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What's New for 2017

Healthcare plan information is more accessible than ever

We recognize that many discussions about planning healthcare for you (and your family) take place at home. To improve access to healthcare information for all of our Port family members, we have moved much of the information about our plans from our Compass intranet site to here on our public-facing Port of Seattle website. We hope that you will find this a new and valuable resource for guiding your healthcare decisions.

Note: To complete transactions in HCM Self Service, you must be connected securely to the Port network.

Changes to the open enrollment process

Medical/Vision and Dental – election required by Dec. 2 for changes only

In past years, if you desired to have medical and/or dental coverage for the next year, you were required to use HCM Self-Service to make your elections during open enrollment even if you did not want to make any plan or family changes.

For 2017, you only needed to use HCM Self-Service during open enrollment ONLY IF you wanted to change plans and/or add or drop coverage for family members. If you did NOT need to make any changes to your medical and dental plan coverages, you did NOT need to make any elections. Enrollment in your current plan(s) for you and any family members will continue automatically from 2016 to 2017.

If you need to add or drop a family member now that open enrollment has closed, you will need to submit a hard copy enrollment form to the Total Rewards staff in the Human Resources Department or scan and email it to

If your Wellness completion status has changed

If you were paying the discounted Wellness premium rate in 2016, but did not earn your 2017 Wellness Reward to reduce your premium, AND you did not make an election for 2017, you will remain enrolled in the same plan, with the same family coverage as in 2016 but at the higher non-Wellness premium rate. You will need to make an election during open enrollment if you want to change to a less expensive plan (if possilbe), drop dependents, or waive coverage.

Conversely, if you were paying a non-wellness rate in 2016, but have now earned your Wellness Reward for 2017, and you did not make an election, you will remain enrolled in the same plan with the same family member coverage in 2017, but will now receive the wellness discounted premium rate.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – election was required by Dec. 2

To enroll in the Healthcare FSA and/or Dependent Care FSA, you were required use HCM Self-Service to elect the amount you wanted deducted from your 2017 paychecks. If you did not enroll by the open enrollment deadline of Dec. 2, you will only be able to enroll during the 2017 plan year if you experience a qualifying event, such as the birth of a child. If you made no election, you will have no FSA benefit in 2017.  If you are currently contributing to an FSA (in 2016), your deduction will stop in 2017 if you did not make an election.

The Healthcare FSA contribution limit for 2017 has changed from $2,500 to $2,600. The Dependent Care FSA contribution limit for 2017 remains at $5,000. Remember that the Dependent Care FSA is for reimbursement of child day care or adult day care expenses and not healthcare expenses for your dependents.

Also note that the Port of Seattle has a new vendor administering our FSA and HSA accounts: PayFlex. Claims for FSA-approved expenses incurred in 2016 may be submitted to WageWorks until March 31, 2017. Up to $500 of any unused 2016 FSA balance will be carried over automatically to a 2017 Healthcare FSA whether or not you elect a 2017 Healthcare FSA if you are a Port employee on January 1, 2017. You would then be able to claim reimbursement from this account for qualifying 2017 expenses. More information about the new vendor is available further below.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) – election was required
by Dec. 2

If you enrolled in the High Deductible Health Plan for 2017 during open enrollment and wanted to contribute to an HSA, you were required to use HCM Self-Service to elect the amount you want deducted from your 2017 paychecks. If you are currently contributing to your HSA, your deduction will stop in 2017 if you did not make an election.

Please remember that if you completed the Wellness Program you must elect an HSA in order to receive the Port contribution. You will receive the contribution even if you elect to contribute $0.00. However, if you did not enroll by the open enrollment deadline of Dec. 2, you can still enroll later during the 2017 plan year, but this will affect the eligibility of expenses incurred before the establishment of your HSA if you do not currently have one.

You are solely responsible for determining whether you are eligible to establish an HSA; for calculating the amount of HSA funds you are eligible to contribute based on your age, date you become eligible and the date eligibility ends; and for determining whether expenses are eligible for reimbursement. Please refer to IRS Publication 969 for information or consult with a financial advisor.

Premium Share Rates

The rising cost of healthcare continues to be a hot-button issue nationwide. The rates for the Group Health Plan with Wellness Reward are increasing by 3.15%; however, this is considerably lower than the national average. Also, due to a new premium formula included in the federal Affordable Care Act, the 2017 premiums for the Deductible Plan and Group Health Plan for employees who did not complete the Wellness Program and have elected family member coverage will actually be less than in 2016. In addition, ware excited to report that for the second year in a row, premium share rates for the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and the Deductible Plan administered by Cigna are not increasing! We attribute these trends to thoughtful use of health care services by employees and their families, as well as employees’ active engagement in the Port’s Spirit and Wellness Program. For more information about how member claims impact rates, click here.

Medical Plan Changes

High Deductible Health Plan and Deductible Plan

(Administered by Cigna)

New pharmacy benefit: Cigna’s 90 Now Program will enable members to purchase a 90-day supply of maintenance medication (e.g., blood pressure or high cholesterol) for the cost of a 60-day supply at specified participating retail stores. Enjoy greater convenience at a discounted price previously available only through the mail order program. For a list of participating retail stores, click here.

Note: the mail order program to purchase a 90-day supply will remain available.

Three-tier drug list changes: Please click here to view the medications that will be considered Non-preferred Brand Drugs beginning January 1, 2017.   Generic and/or Preferred Brand Drug alternatives will be available.

Step Therapy drug list changes:   Please remember that both the HDHP and Deductible Plan apply a “step therapy” protocol to certain medications used to treat some common medical conditions. The protocol requires you to try the most cost-effective and appropriate medication for your condition. You and your doctor will receive a letter from Cigna explaining this after your first fill of a medication subject to the step therapy protocol. If your doctor believes the most cost effective medication isn’t appropriate for you due to medical reasons, he or she can request prior authorization for continued coverage of a medication subject to the step therapy protocol.

Please click here for additional information abouth the Step Therapy Program and here for medications that will be added to the prior authorization program on January 1, 2017. Medications subject to Step Therapy will have “ST” beside their names regardless of when they were added to the list.

New telemedicine services: Need to see a doctor, but having difficulty fitting an appointment into your schedule? MD Live and AmWell are two new service providers that will enable you to meet with a doctor via video conferencing or a phone call without leaving your office or home.   You will need a smartphone or computer if you want a face-to-face visit with the doctor.   For Deductible Plan members, there is no cost to use this service.   For HDHP members, the cost is $38 per appointment until your deductible has been met. After the HDHP deductible is met, the plan will pay 80% of the appointment cost. For more information about this new service, click here

Bariatric surgery: This surgery is an option for those who are seeking to lose weight. The plan will pay a lifetime maximum of $10,000 after the deductible has been met. This surgery is subject to coinsurance; the plan will pay 80% if you elect an in-network doctor and 60% if you elect an out-of-network doctor.

You may want to consider having this surgery performed at a Center of Excellence (COE).   A COE is a hospital that’s earned a top ranking for cost and health outcomes for specific conditions and procedures.   To find a COE, visit > Find a Doctor or Facility > Hospital, Pharmacy or Facility.   Enter "Centers of Excellence" in the field titled “Looking For”.   Click on the link to the Centers of Excellence for the city you desire. Then, view the hospital(s) that is a COE for bariatric surgery. For more information regarding how a COE is selected, view this Cigna flyer.

ABA Therapy: This is a type of therapy to treat autism. After the deductible is satisfied, the plan will pay 80% of the claim when services are rendered by an in-network provider or 60% if by an out-of-network provider.

Transgender surgery: After the deductible is met, the plan will pay 80% of the surgical claim when services are rendered by an in-network provider or 60% if by an out-of-network provider. A patient seeking surgery must be at least 18 years of age. Hormone therapy is covered and subject to clinical evaluation and age restrictions. The patient’s physician should discuss the treatment plan with Cigna administrators to determine the range of covered services.

Hearing aid change: Hearing aids under the HDHP are subject to the deductible, to comply with regulations that govern this type of plan, and will be paid at 80% in-network and out-of-network. Currently, they are paid at 80% in-network and 60% out-of-network.

The Deductible Plan will pay hearing aid claims at 80% in-network as well as out-of-network. A deductible will not apply. Currently, a deductible does apply and claims are paid at 100% both in- and out-of-network.

Out-of-pocket accumulator change (High Deductible Health Plan only): In-network OOP expenses will continue to accumulate toward the annual in-network OOP maximum for the HDHP, but these same expenses will no longer also accumulate toward the annual out-of-network OOP maximum. In other words, in-network and out-of-network services will have separate OOP maximums under the HDHP. (This matches the existing OOP set-up of the Deductible plan.)  

Annual out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum for out-of-network services increases (HDHP only): The out-of-network expenses you pay (coinsurance and deductible), if any, accululate to an annual out-of-network OOP maximum. Once the OOP is satisfied, the plan covers most expenses at 100%. The out-of-network OOP maxmiums are increasing as shown in the table below.

Note: These amounts apply to out-of-network, out-of-pocket services only.

Out of Network, Out of Pocket Maximums​ ​ ​
​ ​Deductible Plan HDHP​ ​
Year​ 2016 2017​ 2016​ 2017​
​Employee-only ​$4,050 ​$5,400 ​$5,000 $9,000​​
​Employee and Family ​$12,150 ​$16,200 ​$10,000 ​$18,000

Group Health

Enhancing telemedicine services: You can use this time-saving and convenient service to access care by video conferencing with your health care provider. You will need a smartphone or computer to meet with your provider face-to face. The appointment will be subject to a $35 copay, plus 20% coinsurance paid by the member.

Acupuncture visit limit changes: Acupuncture visits will be limited to a maximum of twelve (12) visits per calendar year. Currently, eight (8) visits per diagnosis per calendar year are available, with the possibility of additional approved visits.

Obesity services: Obesity services related to preventive screening and counseling will be covered as preventive care services.

Kaiser Permanente's proposed acquisition of Group Health: You may have heard of the proposed Kaiser Permanente acquisition of Group Health. If government regulators approve the acquisition, the Group Health plan benefits and premiums in effect on Jan. 1, 2017 will NOT change during 2017.

Washington Health Alliance

(FYI only – not a plan provider): The Washington Health Alliance (WHA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization located in Seattle that is dedicated to improving health care quality and value for all Washington state residents. The Port is a member of this organization along with more than 185 governmental and private employers, union trusts, health care providers and a variety of other organizations. The WHA is committed to supporting the use of evidence and data to promote quality health care. It hosts a robust website that provides many tools and informational resources to help you make comparative healthcare decisions. Read more...

PayFlex: New Vendor Selected to Administer 2017 FSA and HSA Plans

PayFlex logo

PayFlex, an affiliate of Aetna, was selected through a competitive bidding process to replace WageWorks and will administer the FSA and HSA plans effective January 1, 2017. Click the links below to read important information about what this change means for you (and your current FSA and/or HSA, if applicable).

2017 rates

Learn more about:
The Port's new HSA/FSA Vendor


Better Than Market

Find out how the Port's 2017 healthcare benefits compare to other employers in the region.more