Photo caption: The new health benefit cards issued by the Osage Nation are blue. Osage News
With the new year will come new health benefit cards for Osage tribal members who have enrolled in the plan.
After a year of unchecked spending by tribal members on Visa debit cards administered by the company WageWorks Inc., the Nation has hired RT Consulting to administer new Mastercard debit cards. The cards have a new look of plain blue with an all-white Osage Nation seal in the upper left-hand corner, and the words “BENEFITS CARD” on the front.
The WageWorks cards (red with a blue fan across the front) used for the 2019 calendar year will expire on Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. Tribal members are free to use them until that time.
Changes coming this year to the health benefit plan require all tribal members to re-enroll in the plan, including individuals enrolling their children. Each individual, including children, must have a separate enrollment in the health benefit plan as each person will be issued their own card. Non-Osage parents will need to provide proof of guardianship (birth certificate, legal adoption paperwork, etc.) for health benefit enrollment of their Osage child.
All users of the health benefit cards must follow the IRS Publication 502 guidelines for allowable expenses, according to a statement from the Chief’s Office. The health benefit cards do not cover medical marijuana expenses.
Upon online enrollment or re-enrollment, tribal members will receive a confirmation email from RT Consulting with instructions on how to create an online portal to check balances and it also provides the option to register for direct deposit of reimbursement checks. A portal will need to be created for each individual who enrolls in the Health Benefit Plan, including children. To access the online portal visit https://osagehealthbenefit.wealthcareportal.com
Also in the confirmation email, and for the first time, are instructions on how to download an app that tribal members can access on their devices to keep track of their balances for each family member. Search for “Osage Nation Benefit Center” in your app store to download. The app is available on Android and Apple systems.
For those tribal members who fax, mail or email their applications, RT Consulting will not reach out to those tribal members unless there is a question on their application. For all questions call the Osage Nation Benefit Center at (833) 406-0969.
Funds will be available on the 2020 Health Benefit Cards as of Jan. 1, 2020. For tribal members who have not received their new cards by Jan. 1, save all receipts for qualifying expenses for reimbursement. Members can also submit for reimbursement online or via the mobile app.
The amount each member receives will stay the same, 65 years and older receive $1,000 and members 64 and younger receive $500. Members who turn 65 mid-year must call in to have the additional $500 dollars added to their account – if not enrolling in Osage Nation’s Medicare Plan F/Part D program.
Members participating in the Medicare Plan F/Part D program will not be eligible for the health benefit card. Members can only participate in one benefit or the other, not both, according to the statement.
The plans and benefits the Osage Nation offers have not changed for 2020, except that the health benefit card vendor changed and the Plan F/Part D price increased a few percent, but that is paid for by the Osage Nation, not the member, according to the statement.
Rollover money from the 2019 calendar year won’t be rolled over until mid to late April of next year, after the 2019 medical reimbursement runs out and the accounts are audited, according to the statement. The run-out begins on Jan. 1 and goes through March 31.
The cards are allowed to have up to three years of funds (current year plus two previous years). The total amount of an individual account cannot have more than the following for the current year plus the two previous calendar years:
- $1,500 for members under 65 ($500 each year for a total of 3 years).
- $3,000 for members over 65 ($1,000 each year for a total of 3 years).
A webinar is planned to orient users on the do's and don’ts of the health benefit fund. The webinar will be available in January 2020.
For all questions call the Osage Nation Benefit Center at (833) 406-0969 or email OsageNation@rtconsultingllc.com