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Health Insurance Initiative FAQ









Fordham University Health Insurance Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated July 24, 2014

Fordham University is moving to a new medical insurance carrier. The enhanced plan offers a choice of medical options to meet the needs of a diverse University community in the best way possible, and helps the University manage benefits in a cost-effective manner.

When will the new health insurance plan take effect?
Will there be just one plan for everyone?
What advantages does United Healthcare offer?
Can I keep my current physician and health care providers?
Will prescription benefits change? Will only generic drugs be covered under the new plan?
How will I enroll in the new plan?
I’m currently being treated for a serious illness. Will my treatment be interrupted by the change in plans?
Will the change include retirees?
When will detailed information on the new plan be available?
Can I get help with the transition in person?
Why is Fordham making the change?
Why make the change now?
How was the final decision reached?

Q. When will the new health insurance plan take effect?
A. The new plan takes effect on January 1, 2015. Your current plan will be in effect until that date.

Q. Will there be just one plan for everyone?
A. There will be one medical insurance carrier, United Healthcare, providing four different options that offer a broad range of coverage. If you prefer familiarity, two of the options are very similar to, but enhanced, versions of those we currently offer. If you are looking for a change, the other options offer a new type of coverage. There will be separate insurance plans for dental coverage through Cigna and vision coverage through Vision Service Plan. The dental and vision plans will each allow the choice of two options for coverage.

Q. What advantages does United Healthcare offer?
A. The largest network of physicians, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and other providers in the country; access to all major medical facilities in the metropolitan area. The “high-end” PPO will also offer the following enhancements: unlimited visits for in-network short-term rehabilitation, out-of-network coverage of short-term rehabilitation treatments; no limit on in-network home healthcare visits; and unlimited days for in-network hospice.

Q. Can I keep my current physician and health care providers?
A. More than 90 percent of the time, yes. One of the reasons the University chose United Healthcare was that 93 percent of the physicians and other providers recently having cared for Fordham people are in its network – minimizing disruption during the switchover. There will also be provisions for out-of-network providers.

To find out if your physician, local hospital, or other provider is part of the United Healthcare network, visit http://www.myuhc.com and click on “UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus” under Select a Plan; then type in your doctor’s name in the “New Search” box. In the alternative, three of the four medical options available will also provide you with the opportunity to use an out-of-network provider.

Q. Will prescription benefits change? Will only generic drugs be covered under the new plan?
A. Prescription benefits may change for some members, but the majority of people will pay the same co-pays they currently have if they select the high-end PPO (meaning they will have coverage for generic and brand-name prescription drugs).

Q. How will I enroll in the new plan?
A. There will be a new, online enrollment process that will be faster and easier to use than the paper enrollment forms of the past. Through the new online enrollment system, you can make your elections 24/7, from home or the office, and you will be able to print a confirmation for your records.

Q. I’m currently being treated for a serious illness. Will my treatment be interrupted by the change in plans?
A. No. More than likely, given United's large network, your provider will be in the United network and your care will continue without interruption. Should your provider not be in the United network, the University has offered to set up a contingency fund for anyone affected severely by the move to the new plan, and is discussing implementation with the Faculty Senate and other groups. The University’s goal is to insure that no one is affected by a gap in coverage during the transition to the new insurance plan.

Q. Will the change include retirees?
A. The University is working on a revision to the current Retiree Medical Plan and will communicate that change once it is finalized.

Q. When will detailed information on the new plan be available?

A. The University will start posting detailed plan information to the web in mid-August, and complete information will be available on the web and in a print enrollment guide prior to the beginning of the open enrollment period in mid-October.

Q. Can I get help with the transition in person?
A. Absolutely. There will be small group information seminars beginning in October and continuing through the open enrollment period, and you can always call the Benefits Office at (718) 817-4932 or email benefits@fordham.edu for information, or to arrange a face-to-face meeting.

Q. Why is Fordham making the change?
A. The University redesigned the benefits program to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires a medical option that is considered affordable and meets requirements for essential coverage, while continuing to offer a choice of competitive, affordable health, dental, and vision benefits. The University decided that having one carrier offering different options was more cost-effective and gave Fordham more bargaining power in buying healthcare insurance.

Q. Why make the change now?
A. The Fordham University Board of Trustees set a deadline for June 30, 2014, and the bids solicited for the new plan had an expiration date of June 30. Without a decision by that deadline, the University would have had to issue a new request for proposals (RFP), resulting in more administrative costs, higher prices and, of course, another long delay in implementing the change.

Q. How was the final decision reached?
A. There was a competitive bidding process, overseen by a committee of faculty and administrators, and assisted by outside consultants, who spent many months developing a request for proposals, reviewing submissions, and interviewing bidders. All the parties to the process agreed upon the two finalists: United Healthcare and CIGNA; and, moreover, agreed that either choice would be acceptable. All of the parties were fully aware of the June 30 deadline.

This FAQ will be updated as more information becomes available. If you don’t see your question answered here, please email benefits@fordham.edu and we will include it in the next update, in addition to responding to you directly.

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