Wellness Initiatives: Save Money on Your Health Insurance
Were you among the Montgomery County Public Schools employees who participated in the Wellness Initiatives program last year and received a reduction in your 2017 health insurance rates? If so, congratulations! If not, consider completing a biometric health screening and health risk assessment before October 6, 2017, to receive the rate reductions in 2018. Also, if you and/or your spouse smoke, consider quitting to avoid a smoker (tobacco-use) surcharge.
Biometric Health Screenings
If you are covered by an MCPS health insurance plan, consider completing a biometric health screening of your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index by October 6, 2017. If you do, you will pay 1 percent less of the total cost of your health insurance in 2018 than you will pay if you do not complete a health screening.
Your health screening may be completed by your primary care physician or at one of the screenings held by Well Aware, the MCPS employee wellness program. Dates, times, and locations for the Well Aware biometric health screenings are regularly updated on the Biometric Health Screenings web page.
To register for a Well Aware biometric health screening, visit the Biometric Health Screenings web page to review the schedule. Then, e-mail Well Aware with your name, medical plan (CareFirst, Cigna, or Kaiser Permanente), and the date and time that you prefer. Be sure to sign up for a screening associated with your medical insurance carrier.
Note to CareFirst BlueChoice plan members: If you choose to have your primary care physician conduct your health screening, your physician must complete and sign a CareFirst Physician Form. Log in at www.carefirst.com for details.
Health Risk Assessments
In addition to the biometric health screenings, you can save another 1 percent of the total cost of your health insurance in 2018 by completing your medical insurance plan’s online health risk assessment by October 6, 2017. To complete your health risk assessment, visit your medical insurance plan’s web page (CareFirst, Cigna*, or Kaiser Permanente) and log in to your password-protected account. (You may need to create an account first.) Follow the onscreen instructions. You will be asked to include your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For that reason, you may wish to complete your biometric health screenings prior to the health risk assessment so you will have those numbers. Also, to take advantage of the rate reduction, be sure to complete the health risk assessment in its entirety.
Remember: For the incentives to take effect on January 1, 2018, you have until October 6, 2017, to complete your health risk assessment and biometric health screenings. Also, you must complete the assessment and screenings each year during the announced timeframe (a 12-month period beginning the first day of Open Enrollment each fall) to maintain the rate reductions.
Smoker (Tobacco-user) Surcharge
In addition to the biometric health screening and health risk assessment, MCPS imposes a surcharge to the total health insurance costs of medical plan members and their spouses who smoke or use other forms of tobacco. If you and/or, if married, your spouse uses tobacco at any time during 2017, your contribution to the total amount of your health insurance (medical, prescription, dental, and vision plans) will increase by 3 percent. To avoid the surcharge, you will need to be tobacco free for the 12 months prior to the January 1 effective date. During the Employee Benefits Open Enrollment held this fall, you will need to attest as to whether or not you and/or your spouse will be tobacco free throughout 2017.
*Cigna members will find instructions for completing the Cigna health risk assessment here.