UC Blue & Gold HMO more affordable in 2020
Open enrollment news is coming early this year:
- Employees who belong to Western Health Advantage HMO (health maintenance organization) learned Aug. 26 that the university will drop WHA as a medical plan option next year.
- As a comparable alternative, the university will offer its existing UC Blue & Gold HMO (administered by Health Net) at rates that will come down to be among the lowest of all of UC's medical plan options. UC Blue & Gold's provider network includes UC Davis Health and UC Davis Medical Group, as well as Hill Physicians, Mercy Medical Group, Meritage, Woodland Clinic and St. Joseph Health.
- Existing members of UC Blue & Gold HMO will also benefit from the cost reduction.
- All other employees can switch to UC Blue & Gold HMO during open enrollment so they can also benefit from the cost reduction.
UC Blue & Gold and Western Health Advantage HMOs have nearly matching medical provider networks. So, if you move from WHA to UC Blue & Gold, you should be able to keep your providers with uninterrupted access — only your insurance card will change. See the FAQ for exceptions.
The switch will be automatic, unless you choose one of UC's other health plan options during open enrollment, Oct. 31-Nov. 26. WHA members to whom this applies include employees, retirees and their eligible dependents.
When open enrollment begins, you will see yourself enrolled in UC Blue & Gold HMO by default, in the online system. If you take no action by the open enrollment deadline, your switch to UC Blue & Gold will take effect Jan. 1. Or, you can choose a different plan — so long as you act before the open enrollment deadline.
Reason for the change
“UC Davis wants employees and their families to have access to the best care, the most innovative technology, and the best expert clinicians through the most affordable, cost-effective health plans,” reads an FAQ posted on a website dedicated to the transition from WHA.
“By making this change, we can bring down premiums and health care costs for our employees, while also ensuring more of our employees have access to the high quality of care provided by UC Davis Health or other providers in the UC Blue & Gold HMO network.”
UC Davis will subsidize UC Blue & Gold's reduced premiums for employees for the next five years “to help grow the (plan's) insurance pool and reduce the cost of health care for our employees,” the FAQ states. “Unfortunately, it is not possible to subsidize retiree premiums.”
Open enrollment booklets arrive in October
The annual open enrollment booklet — with complete information, including monthly premiums — will arrive by mail at home addresses toward the end of October. Open enrollment will open Thursday, Oct. 31, and close Tuesday, Nov. 26, two days before Thanksgiving. Information also will be posted to UCnet as open enrollment approaches.
Important notes for this year's open enrollment:
- UCPath — Access to the open enrollment website will be through UCPath, which goes live Sept. 27 at UC Davis, UC Davis Health and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. For more information about UCPath, visit http://ucpath.ucanr.edu.
- Duo — To use UCPath, you must be signed up for Duo multifactor authentication. See “How to Move to Duo.” Need help with Duo? IT Express consultants are attending all Davis campus UCPath town halls in August and September. The consultants will answer questions about Duo and/or help people enroll on the spot. The town hall schedule continues through Wednesday, Sept. 25, with one town hall held weekly. See the schedule here.