting period for major restorative services for the Retiree Dental program, a welcome enhancement for this popular program that covers 21,000 state retirees.
The GIC proposed legislation that would enable a twice yearly option for state employees and retirees to buyout their GIC health insurance coverage. Under this program, state enrollees receive 25% of the full-cost monthly premium in lieu of health insurance benefits for one 12-month period. As many employers’ annual enrollments take place in the fall, this would allow state employees whose spouse’s employer has a fall enrollment to take advantage of this money saving program. The Fiscal Year 2012 budget included such a provision and the GIC conducted its first fall buyout enrollment option. A total of 104 state employees bought out their coverage during the new enrollment period, with these employees collectively receiving a total estimated annual payout of $406,000 and the state saving an estimated $1.2 million over the year.
Flexible Spending Accounts
The GIC increased its promotion of the pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts. These programs save state employees an average of $250 for every $1,000 contributed. However, many employees do not take advantage of the programs. In addition to promoting the program through payroll coordinators, the GIC’s For Your Benefit newsletter, emails, pay advice messages, and the website, the GIC and its FSA vendor conducted a targeted postcard mailing to families, who are more likely to have the day care and higher out-of-pocket health care costs that these programs cover. This mailing generated a 10.5% response rate in three days.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.