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Open Enrollment

While health plans may be changing in 2018, the City of Fort Worth is committed to providing quality benefits for all employees. The top priority for the 2018 health plans is to find a sustainable balance for employees, retirees, and the organization, while also providing employees and retirees with a high level of care that will keep them safe and healthy.

This year's mandatory open enrollment requires that every employee either select a new healthcare plan, or waive their coverage under the city's plan for the 2018 year. Open Enrollment has been extended through Oct. 27, 2017. Employees who do not make their benefits selection by this time will not have healthcare coverage for 2018.

Why are the city’s health plans changing?

Due to unexpected costs, excessive stand-alone emergency room usage, and a challenging healthcare landscape, the current health plan for the City of Fort Worth is not sustainable for the organization. To avoid another year of financial shortfall in the healthcare budget, city management is prioritizing quality health plan options that are affordable for both employees and the city – while also promoting the overall wellness of each employee and their family.

Proposed plan options

The City Council has already received proposals from staff to create a plan with the following options. The Council will have more discussions in August and September.

Most if not all of the details should be available by September, including general locations of the health centers.

  • Health Center Plan
    This plan will offer four health centers in the Fort Worth area, which will provide unlimited primary care services for employees during normal business hours, and may include extended business hours in some locations. Learn more.

  • Consumer Choice Plan
    This plan is designed for employees who like the financial benefit of a Health Savings Account (HSA) and lower monthly premiums. This plan may also benefit those who may live (or whose dependents may live) outside of the Fort Worth area and won’t have easy access to one of the planned health center locations. Learn more.

Adjustments to the proposed plans

Based on feedback city leaders have already received from the City Council, employees and retirees, several adjustments have already been incorporated into the proposed plans and will be outlined to the City Council in September.

  • Delay exclusion of employee spouses who have insurance through their own employer. This proposal has been a big concern for employees, and the data is mixed regarding how much savings is likely since the plan would lose premium revenue from a potentially healthy group of members. The City of Fort Worth will spend the next year studying the results of other cities, like the City of Arlington, that have made this change before making a decision for 2019. This will also allow additional time for plan members to consider their options.
  • Working retirees and working retiree spouses will be leaving the city’s plan. If working retirees and working retiree spouses are eligible for benefits with their current employer, they must leave the city’s plan and elect for coverage with their current employer. However, should they lose coverage or leave that job, they can return to the city’s plan within a 30 day time period.
  • Allow access to all United Healthcare specialists for Health Center Plan. The original recommendation to narrow the network of specialists was one of the key strategies of the Health Center Plan. To minimize immediate impact to employees and their families, the plan will now utilize a tiered network with co-pays to steer members to high-quality, cost-effective care. This means plan members can choose to continue their existing relationships with specialists until at least 2019, although it will cost more depending on the specialist and their level of quality.
  • Specialist referrals will not be required for the Health Center Plan. One of the big complaints under the previously proposed model was the requirement to get a referral from the health center primary physician in order to see a specialist, like a dermatologist. To avoid that delay in care, referrals will not be required now.
  • Rates for the Consumer Choice Plan. Premiums for this plan will continue to be lower than the Health Center Plan to accommodate members who need choice of providers, are comfortable with higher deductibles, and who prefer to have a Health Savings Account to accumulate pre-tax dollars for future health needs.