Open enrollment

Open enrollment is the two-week period when benefits eligible employees can enroll in or change their benefit elections.

Open enrollment dates

  • Enrollment starts: Monday, November 6
  • Enrollment ends: Monday, November 20 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Coverage starts: January 1, 2018

How to enroll

  • Log into APEX (county access required)
  • Select the Open Enrollment tile
  • Make your elections
  • Click "Submit" under Election Summary
Expand all information

2018 benefit details and changes

What's changing for 2018

  • Improvements to the dental plan
  • Health plan premiums
  • Health plan benefits
  • Pharmacy network
  • Health plan tiering (Standard plan only)

View 2018 benefit changes presentation.

What’s not changing for 2018

The following benefits are the same as those offered in 2017:

  • Vision benefits and premiums
  • Flexible spending accounts (must re-enroll for 2018)
  • Vacation-PTO cash out

Learn about your benefits

There are a number of ways to learn about your benefits:

Get one-on-one answers to your open enrollment questions

You can schedule 15-minute telephone or Skype video meetings with benefits staff to get answers to your questions. This service is available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays during open enrollment.

What happens if you don’t enroll

If you don't enroll during open enrollment, your health, dental, and/or vision plan election will not change, but your 2018 health, dental and/or vision premium will increase as noted.

If you elected a flexible spending account for 2017, this will end on December 31, 2017.

To add a not-currently-covered dependent during open enrollment

Submit the dependent verification form and provide proper documentation by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 20, 2017, or your dependent will not be covered starting on January 1, 2018.

Dependent verification form (DOC)

Health plan

Health insurance is offered to eligible employees and dependents. It provides medical and pharmacy benefits, plus preventive dental for children to age 19. Your out-of-pocket costs for care and treatment depend on your plan and if health insurance incentive activities were completed.

Health plan comparison chart:

Plan information and tools

Find a provider

Health plan option: Advantage

Plan administrator: PreferredOne

This health insurance plan offers employees comprehensive coverage provided through a limited network of physicians, clinics and hospitals. The plan has both in-network and out-of-network benefits. There are no referrals needed to specialists within your network.

Additional benefits of the plan include:

  • Lower premiums — singles save nearly $400 and families almost $1,500 a year in premiums compared to the standard plan premiums.
  • Special concierge phone line to provide assistance, referral information and to answer any questions about your network.

Summary of benefits

Network

With Advantage you select one of the three networks that is right for you. You are able to see any provider in that network for the same co-pay. If you see a provider not in your network, you will be charged at the out-of-network level of benefits. Your out-of-network costs are separate from your in-network and out-of-pocket maximum.

How it works

1. Choose a network: be sure to use the PreferredOne provider search to confirm all your providers are in your chosen network.

2. Review coverage summary

3. Enroll

  • All family members must be enrolled in the same network.
  • If you add a dependent not currently covered to the health plan during open enrollment, you must submit the dependent eligibility verification form (DOC) and provide documentation before the end of open enrollment, or your dependent will not be covered on January 1, 2018.

Health plan option: Standard

Plan administrator: PreferredOne

This health insurance plan offers comprehensive benefits through a broad network of providers. The provider network is tiered based on quality and cost ratings. The tier of the provider you see will determine your out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and copays. Each covered family member may use providers in any tier. There are no referrals; you have access to all the providers within the network.

Summary of benefits

How it works

Tiering changes for 2018

Network 2018 tiering 2017 tiering
CentraCare 2 3
HealthPartners Clinics 2 1
Lakeview Clinic 2 3
North Clinic 2 1
North Memorial 2 1
Premier OB/GYN 2 3
Ridgeview Hospital and Clinics 2 3

Additional information — both plans

  • The Be Well Clinic offers convenient, high-quality care with no copay or deductible to all adult members (aged 18 and older).
  • CVS pharmacies (including those in Target stores) are no longer included in the Navitus pharmacy network. You will be responsible for the full cost of prescriptions if you use these pharmacies.
  • The deductible applies to prescription drugs.
  • Office visits for mental health/substance abuse in or out of network are covered at 100% with no deductible. There had been a deductible and coinsurance for out-of-network care.
  • The coverage for outpatient MRI and CT will be 75%; it had been 80%.
  • Out-of-network services deductible will increase from $1000 single/$3,000 family to $1500 single/$4,500 family.
  • Out-of-pocket maximum for in-network services will be $3,500 single/$5,500 family; out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network services will be $4,500 single/$6,500 family. Each are separate and are not included in the other.
  • The Advantage plans’ 2 free office visit copay program has been discontinued.

Health incentive

If you add a spouse to health insurance during open enrollment, both the employee's and spouse's health incentive for 2018 is dependent on the employee having completed the 2017 incentive requirement.

Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money you must pay for your medical expenses before your insurance pays. The deductible does not apply to the following services:

  • Preventive care
  • Be Well Clinic visits
  • Online care - Get the care you need for over 40 conditions without going to the doctor’s office.
  • Allergy injections
  • Office visits for mental health/substance abuse in or out of network

For all plans and networks except Advantage HCMC/NorthPoint, there will be an increase of the in-network deductible to $300 single/$600 family deductible; it had been $150 single/$300 family. The deductibles in the other Standard plan tiers have also increased.

There is no deductible in the HCMC / NorthPoint network plan.

Adding new dependents

Premiums

Due to increased medical claims costs on our plan, as well as the overall increased cost of healthcare, health premiums will be increasing for 2018. Premiums will be deducted pre-tax from each paycheck starting with the January 12, 2018 paycheck (the deductions have previously been semi-monthly).

Pharmacy

  • The deductible applies to prescription drugs
  • CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, are no longer in the Navitus network. You will be responsible for the full cost of prescriptions if you use these pharmacies.
  • Pharmacy formulary and benefits are the same on Standard and Advantage plans
  • Find a pharmacy in the Navitus Health Solutions network

Visit the Navi-Gate for Members website for details - use your PreferredOne member ID to login or register to become a member.

Save money

Compare costs between health plans (DOC) — you may be able to save money by switching plans.

Reduce your copay by participating in the health insurance incentive program.

Visit the Be Well Clinic where no office visit copay or deductible is required. (Prescription drug copays do apply)

Use online care for 60 of the most common conditions. There are no copays or deductibles.

  • Virtuwell (Advantage - HealthPartners / Park Nicollet, Standard)
  • OnCare (Advantage - Fairview / North Memorial/ HealthEast, Standard)
  • E-visits (Advantage - HCMC / NorthPoint)
  • MDLive (all plans)

Pay less on prescriptions by:

Get a discount on your Health club membership

Participate in Trade time for fitness

Plan contact information

Contact providers to schedule appointments, discuss care coordination and obtain other information.

Advantage — HealthPartners / Park Nicollet

  • 952-967-7108 or 800-861-1868
  • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday

Advantage — Fairview / North Memorial / HealthEast

  • 612-672-2952 or 855-821-4832
  • 24/7

Advantage — Hennepin County Medical Center / NorthPoint

  • 612-873-5700
  • 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday - Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

Health plan administrator: PreferredOne

  • Visit PreferredOne
  • 763-847-4477 (Toll free: 1-800-379-7727)
  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday - Friday

Pharmacy

To search for a participating pharmacy or view pharmacy benefit information:

Dental plan

Dental insurance is offered to benefit-earning employees and eligible dependents. The dental plan is administered by HealthPartners. This plan is not the same as the union-sponsored dental plan. To get information about the union dental plan, call AFSCME at 651-450-4990.

2018 coverage

The dental plan offers comprehensive benefits including orthodontia for children, in and out-of-network.  The provider network is tiered.  The tier of the provider you see will determine your out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and coinsurance.  Each covered family member may use providers in any tier.

For children 12 and younger, all services except for orthodontia and implants are covered at 100% and there is no maximum annual benefit.

Summary of benefits

Find a dentist

Benefit improvements for 2018

The county has made significant investments in the dental plan.

  • The county will cover 40 percent of plan costs for non-union employees. Unions will negotiate dental plan premiums for 2019.
  • Benefit annual maximum has been raised.
    • Benefit level 1 has been increased from $1,200 to $1,500 per year.
    • Benefit level 2 has been increased from $1,000 to $1,200 per year.
    • Out of network has been increased from $500 to $1,000 per year.
  • Orthodontics lifetime maximum has been increased to $2,000 for benefit levels 1 and 2 and out of network. Current members will have access to the additional $1,000 benefit starting January 1 if they have orthodontic services.
  • Out-of-network coverage has been increased to match benefit level 2 coverage.

Adding new dependents

Premiums

Premiums will be deducted before taxes from each paycheck starting January 12, 2018. The deductions have previously been monthly.

Non-union employees with county contribution:

  • Single: $11.34
  • Family: $25.44

Union employees no county contribution:

  • Single: $18.96
  • Family: $42.42

Provider contact information

  • 952-883-5000
  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday - Friday

Learn more

Watch the HealthPartners dental plan video.

Vision plan

Vision plan video

The vision plan video will give you an overview of how this new plan works, examples of how the benefit payment works, how to find a provider, and much more. 

Watch the video (9 minutes)

Vision insurance

Vision insurance is offered to benefit earning employees and eligible dependents through EyeMed.

It provides materials only coverage for frames, lenses, and contact lenses. Out-of-pocket cost for materials depends on the frame and lens options you select.

Eye exams are provided through the health insurance plan.

Plan highlights

$175 frame allowance every 12 months

Lens OR contact lens allowance every 12 months:

  • $25 standard lens copay (copay varies based on lens type)
  • $175 contact lens allowance every 12 months

Fixed pricing on lens options

40% discount on additional complete pairs of frames and lenses

Savings on non-prescription sunglasses

Employees can use BOTH the frame and lens (or contact lens) benefit to purchase contacts and glasses in the same plan year. Learn more about glasses and contacts (PDF)

Adding new dependents

Premiums

Premiums will be deducted before taxes from each paycheck starting January 12, 2018. The deductions have previously been monthly.

  • Employee: $2.46
  • Employee + Spouse: $4.62
  • Employee + Child(ren): $4.86
  • Family: $7.20

Contact EyeMed

  • 866-804-0982
  • 6:30 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday - Saturday
  • 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday

Flexible spending accounts

A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you set aside pre-tax money from your paycheck to pay for qualified expenses, such as deductibles, coinsurance and copays. Because federal, state, Medicare and FICA taxes are not deducted, you end up with more money in your pocket. These programs lower your taxable income and may affect your future Social Security benefits.

If your spouse has a Health Savings Account (HSA) through their employer, you cannot elect the HCEA. Because both of these plans result in tax savings, the IRS forbids a person who has a HSA from also having access through a spouse to a FSA HCEA which could pay medical expenses.

Go to the 121 Benefits website for:

  • Flexible spending account information and reimbursement forms 
  • Flexible spending account summary
  • Flexible spending account summary plan description
  • $500 carry over FAQs

To make changes to your flexible spending account outside of open enrollment, use the mid-year change form (DOC).

Health care expense account

The health care expense account is a way for you to set aside pre-tax dollars to help cover medical, dental or vision expenses for you, your spouse (if filing joint income tax return) or any claimed tax-eligible dependent. You or any tax-eligible dependents do not have to be covered under the county's health insurance to have claims reimbursed.

The maximum annual contribution is $2,650 per employee.

Eligible expenses

See a list of eligible expenses.

Enrollment and changes

Employees may enroll during the annual open enrollment period. To enroll mid-year or make changes due to a qualifying life event, complete the mid-year change form (DOC)

Changes to the flexible spending account can only be made if an IRS-defined qualifying life event occurs. If an election change is made, the change only applies as of the date of change. For example, if the account election is $2,000 and on June 1, due to a life event, the election was increased to $2,500 the extra $500 could be applied to claims incurred June 1 or later.

Reimbursement

There are two reimbursement options available: debit card or reimbursement request form. Visit the 121 Benefits website to learn more.

New reimbursement cards coming soon

If you are currently enrolled in the health care expense account, you will receive a new blue debit card in late November. This will replace your current red Benny card.  Once your new card arrives, destroy the red card and begin using the new blue card. The card is activated the first time you use it.

Deadline

To be reimbursed, claims must be incurred during the 2018 plan year (January 1 - December 31). Any unused funds up to $500 carry over to the 2019 plan year. Any unused funds over $500 will be forfeited.

All 2018 claims must be submitted to 121 Benefits by March 31, 2019.

Dependent care assistance program

This program lets you set aside pre-tax dollars for eligible child day care and elder care expenses. Both the employee and spouse must be working, attending school or looking for work.

The maximum contribution is $5,000 per family per year.

Eligible expenses

Eligible expenses are for a dependent under the age of 13 or one who is physically or mentally unable to provide care for him/herself and lives with you more than half the year. See IRS publication 503 (PDF) for details.

Fees for in-home child care, licensed day care, preschool facilities, before and after school care programs, and elder care can be submitted for reimbursement. Fees for kindergarten are not eligible expenses. If you have specific questions, call 121 Benefits at 612-253-6633 or 1-800-300-1672.

Enrollment and changes

Employees may enroll during the annual open enrollment period. To enroll mid-year or make changes due to a qualifying life event, complete the mid-year change form (DOC)

Changes to the flexible spending account can only be made if an IRS-defined qualifying life event occurs. If an election change is made, the change only applies as of the date of change. For example, if the account election is $2,000 and on June 1, due to a life event, the election was increased to $2,500 the extra $500 election could only be applied to claims incurred June 1 or later.

Reimbursement

For reimbursement, visit 121 Benefits for the dependent care claim form.

Deadline and grace period

To be reimbursed, claims must be incurred during the plan year (January 1 - December 31) or the following grace period (January 1 - March 15). Any unused funds will be forfeited.

All 2018 claims must be submitted to 121 Benefits by March 31, 2019.

Adoption assistance program

This program lets you set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for adoption expenses.

The maximum annual election is $12,000.

Eligible expenses

Eligible expenses as defined by the IRS include:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Counseling fee
  • Traveling fees

For questions about other eligible expenses, please contact 121 Benefits FSA at 612-253-6633 or 1-800-300-1672.

Domestic adoptions

If the eligible child is a U.S. citizen or resident of the United States, program participants can be reimbursed for eligible expenses from an adoption flexible spending account even if the adoption never becomes final. See IRS code section 137(a) (PDF).

Foreign adoptions

If the eligible child is not a U.S. citizen or resident, participants cannot be reimbursed for eligible expenses from an adoption flexible spending account unless the adoption becomes final. Under IRS Code Section 137(a) (PDF), reimbursements of qualifying adoption expenses must have been incurred during the period of adoption flexible spending account coverage.

Enrollment and changes

Employees may enroll during the annual open enrollment period. To enroll mid-year or make changes, complete the mid-year change form (DOC)

Employees may change their elections for adoption flexible spending account benefits upon:

  • The commencement of an adoption proceeding
  • An increase in the number of the employee's dependents due to a placement for adoption or an adoption
  • The termination of an adoption proceeding

The regulations also require any change due to the above events be on account of and consistent with the event. The regulations consider any change that affects eligibility or the amount of adoption expenses to correspond with the change in status.

Reimbursement

For reimbursement, visit 121 Benefits for the adoption spending account form.

Deadline and grace period

To be reimbursed, claims must be incurred during the plan year (January 1 - December 31) or the following grace period (January 1 - March 15). Any unused funds will be forfeited.

All 2018 claims must be submitted to 121 Benefits by March 31, 2018.

Flexible spending FAQs

General 

I’m enrolling in the FSA-HCEA for the first time. When will I get my debit card and how many will I receive?

New enrollees will receive two debit cards by early January.

I know that dependent care election limit is $5,000 per family per year. Can only one parent put aside the entire $5,000? What if they are married and file separately?

If the parents are married and filing taxes jointly, either parent can elect the entire $5,000. If they file separately, each is limited to an election of $2,500 per year.

Health care expense account

Do I need to re-enroll if I used HCEA in 2017?

Yes, you must re-enroll and enter your 2018 HCEA amount in APEX during open enrollment.

What do I need to know about the flexible spending account debit card?

  • This is provided at no cost to you. If you request a replacement card, a fee will apply.
  • Your card will activate on the first use.
  • The card cannot be used to pay for over-the-counter medicines (OTC).
  • You may be asked to provide substantiation for some claims, so save your receipts. If you don't respond to the substantiation notice, your card will be suspended and at year-end the amount will become taxable income.
  • Go to the 121 Benefits website for additional information about the card.

When will the first 2018 deduction come out of my paycheck?

January 12, 2018.

Is the entire amount of my health care expense account election for 2018 available at the beginning of the year, even though no money has been contributed?

Yes. You can access your entire election on the first day of the plan year. For the dependent care and adoption accounts, you can only be reimbursed up to the amount you have contributed to your account.

Can the amount carried to 2018 be less than $500?

Yes. The rules are you can carry up to $500 of used election dollars to the next year.

I am retiring in 2018. What should I consider when signing up for the health care expense account for 2018?

If you are retiring, you need to be aware your account ends the day you terminate your employment with the county and your debit card it turned off. Any dollars left can only be used to reimburse claims that were incurred prior to your termination. Regardless of your retirement date, your full election for 2018 is available January 1 and if you spend more than you have contributed by the time you retire, the county will not ask you to pay back the excess.

Can I continue my health care expense account after I retire?

You have the option to continue your account through COBRA using after tax dollars.

Claims submission

How do we submit claims for the dependent care expense account?

For any of the accounts, you can file claims online, use the mobile app to upload documentation or fax or mail a claim form with supporting documentation or have the provider certify the applicable section of the claim form as documentation.

How long does it take to be paid out after a claim is submitted?

Claims will be processed every Monday and Thursday and are paid on Wednesdays and Mondays.

Open enrollment FAQs

General

When is open enrollment?

  • Begins: November 6, 2017
  • Ends: November 20, 2017, 4:30 p.m. CST

How can I check what benefits I currently have?

  • Log into APEX.
  • Select the "Total Rewards and Benefits" tile.
  • Select the "Benefits Information" dropdown from the top left menu, and click "Benefits Summary."
  • Change the date to view the date. For example, if today was October 16, enter "10/16/2016" and click "Go."

About health insurance

Do I need to re-enroll this year?

No. If you don't do anything, your current health plan election will roll over to 2018.

How will coordination of benefits work between PreferredOne and another plan we may have through the spouse's employer?

Your coverage through the county is the primary or first payer of your claims; your coverage through your spouse is the secondary payer. Show both member ID cards to your provider when you check in for an appointment.

What is the concierge line?

The concierge phone line provides assistance, referral information and answers to any questions you have about your Advantage network. More information can be found on the concierge service tab on www.advantagehennepin.com.

Will I get new ID cards for 2018?

Yes. New cards will be mailed to you in late December.

About dental insurance

Do I need to re-enroll this year?

No. If you don't do anything your current dental plan election will roll over to 2018.

Will I get new ID cards for 2018?

Yes.

Will I have access to the increased orthodontic benefit if I already have orthodontic services?

Yes. Current members will have access to the additional $1,000 benefit (total of $2,000 lifetime maximum for benefit levels 1 and 2 and out of network) starting January 1 if they have orthodontic services.

What is Little Partners?

Little Partners is a dental benefit specifically for covered children up to the age of 13. With Little Partners, most services* (for example - cleanings, filling, extractions, crowns) done by any network dentist are covered at 100%. There are no deductibles or coinsurance and there is no limit on how much care a child can get in a year.

*This coverage does not apply to orthodontics or implants.

About the dependent care assistance program (DCAP)

Who administers the DCAP?

121 Benefits will continue to be our plan administrator for 2018.

Do I need to re-enroll if I used DCAP in 2017?

Yes, you must re-enroll and enter your 2018 DCAP amount in APEX during open enrollment.

When will the first 2018 deduction come out of my paycheck?

January 12, 2018.

About the adoption assistance program (AAP)

Who administers the AAP?

121 Benefits will continue to be our plan administrator for 2018.

Do I need to re-enroll if I used AAP in 2017?

Yes, you must re-enroll and enter your 2017 AAP amount in APEX during open enrollment.

When will the first 2018 deduction come out of my paycheck?

January 12, 2018.

Who do I contact regarding claims submitted?

121 Benefits, 612-877-4322 or 1-877-918-3622

I still need help and have questions. What are my options?

Benefits-related:

APEX technical assistance/issues:

Open enrollment presentations

2018 benefit changes

View 2018 benefit changes presentation

Dental plan

View HealthPartners video

Vision plan

View EyeMed vision plan video

Flexible spending accounts

View 121 Benefits presentation

Get one-on-one answers to your open enrollment questions

You can schedule 15-minute telephone or Skype video meetings with benefits staff to get answers to your questions. This service is available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays during open enrollment.

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