SEBAC 2011 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will state employees who opt into the Health Enhancement Program (HEP) in SEBAC 2011 have to change doctors?

  2. Is it true that some local pharmacies will no longer be able to fill prescriptions for state employees if the SEBAC 2011agreement is ratified?
  3. Under the Health Enhancement Program, who will decide if participating state employee is making the best decisions about their own health care?
  4. If there are no treatment requirements for participating state employees, what does the Health Enhancement Program require?
  5. Can insurance companies play “gotcha” with state employees participating on the Health Enhancement Program to raise their rates?
  6. If a state employee has one of the Health Enhancement Program’s five listed diseases, do they have to let a third party make their healthcare choices~or pay an extra $100 per month?
  7. How are employees that weren’t paying 3% for retiree healthcare going to begin contributing? And what if they leave state service without qualifying or want to waive coverage?
  8. I’m confused by the wording of the new 15-year requirement for retiree healthcare. I understand it will affect all new employees. Is there any way to say more simply how it will affect current employees?
  9. Regarding the new chart of retiree healthcare premium shares for employees who choose to retire before their normal retirement age, is that in addition to the premium share they would currently pay if they choose the POS plan?
  10. Is the retiree health care chart for early retirement in addition to the $100 a month future retirees would pay if they choose not to enroll in the Health Enhancement Program?
  11. Does the language in the new tentative agreement “the maximum salary that can be considered as part of an individual’s pension benefit is the amount outlined in Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code indicate the parties’ agreement that hazardous duty members who retire at younger ages are appropriately subject to a lower maximum pension?
  12. It was stated at a union meeting in May that Research Assistants and Associates are eligible for raises as long as the increase is covered by a grant as they are not protected from layoff. When will Research Assistants and Associates receive their increase?
  13. How is my Longevity service time and pay affected?

1. Will state employees who opt into the Health Enhancement Program (HEP) in SEBAC 2011 have to change doctors?

No. Nothing in the plan changes including choice of doctors, hospitals or treatments. You add the health enhancement program to your current plan.

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2.  Is it true that some local pharmacies will no longer be able to fill prescriptions for state employees if the SEBAC 2011 agreement is ratified?

Only partly. There is a new mandatory mail order program, but it affects only “maintenance medications” – prescription drugs you take for a long period of time. Other medications, like antibiotics for strep throat, will continue to be available through the local pharmacies. Even for maintenance medications, the first order for any prescription will be available at the local pharmacy. Renewals will be delivered by mail to your home, with a 90-day supply available for a single co-pay. In addition, all CVS’s, and any other local pharmacy that wishes to participate in the maintenance drug network, may serve as a mail drop for those members wishing to pick their mail order prescription up at a pharmacy, rather than receive them at home.

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3.  Under the Health Enhancement Program, who will decide if participating state employee is making the best decisions about their own health care?

You, the state employee, along with your doctor, just as you do now. The HEP is an effort to get the most number of state employees the best information about their health status, and assumes that most people, given the right information, will make the best treatment choices. There are no penalties for making the wrong treatment choices.

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4.  If there are no treatment requirements for participating state employees, what does the Health Enhancement Program require?

You must sign a written commitment to get the applicable physicals and screenings listed in the agreement, and if you have one of the five listed illnesses to sign up for disease counseling and education. You do not make any promise, and will not be judged on whether you actually follow any recommended treatment approach or take any particular medication.

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5.  Can insurance companies play “gotcha” with state employees participating on the Health Enhancement Program to raise their rates?

No. The State is self-insured, so the insurance vendors are simply paid fees to administer our claims. Those fees will be unaffected whether you choose to participate in the HEP or not.

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6. If a state employee has one of the Health Enhancement Program’s five listed diseases, do they have to let a third party make their healthcare choices ~or pay an extra $100 per month?

No. If you have one of the five listed illnesses, and you choose to participate in the HEP, you will get free office visits and reduced pharmacy co-pays for your illness . You will also get disease counseling and education through programs already administered by our current insurance carriers. But counseling and education means what it says -you will get information about your illness and telephone suggestions from a nurse practitioner or other healthcare professional connected to the disease counseling and education program. You are not required to follow these – the decision about what treatment to get is up to you and your doctor.

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7.  How are employees that weren’t paying 3% for retiree healthcare going to begin contributing? And what if they leave state service without qualifying or want to waive coverage?

Starting in 2013, current employees who were not already paying 3% of their salary towards retiree healthcare will start to pay 1/2% that July, increasing to 2% in July of 2014, and 3% in July of 2015.They will contribute for 10 years, or until they retire, whichever happens first. They get their contributions back if they retire without qualifying for retiree healthcare. And if they can show they have retiree healthcare available from another employer, they can waive coverage.

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8.  I’m confused by the wording of the new 15-year requirement for retiree healthcare. I understand it will affect all new employees. Is there any way to say more simply how it will affect current employees?

Current employees do not have to meet the 15-year requirement in order to be eligible for retiree health care. New employees do.

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9.  Regarding the new chart of retiree healthcare premium shares for employees who choose to retire before their normal retirement age, is that in addition to the premium share they would currently pay if they choose the POS plan?

No. This premium is instead of the previously existing premium shares.

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10.  Is the retiree health care chart for early retirement in addition to the $100 a month future retirees would pay if they choose not to enroll in the Health Enhancement Program?

The $100 a month payment would be in addition to any other premium share owed by a retiree who declines to enroll in the Health Enhancement Program.

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11.  Does the language in the new tentative agreement “the maximum salary that can be considered as part of an individual’s pension benefit is the amount outlined in Section415 of the Internal Revenue Code indicate the parties’ agreement that hazardous duty members who retire at younger ages are appropriately subject toga lower maximum pension?

No. The Agreement reflects the current federal maximum salary cap for pension purposes. This agreement does not affect the separate federal issue of which hazardous duty employees are covered by the police and fire exemption. The SEBAC unions are jointly seeking to apply the police and fire exemption to all hazardous duty employees to the maximum extent allowed by federal law.

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12.  It was stated at a union meeting in May that Research Assistants and Associates are eligible for raises as long as the increase is covered by a grant as they are not protected from layoff. When will Research Assistants and Associates receive their increase?

The agreement that was ultimately reached with AAUP does not provide for salary increases regardless of whether the employee is protected from layoff.

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13. How is my Longevity service time and pay affected?

For all employees:

  • No employee first hired on or after July 1, 2011 shall be entitled to a longevity payment.  The exception is:  any individual hired on or after July 1, 2011 who has military service which would count toward longevity under current rules shall be entitled to longevity after they obtain the requisite service in the future.

For those employees represented by collective bargaining:

  • No longevity payments in October 2011
  • Longevity pay and service is frozen (based on longevity service as of 6/30/2011) for two years through June 30, 2013
  • Longevity pay will be paid in April 2012, October 2012, and April 2013 based on longevity service as of 6/30/2011
  • On July 1, 2013, Longevity service will be made whole to include service between 7/1/2011 and 6/30/2013

For those employees not represented by collective bargaining (Per Item 1707-E), which pertains to the extension of SEBAC to Employees Exempt from Collective Bargaining:

  • Longevity payments will be issued to those employees who had received a Longevity Payment in April of 2011.
  • All Longevity payments going forward are based on your Longevity service as of September 1, 2011.

For Payroll concerns, please contact the Payroll Department at 860-486- 2423

All other questions should be directed to Labor Relations at 860-486-5684

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