News & Announcements


New EAP Vendor: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Effective June 1, 2021, administration of the State’s employee assistance program (EAP) transitioned from Optum to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). The BCBSRI EAP is administered in conjunction with Beacon Health Options (Beacon), using their “Beacon Wellbeing” platform.

Please visit the EAP page for more details on the Beacon Wellbeing EAP from BCBSRI.


2020 State of Rhode Island Employee Wellness

Rewards for Wellness 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 Rewards for Wellness program runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, and credit incentives will be delivered to employee paychecks in the first half of 2022. Please review the 2021-2022 State of Rhode Island Rewards for Wellness brochure, and visit the 2021-2022 Rewards for Wellness page for additional details and guidance.


COVID-19 Updates

Please see below and visit the links for the latest policy updates, guidance, and FAQs regarding COVID-19:

  • CDC Guideline for COVID-19
  • Rhode Island Department of Health – State-specific updates
  • Division of Human Resources – COVID-19 related state employment policies and press releases

  • RI State Employee Health Plan Updates

  • The State of Rhode Island has taken the following actions with respect to the RI State employee medical/prescription coverage plans:
    • Medical Coverage (Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI))
      • Referral Requirement Reinstated September 1, 2020
        • In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the requirement to get a referral before seeing a specialist was temporarily waived. This was done to help reduce the volume of non-urgent calls to primary care providers (PCPs) at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Today, most PCP offices are prepared to see patients in person and manage referral requests. Therefore, covered employees will need a referral in order to see a specialist for the lowest applicable copay or coinsurance. This means:
          • With a referral, you will pay a lower copay ($25) under the Anchor and Anchor Plus health plans or pay a lower coinsurance (10%) after deductible under the Anchor Choice Plan with HSA.
          • Without a referral, you will pay a higher copay ($50) under the Anchor and Anchor Plus health plans or pay a higher coinsurance (30%) after deductible under the Anchor Choice with HSA health plan. However, you will not be denied care for covered services.
        • Please contact your primary care provider (PCP) about any referrals to specialists that you may need.
      • No fees for COVID-19 testing
        • If your doctor believes you need to be tested for COVID-19 and you meet the testing guidelines set by the CDC, there is no preauthorization required, and the State plan will cover the cost of the test. You will not need to pay any copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for COVID-19 testing. For all other covered benefits, your plan's copay, deductible, and/or coinsurance will apply.
      • No Fees for COVID-19 Treatment
        • The State is waiving member cost-sharing (copay, deductible, and/or coinsurance) for all medically necessary in-network treatment for COVID-19, including emergency services, inpatient services, and professional services. This waiver applies to employees and their dependents covered under the State’s Anchor medical plans. This change is effective at least through the state of emergency, but may be extended as determined to be necessary.
      • Telemedicine until December 31, 2020
        • Through the end of the year, phone and video visits with in-network providers and through BCBSRI Doctors Online will be covered with no copays, deductibles, or other cost-sharing.
      • Telemedicine as of January 1, 2021
        • For network providers:
          • You’ll have the same cost share to see a network provider whether you’re seeing them in person, by phone, or through video. If a referral is required to see that provider, you’ll need to obtain a referral for phone and video visits as well.
        • For BCBSRI Doctors Online:
          • You’ll pay the designated telemedicine provider cost share, which is $15 for Anchor and Anchor Plus. For Anchor Choice, you pay the entire cost of the Doctors Online visit—which averages about $50—while you are meeting your deductible. Doctors Online provides access to top-rated, board-certified doctors via smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can receive 24/7 care for common, non-emergency health concerns as well as pre-schedule virtual behavioral healthcare appointments with licensed therapists and psychiatrists. Referrals for Doctors Online are not needed. Find out how to register for Doctors Online.
        • Telemedicine treatment for COVID:
          • Cost share for COVID-related treatment though telemedicine will continue to be waived.

  • CVS Caremark
    • Free home delivery from CVS Pharmacy – CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of all prescription medications. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions. Home delivery charges will apply after January 1, 2021.
    • Get 90-day supplies delivered by mail – You can have your prescriptions delivered to your home or wherever you need them by CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy in 90-day supplies at no extra cost. To get started for you or a family member, you can choose one of the following options:
      • OPTION 1: Ask your doctor to send an electronic prescription (eRx) to CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy. It needs to be a prescription for a 90-day supply of your maintenance medication.
      • OPTION 2: Sign in or register at Caremark.com. Select “Prescriptions” from the navigation bar. From the drop-down menu, select “Request a New Prescription”. Search for your drug name and strength, add to your cart by selecting “Request a New Prescription”, and complete your order.
      • OPTION 3, FOR URGENT REQUESTS ONLY: If you can’t contact your doctor and you’re not able to register at Caremark.com, CVS Caremark can contact your doctor for you. To start this process, complete the Start Mail Service request form.
    • Not using CVS Pharmacy? Check your local pharmacy – Many retail pharmacies are offering home delivery service. If you are NOT filling your prescriptions with CVS Caremark, check with your local pharmacy to find out if they offer home delivery and whether there are delivery fees.

  • Delta Dental of Rhode Island
    • As of August 3, 2020, Delta Dental of Rhode Island has made teledentistry a covered service under all plans. If you are unable to have an office visit at this time, this enhancement allows you to have access to your dentist. Your dentist may talk with you over the phone and triage your dental emergency using photos, videos or live chat (known as a teledentistry exam). Benefit time and frequency limitations apply equally to teledentistry and in-person exams. Ask your dentist if a teledentistry exam is right for you. If you have questions about your dental benefits, contact Delta Dental of Rhode Island at 401-752-6100 or visit deltadentalri.com.

    Supplemental Benefits Updates

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    • Visit optumeap.com for the latest COVID-19 support resources from the EAP provider Optum, including educational flyers and new webinars that help you cope with the stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19.
    • The Optum Public Crisis Hotline (866-342-6892) is free and open to anyone seeking emotional support during this difficult time.
    • See the latest Monthly EAP Newsletter for ways to reduce stress during uncertain times. For tips on maintaining your well-being while working remotely – from setting up an ergonomic workspace to keeping the camaraderie alive with your friends and colleagues – checkout the Optum Remote Well-Being Toolkits: Toolkit 1, Toolkit 2.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
    • Unlimited Carryover for Both Health FSAs and Dependent FSAs (DFSA) - The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes the latest COVID-19 relief package, added unlimited carryover for all FSAs. Any balances remaining in 2020 FSAs will be carried over to a 2021 FSA benefit after the funds are applied by the State’s FSA administrator Navia Benefits Solutions on January 25, 2021. Because federal law prohibits plans from having both a grace period and a carryover, the DFSA grace period previously instituted for 2020 has been eliminated.
    • Health FSAs - The CARES Act expands and broadens the use of FSAs for certain types of healthcare products and services, including over-the-counter (OTC) items such as cold medicines and feminine care products as qualified medical expenses. Please visit www.naviabenefits.com/impact-of-the-cares-act-on-fsas-hsas-hras-and-related-services/ for detailed guidance.
    • Dependent FSA (DFSA) – For the 2021 plan year, employees that elected to contribute to a DFSA during open enrollment will not be able to adjust their DFSA election amount during 2021 without a qualifying status change event, and employees that waived DFSA for 2021 during open enrollment will not be allowed to enroll in the benefit without a qualifying status change event. Under IRS rules, enrolling a child in a daycare program or a childcare center re-opening do not qualify as status change events.
      • Increased DFSA Eligibility Age - The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes the latest COVID-19 relief package, increased the dependent eligibility age for DFSAs. Dependents who aged out of DFSA eligibility during the pandemic can be covered through age 14 instead of 13 for unused funds. The employee must have made their DFSA election for the 2020 plan year on or before January 31, 2020, and may use the balance in 2021 until the child turns 14 for qualifying expenses incurred in the 2020 or 2021 plan year.
  • Deferred Compensation (457 Plan)
    • The CARES Act allowed 457 Plan participants impacted by COVID-19 to have access to their savings until December 30, 2020 by requesting a “CRD” – a coronavirus-related distribution. However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 did not extend this relief and employees will no longer be able to receive a CRD.