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Incentive Program FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions - Live Life Well Incentive

The below applies to the 2017 plan year. 

General Discount Questions
How do I get the maximum discount? What are the deadlines? How/when/where/why a discount?  What if I need an exception or accommodation? How does the discount apply for retirees, Medicare, joint core, single no dependents, flexible spending, termination of employment.

Health Screening Discount Questions
Getting Signed up, What to expect, Exceptions, Where is the Health Assessment requirement?

Nicotine Free Discount Questions
What is tobacco free, where to get help quitting

Next Steps Discount Questions
What activities count, what proof is needed, how to complete activities

General Discount Questions

Q: Why does the State Plan offer an incentive?
A:  The Health Care & Benefits Division is dedicated to offering and administering competitive and comprehensive benefits for Plan Members (employees, retirees, and their families) in a cost-effective manner. Not only does an incentive of this nature provide cost-effective benefit options, but it also encourages Plan Members to take an active interest in maintaining and improving their health. In the long term, active engagement in health and wellness results in more productive employees and saves the employee and the State Plan money by reducing the amount of emergency/catastrophic care claims. For example, it is much less expensive for a Plan Member to manage high cholesterol with an inexpensive prescription than to end up in the cardiac ICU after an unexpected heart attack.

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Q: Who is eligible to participate in the Incentive Program?
A: Plan Members (employees, retirees, COBRA participants, and their spouses/domestic partners covered by the State Plan) are eligible.  Only eligible Plan Members may earn an incentive by completing Live Life Well activities in 2017. Based on federal agency guidance, dependent children are not eligible to earn an incentive for 2018.  They may still participate in Live Life Well activities, but these will not count toward a 2018 incentive.

Q: What do I need to do to earn the $30 incentive in 2018?
A: 1) Complete a State-sponsored health screening; 2) be nicotine free or complete an alternative as required (see Nicotine Free Incentive section); 3) complete at least one Next Steps Incentive activity; and self-report your eligible activity by the deadline at www.myactivehealth.com/som.  See the following question for applicable timelines. 

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Q: What is the timeline for completing activities toward an incentive?
A: All activities must been completed during between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017.  October 31, 2017 is the last day to complete all activities.  YOU MUST have completed a State-sponsored health screening to be eligible for ANY incentive. Make sure you schedule your appointment and complete your screening early in the year.  Screening appointments near the end of the year are typically full and waiting may result in no appointments being available. 

Q: How can I verify that I’m receiving the incentive for the 2017 Plan Year?
A: For the current year (2017 Plan Year): If your incentive was not applied properly, contact our office immediately.
For active employees: To check if you are getting the incentive, go to the MINE Page and log in: https://mine.mt.gov/home/default.aspx.  Go to Employee Self Service > Benefits > Benefits/Discount Summary. Make sure the date at the top of the page is in the appropriate Plan Year. For example, if you completed the State-sponsored health screening in 2016, then select a date for the 2017 Plan Year. The incentive information is located toward the bottom of the Benefits Options section of the Confirmation Statement and is listed as Life Life Well, Nicotine Free,and Next Steps Incentive.  The amounts shown are the monthly incentive amounts earned.
For retirees: The incentive is given as a reduction in your monthly medical contribution owed. You may verify receipt of the incentive by reviewing the amount you pay each month. The amount listed will be your monthly medical contribution minus your monthly incentive amount. You may determine the medical contribution amount by referring to the 2017 Open Enrollment booklet or visiting http://benefits.mt.gov/Rates. The incentive amount will also be listed on the Confirmation Statement sent to you in December 2017.

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Q:  When will I receive my incentive?
A:   The incentive will be applied towards your required benefit contribution starting with the first full pay period in January.  The incentive will be applied toward each month’s required benefit contribution for the Plan Year FOLLOWING the year that you earned the incentive.  So if you earned the incentive in 2016, then you will receive the incentive off each month’s required contribution in 2017.  Active employees will see the incentive split over bi-weekly paychecks and retirees (or other self-pay members) will see the incentive deducted on their monthly contribution statement.

Q:  When does my incentive expire?
A:  The incentive will be applied to all monthly contributions required for the Plan Year (January through December), and will expire the last day in December.

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Q:  I’m a retiree.  How does this incentive apply to me?
A:  This incentive works the same for retirees as it does for active employees. Since retirees are not eligible for an employer contribution (State Share) and they are required to pay the full monthly contribution, they will see a reduction in the amount they pay each month.

Q: My spouse is or I am covered by Medicare.  How does this affect the incentive and access to State-sponsored health screenings and other incentive activities?
A:  Retirees covered by Medicare are eligible to participate in the Incentive Program. If you and/or your spouse/domestic partner are covered by Medicare and the State Plan, the incentive applies the same as described in the rest of this document with one difference. Medicare retirees may access the health centers operated by CareHere for State-sponsored health screenings and flu shots only. A health screening includes the tests described here: http://healthcenter.mt.gov/Health-Screenings.  They must see their regular doctor for routine physical exams.  Medicare retirees have many no-cost options for health coaching and Next Steps activities outside of the Health Centers. Visit http://benefits.mt.gov/NextStepIncentive for more information.

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Q: I have a dependent over 18 on the plan.  Are they eligible?
A: Based on federal agency guidance, dependent children are not eligible to earn an incentive.  Dependents are not eligible to participate in the Incentive Program, but do have access to all applicable benefits, including a State-sponsored health screening, wellness programs, health coaching, etc. 

Q: I am pregnant.  Should I fast for my labs?
A: Some pregnant women should not fast for 10 hours, even if most of those hours are spent sleeping.  Consult with your provider for any concerns you may have, and follow their advice.  If you choose to attend a State-sponsored health screening without fasting, make sure you notify the phlebotomist that you are pregnant and have chosen not to fast. 

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Q: How does being pregnant affect my participation in the Incentive Program? 
A: We want pregnant women to participate, if the program is right for them!  Some pregnant women find that some lab results (not all) are different during pregnancy.  Make sure to follow up with your provider about your results, which may be completely normal given your condition. Also, be aware that these altered results may end up being out of range for the At-risk Level indicators for the Next Steps portion of the Incentive Program.  We highly recommend all pregnant women on our plan participate in the Star Baby program.  This program is designed to help you and your baby stay healthy during your pregnancy and completion qualifies as a “Next Steps” activity towards an incentive!  Click here for more information about Star Baby: http://benefits.mt.gov/Live-Life-Well/Wellness-Programs/Prenatal-Program.

Q: I’m Joint Core.  How does this incentive apply to me?
A:  Covered Plan Members (employees, retirees, COBRA participants, and their spouses/domestic partners covered by the State Plan) may earn an incentive by completing Live Life Well activities. Based on federal agency guidance, dependent children, regardless of their age, are not eligible to earn an incentive.  Dependent children may still participate in Live Life Well activities, but these will not count toward an incentive. That means the maximum possible incentive for a joint core family is $60 (up to $30 for the primary Plan Member and up to $30 for the spouse/domestic partner).

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Q: I am newly hired/was re-hired during the Plan Year.  How does the incentive program apply to me?
A: If you are hired prior to September 1, 2017 the incentive program applies the same for you as for every other eligible Plan Member.  If you are hired between September 1, 2017 and October 15, 2017, you will need to follow the enrollment process outlined in your new hire packet to be eligible for benefits.  Depending when you complete your enrollment, you may not show up in the Montana Health Center system for up to two weeks.  If you would like to schedule a State-sponsored health screening appointment right away, contact HCBD after completing your online enrollment. Please note there is no guarantee that an appointment will be available. Health screening schedules are often completely filled in September and October. A State-sponsored health screening is required to participate in the incentive program.  If you are hired after October 15, 2017, you are not eligible to participate in the Incentive Program to earn the incentive for the 2018 Plan Year, please preview the requirements and be ready to participate in the Incentive Program the following Plan Year.

Q:  What happens if I terminate employment or retire from the State of Montana?
A:  When a Plan Member terminates their benefits (for whatever reason), the incentive ends (unless the member is re-hired by the State in the same Plan Year). There is no cash reimbursement for the incentive for any remaining months in the Plan Year. If a person retires but continues their coverage under the State Plan, the incentive will continue to apply to their retiree benefits.

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Q: What happens if I terminate employment with the State of Montana and elect to continue State Plan coverage under COBRA?  Will the incentive apply to COBRA contributions?
A: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives employees and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits for limited periods of time under certain circumstances or life events. The incentive will apply toward the required medical contributions for the remainder of the Plan Year, as long as COBRA members are participants in the State Plan.

Q: I terminated my position with the State of Montana, but now I have returned in another position or with another agency.  Will I still get my incentive?
A:  Yes, the incentive will still apply if an employee terminates and then re-enrolls in the State Plan, during the same Plan Year.

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Q: My eligible spouse/domestic partner completed incentive activities in the previous Plan Year, but is no longer covered under my plan.  Will I receive their incentive?
A:  If your spouse/domestic partner completed incentive activities in 2016, but is no longer on your plan in 2017, you will lose the incentive they earned as of the date their State Plan coverage was terminated. 

Q: Is my incentive transferable to another policy?
A:  The incentive you earn will follow you in the event you are enrolled on another State Plan.  For example, if you are covered as a spouse under a policy and then you become a State of Montana employee and now have coverage under your own policy.  The transfer of the incentive will happen automatically upon your enrollment on the other policy, however you can contact the Health Care & Benefits Division at (406) 444-7462; (800) 287-8266; TTY (406) 444-1421; or livelifewell@mt.gov if you have any concerns or questions.    

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Q: May I receive my incentive in cash?
A:  No, the incentive will be subtracted from the required monthly contributions for your enrollment in State Plan coverage and is not available in cash.

Q: I need an exception or accommodation to participate in the Incentive Program.  What should I do?
A:  The State Plan offers the Incentive Program to most Plan Members (employees and enrolled spouse/domestic partners).  If you think you may be unable to meet a requirement of the Incentive Program, you may qualify for an alternative program or different means to earn the incentive. You must contact the Health Care & Benefits Division (HCBD) as soon as possible at 800-287-8266 or email livelifewell@mt.gov.  We will work with you (and if you wish, your doctor) to design a program with the same incentive that is right for you.  Any personal medical information gathered during the Incentive Program is protected by and will be treated consistent with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  A copy of the Plan’s privacy notice is available upon request by calling (800) 287-8266 on the HCBD website at http://benefits.mt.gov/Portals/59/Documents/hipaa%20notice.pdf

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Health Screening Discount Questions

Q:  How do I sign up for a State-sponsored health screening?
A: Visit our website at http://benefits.mt.gov/Health-Screenings to learn how to make an appointment.

Q: How do I get my State-sponsored health screening if I don’t live near a Montana Health Center?
A: The Montana Health Centers have a traveling team of phlebotomists who will perform health screenings in many Montana cities and towns. Visit http://benefits.mt.gov/Health-Screenings to see a schedule of State-sponsored health screenings near you.

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Q: What labs and vitals are included?
A: Lab tests included in every State-sponsored health screening are:  Lipid Profile, Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP), Complete Blood Count (CBC), and cotinine (nicotine) serum test.  A health screening visit also includes a height and weight measurement, waist circumference (upon a member’s request), a blood pressure, and blood oxygenation reading. 

Q: Can I order additional lab tests at the same time?
A: At on-site health screening events (i.e. events that take place outside of a health center) there are three additional tests that may be performed IF you bring a prescription with you to your screening: an HbA1c; a PSA; and/or a thyroid test. No other tests are available at the off-site health screening events even with a prescription. 
At the health centers, additional lab tests that can be performed by a typical lab can be combined with a health screening IF you bring a prescription with you to your screening.

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Q: How do I access my screening results?
A: CareHere will print and mail you one report per year.  The printed report you receive from CareHere does not include the cotinine (nicotine) test or the Complete Blood Count (CBC). The online results you can access following the instructions in the next paragraph include results from all tests.
If you have access to the Internet, you can access your screening results within 3 days of your health screening.  To find the results of all the tests completed at the health screening online, log in to www.carehere.com, click on Reports, Labs and Vitals - Physicians View, select the appropriate date range and click Run Report.  There are several sections – be sure to continue scrolling through all the way to the bottom.    
If you do not have access to the Internet and would like a printed report that includes results from all lab tests, please contact CareHere and request a report that includes ALL lab tests run including CBC and cotinine by calling (855) 200-6822.

Q:  I had an appointment and completed my yearly check-up/labs with my primary care doctor.  Will this count as the required State-sponsored health screening?
A: No, you must attend one of the State-sponsored health screenings offered by the Montana Health Centers to be eligible for the incentive. This is required as there is currently no way for the State Plan to keep track of individual members getting health screenings at locations other than the Montana Health Centers.
Additionally, the same services received at your doctor’s office are more expensive for you and more expensive for the State Plan, which impacts us all financially. We recommend all members follow-up with their health care provider after completing a State-sponsored health screening by taking the results to a regular doctor’s appointment so that labs do not need to be repeated, thus avoiding incurring additional expenses to themselves and the State Plan.
Lastly, State-sponsored health screenings provide a valuable way for members to manage their own health, by putting the same health information in their hands year after year.  This provides an excellent way to establish baselines and follow trends in their personal health and build positive relationships with their health care providers.

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Q: How is the information gathered during this process used?
A: Any personal health information gathered during the Incentive Program is protected by and will be treated consistent with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  A copy of the Plan’s privacy notice is available upon request by calling (800) 287-8266 or on the HCBD website at http://benefits.mt.gov/Portals/59/Documents/hipaa%20notice.pdf

Q: What happened to the health assessment questionnaire requirement?
A: The health assessment questionnaire is often confused with the health screening, but it is not the same thing.  A questionnaire is not required for 2017, but is still available and highly recommended. The health assessment questionnaire is an integral part of using the MyActiveHealth portal, which is also where you will check the status of your incentive activities.  You can access the portal at www.myactivehealth.com/som.

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Nicotine Free Discount Questions

Q: What constitutes nicotine free?
A: Your State-sponsored health screening now includes a nicotine (cotinine) test.  You will qualify for the nicotine free incentive if your health screening indicates you are nicotine free.  If your screening indicates you use nicotine (the test is positive), you may complete a nicotine cessation program or have a nicotine counseling session with your primary care provider between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017 and SELF-REPORT this activity, as directed by, October 31, 2017 to still receive the nicotine fee incentive. 

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Q: Where can I complete a nicotine cessation program?
A:  Visit benefits.mt.gov under the “Live Life Well” tab or go directly to http://benefits.mt.gov/Live-Life-Well/Wellness-Programs/Tobacco-Cessation.

Q: What is a nicotine education session?
A: A nicotine education session is an appointment with your primary care provider specifically for the purpose of discussing your nicotine status.

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Q: What does the nicotine blood test involve?
A: The nicotine test is called a cotinine test.  It is a blood test performed on the blood drawn during your State-sponsored health screening.  The blood test replaces the self-declaration you had to complete in the past, prior to 2016.  PLEASE NOTE the printed report you receive from CareHere does not include this test.  To find the results of your cotinine test, log in to www.carehere.com, click on Reports, Labs and Vitals - Physicians View, select the appropriate date range and click Run Report.  Continue scrolling down until you get to Tobacco and Nicotine, Nicotine Metabolite, Serum.  No=no nicotine in your system; Yes=yes there is nicotine in your system and you will not receive an incentive unless you complete and self-report an alternative by October 31, 2017.    

Q: Why are you testing my blood for nicotine?
A: This test simplifies the process of earning your full incentive and helps the State Plan gather accurate data. Nicotine use is one of the top risk factors for diseases like cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. We encourage every member of the State Plan to be nicotine free. In the past, we’ve asked members to self-report whether they are a nicotine user.  However, the self-reported results showed that far fewer people claim to use nicotine than statistics say should be true for the State Plan. 

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Q: What does the test detect?
A: The cotinine test will test for use of both tobacco AND nicotine replacement products like e-cigarettes, patches, etc. If you are consistently exposed to second-hand smoke it will pick this up as well. The goal is to be NICOTINE free and not be exposed to second-hand smoke or utilize nicotine replacement products to the point that it can affect your health.

Q: Does the test tell how much nicotine is in my blood?
A: The cotinine test is qualitative, not quantitative.  This means, if your blood test indicates the nicotine in your system is over a set amount, you will be listed as using nicotine.  The test will not show exactly how much nicotine is in your system.

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Q: Can I refuse the nicotine blood test and still complete the rest of my State-sponsored health screening lab tests?
A: Yes, you may refuse the nicotine test and still receive the rest of the State-sponsored health screening, but this may affect your ability to qualify for the Nicotine Free Incentive.  Be sure to notify the health screening staff that you wish to opt out of the nicotine test when you check in for your screening.  See the following question for more information.

Q: Can I qualify for the nicotine free incentive if I believe I had a false positive, refuse the nicotine test, or quit using nicotine after my State-sponsored health screening?
A: You may still qualify for the incentive if you had a State-sponsored health screening and self-report that you completed a nicotine cessation program or nicotine education session with your provider between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017.

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Q: How long will I need to be nicotine free in order to get a negative test result?
A: There is no exact timeframe due to individual differences in metabolism.  Studies suggest that it is advisable to be nicotine free for at least 30 days in order to test negative for nicotine use.

Q: How will my personal results be shared with HCBD so they may administer my incentive correctly?
A: Any personal health information gathered during the course of the Incentive Program is protected by and will be treated consistent with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  A copy of the Plan’s privacy notice is available by request by calling (800) 287-8266 or on the HCBD website at http://benefits.mt.gov/Portals/59/Documents/hipaa%20notice.pdf.   

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Next Steps Discount Questions

Q: What is the Next Steps Incentive?
A: You must get your State-sponsored health screening AND complete and self-report one of the listed activities to receive the Next Steps Incentive. Visit http://benefits.mt.gov/Discount/Next-Steps-Discount for more information.

Q: How do I report that I completed a Next Steps activity?
A:  To qualify for the incentive, you must complete an eligible activity and then self-report the activity by October 31, 2017.

  • The deadline for completing and reporting ALL Incentive activities is October 31, 2017.
  • Visit wwwmyactivehealth.com/som and make an account using your personal information exactly as it appears on your Allegiance ID card.
  • Click the “My Rewards” tab to check and report your 2017 Live Life Well Incentive activities.
  • Your Next Steps Activity must be reported by clicking “Work On It” on the Next Steps Activity card.
  • Please note your State-sponsored health screening is a requirement before your Next Steps incentive will show a dollar amount.  It can take a month after your State-sponsored health screening is completed for it to appear in the MyActiveHealth system, but when it does the Next Steps incentive dollar amount will update at the same time.
  • Call MyActiveHealth at (855) 206-1302 for help with your account or using the website.

Q: What proof do I need that I completed a Next Steps activity?
A: A random sample of members may be required to provide verification of the activities they claimed. If you or your spouse/domestic partner is selected for the sample, you must fax, mail or email the requested documentation to HCBD. If you are claiming the Next Steps Incentive, it is a good idea to gather the information as you complete activities and keep it in case you are selected for verification. For example, obtain and keep the following:
• A provider’s note verifying your appointment date for health coaching or a form that shows you have completed a qualifying program; or,
• A print out of your completed appointment from CareHere or your provider’s office; or,
• Another form of acceptable verification as determined by HCBD.

If verification is asked of you, HCBD will work with you to find acceptable documentation.

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Q: What if I have At-risk Levels, but I am already addressing them with my doctor or other activities?
A: Members must complete an eligible Next Steps activity to qualify for the Next Steps Incentive.  Many Plan Members who are already actively engaged in managing their health will find they are already completing a qualifying activity.  An example would be a member who has high blood glucose, who goes to see their doctor twice a year for visits related to that At-risk Level.  This is an eligible Next Step activity – as long as this member also completes their State-sponsored health screening, they will be eligible for the Next Step Incentive. The State Plan wants members to pay attention to their health screening results and choose Next Step activities that will help them better manage their health and achieve health goals. 

Q: My State-sponsored health screening results showed I had no At-risk Levels.  What does this mean for me?
A: All members must complete an eligible Next Steps activity to qualify for the Next Steps Incentive.  If you have no At-risk levels, you may complete ANY of the eligible Next Steps activities.  Choose the one that best fits your needs.  Remember the purpose of the Next Steps Incentive is to encourage all eligible members to engage in their health both for their benefit and for the benefit of the self-funded State Plan.  When you have no At-risk Levels, the State Plan wants to encourage you to continue to stay engaged and take advantage of the benefits available to you as a Plan Member and keep your risk levels low.
We know the eligible activities do not always fit exactly into what you might already be doing, but even members with no At-Risk levels must earn the incentive by taking an action that is eligible for the incentive.  We want members to pay attention to their health screening results and choose Next Steps activities that will help them better manage their health and achieve health goals. 

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Q: I completed a nicotine cessation program between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017.  Does this count for both the Nicotine Free Incentive and Next Steps Incentive?
A: Yes. Being nicotine free is the single most important thing you can do for your health and nicotine use is one of the largest risks for conditions that increase costs to the self-funded State Plan.  We know it may take many attempts to stop using nicotine and that cessation programs are time- and effort-intensive.  We want to do everything possible to encourage and support members who are ready to stop using nicotine.

Q:  How do I make an appointment with a health coach or enroll in a wellness program?
A:  Contact Allegiance or CareHere directly to get connected.  If you are near a health center, make an appointment with a health center provider to talk about your situation. They will refer you to an appropriate health coach or program. If you are not near a health center, contact Allegiance, and they can connect you with a health coach or lifestyle management program related to the area with which you would like help.  Click here to find which programs are eligible for a Next Steps Incentive: http://benefits.mt.gov/Discount/Next-Steps-Discount (scroll down). 

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Q: I need an exception or accommodation to participate in the Incentive Program.  What should I do?
The State Plan offers the Incentive Program to all Plan Members (employees and enrolled spouse/domestic partners).  If you think you may be unable to meet a standard of the Incentive Program, you may qualify for an alternative program or different means to earn the incentive. You must contact the Health Care & Benefits Division (HCBD) as soon as possible at 800-287-8266 or email livelifewell@mt.gov.  We will work with you (and if you wish, your doctor) to design a program with the same incentive that is right for you.  Any personal health information gathered during the Incentive Program is protected by and will be treated consistent with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  A copy of the Plan’s privacy notice is available upon request by calling (800) 287-8266 or at http://benefits.mt.gov/Portals/59/Documents/hipaa%20notice.pdf

Q: My question was not answered here or was not answered completely. Who should I contact?
A: For any other questions, please contact the Health Care & Benefits Division at (406) 444-7462; (800) 287-8266; TTY (406) 444-1421; or benefitsquestions@mt.gov.

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