After helping negotiate the new state master contract last year, members of the SEA’s master bargaining team hit the road to explain the then-tentative agreement at worksites across the state.
In talking about health care changes, bargaining team member Dennis Meuse took time to make sure his fellow members understood an important benefit: the money-saving Compass Smart Shopper program that is available to those covered by the State Employee Health Benefit.
(Note: Some other worksites, such as CCSNH, have access to the Compass Smart Shopper benefit).
Simply put, Compass works like this: you need a medical procedure done, you call Compass to find the most cost-effective choice and if you choose it, you get a cash incentive.
“I had never used Compass before and I had to have an MRI done last summer,” Meuse said. “Out of sheer curiosity, I called Compass to see how it worked. I called the number and explained my situation and they said it was a procedure that was eligible for a cash reward for using a more cost-effective provider.”
Meuse explained that he’d already scheduled the procedure at one provider, but if he went to a different provider, he would receive a $75 cash incentive. Choosing still another provider would entitle him to a $150 incentive. As he found out, that was pretty much all he had to do.
“I asked what I had to do to process it, and they said absolutely nothing,” Meuse said. “I just had to notify Compass 24 hours before the procedure, and when I had it done something internally between Compass and Anthem made the connection that I had gone to the lowest cost provider.”
Within a few weeks, he said, he had a check for $150.
“There was no follow-up,” he said. “All I had to do was call Compass and let them know.”
Of course, you don’t always need to choose the most cost-effective choice. Meuse noted that he could have received an incentive for choosing a different facility for physical therapy, but he instead chose to go to a facility he was familiar with.
“As far as I’m concerned, Compass worked just as it’s been described to me,” Meuse said. “I had no issues at all and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again. Now with the deductibles we’re facing, it’s worth making a phone call to save some money.”