In This Edition
- Leave of Absence Insurance Changes
- Understanding your Health Savings Account (HSA) and your Limited Use Healthcare (FSAEE) account.
- How to Get Benefits Help
Leave of Absence Insurance Changes
If you are planning to take a health-related leave of absence, please be advised that management is changing the way health care premiums will be handled. The process for paying for continuing health care coverage while on such a paid leave of absence will be changing. We have been advised that leaves will be coded differently in PeopleSoft in the future. This change in coding will mean that health benefit premiums will no longer automatically be deducted from your paycheck EVEN IF you are coordinating.
If you are coordinating sick leave, vacation or PTO with Short Term Disability or California State Disability, management considers these to be a paid leave. Under this new policy, you will receive a letter from Cobra Management Services (CMS) with instructions for paying the employee portion of your health benefits premium each month. Once you have been on a Worker’s Compensation leave of absence for twelve weeks, and begin coordinating sick leave, vacation or PTO with Worker’s Compensation time loss payments, the process will be the same.
This does NOT mean that you are being required to pay for COBRA coverage under this coding change, but you will have to self-pay the employee premium directly to CMS. It is very important that the premiums be paid on time, or health benefits will end.
If you are already on a leave of absence and are coordinating to keep health benefits in place, we suggest that you double-check your paychecks each month to be sure that premiums have been deducted. If not, contact your leave coordinator immediately.
Understanding your Health Savings Account (HSA) and Your Limited Use Healthcare (FSAEE) Account
The high deductible PPO comes with a prefunded health savings account (HSA) that was funded on January 1, 2017 with $1000 from Alaska Airlines (and a portion of your designated contributions). Your FSAEE should be completely funded at this time.
Both of these accounts are managed with your Premera Healthcare Payment card. When you use this card, vision and dental will withdraw from the FSAEE contributions and medical expenses will withdraw from the HSA. Under our plan, you can roll over $500 each year to the FSAEE while roll over to the HSA is currently unlimited. This means that your HSA dollars can be used to pay for medical cost after you separate from the company.
This healthcare payment card is used like a credit card and should be treated as such.
You can learn more about these two accounts, your balances, payments and what both accounts can be used for at: www.premera.com. After logging in, proceed to Member > Member Services > My Account > Personal Funding Account > Manage Your Account (shows balances, how much you can contribute each year, payments, etc.) You will also find a Help and Tools tab here for qualified medical expenses and FAQs.
How to Get Benefits Help
Your Local Benefits Committee is available to assist you. You can find contact information at http://afaalaska.org/benefits.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green, Brice McGee and MEC Benefits Committee Chairperson Terry Taylor