Altius Health Plans
www.ahplans.com

  New Address:
10421 South Jordan Gateway  #400
South Jordan, UT  84095

  Main Phone:
(801) 323-6200     (800) 377-4161

Customer Service
Phone: (801) 323-6200
Fax: (801) 933-3639

Claims
Phone: (801) 323-6200
Fax: (801) 328-3208

U/W / Enrollment
Phone: (801) 323-6200
Fax: (801) 323-6310

Billing
Phone: (801) 323-6200
Fax: (801) 933-3639

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Listed below are frequently asked questions relating to Altius Health Plans and how their insurance works. Review down the list of definitions to find assistance to your questions.

Disclaimer:
The following information is for general use only and may be changed by the insurance company at any time. Specific questions should be addressed to Altius Health Plans.

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Additions:

     Add New Employee:  A new full-time, eligible employee may apply for insurance after they have met their "new hire waiting period".  They should complete the application form and return them to the insurance company 30 days prior to when the waiting period is completed.  If the new employee has had insurance prior to their employment with you, then they need to include with their application a "certificate of prior credible coverage" (see below for details).  Make sure the entire form is completed and signed by the employee.

    Add Newborn:  All newborn children or adopted children are eligible from their date of birth or date of placement for adoption.  However, a signed change form must be completed and returned to the insurance company within 30 days of the birth or adoption placement.  If you fail to add the newborn or adoption within the 30 day period then the child must wait until the group "open enrollment" (anniversary date).   Children from a "live in" companion are NOT eligible (unless they are the children of the employee).   Grand-children are not eligible unless legal custody or guardianship is given.

     Add Spouse:  A newly eligible spouse may be added to the employee's family policy by completing a "Change/Delete Form" and returning it to the insurance company within 30 days of the marriage date.  "Common Law" marriage or "Live ins" are NOT eligible.   Any pre-existing conditions would apply unless the new spouse can include a "certificate of prior credible coverage" with the application forms.  A copy of the marriage certificate is also required.  If the new spouse is not added within the 30 day period then they must wait until the group open enrollment period. The effective date of coverage will be the 1st or 16th of the following month depending on your contract date.

Certificate of Prior Credible Coverage:   The recent laws passed by Congress now requires an insurance company or previous employer to provide a "certificate" to any employee who has terminated off the plan.  This certificate shows: the name of the prior insurance company, the name of the employee and each family dependent who was covered, the start and end dates that the coverage was in effect.  This certificate must be included with any application to show proof that prior coverage was in effect.   For those who are listed on the certificate, any pre-existing conditions may be waived.  Without the certificate, or if a dependent is not listed on the certificate, they would have a 12 month pre-existing condition period. Late entrants who apply have an 18 month waiting period.  The new employee should contact their previous insurance company to obtain a copy of this certificate.

Change Forms:   This form is used to make changes on an employee's policy (ie: new address, changing a name, adding or deleting a dependent child or spouse, changing a primary care provider)  Have the employee complete this form and returnit to Altius within 30 days of the event. If adding a dependent child or spouse, this must be done within 30 days.  If submitted later than 30 days the dependent must wait until the group open enrollment.

C.O.B.R.A./State Continuation:     COBRA is a federal law which allows an employee and/or dependents the right to continue their insurance.   There are 5 qualifying events which allows an employee or dependent to continue:   1. Termination of employment or a reduction in work hours  2. Death of an employee  3. Divorce or legal separation  4. Entitlement of the employee for Medicare  5. A dependent child ceases to be a dependent child.   COBRA applies to all groups who have 20 or more employees on payroll on an average business day over the past 12 months.  The "qualified beneficiary" has 60 days from the date of termination or date of notification (which ever is later) to make their election.   They then have 45 days to make their first payment.  They must have the proper COBRA forms completed and returned to the employer within their election period.  The employer is allowed to charge them 102% of the premium. 2% for their administration cost.   The employee pays the premium to the employer each month.  The employer is not required to contribute to the premium. Because COBRA is such a complex law, it is highly recommended that an outside COBRA Specialist be consulted.          

          State Continuation:    This is a state law which is similar to COBRA in that an employee may continue their insurance upon termination.  This is for groups of 2-20 employees.   The employee has 60 days to make their election from the date of notification and the employer must notifiy the terminated employee within 30 days of termination of their right to continue.  If the employee waits longer than the 60 day period, then their right to continue is forfeited.  The employee must have been covered under the group plan for at least 6 months prior to the election and can only extend their coverage for 6 months (vs. 18 or 36 months under COBRA)

Deletions:      An employee may be terminated from the planby drawing a line through the employee's name on the monthly bill and indicate the date he/she was terminated. You also need to complete a "Change/Delete Form" and mark the appropriate boxes. A dependent may be terminated from coverage by completing a "ChangeDelete Form" and returning it to Altius. In most cases the employee/dependent has coverage through the end of the month (or billing cycle) Example:  If an employee is terminted from employment on April 20th, their coverage would continue through the end of April.  The insurance company will not retro a termination more than 60 days ago.   (Remember it is important to offer COBRA or State Continuation to each terminted employee/dependent)

Eligibility:      Any full-time employee who works the minimum hours per week (generally 30 hours) is eligible for insurance.  Part time employee's are not eligible.  It is important to have the employee either complete the application forms or sign a waiver and to do this in a timely manner.  The application forms must be submitted to Altius within 30 days of the completion of their new hire waiting period.

Late Entrant:   If an employee fails to enroll in a timely manner then they would be a "late entrant".  As such the employee would then wait to enroll during the group open enrollment period.  As a late entrant they would be subject to an 18 month pre-existing condition waiting period (unless proof of prior coverage is provided)  It is important that each eligible employee complete the application forms in a timely manner and return them to Altius within 30 days of their completion of the new hire waiting period.

Life Event:     This provision came as a result of a recent law passed by Congress known as HIPAA.  An employee and/or dependent may apply for insurance prior to the open enrollment if they have a "life event".  A life event would be:  marriage, new baby, loss of coverage (generally by a spouse).   If an employee loses prior insurance coverage then they could apply within 30 days of the life event.  If they wait longer than 30 days, then they must wait until the group open enrollment.  If they include with their application the "certificate of credible coverage" showing prior coverage for at least 12 months then any pre-existing conditions would be covered. The effective date of coverage would be the "date of the life event".

New Hire Waiting Period:     Each employer establishes their own "new hire waiting period".  This is the period of time from when the employee is hired and when he/she can come on the plan.  These periods generally range from 30 days to 180 days.  Once the new hire waiting period is selected, it cannot be changed until the group open enrollment period.  Also, the waiting period applies to all new employees.  You cannot discriminate by allowing one employee to come on the plan earlier than another employee.  The only exception would be if you select different waiting periods for salary vs. hourly employees.   (ie: 30 day wait for salary/ 90 day wait for hourly)  This must be clear on all future applications which waiting period they would have.  It is important to submit the application forms  to Altius within 30 days of  when the "new hire waiting period" is completed.  If application is received late then the employee must wait until the group open enrollment period.

Open Enrollment:     Each year on the policy anniversary, most groups will have an "open enrollment" period.  This is when the renewal rates generally change and any employee who has waived coverage in the past or was late in applying can reapply.  Employee's are guaranteed coverage but there may be a pre-existing condition period depending on prior coverage or not.  Any changes to the plan or benefits may generally be made at this time.

PPO vs Non-PPO:    PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) is a list of providers (doctors, hospitals and others) who contract with the insurance company for lower fees.  By using a PPO the employee generally receives better benefits at lower costs.  The provider "writes off" any amounts over the contracted fee.  The employee is not responsible to pay the difference.  Also, all paperwork is handled through the provider and the insurance company. It is highly recommended to use a PPO provider whenever possible.  A NON-PPO are providers who are not on the panel or "list".  With NON-PPO plans you may receive care from a provider not on the list but your out-of-pocket charges are higher.   You may also be required to submit the bills for reimbursment.  Any charges that exceed the normal contracted fees would also be the responsibility of the employee.

Pre Existing Conditions:      With the recent change in the law, pre-existing conditions are generally covered.  There are some exceptions.  If any employee or dependent did not have prior coverage then they would have to wait the pre-existing condition time period.  Altius has a 12 month period.  If an employee is a late entrant on the group plan then their PEC  would be 18 months.  It is very important to include a "certificate of credible coverage" to each employee or dependent applying for coverage.  This "certificate" credits any portion of the PEC waiting period with the time you have had under the prior coverage.

Waiving Coverage:     If a new employee chooses to "waive" coverage, then he/she must wait until the group open enrollment date (anniversary date) before he/she can apply.  The exception to this is if they have a "life event".  If they choose not to be covered when hired, then they should sign a waiver form showing the insurance was offered to them. Keep this form in their employee file.

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Copyright Ryan P. Thorn Insurance Planning Inc.