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Frequently Asked Questions

Miscellaneous Questions | Quality Tiered Plan Questions | Pharmacy Questions

Miscellaneous questions

What does coinsurance mean?
Coinsurance is a percentage of the total bill. For example, if you use out-of-network services, you will be responsible for 20% of the total bill (the university will pay the remaining 80%) once the deductible is met. The 20% is based off of the Reasonable and Customary charges billed by a non-contracting provider.

For example, if you are enrolled in the Traditional Plan and you decide to see an out-of-network specialist in New York. In this example, assume the total cost of the visit is $700. If your deductible is $500, you will first be responsible for paying the deductible. After the $500 deductible is met, you will then be responsible for 20% of the remaining $200 left on the bill, which is $40. The university will pay $160. Therefore, your total cost for the specialist visit will be $540.

What does “Out of Pocket Maximum” mean?
The Out of Pocket Maximum is the maximum amount you will pay for your share of the cost of covered services during a calendar year, which includes medical and pharmacy copayments, deductible, and coinsurance. However, the out of pocket maximum does not include the payroll deductions (“premiums”) you pay.

What is an Urgent Care Center?
An urgent care center is a convenient cost-effective option when someone's regular physician is on vacation or unable to offer a timely appointment. Or, when illness strikes outside of regular office hours, urgent care offers an alternative to waiting for hours in a hospital Emergency Room. Urgent Care Centers are growing in numbers and are staffed by qualified doctors to treat conditions such as head colds, sore throats, stomach pain, fever, stomach pain, and ear infections. Urgent Care Centers are not appropriate for medical situations that are emergencies or that need to be treated in a hospital setting.

Are Routine Eye Exams covered on my plan?
Yes. All three plans provide coverage for one routine eye exam per calendar year with a contracting provider. To find out if your vision provider is contracting with Tufts Health Plan, please view the provider search for your plan.

Do any of the plan options require referrals?
No. None of the three plans require referrals. You are able to self-refer to any in-network provider to be covered at the in-network level of benefits. Your plan will also cover you to see an out-of-network provider without a referral; however a higher member cost share will apply.

Do copayments accrue towards the deductible?
No. Copayments do not count towards the deductible.

How long can my dependent child remain on my plan?
Dependents can remain on your plan until they turn age 26 (unless your dependent is disabled).

What does “Out-of-Network” mean?
Out-of-Network refers to providers that are not contracting with Tufts Health Plan. For example, if you would like to see a specialist in New York, this would be considered out-of-network. There is a deductible and 20% coinsurance applied to out-of-network services. Please keep in mind that if you are traveling and in need of emergency care, you will be subject to your applicable Emergency Room copayment. Emergency services are not subject to the out-of-network deductible and coinsurance.

What is a Freestanding Facility?
A freestanding facility is one that is not located in, or affiliated with, a hospital. An example of this would be Shields for an MRI.

What happens if I am traveling outside of Massachusetts and have a medical emergency?
If you enroll in a Tufts University Health Plan, you have emergency coverage wherever you are, which is always processed with an in-network copayment. Our intention is that you seek the closest care to you in the event of an emergency, so which provider you use should not be a deciding factor. Please note that you have emergency only health coverage if you are out of the United States for up to 90 days.

If I live outside of Massachusetts, can I still enroll on one of the health plan options?
Yes. If you live outside of the Tufts Health Plan service area (which includes all of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and all of New Hampshire) you still can enroll in the health plan options as follows:

  • If your providers are mostly in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, you have the option to enroll in any one of the three plan options.
  • If your providers are mostly outside of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire the Traditional or Value plan are the best options for you. Please contact Tufts University Support Services for more information.

Quality Tiered Plan

Can I use providers on both Tier 1 and Tier 2?
Yes. You may primarily use Tier 1 providers, but decide to see a Tier 2 specialist. You are covered to see any provider on Tier 1 or Tier 2 throughout the year, but you will pay a higher member cost share if you utilized Tier 2 providers.

How often does Tufts Health Plan re-tier providers?
Tufts Health Plan will re-tier providers once a year in January. The tiers are set for calendar year 2017 and are not subject to change until January 1, 2018.

Am I responsible to pay towards the deductible for an office visit on Tier 2?
No. The deductible only applies on Tier 2 for outpatient surgery, inpatient services, and high tech imaging.

Will I pay a deductible if I use a Tier 1 provider?
No. There is no deductible on Tier 1.

What if my physician is on a different Tier than my hospital?
The Quality Tiered Plan groups hospitals and physicians (PCPs, Specialists) at an organizational level. Your providers will fall under the same Tier as your hospital.

Why are Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Tier 2?
All of our providers in the network must meet the Tufts Health Plan minimum quality standards to even be in our network. For the Quality Tiered Plan, we then apply an additional quality threshold to all of our providers, using National Published Standard metrics, for example, from the Joint Commission, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers Survey (HCAHPS)s, Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures (HEDIS), and the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners Patient Experience Survey (MHQP). Once a provider system is rated on quality, if it meets the quality threshold, the tier placement is then based on relative price and total medical expense. If the provider does not meet the cost threshold, then they are placed into Tier 2. Therefore, Mass General and Brigham and Women’s are on Tier 2 due to higher costs.

Why can’t I find Tier 2 hospitals on the Quality Tiered Plan Hospital flyer?
All Massachusetts and Rhode Island hospitals are included in the Tufts Health Plan network. If your hospital does not appear on the Quality Tiered Plan TU Preferred Hospital list, but it is in MA, this means that your hospital is on Tier 2.


Can you find out the tier of a prescription drug in advance of going to the pharmacy?
Yes. You can check the Formulary to see how your prescription drug is covered, or by calling the Tufts University dedicated Member Services Queue at (844) 516-5790.

What is the new Maintenance Choice program?
Starting January 1, 2017, if you take maintenance medications, you can fill a 90 day supply at either a CVS Pharmacy or through CVS Caremark Mail Service Program.

Can I fill a 90 day supply of maintenance medication at a pharmacy other than CVS?
No. In order to fill a 90 day supply, you will need to use a CVS pharmacy or CVS Caremark Mail Service Program.

Can I still fill a 30 day supply of a maintenance medication at a local pharmacy?
No. 30 day supplies of maintenance medication will be covered at any pharmacy for the initial fill and 1 refill. After those two fills, you must use a CVS Pharmacy or the mail order program or pay the full cost of the prescription.

I currently have a 30 day supply prescription at the pharmacy, what do I need to do to get a 90 day supply?
You will need to contact your doctor's office for a new 90 day prescription or ask your doctor's office to call the pharmacy.

Why doesn’t the Traditional Plan include the Value Based Pharmacy Program?
The Traditional plan offers traditional benefits, and includes the standard pharmacy benefit. The Value Based Program is an innovative program designed for non-standard plan designs, such as the Quality Tiered Plan and the Value Plan.

Are insulin pumps covered through the Value Based Pharmacy benefit?
No, insulin pumps are covered under the Medical benefits, not the Pharmacy benefit. Please contact the Tufts University dedicated Member Services Queue at (844) 516-5790 for more information.

Why does my prescription drug require prior authorization?
All health plans standardly use clinical edits for your safety. Tufts Health Plan uses a variety of approaches to manage the pharmacy benefit. Our goal is to balance quality, safety, and affordability so that you and your provider can make decisions for your care that are right for you.