2012 Flexible Spending Account Deadline: March 31, 2013
March 11, 2013
City employees, did you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for the short plan year, July to December 2012? Remember that WageWorks must receive all FSA claims for reimbursement no later than March 31, 2013. The receipts must show expenses were incurred between July and December 2012. Due to federal IRS rules, you will forfeit any money remaining in your FSA at the end of the claims filing period.
The easiest way to submit FSA reimbursements is by using the EZ Receipts smartphone app, created by WageWorks for use with your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. This app also lets you check your FSA account balances. We have tested this app at HSS and have found it is very easy to use. Give it a try!
You can also download a paper FSA claims form on the HSS web site. Remember, WageWorks must be in receipt of your claim by March 31, so make sure you mail any paper claim in advance of that date. Download paper forms for FSA claims.
MEA Flex Credits Deadline: March 31, 2013
March 11, 2013
If you are an MEA member with 2012 flex credits allocated to Miscellaneous Reimbursement, you have until March 31, 2013 to submit reimbursement requests to EBS. If you miss the March 31 deadline, you will forfeit any remaining 2012 flex credit dollars. Download the EBS Miscellaneous Reimbursement Request form: Download the EBS Miscellaneous Reimbursement Request form.
Health Service System 1.4% Rate Increase for 2013 Beats State and National Trends
July 31, 2012
A health benefits package for employees and retirees with a 1.4% rate increase was approved on July 31, 2012 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The package was negotiated by the Health Service Board, on behalf of the 109,000 employees, retirees and family members who receive health coverage through the Health Service System (HSS). HSS administers medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance benefits for the City & County of San Francisco, the Unified School District, the Community College District and the Superior Court. Nationally, health costs are expected to rise 7-9% in 2013.
In 2013 the aggregate rate for active and retiree HSS members in the Kaiser HMO will increase by 1.09%. The Blue Shield HMO rate will rise 3.05%, and the City Health Plan PPO will go up 1.31%. These modest increases will be paid by employer, employee and retiree premium contributions. Compared to 2012, the City & County of San Francisco employer contribution will rise $6.4 million (1.35%) and employee and retiree contributions will rise $1.6 million (2.2%). Total healthcare premiums paid by the City & County and HSS employee and retiree members are expected to be $591.7 million in 2013. Total healthcare premiums paid by all employers-the City, SFUSD, SFCCD, the Superior Court-and HSS employee and retiree members for are expected to be $729.3M.
Key factors contributing to this year’s very low rate increase include moving to flex-funded financing for the Blue Shield HMO plan, increased federal reimbursement for Medicare plans, diligent actuarial analysis and the formation of Accountable Care Organizations, which improve the coordination and quality of patient care. The Health Service Board also allocated $5 million from a Blue Shield pledge credit to stabilize rates for Blue Shield enrollees with families. Applying part of the pledge credit helped maintain an optimal level of risk in the Blue Shield enrollee group, which resulted in premium savings of $15 million.
Health Service Board President Claire Zvanski stated, “Based on the data from our actuary it became clear that Blue Shield rates were too high, and with flex-funding there is an opportunity for savings for both City employers and our members.” Commissioner Karen Breslin, who chairs the Rates and Benefits Committee, commented, “With flex-funding we take on more risk. But taking on risk puts us in a position to save money on healthcare because we are seeking transparency from our providers and supporting Accountable Care Organizations that provide better case management and more coordinated care. This results in cost savings for City employers and HSS members.”
Director Catherine Dodd cautioned, “There will be more work to do next year and beyond, as we continue to face the challenge of an older population, rising costs, and the significant changes in healthcare industry pricing and payment systems that may result from federal healthcare reform.” The cost of healthcare in the Bay area ranks among the highest in the country. “The City must ensure fair competition in our local market, to encourage our doctors and hospital systems to excel at quality and coordinated care. Employers must support changes in doctor/hospital payment systems so we are paying for quality outcomes not quantity of services. We also need to build consensus with the unions on how we can best engage workers in staying healthy, and making doctor and hospital choices based on cost and quality metrics.”