Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SUAA Email Briefing for 8.23.2013

SUAA continues to meet with Central Management Services (CMS) on a regular basis.  Today we met to talk about the current health insurance initiatives and issues regarding the State Health Insurance Program for retirees.  Changes are coming and should be coordinated within the next month.  However, other than a State sponsored Medicare program which will include HMOs and a Nationwide PPO there isn’t much to report at this time.

The content or plan design for the State-sponsored Medicare program is not finalized as yet. CMS is working to coordinate by October 1.  People will need to make a choice of opting out or staying with the their current federal Medicare.

Those who are Medicare age but not Medicare eligible with 20 years of service will be provided a $500 incentive to leave the State-sponsored Medicare Plan.  This incentive will be provided for their life-time. 

A person who chooses to continue in the State-sponsored Medicare plan will have to pay a premium which is still 1% of their pension for this year and in addition the cost of Medicare Part B.  It seems that a prescription plan will be included.

There will be seminars held to help educate those who are affected. (No dates are set as yet).

In addition, those who are community college retirees will see changes to the College Insurance Program (CIP).  A meeting will be held for the stakeholders later just as was done for TRIP.  See notice below since CIPs changes will be much if not all the same as TRIP.  

Neither CIP nor TRIP will be given a $500 incentive to leave their respective health insurance plans.

This is all of the concrete information that can be provided at this time.  While IEA lists the possibility of a Medicare Supplement Plan, it doesn’t seem that at this juncture that is going to be available.

SUAA will be kept in the loop as progress is made.  We will keep you updated as we are able to make solid informational reports.  Visit the CMS website on a regular basis.  Much will happen in the next few weeks!

Copied from the Illinois Education Association

On Aug. 21, the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) Committee met with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).  The committee is made up of representatives from the Illinois Education Association (IEA), Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), Illinois Education Association-Retired (IEA-R), Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA) and school management.  Items discussed included program funding and plan design. In addition, CMS announced that TRIP Medicare primary retirees would be required to enroll in a state-sponsored Medicare plan.  The premiums and plan design of the state-sponsored Medicare plan have yet to be made public.

The State of Illinois requested bids for a state-sponsored Medicare plan on June 21.  It is the goal of CMS to have a contract in place by Oct. 1, which will allow an enrollment period to make choices that will be effective Jan. 1.  One or more of the following options will be available choices for coverage for anyone who has Medicare as their primary coverage:
  • Medicare Advantage Plan
  • HMO
  • Nationwide PPO
  • Medicare Supplement
Once the contracts are in place, CMS will schedule informational/educational seminars regarding the new health plan options for those retirees who will be affected. The locations and times of the seminars will be posted on the IEA and CMS websites once they are scheduled.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.  Please check back often.

NoteAt this time, members who have one or more dependent(s) on their coverage, who do not have Medicare as their primary coverage, will not be required to change to one of the new Medicare plan options.

The committee will be meeting again in October. All stakeholder groups will be working together to continue to keep you updated on the Medicare plan.

Have a great weekend!  Summer is unfortunately coming to an end!

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association