HEM update: What’s coming in 2013 and evaluating the HEM to date

We want to share with you what’s happening with the HEM in 2013 and let you know what we’ve discussed as a committee around evaluating the HEM. Additionally, we want to encourage you to take the survey on workplace health that our Executive Director, Heather Conroy, recently launched. We strongly believe that a critical component to our becoming healthier is a workplace that supports our health.

After months of pushing PEBB to make the HEM an incentive-based program, this is what PEBB is announcing for 2013:
• PEBB members will have a choice to enroll in the HEM during open enrollment (October 1-31) and must complete their Health Risk Assessment between Sept. 1-Oct. 31 of this year to be eligible to participate. (If you’re a Kaiser member and took the risk assessment this year between Feb. 13, 2012, and Sept. 1, 2012, you won’t need to take the assessment again for 2013).
• HEM participants will receive a monthly taxable amount of $17.50 per employee or $35 if it’s both an employee and their spouse or domestic partner participating. This incentive payment will begin in January 2013. We view this as a positive change that our many member voices brought about.
• Non-HEM participants will no longer pay a surcharge. Instead, non-participants will see an increased deductible of $100 per person up to a maximum family amount of $300. If one adult in the partnership participates in the HEM and the other does not, PEBB will still consider them non-participants and charge the increased deductible. All SEIU HEM committee members, as well as our PEBB board members, have spoken strongly against this punitive aspect of the HEM. Unfortunately, the management representatives on the PEBB board defeated efforts to eliminate this punitive approach.
• PEBB listened to our recommendation to offer HEM participants more options for meeting the HEM requirements in 2013.  While completing two e-lessons prior to the 2014 open enrollment remains a choice, there are now many more options to engage people in health. See the complete list here: http://cms.oregon.gov/das/pebb/pages/hemactivites.aspx. We do not yet know how members will be asked to track and report these activities. PEBB is continuing to work on this aspect with Kaiser and Providence, and we will communicate this information as we learn it.
On evaluating the HEM, a team from Providence Center for Outcomes Research & Education (CORE) has been charged with this process led by Dr. Bill Wright, a senior research scientist. In our most recent HEM Joint Labor/Management Committee meeting, he laid out the need for the evaluation to be comprehensive – to look at what matters to all PEBB members like cost savings and changes in health. A second principle of the evaluation is to evaluate in a way that allows PEBB to move forward.
We think this second principle is critical. We know too well that a poorly communicated change to our health plans that included a punitive surcharge got us started on the wrong foot. We discussed how it was critical that this evaluation include both HEM participants and non-participants in order to uncover information PEBB can learn from. We hope a comprehensive analysis will lead to PEBB’s not repeating past mistakes. If at some point you are contacted for an interview, we encourage you to give your feedback.
You can also reach us (your SEIU HEM committee representatives) at HEMcommittee@seiu503.org.
In unity,
Keary DeBeck, DOJ, Salem
Nat Elder, WOU, Monmouth
Sabrina Freewynn, OHA, Portland
Wednesday Martin, DHS, Roseburg
Shaun Parkman, Alternate, OHA, Portland
Siobhan Martin, Staff Advisor
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