Capitol news bureau
The state Office of Group Benefits is extending its customer service hours beginning Monday as about 230,000 members prepare to enroll in new health insurance plans. The service line will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday to assist those seeking more information about their plan options.
The customer service line is (800) 272-8451.
The monthlong enrollment period for state employees, retirees and their dependents and some public school system employees begins Oct. 1. All members must decide which plan they want to use in 2015.
OGB has contracted with Ansafone, a call center that specializes in health care enrollment, for the weeks surrounding the annual enrollment period. Ansafone representatives have experience with managing benefit plans and have been trained extensively on OGB and its offerings, according to an OGB-issued news release.
The customer service expansion is part of a multifaceted informational campaign launched by the Jindal administration in advance of the major revamp of health insurance offerings.
Premiums remain the same, but most members’ out-of-pocket expenses will rise with higher deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance costs if they want the same type of coverage they have today.
OGB also has scheduled 41 meetings across the state and 12 live webinars in addition to providing an out-of-pocket cost calculator tool on its website. A “decision guide” also is being mailed to each OGB member household.
Beginning in January, a new set of plans will be available to retirees and active employees eligible for an OGB plan.
The state is offering three different health maintenance organization, or HMO plans; a preferred provider organization plan, called a PPO; and two consumer-driven plans for active employees.
Retirees who also are on Medicare, the federal program that guarantees health care coverage for people age 65 and older, will be able to choose from three HMO options, one PPO option and one consumer-driven option as secondary plans, as well as Medicare Advantage plans.
More information about OGB’s 2015 offerings may be found at annualenrollment.groupbenefits.org.