Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions about choosing your medical plan option, getting the best care, maximizing savings and staying healthy.

Choosing Your Medical Plan Option

  • Can I change my election during the year?
    You can change your medical plan election during the year only if you have a qualified status change (i.e., you have or adopt a baby, your spouse’s/domestic partner’s employment status changes, or you get married/divorced/legally separated or establish or end a domestic partnership). For more information on qualified status changes, please refer to the Summary Plan Descriptions for the various benefits plans.

Get the Best Care

  • Why should I consider using a condition management program offered by my health plan?
    If you or a family member has a chronic health condition, such as heart disease, cancer, back pain or diabetes, participating in a condition management program may help you manage your condition more effectively, improving your quality of life and helping you avoid related problems in the future. The program can also help you reduce your overall treatment costs and minimize the need for emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Remember, “condition” does not necessarily mean “illness” or “disease.” For example, health plans frequently offer condition management programs for pregnancy.
  • If surgery or extensive treatment is recommended by my doctor, should I get a second opinion?
    A second opinion can help you decide whether a recommended treatment is right for you. You can ask your doctor for a recommendation. Check with your health plan to confirm the exact coverage offered, and keep in mind that you will receive a greater benefit if you consult with an in-network provider for a second opinion. You can also research recommended treatments and procedures online at the Employee Assistance Program Web site. Under the “My Health & Well-Being” tab, click on the “View Health Encyclopedia” link.
  • Are generic prescription drugs as effective as brand-name drugs?
    By law, any generic drug must have the same active ingredients in the same amounts as its brand-name counterpart. If you have concerns about the effectiveness of a generic drug, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also learn more about generic drugs and their effectiveness at the Medco Health Web site.

Maximize Savings

  • How can I save money on my prescription drug expenses?
    Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medications when available. When a generic equivalent to a brand-name drug is not available, ask your doctor if a preferred drug listed in the Medco Health formulary can effectively treat your illness or condition. For long-term maintenance medications, such as drugs to manage cholesterol, ask your doctor to prescribe a 90 day supply so that you can purchase your prescription through the home-delivery pharmacy service instead of a retail pharmacy (where you can purchase only up to a 30-day supply at a time).
  • How can I save money on other medical expenses?
    You’ll always share less of the cost when you use in-network providers. You can also save money by reviewing your bills carefully and questioning items you don’t understand or that may have been added in error.

Stay Healthy

  • Why should I consider taking an online health assessment?
    The health assessment that’s available to you through the Healthy Lifestyles Program can help you evaluate your overall fitness and increase your awareness of your personal risk factors for conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It also can tell you what steps you can take to improve your health. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete and is an excellent first step toward living a healthier lifestyle. Participation in the health assessment is voluntary, confidential and available at no cost to you.
  • Will my health assessment results be shared with Nortel?
    No. Your privacy is protected. No identifiable health assessment information or personal information about you, including your health topic interests, will be shared with Nortel nor any other third party.
  • If I’m at risk for certain conditions, how can I get more information on prevention?
    You can get started by reading the available articles and tips on the Healthy Lifestyles Program Web site and developing questions for your doctor.