Premium surcharges, wellness incentive for PEBB employees

pebb-logo-200PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University employees must respond to questions regarding health benefits this spring or risk being assessed a surcharge or missing out on a financial incentive.

Benefit eligible faculty, staff and non-student hourly employees will be required to respond to questions regarding two premium surcharges and a SmartHealth wellness incentive administered through the Health Care Authority (HCA)/Public Employee’s Benefit Board (PEBB).

Failure to respond will result in a $25-$75 premium surcharge collected from an employee’s monthly paychecks and/or missing out on a financial incentive offered to encourage wellness.


Tobacco Use Surcharge:    A $25 a month premium surcharge will be required if the subscriber or any   covered family member uses tobacco products. Spousal or Domestic Partner Coverage Surcharge:  A $50 a month premium surcharge will be   required if a spouse or domestic partner who is enrolled on an employee’s   medical plan chose not to enroll in their own employer’s medical coverage   that is comparable to the coverage and premium rates of the Uniform Medical   Plan Classic.
Employees must respond to the premium   surcharge questions April 1–May 15*. Surcharges will go into effect July 1, with   the first deduction on the July 10 paycheck.
SmartHealth Wellness Incentive:  A proposed $125 incentive for the 2015 plan   year would be offered to employees who: 1) select a primary care provider, 2)   complete a health assessment and 3) begin a wellness program activity by June   30, 2014. The incentive, pending funding by the Legislature, could reduce Classic/Value   employees’ deductible by $125 or add $125 to Health Savings Account (HSA) for   CDHP participants.
Employees must respond to the SmartHealth   Wellness Incentive questions April 1–June 30*. The incentive will go into   effect Jan. 1, 2015.

*WSU Human Resource Services (HRS) encourages faculty and staff to respond to the Premium Surcharges and SmartHealth Wellness Incentive during the month of April.


HRS will provide resources so employees can respond appropriately. Information will be available through the following avenues:

• Web resources, including FAQs, through WSU ( and HCA (

• Home mailings from HCA in early and late March

• WSU News and WSU Announcements postings

• Direct email(s) to employees’ email addresses

• Weekly presentations throughout April, video-conferenced statewide, with an online presentation to be posted later in March

Although employees will not be able to address the Premium Surcharge and SmartHealth Wellness Incentive questions until April, there are several things that can be done now to prepare:

• Create your HCA “My Account” if you have not already done so.

o The Premium Surcharge and SmartHealth Wellness Incentive questions will be processed through “My Account;” create an account now, so you are ready to respond in April.

o For individuals who do not have access to the Internet, hardcopy forms and questionnaires will be available from HRS or HCA.

• Take the Spousal Plan Questionnaire if your spouse or domestic partner is eligible for other employer-sponsored medical coverage but chose not to enroll.

o This questionnaire will help you know how to respond to the surcharge question(s) come April.

• Forward your email account to the email address you utilize.

o If you use an email other than, you may not be receiving crucial benefit information.

o Areas that use alternative addresses include, but may not be limited to:;;;; and

• Subscribe via the WSU Mailman website to “WSU-News” and “WSU.Announcements.”

o These are great resources to keep apprised about benefit issues, as well as all other WSU events, activities and news.

• Verify that your home mailing address is up to date.

o HCA will send mailings to home addresses in March regarding the Premium Surcharges and SmartHealth Wellness Incentive. To ensure your address is up-to-date, review your personal information listed under “My Profile” in zzusis.

FAQ’s are available at If your question is not addressed there, please contact HRS at or 509-335-4521.