We’re writing with important information about your health insurance benefits. You may want to take action by this coming Monday to avoid a large increase in the biweekly payroll deduction for health insurance starting in January 2023. Monday, October 31, is the last day of open enrollment for plan year 2023.
The Coalition of Rutgers Unions is holding additional town hall meetings Sunday evening (October 30) at 6 p.m. and Monday (October 31) at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m. to discuss the different health plans available to you, how they compare, and what you have to do before the end of the day on Monday if you want to change plans. Click here to RSVP, and we will send you the Zoom link.
Resources for understanding your health plan options:
- Side-by-side comparison of the available health plans
- Side-by-side comparison of accompanying prescription plans
- See your projected monthly plan costs for 2023 in Benefit Solver, the state’s online tool. (Login or create an account at https://my.state.nj.us/aui/Login; if Benefit Solver doesn’t appear, click “Need Help?”, then the Benefit Solver option, and follow the instructions from there.)
Earlier this fall, the state of New Jersey imposed a drastic increase, effective January 2023, in premium contributions from state workers in the following plans: PPO plans Direct 15, Direct 1525, Direct 2030, and Direct 2035; the HMO plan; and the two High Deductible plans. We have been trying to negotiate a cap on these increases but haven’t succeeded, and unless a last-minute agreement is reached, your opportunity for changing plans to avoid the large increase will end on Monday, with the end of the open enrollment period.
Premium contributions for the Direct PPO plans and the High Deductible plans will go up by 18.4 percent as of January 2023, and the HMO plan contribution will go up by 18.3 percent. If you are in one of these plans—as most people represented by our union are—the deduction in your biweekly paycheck for health insurance will increase by that percentage. If your current deduction is $100, for example, that would increase to $118.40 (or $118.30 for the HMO).
You may want to consider switching into the newer NJ Direct PPO plan (NJ Direct 2019 for more recent hires). As a result of union negotiations at the state level and here at Rutgers, the amount deducted from your paycheck for these plans will increase by only 3 percent starting in January. Deductions for the Omnia tiered-network plan will increase by only 2.25 percent.
The chief difference with the NJ Direct and NJ Direct 2019 plans is that they have a higher co-pay for specialist appointments ($30 compared to $15 for DIrect 15) and urgent care and emergency room visits ($45/$150 compared to $15/$100). Prescription co-payments are also somewhat higher. If you have regular appointments with specialists or visit urgent care more often, you will want to estimate whether the greater out-of-pocket expenses outweigh the savings from premium contributions if you switch into one of these plans.
The Omnia tiered network plan has the lowest premium contribution of the available plans, but it is built for physicians and health care services in New Jersey (Tier 1 and Tier 2 providers). It is not the best option if you live out of state—all providers are Tier 2, and there are no out-of-network benefits.
All the details of the various plans are compared side-by-side in this document, and you can see the effect of the various premium hikes on a monthly basis in Benefit Solver, the state’s online tool for making plan changes.
Union staff will be available to answer your questions at the CRU town hall meetings on Sunday at 6 p.m. and Monday at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m.; click here to RSVP. And you can email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are continuing to talk to the state about offsetting these large premium contribution increases and will update you if anything changes.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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