Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, August 9, 2010

Demand for Priority Health continues to decline; U-M to drop plan in 2012

The Priority Health insurance plan will be eliminated from U-M medical plan choices in 2012. For those already enrolled, no immediate action is needed. The plan will continue until the end of 2011, but no new enrollments will be allowed during this year’s Open Enrollment period, Oct. 25-Nov. 5.

 

More information

Questions and answers about this change.

• To speak with a benefits representative in the HR/Payroll Service Center, call 5-2000 (Ann Arbor campus phones), 734-615-2000 (local calling) or 866-647-7657 (toll-free long distance).

The university says the change can save money for employees currently in the plan.

“Priority Health is our most expensive plan, and our total enrollment is low,” says Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for Human Resources. “Each year, additional members have chosen to switch to one of our more cost-effective options and reduce the amount of their monthly contribution.”

The Benefits Office reports only about 1,700 of the approximately 36,000 faculty and staff members with university benefits choose Priority Health, and enrollments in the plan have been in steady decline, with more than 50 percent of members choosing other U-M plans over the last five years.

“Essentially, the plan will be frozen next year (2011) to allow more than a full year for those currently enrolled in the plan to review all of the U-M medical insurance options and to determine the other plans in which their health care providers participate,” says Thomas.

Letters will be sent from the Benefits Office to each enrolled employee as early notice of the elimination of the plan in 2012.

“Monthly premiums for Priority Health are the highest of our plans across all of the plan tiers, so it’s a good time for current members to consider one of the other options. For instance, more than 90 percent of physicians nationwide, including specialists, accept the BCBS Community Blue PPO plan,” says Brian Vasher, director of benefits operations. “But before switching to any medical plan, we strongly recommend that members check with the plan to see if their current provider participates.”

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff will be able to choose from among U-M Premier Care, Comprehensive Major Medical (CMM), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Community Blue PPO and Health Alliance Plan (HAP), with GradCare also available for eligible graduate students. Information on all U-M medical insurance plans, including access to provider directories for each plan, is found on the Benefits Office website.