Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan Upgrades its CIGNA Network

 

October 2013

 

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The Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan (SHBP) recently notified eligible participants about an expanded CIGNA network scheduled to launch Oct. 1.

 

This expanded health network should mean more convenience and more options for Seafarers and their covered dependents – plus financial savings.

 

As noted in an August letter from Seafarers Plans Administrator Maggie Bowen, the new network is called Open Access Plus (OAP), and it replaces the previous preferred provider network (PPO).

 

“Under the new network, you can expect greater discounts from most in-network medical providers, which should save you money on your health care expenditures,” Bowen wrote. “The majority of the doctors and hospitals that participated in the prior PPO network also participate in the new OAP network, so in most cases you should not have to change providers.”

 

Information about participating providers is available through a website listed on CIGNA identification cards and also is linked on the SIU website. New CIGNA cards recently were mailed to eligible Seafarers and their covered dependents. (SHBP Plan S participants, exclusively consisting of some employees aboard the Pride of America, will remain under the old PPO network for now. Also, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands residents, respectively, weren’t included in this mailing – the former are covered under Humana’s network, while CIGNA doesn’t have a network in the Virgin Islands.)

 

In the letter, Bowen added, “The only change to your benefits is that beginning on October 1, 2013, you will require pre-certification in order to be covered for certain outpatient high technology radiology services, such as CT scan, PET scan or MRI. This means that your health care provider must contact the number on your CIGNA ID card to get approval before you receive these tests. This will help you avoid medical tests that are costly and potentially expose you to unnecessary radiation. Pre-certification is not required when these tests are performed in the emergency room.”

 

Covered Seafarers and dependents who haven’t received a new CIGNA card are asked to contact the SHBP at 1-800-252-4674.

 

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