Changes to Medical Benefits

In light of health care reform, hospitals across the nation are addressing health care costs and the need to improve efficiency and affordability, while maintaining the highest level of quality. Hospitals also must take into account broad and unyielding economic issues as part of this effort, and juggle the need to invest in their future while meeting demands by both consumers and payors for more affordable health care.

Because of these increasing pressures, leadership at BWH are engaged in efforts across the organization to improve efficiency and ensure that the hospital can continue to deliver on its four-part mission: patient care, research, teaching and service to the community.

As a result, every aspect of the budget, including the cost of medical benefits for all employees, is under consideration. During the organization's review of the benefits program, senior leadership learned that BWH has been contributing significantly more than other employers within the Longwood Medical Area and the Partners HealthCare system for part-time medical coverage. After careful review of all options and alternatives, leadership modified the benefits program in an effort to preserve nearly 100 jobs at the hospital.

The hospital is making changes in the way it contributes to medical benefits beginning in January. This will affect each employee differently, but everyone will experience some change. In 2011, BWH will continue to contribute 90 percent of the cost of Partners Plus for employees working 40 standard hours a week and will decrease its contribution proportionately for part-time employees, based on the number of standard hours worked. Asking part-time employees to contribute to their health benefit on a pro-rated basis is a standard at hospitals and businesses, both locally and nationally. It is important to note that the FY'11 rates for part-time employees are highly competitive and remain the lowest in the Partners System.

The hospital recognizes that this is a big change for many employees and has worked to reduce the impact as much as possible. These efforts include transitioning to the new cost structure over the next year and increasing both the number of coverage tiers and the opt-out credit.

Details of the changes and new options were sent to employees' homes, and Human Resources has held a number of informational sessions to answer questions and address concerns. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your manager. If you have specific questions about your benefit options, please call Human Resources at 617-726-8133.

General information about benefits is available at the QuickStops and Benefairs sessions through November.

Open Enrollment is Nov. 1- 30

This is the only time of year employees can update their benefits selections, unless they have a change of status. Please review the information sent to your home that contains a newsletter, medical and dental plan comparison chart and other information. You can enroll online via PeopleSoft in November.

Changes you make during open enrollment will take effect in January 2011. Visit the Benefits website or attend one of the following QuickStops and Benefairs for more information or to ask questions.