New Rates Announced

Harvard Pilgrim H.M.O. To Be Introduced At B.C.

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

The Benefits Office has announced that the University will change its employee membership in the Harvard Community Health Plan to the new Harvard Pilgrim HMO Plan, in a switch that will give Harvard subscribers additional choices for health care providers. The change will take effect May 1.

The office also announced that employee contributions for members in the Pilgrim Advantage Plan will not rise for the coming year, and that premiums for the Delta Dental and Harvard plans will rise slightly.

Since merging three years ago, the Harvard and Pilgrim health insurance carriers have been working to integrate their operations, explained Benefits Manager John Burke, who said all groups offering HCHP or Pilgrim's HMO are expected to convert to the integrated plan by next year.

"We decided to offer the plan this year primarily because it greatly expands the number of providers available to our HMO members," Burke said.

As a result of the switch, Burke said current HCHP subscribers will now be able to choose from the 16,000 providers affiliated with the Pilgrim HMO in addition to the 4,000 affiliated with HCHP. A referral from a primary care physician will still be required to see a specialist under the plan.

New identification cards and member handbooks will be sent by Harvard Pilgrim to all current HCHP subscribers by May 1. Changes in coverage from Harvard to the integrated plan are relatively few and minor, but include such areas as emergency room and prescription drug co-payments. Burke urged subscribers to read carefully materials sent by Harvard Pilgrim.

In announcing the new medical and dental rates for the coming year, the Benefits Office noted that employees who wish to subscribe to a health or dental insurance plan, or change health plans must do so this month.

Rates for the Pilgrim Advantage Plan will not change: The total individual premium will be $232.11, with a monthly employee cost of $35 with the difference paid by the University; the family premium will be $626.74, at a monthly employee cost of $126.

An employee on Harvard's individual plan will pay $2 more per month in the coming year, $31.32, with the balance of the premium of $208.71 paid by the University. Employee contributions to family memberships will rise by $6 per month to $112.72, out of a total monthly premium of $563.52.

The Delta Dental increase is less than $1 per month. The individual plan involves a monthly employee contribution of $8.88 for a total premium of $22.20, and a contribution of $30.12 for the family plan, for which the total premium is $75.29.

The rate changes will take effect in May.

During the open enrollment period in April, eligible employees may switch coverage from one plan to another, enroll in a medical or dental plan for the first time, or change membership between individual and family plans. Information about plans is available on a table outside the Benefits Office in More 330. Applications must be submitted by April 24.

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