GEO: Why Ameritas & What Does it Mean?
We're excited to announce we've partnered with Ameritas Dental to provide a dental plan that builds on our previous benefit but also allows for many enhancements.
The Trust Fund engaged in a rigorous bid process during the Spring of 2020, reviewing dental plan proposals from six different dental insurers, in search of the best overall value to graduate employees as we head into a very tough year, or possibly multiple tough years.
Ameritas offered a proposal including several new benefit enhancements that the Trust Fund wasn't able to offer under the MetLife plan: 4 cleanings per year instead of two, an increase of the plan year maximum from $2000 to $2250, and a new fusion benefit that allows you to use $150 of that $2250 maximum toward vision materials costs (eye glasses, frames, lenses, contact lenses) above and beyond what our vision plan covers. In addition, the Ameritas plan harmonizes the best aspects of the grad employee plan and the postdoc employee plan into one plan design saving administrative costs, and allows us to lower family plan premiums for the postdoc employee unit and lower COBRA costs for both grad employees and postdocs who graduate.
One other unintended benefit of the plan is that Ameritas's nationwide network is very strong, which may become more important as many grad employees may not be on campus for the fall but in alternate locations.
What Does it Mean for Me?
Change can inspire worry. But there are some myths about changing dental carriers that are easily dispelled. The new Ameritas dental plan can be used with all dentists--some will be in-network and some won't be in network, but you can choose to go to any dentist. The difference is that when you see an out-of-network dentist you are subject to the once per year deductible (the first $75 of a service other than cleanings/exams). Other than that, Ameritas will pay out on your plan according to the normal percentages (100% for preventative/diagnostic, 80% for type B services like filings and oral surgery, 65% for type C services like crowns) up to the 95th percentile--this means that as long as your dentist is not in the top 5% of dentists in the region in terms of their charges, you will see no difference, no increase, no supplemental billing.
Also, there are great in-network dentists in the Pioneer Valley. And more local dentists have joined the Ameritas network since we announced the change. You will continue to see new dentists add into the network due to the buying power of our 2900 employees.