SEB Board meets for the final time before open enrollment
On Thursday, August 29, 2019, the School Employees Benefits Board (SEB Board) met for the final time before the SEBB Program’s first annual open enrollment.
The information presented applies to eligible employees of Washington’s school districts and charter schools, and represented employees of educational service districts, with coverage starting January 1, 2020.
The following informational items were presented to the SEB Board. To get all of the materials presented at the August 29 SEB Board meeting, view the briefing book.
- Dave Iseminger, Employees and Retirees Benefits (ERB) Division director, and Scott Palafox, ERB Division deputy director, reviewed the actions taken by the Board and the work performed by ERB staff to prepare for the SEBB Program’s implementation.
- Cade Walker, executive special assistant to the ERB Division director, presented information on the school districts’ optional benefits.
- School districts’ optional benefits are benefits offered by school districts that are separate and distinct from the mandatory and supplemental benefits under the SEBB Program’s authority.
- The SEB Board is to review school districts’ optional benefits and determine if the optional benefits conflict with the Board’s offering authority.
- Based on the evaluation, the SEB Board may seek additional benefits offering authority from the Legislature.
- School districts must submit their additional optional benefits to the SEBB Program by December 1 of each year. The SEB Board will provide a response on behalf of the SEB Board to school districts, responding that either:
- The additional optional benefit is in conflict with the SEB Board authority, and it is not permitted to be offered by the district.
- The additional optional benefit is not in conflict with SEB Board authority.
- For benefits that do not conflict with the Board’s offering authority, the SEB Board cannot approve, endorse, sponsor, or otherwise authorize school districts’ optional benefits.
- Beth Heston, ERB Division contract manager, asked the board for recommendations on the incremental improvements to the SEBB Program’s basic (employer-paid) long-term disability (LTD) benefit strategy.
- The current basic benefit has a maximum of $400 per month, and the supplemental (employee-paid) benefit has a maximum of $10,000 per month.
- The Board will have until the end of its 2020 Board season (July 2020) to make improvements to the 2021 LTD basic benefit design.
- Lauren Johnston, SEBB senior account manager, updated the board on the implementation of SEBB contracts. Implementation highlights as of August 20 include:
- Davis Vision, EyeMed Vision, Uniform Dental Plan (UDP), DeltaCare, Willamette Dental, Navia, and MetLife had completed eligibility and enrollment file testing.
- Medical plans Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Kaiser Permanente of Washington, and Kaiser Permanente of Washington Options, Inc., and dental plans UDP and Willamette Dental had completed their certificates of coverage.
- Kaiser Permanente Northwest medical plan, Vision plans Davis Vision and EyeMed, and LTD insurance plan The Standard have completed carrier microsites.
- Online medical provider search tools are live (see page 211 of the briefing book).
- Lauren Johnston also presented a provider disruption report.
- Based on 2017-18 K-12 provider data, 90.4 percent of K-12 providers who will be in the networks in 2020 are either in Regence UMP or Premera networks under the SEBB Program. The analysis does not indicate that there will be widespread provider disruption for medical providers.
- Based on the same data, K-12 members currently enrolled in a Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) or Kaiser Permanente Washington (KPWA) Core plan will have no provider disruption if they select a SEBB KPNW or KPWA Core.
- K-12 members currently enrolled in a KPWA Core plan who select a SEBB KPWA SoundChoice plan may have minimal provider disruption if they live in the Spokane area, since SoundChoice is a smaller network than KPWA Core.
- K-12 members currently enrolled in a KPWA Options Access PPO plan will have no provider disruption if they select a SEBB KPWA Options Access PPO plan.
- Justin Hahn, Washington Wellness program manager, presented information on the SmartHealth wellness program for SEBB employees, including:
- The plan for launching SEBB SmartHealth and how subscribers can qualify for the $50 wellness incentive by completing the Well-being Assessment.
- How to register for SmartHealth through SEBB My Account and directly through the SmartHealth website.
- Plans to promote SEBB SmartHealth, including promotional items, outreach events, and SmartHealth videos.
- Renee Bourbeau, ERB Division Benefits Accounts section manager, and Alisa Richards, ERB customer service operations manager, presented information on the implementation of SEBB Continuation Coverage for persons who will be on continuation coverage through their SEBB organizations on December 31, 2019. Starting January 1 2020, HCA will administer SEBB Continuation Coverage, including:
- Communicating with members.
- Mailing election notices, forms and letters.
- Sending invoices and collecting payments.
- Providing customer service through a 1-800 phone line.
- Verifying eligibility and enrolling members in coverage.
- Jesse Paulsboe, SEBB Outreach and Training manager, updated the board on training sessions for school district benefits administrators and the upcoming SEBB virtual benefits fair.
- Two-day benefits administrator training sessions started August 1 and end September 26. Training covers eligibility, benefits, SEBB My Account, websites for benefits administrators and employees, appeals processes, and continuation coverage options. As of August 26, 407 attendees were trained, representing SEBB organizations with over 78 percent of the total SEBB employee population.
- The SEBB Virtual Benefits Fair will be available online starting October 1, with booths for each carrier. It is expected to remain open until next summer.
- Jerry Britcher, HCA’s chief information officer, updated the board on testing SEBB My Account, the SEBB Program’s online enrollment system.
- SEBB My Account beta testing (external) was successful, with 105 users logged in. Eighty-two percent of subscribers and 85 percent of administrators said the system was intuitive.
- Internal testing was successful for 5,000 concurrent users, and the system can support 150,000 users accessing the system in a one-hour period.
- Alisa Richards updated the board on the SEBB My Account contact center, which will be available to provide technical support for SAW and SEBB My Account during the first annual open enrollment.
- Faneuil is the contact center vendor.
- Member support includes assistance with:
- Registering as a new user with SAW and SEBB My Account.
- Navigation of SAW and SEBB My Account.
- Uploading dependent verification documents.
- Plan selection.
- Adding dependents.
- Referring callers to Washington Technology Solutions for SAW account issues, and to their school district benefits administrator for eligibility questions.
Coming up next
The SEB Board’s 2019 season has concluded. The SEBB Program’s first annual open enrollment begins October 1 and ends November 15, 2019, with benefits beginning January 1, 2020.