The System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee met for the second time during FY20 on February 22, 2020. The current state of the benefit plans was discussed. Below are some highlights from the meeting:

 

  • Health plan enrollment increased slightly as the number of employees and retirees overall has increased since last year. There are currently 30,738 covered employees and retirees, and 25,819 covered dependents. Total paid claims for the health plan are slightly higher than at the same time during FY19 and total $105.7M as of the end of December.
  • System Benefits Administration is required to bid the health plan every 6 years. Requests for Proposals were submitted for two carriers, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield will remain the health insurance plan provider for FY21-FY27. Their bid offered significant savings in provider discounts over the next closest bidder.
  • The Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Request for Proposals are currently under review by the A&M System. The finalist will be announced on April 22.
  • MDLIVE, the virtual visit service that allows covered plan participants to talk to a doctor via video and phone, has been active for 18 months. We are performing better than book of business for utilization comparable to other higher education entities.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas reported that cancer continues to be the System’s highest diagnostic category followed by musculoskeletal and circulatory conditions. Breast cancer is our highest-cost cancer and most prevalent with 7/1000 claimants per year. Cervical/colorectal cancer costs remain below benchmark, which is attributed to early detection from the preventive screenings. System Benefits Administration continues to use this data to strategically assess the employee wellness program and participation in preventive screenings.
  • A&M System participants are above the BCBSTX benchmark on all preventive screenings (Colon, breast, wellness, well-baby, well-child, etc).
    A&M System Benchmark
    Cholesterol 58.5% 37%
    Annual Wellness Exam 69% 39.6%
    Mammmograms 62.7% 45.6%
  • Health plans are evolving towards a wellbeing management structure, which involves increasing targeted communications to raise awareness and boost utilization of existing programs.
  • The biggest cost driver in student plans for last year across the country, as well as in our plan, was prescription drugs.