Announcement of Baylor Scott & White Health and BCBS Health Plan Discounts in the Brazos Valley

The Texas A&M University System and Baylor Scott and White Health, together with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), announced a collaboration which provides discounts to the Brazos Valley. The purpose of the discount arrangement is to improve the Brazos Valley community’s access to health care.

As of February 15th, Texas A&M University System offers employees and retirees new, lower cost, copays and inpatient/outpatient services. Physicians and facilities contracted with Baylor Scott & White and located in the Brazos Valley feature a $15 copay for specialists and a 10% coinsurance for other costs such as hospitalization. Primary care physician copays remain the same.

You must be enrolled in a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas health plan with the A&M System and use a Baylor Scott & White Health facility in the Brazos Valley to take advantage of these discounts. The discount is not available outside of the Brazos Valley. Individuals outside of the service area and those with established provider relationships outside of these facilities will continue to enjoy the same benefits they currently receive, and do not need to change their network plan to take advantage of these reductions.

Baylor Scott & White Health will be contacting their patients directly. Information regarding the discount will be available on the Health page on the A&M System Benefits Administration website, and in corresponding places on the plan rate sheets.

For any questions, employees and retirees are encouraged to speak with their provider, or reach out to our dedicated BCBSTX customer support team at 1-866-295-1212.

Musculoskeletal Pain: Here’s What You Can Do About It!

According to Healthline, musculoskeletal pain refers to pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. You can feel this pain in just one area of the body, such as your back. You can also have it throughout your body if you have a widespread condition like fibromyalgia.

The causes of musculoskeletal pain vary from damage to muscle tissue, trauma, overuse, and prolonged immobilization. Yes, that is correct, using your muscles too much and too little can both cause musculoskeletal pain!

Symptoms of musculoskeletal pain include pain and body aches, fatigue, and even sleep disturbances.

If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain, the A&M System has several programs available to you. To use these programs, you must be enrolled in an A&M System medical plan and be an employee, retiree, or dependent. These programs are currently not available to graduate student employees enrolled in the Grad plan.

Airrosti – Now with Virtual Offerings!

Airrosti provides diagnosis and treatment for most common musculoskeletal and joint conditions, including pain in the neck, back, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and feet. Their published outcome data shows their treatment to be effective at helping resolve everything from headaches to plantar fasciitis. Their data also indicates that they are just as effective at solving chronic back pain as they are at resolving acute sports/athletic injuries like pulls and strains, as well as repetitive stress/wear and tear injuries like tendonitis, frozen shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Check out Airrosti Remote Recovery for their digital solution at https://www.airrosti.com/remoterecovery/ or visit an Airrosti clinic in your area and present your BCBSTX insurance card. Employees and dependents enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 plus, and J plans are eligible to participate in Airrosti for a specialist copay. Retirees enrolled in a Medicare-primary plan can use the service for 20 percent coinsurance. Graduate student employees enrolled in the Grad plans may participate for a $35.00 copay.

2nd.MD – A Medical Second Opinion

Available to employees, retirees and their enrolled dependents on the A&M Care, 65 Plus and J plans, 2nd.MD offers medical second opinions and consultations with specialists via video or phone conference at no cost to you. If you are suffering from musculoskeletal pain and facing a possible surgery, or just have questions about chronic pain, 2nd.MD can help. You will get peace of mind and confidence in your treatment decisions when you speak directly with an expert in your specific diagnosis. A 2nd.MD doctor will take the time to evaluate your medical records, tests, and imaging to inform you of your treatment options. They can even connect you with a local doctor to start or continue your care.

Contact 2nd.MD by calling 1-866-410-8650 or visit 2nd.md/tamus.

Hinge Health

If you experience chronic back, knee, hip, neck, or shoulder pain you might want to check out Hinge Health. This is a new, 12-week, coach-led digital musculoskeletal (MSK) program based on proven nonsurgical care guidelines. It is delivered remotely using mobile and wearable technology.

You will go through a clinical screening to determine eligibility. You can submit the screening questionnaire at https://hingehealth.com/tamus if you are interested in the program. Your eligible Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plan will cover the program cost if you are accepted!

Hinge Health is only available to A&M System employees, retirees, and their spouses enrolled in the A&M Care, 65 Plus, and J plans.

COVID-19 Updates and Extensions

The current extension of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 is in effect until 04/20/2021. The following extensions apply to the A&M System medical insurance plans, COVID-19 testing and treatment.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield/A&M Care Plans

  • The co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be waived by the A&M System health plans until the end of the PHE.
  • The A&M System will waive all member deductibles, copays and coinsurance costs for treatment related to COVID-19 for all of the BCBS A&M Care Plans until 03/31/2021.
  • The copay has returned to normal cost for A&M Care plan members who receive telemedicine services from their network physicians who provide it, for medically-necessary, covered medical and behavioral health services.
  • The copay has returned to normal cost for MDLive services.

AHP/Graduate Student Employee Plan

  • The co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be waived by the AHP/Graduate Student Employee health plans until the end of the PHE.
  • The A&M System waiver for member deductibles, copays and coinsurance costs for treatment related to COVID-19 for all of the student insurance plans ended 12/31/2020.
  • The copay has returned to normal cost for those on the student insurance and graduate student employee plan who receive telemedicine services from their network physicians who provide it, for medically-necessary, covered medical and behavioral health services.
  • The copay has returned to normal cost for MDLive services.

Quick Reminders: 1095-C and Medicare Part D Out-of-Pocket Maximum

1095-C Reminder

Form 1095-C for the 2020 tax year is available electronically in Workday at https://sso.tamus.edu.  Once in Workday, click the Benefits Worklet. Select “My ACA Forms” in the View column. Please see our ACA Help page for more information. 

Medicare Part D Out-Of-Pocket Maximum

If you are enrolled in the A&M Care 65 Plus plan and the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, your out-of-pocket maximum restarted on January 1, 2021. Please contact your Benefits Office if you have any questions.

Avoiding Healthcare Scams and Things to Look For

Avoiding Healthcare Scams and Things to Look For

If you look at your caller ID and the call appears to be from your insurance provider or the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) but you pick up and hear a recording asking you to provide information or pay a sum of money urgently, it is likely not a legitimate call. You have been spoofed.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID, even those that seem to come from a government agency. During the holidays, these calls seem to increase in numbers. They also seem to follow any change in the healthcare landscape, or follow an election. Some common healthcare and insurance scams circulating today are:

  • Charging you for help getting new insurance
  • Medicare Cards
  • Medical Discount Scams
  • Insurance Agents
  • “I can help you. Really?”
  • “I’m from the government”
  • Unemployment claims being filed in your name

For this reason, it is important to be vigilant about your personal and financial information.

If you are ever unsure whether you really are speaking to the company in question, hang up, dial the number provided by your benefits administration or human resources office and ask to speak to a representative directly. Never give out information before confirming you are on the phone with that business. The FTC says the government will not call you about your health insurance, and no one from the government will ask you to verify your Social Security Number or bank information. Some government agencies might send you a letter (for example, Medicare and the IRS), but they will never ask you to wire them money or give your credit card number. If someone calls, emails, or texts and says they’re from the government, it’s a scam.

You can protect yourself from spoofing and other phone scams. The Texas Office of the Attorney General has resources to learn more and report suspected fraud. Read more at “How to Spot and Report Phone Scams.”

You can also enroll in ID Protection with Experian through your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas health insurance plan. The ID Protection plan includes:

  • Credit monitoring – Monitors activity that may affect credit.
  • Fraud detection – Identifies potentially fraudulent use of identity or credit.
  • Fraud resolution support and identity restoration
  • Up to $1 million in Identity Theft Insurance

You can proactively sign up for these services by logging into your Blue Access for Members Account, clicking “Identity Protection” under the Quick Links in the left-hand menu, and selecting “Start Adult Enrollment” or “Start Minor Enrollment”. The link will take you to Experian’s website where you will enter the activation code displayed, and fill out the rest of the form. You must re-enroll every year for security purposes. A new activation code will generate on your enrollment anniversary date each year.

New Insurance Billing Department Going Live December 1

The new SBA Insurance Billing Office will provide billing and payment processing services for insurance premium payments for all Retirees, Survivors, Graduate Fellows, and employees on leave beginning December 1, 2020. At that time, the P&A Group will no longer be administering billing or ACH services for these groups.

  • If you are currently enrolled in insurance billing, you should have received one or more letters regarding the options you have for potentially changing your method of premium payment.
  • If you are receiving monthly retirement funds from TRS, you can now have your premiums deducted from your monthly annuity before it is deposited to your bank account in the same way that Medicare premiums are deducted from your social security check. This way you do not have to worry about budgeting money to pay your insurance premiums.
  • If you are signed up for automatic draft payments (ACH), you may want to use the new method mentioned above if you are a TRS retiree.
  • If you are a retiree enrolled in insurance billing and would like to go ahead and change your payment method, contact us via email at SBAInsurance-Billing@tamus.edu or by telephone at (979) 845-0015. Our Customer Service hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

The A&M System Office and Insurance Billing Department will be closed for holiday on the following dates, consistent with the A&M System holidays: Noon on December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2020.