Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 11:32 AM
Subject: Message from Mike Bourgon/Medical Benefit Plans for 2012
As you know, the healthcare industry is going through a period of tremendous upheaval—costs continue to increase, healthcare reform is underway, and change is rapid and constant. So, every year Tribune reviews its medical benefit plans in order to determine how to provide you with the best insurance coverage at a price that’s affordable for you, and for the company. While the cost of providing medical benefits to employees is significant (about $80 million annually), providing you with medical coverage when you need it most remains our top priority.
In 2012 the company will implement some changes to its medical benefit plans designed to provide you with more flexibility and choice, while also helping Tribune to control expenses. (Details of the changes are included in the attached “Benefits at a Glance” summary and highlighted below.)
First, and most important, the company is changing insurance providers—effective January 1, 2012, Tribune’s medical benefits will be administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). We will no longer offer a medical plan through UnitedHealthcare. (Employees based in California will still have Kaiser available to them, but UnitedHealthcare of California (PacifiCare) will no longer be offered.)
When you enroll for your benefits for 2012, you will have a choice between two new BCBS medical plans:
· PPO – a traditional plan, offering participants a higher level of benefits for using network doctors and hospitals.
· BlueEdgeSM HSA – a high deductible PPO plan that includes a Health Savings Account (HSA).
While you are likely familiar with the PPO medical option, the concept of a Health Savings Account (HSA) may be new to you. Benefits under the BlueEdgeSM HSA plan are similar to the standard PPO, but the premiums are significantly less expensive and the deductibles are higher. The plan offers you the opportunity to contribute money to a Health Savings Account that you can use to pay for healthcare expenses and meet deductibles. The BlueEdgeSM HSA plan has several other advantages:
· Tribune will make contributions to your HSA to get you started saving: $500 – single coverage; $1000 – family coverage
· Your contributions to the HSA are made in pre-tax dollars
· The ability to carry over any unused balance in your HSA account from year to year, giving you some flexibility in how you manage your healthcare expenses
· The ability to take the HSA balance with you if you leave the company
· HSA set-up fees paid by Tribune
· Access to the same network of BCBS PPO doctors and hospitals and the ability to choose any doctor
· No claims to file when you stay in-network
· 100% covered preventive care when you use in-network doctors
· An additional limited purpose FSA to save for out-of-pocket dental and vision expenses
You can find more information about HSAs in the attached BCBS flyer, and we’ll have extensive communication on the HSA option available very soon.
BCBS also offers many resources to help you get the most from whichever medical plan you choose, including a secure member website to check claims, find doctors and estimate costs; tools to help you make informed health care decisions and achieve wellness goals; and discounts on health care products and services. ID cards and a list of network providers are even available for mobile devices. You’ll receive more information on these tools in the near future.
You may search the BCBS provider directory now to see if your medical provider is in the network. Simply click the following link: http://www.bcbsil.com/providers/index.htm?WT.svl=h2. (Select “Group/PPO Plan” as the health plan option.)
In addition to moving to BCBS, the attached benefits summary details some plan design changes for the PPO. You’ll note that the prescription drug plan is moving from co-payments to a co-insurance payment structure.
Finally, open enrollment for benefits will be held from Nov. 7 through Nov. 18. Be sure to visit eBenefits at that time to select your new medical plan, evaluate the savings opportunities offered by BlueEdgeSM HSA, and re-enroll in the flexible spending accounts. If you have questions, please contact the Tribune Benefits Service Center at 800/872-2222. Be sure to watch your email and your home mailbox for details about upcoming enrollment activities, including webinars to help you understand the two new medical plans. You can also follow us on Twitter--@TribBenefits.
Vice President/Human Resources
NOTE: I have the flyers if you would like a copy emailed to you, drop me a message.