Health Insurance Task Force to Meet
The State & Public School Life & Health Insurance Task Force appointed by the Speaker of the House, President Pro-temp and the Governor will meet in Room 171 of the State Capitol Building at 1:30 on Tuesday, February 4th. This committee is looking at the State and School health insurance plans. It appears the committee will look at changing several laws which will allow them to make major changes to the school plan without doing so to the state employee’s plan. In other words, the law that says the General Assembly will work to bring parity between the two plans may be stricken.
If you are interested in the school plan you may want to attend. You should also be contacting your legislators and asking if they will work to budget enough funding to reduce the retired school plan rates. This will not happen without everyone calling their legislators and the governor.
2014 Health Insurance Rates Released by EBD
(Posted August 23, 2014)
Several people have called the ARTA office to see the new health insurance rates for 2014. Employee Benefits Division released the final rate calculations for 2014 back in August and we posted them on the Latest News page of this website. We have moved them over to the top of this page for your convenience. These rates will go into effect on January 1, 2014. (Please remember, the EBD announcement below. This will change your health insurance premium amount for December and January of 2014.)
EBD Announces Health Insurance Premium Holiday for December 2013
In an effort to move retired school personnel to a current month payment for health insurance premiums, NO health insurance premium will be deducted from your December check. (Currently you are paying a month in advance.) With this change, your January premium will be withheld from your January retirement annuity. This means you will see an increase in your annuity by the amount you pay for health insurance for the month of December, 2013 only.
Click on the links below to see the rates.
ACT 331 Update (Posted October 29, 2013)
The following information was provided by EBD this afternoon (10/29/13). The EBD answers appear below each question we submitted to them. We thank them for sharing this information.
PSE (Public School Employees & Retirees) enrollment ends 11/20/13.
Question 1.) Who will be qualified and approved to come back under ACT 331?
Any retiree who declined coverage at the time of retirement or who terminated retiree coverage at a later date. Retirees must be able to show that they had coverage from the time of the declination or termination.
Question 2.) If someone has applied under ACT 331 and were turned down, do they need to re-apply if they now become eligible, or will EBD just use the application on file to reconsider their application?
Any retiree who submitted an application will not be required to resubmit an application.
Question 3.) Will those who were on COBRA be qualified to apply?
Yes, if they had continued coverage from the time they declined retiree coverage or terminated the retiree coverage.
Question 4.) What group will be turned down if they do apply?
Anyone that cannot show continuous coverage from the time of the declination or termination until now.
Question 5.) Can all of this be posted on the EBD’s website with a link that’s easy to find? This could reduce the number of phone calls we are all getting on this question.
ARTA Note: Attached below is a link to the enrollment form that can be used to sign up for the AR Health group plan. Again, please make a copy of the form for your records. (This is very important for documentation.)
We Still Need You to Contact Your Legislators and the Governor
We want to thank Representative Jeremy Hutchinson for filing a bill that was asking for $4 million dollars for retirees health insurance. This would have cut our premium increases in half. Please let Rep. Hutchinson know you appreciate his efforts. This bill was not acted upon during the Special Session. We are not sure at this time if we can get any help during the fiscal session next year, but we want to continue to let our Legislators and the Governor know we need their help.
We have seen an email from a member of the Governor’s staff that tries to explain why the Governor doesn’t want to help our group. Apparently they say our non-Medicare eligible retirees have not traditionally received help in the past. This seems to ignore the fact that State retirees continue to get almost biannual subsidy raises for their health insurance. Their premiums were raise on average 1% beginning in 2014. A good example of this disparity is how our non-Medicare eligible family plan increases $303 per month while the exact same state non-Medicare eligible family plan increases $9 per month! You can see the detailed comparisons by clicking on the link below:
Have you Contacted the Governor or your Legislators Yet?
Time is running out. We are still not hearing of any help being offered to the Pubic School (PSE) retiree group. The only way we will get help is if everyone contacts their elected representatives. If you contact your legislators concerning help with the 2014 premium increase for retirees, we have attached a spreadsheet below showing the actual projected cost of six different options. Feel free to share this with you legislators when you ask for their help. The six options would reduce the impact of the 2014 rate increases by 100%, 75%, 60%, 50%, 40% and 30%.
We also need you to contact the Governor’s office. We are being told this will probably not happen without his approval. His office number is below.
IMPORTANT!!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
Things are moving fast with Legislators & the Governor working on a solution to the huge health insurance premium increases due in 2014. As of today, there appears to be little talk of helping those in the retired school group (PSE). We understand though the Governor’s staff, he is not going to help the retired school group.
Please ask your legislators to see if they could find $2-4 million dollars out to the $4.7 billion dollar budget for 2013. Or you can ask them to use some of the $100,000,000 plus in uncommitted carryover funds to bridge us until they can find $2-4 million dollars in the 2014-15 budget.
Please call the Governor’s office as soon as you can and ask for his help to include retirees in any solution for active PSE members.
The Honorable Mike Beebe: 1-501-682-2345
We also need you to contact your local Legislators.
Click here for a listing of Legislators in alphabetical order with contact information.
*Please remember, the state employee representatives on the EBD Board and committees have been very supportive of our plight. We are not after their funding. We also understand complete parity with state employees and retirees is not financially feasible. We know we are not technically state employees. However, they are the only group (they have the same health insurance plan) that we can measure ourselves against. (See the comparison spreadsheets below for more information.)
The Latest on Act 331 (Posted September 19, 2014)
The following information concerning Act 331 was provided by EBD staff.
- ACT 331 is an enrollment opportunity for members who have never been on the retirement health plan.
- A retiree may come back to AR Health during Open Enrollment (October) any year. This IS NOT a one year option. It is a one time option however.
- The EBD Board did not allocate money to subsidize retirees returning to AR Health under Act 331 of 2013. Therefore the rate for those retirees will be $153.46 for the 2014 plan year.
- The retiree may add their spouse at the time they enroll.
- When completing the enrollment form for ACT 331, all Medicare eligibles need to be sure to include a copy of your Medicare I.D. card.
- Make a copy of your completed form for your records before you turn in the original to EBD.
- If you cancel your retirement insurance to leave the plan other than gaining employment with a state or public school agency, the decision is final and you cannot come back to the plan.
Any person who completes an election form in October will have a January 1 effective date. Once the retiree receives confirmation of their coverage, it is his/her responsibility to cancel their existing coverage prior to January 1.
Attached below is a link to the enrollment form that can be used to sign up for the AR Health group plan. Again, please make a copy of the form for your records. (This is very important for documentation.)
Health Insurance Crisis is Moving Fast
The actions surrounding the latest health insurance crisis for Public School Employees (PSE) is moving fast. Legislators and the Governor will be talking about a number of possible options to deal with this crisis in funding.
We have attached two comparisons below for your review. (They appear in the section titled: TIME TO ASK THE QUESTION.) The first is a comparison of retiree rates for 2014 between state (ASE) and (PSE) groups. Note the school retiree will pay $267.66 per month for a Bronze retiree only plan. This is the high deductible, high out of pocket plan. This is compared to a state retiree paying $237.98 for the Gold plan. The Gold plan is the no deductible plan.
The second comparison link below will allow you to compare the ASE & PSE active members. This it the active workers for both groups. Please note the highlighted figures in this link to the comparison. It is easy to see why the ASE group has a participation rate in the neighborhood of 93% while the PSE participation rate is around 63%. The ASE rates are so much lower due the high subsidy provided by the state legislature. For example, the Employee & Family plan (GOLD) costs state employees $423.60 per month versus the $1,538.26 per month cost the school employees. In fact, the increase for 2014 for school employees in this category is $508 per month. This means the PSE Family plan increase is more the the ASE Family plan total cost per month. The ASE rate in this category receives over $928 per month in state funding subsidy for each family plan state employee.
Joint Meeting of the Insurance & Commerce and Education Committees
The House and Senate Insurance & Commerce Committees and the House and Senate Education Committees will hold a joint meeting Monday, September 9, 2013 in Room A in the MAC Building on the Capitol grounds. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. This is an open meeting and all are welcome to attend.
2014 Health Insurance Rates Released by EBD
(Posted August 23, 2014)
Employee Benefits Division has released the final rate calculations for 2014. These rates will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Click on the links below to see the rates.
Pharmacy Changes Approved for 2014 (Posted August 24, 2014)
The State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board approved a long list of pharmacy changes for 2014, at their August 20, 2013, board meeting. To see the detailed list, please click on the highlighted link provided below. Our thanks to David Keisner, EBD staff pharmacist for providing this update.
EBD Board Sets Rates for 2014 (Posted August 21, 2014)
The State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board set the health insurance rates for 2014, at their August 20, 2013, board meeting.
What happened? The Board’s consultants brought five new migration options to the Board for review. This was the first time they had been seen by those in the audience. The migration patterns presented will have a direct effect on the rates in each plan. The large number of members, who migrated to the Bronze plan in 2013, was one of the reasons rates need to be increased. This was not a major reason, but it did impact rates. The Board selected option D which was the fourth highest migration pattern, thus increasing rates more than anyone had seen in presentations before this meeting. This option passed on a vote of 5 yeas & 2 nays. Kelly Cheney, teacher representative, and Shawn Cook, school administrative representative voted against this option.
The next hit to the rates took place when the Board voted to add $5 per month to the rates to help build back the catastrophic funding, which might be needed to prevent or lessen a mid-year rate increase if the PSE (Public School Employees) group suffered more high cost claims. This increase would add $5 per adult on each plan category, so a retiree and spouse plan would increase $10 per month.
Due to the significant increases being considered for health insurance rates for the 2014 plan year, ARTA called a special meeting of its Executive Committee. After reviewing the data available at that time (August 20, 2013), the committee voted 10-0 to recommend raising the premiums and keeping the Plan F for Medicare eligible (ME). With Medicare, Plan F pays the remaining 20% that Medicare doesn’t pay. There are no co-pays, deductibles, or out of pocket amounts set.
A poll was also taken in a Clark Co Retired Teachers meeting on which option to take. The vote was 35-1 for staying with the Plan F for the Medicare eligible.
The rates for retiree only in the Medicare eligible will be $81.68 per month. This is an increase of $31.54 or 63%.
The report below was information given to the EBD Board to assist them in making their decisions on rates for 2014. Please read the very last page for the Cheiron disclaimer. Exact rates will be posted as soon as they are received from EBD.
Help from the Governor & Legislature? (Posted August 21, 2014)
The Arkansas Democrat*Gazette reported in today’s edition (August 21, 2013) the Governor’s spokesman, Matt DeCample, “…said the governor will ask the Legislature for more money for the plans during next year’s fiscal session to offset some of the impact of the increased premiums on the teachers.” “Any increase in state funding for the public school employees’ plan would be for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2014, DeCample said.” The amount the governor will ask for hasn’t been decided according to DeCample.
EBD Board Selects Bob Alexander New Director (Posted August 21, 2014)
The State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board announced the selection of Mr. Bob Alexander as the new EBD Executive Director. Mr. Alexander has served as Associate Counsel with the Arkansas Insurance Department. He has also been a member of the EBD Board for a number of years and brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to his new position. He also brings an important understanding of the federal Affordable Care Act. We wish Mr. Alexander the best as he helps move us through these difficult times.
Benefits Sub-Committee Recommendation (Revised: August 13, 2013)
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Benefits Sub-Committee met on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 and reviewed a number of options to recommend to the Board for the Board’s August 20, 2013 meeting. This is the meeting where rates will be set for the 2014 plan year.
Please remember the Benefits Sub-Committee recommendations are made to the full Board before anything becomes official. The Sub-Committee recommended going with Alternative 3 for the Gold, Silver & Bronze plans for actives and Non-Medicare members. They did not make a recommendation on how to apply the dollars available to each category. The dollars can be applied using the same percentage rate increase across plans or the same dollar increase across plans. (Please note there will be some exception to the application.)
Alternative M4 was selected for the PSE Medicare Eligible rates. The rates would have risen $29.74 per month for the retiree only without the changes that were recommended. With option Alt.M4 the rate will increase $4.10 per month. Revision to original post: (This recommendation will be reviewed by the ARTA Executive Committee to see if we need to reconsider. By going with the M4 option, individuals would have co-pays of $10/$30 for primary care and specialist physician visits respectively. It would also include $1,500 maximum (OOP) Out Of Pocket expenses. Currently we have a Medicare Plan F supplement which pays 100% of office visits and OOP not paid by Medicare. While the $29.74 increase would be our biggest in years, if not ever, it would certainly beat the possibility of loosing the “F” plan vs. paying $125 per month for those hitting the maximum OOP costs. We will post the results of our meeting on Monday, August 19th & the EBD Board’s final decision on 2014 health insurance rates on Tuesday, August 20th.)
All options presented can be found on page 16 of the Cheiron report below.
To make your own comparison, you can look at pages 10 & 12 in the report below to see the rate increase and pages 11 & 13 to compare the dollar increase in each category.
Click here for Cheiron’s full report
Please remember the final premiums and plan options will be decided on August 20, 2013 as mentioned above.
EBD DUEC Reviews Placement & Tiers for a Variety of Drugs (Posted August 6, 2013)
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Drug Utilization & Evaluation Committee (DUEC) met on Monday, August 5, 2013 and reviewed a number of new drugs as well as old ones for the inclusion or exclusion from the PSE and ASE group formulary.
The prescription drug industry is becoming a huge factor in increases to our health insurance plan. In the coming years, the DUEC will become more important in working to try to control these cost increases. ARTA will be posting as much information as possible to keep our membership informed as these changes occur.
EBD Benefits Sub-Committee Looks at Options (Posted August 6, 2013)
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Benefits Sub-Committee met on Friday, July 26, 2013 and reviewed 2014 plan designs for the PSE and ASE groups. No action was taken, and the Sub-Committee will meet again on Wednesday, August 7, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. to finalize their recommendations to the State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board. The Board is expected to make final decisions on the plan design and rates for the 2014 plan year on Tuesday, August 20, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
Click here for Cheiron’s updated report
Please remember the information included in this report is still preliminary. It is more discussion material for members of the Committee to see the effects of various options available to them rather than actual recommendations. The final premiums and plan options will be decided in August as mentioned above.
EBD Board Looks at Options (Posted July 18, 2013)
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 and approved two cost savings measures related to the Prescription Drug program for the PSE and ASE groups for 2014.
1.) The Board added the requirement for all compounded drugs to have a (PA) Prior Authorization. This will reduce the possibility that expensive non-covered drug will slip through in compounded prescriptions.
2.) Approved placing diabetic test strips on the prescription drug tier system & eliminating the $0 co-pay option. This will give patients options in choosing the strips they want, but will better control costs. Explanation: Numerous companies give away their testing machines but their test strips are proprietary and are sold to work with their own machine. The prices vary from $10 per month to $160 or more per month depending on the company. A person can be required by their physician to test 5 times per day or up to 153 times per month. After the person pays their co-pay, the balance is paid by the insurance plan. The recommendation is to identify several low cost options for the test strips and place them on the (T1) tier 1 drug list. The high cost options would go on (T2 & T3) tiers 2 & 3. If the individual chooses the high cost strips, they would have to pay the difference instead of the plan. They will also limit the number of strips that can be purchased in a month without a (PA) prior authorization. This will result in a good deal of savings for the PSE plan.
In other business, the Board heard from Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the Board. Several options were reviewed on ways to reduce premium costs with cuts to benefits by adding to or increasing co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance with no action being taken. The Board and Benefits Committee will be given updated cost information on how changes in benefits might impact premiums for the 2014 plan year. The Benefits Committee is scheduled to meet on July 26th & August 7th to review any new information available from consultant Cheiron. The Board of Trustees of the State and Public School Health & Life Insurance Board is scheduled to make final decisions on the rates for 2014 on August 20th (These dates are subject to change and additional meetings may be called.)
Click here for Cheiron’s updated report. Please remember the information included in this report is still preliminary. It is more discussion material for members of the Committee to see the effects of various options available to them rather than actual recommendations. The final premiums and plan options will be decided in August as mentioned above.
Board Updated (Not Much) on Minnesota Life (Posted July 18, 2013)
EBD Board member Lloyd Black asked for an update on the Minnesota Life transition from USAble. Mr. Chaing, the Arkansas account manager was unable to assure the Board about the notification of those who may have dropped their policies due to the huge increases in premiums and drop in coverage that occurred in January. Since some of this was rolled back for retirees, they were given the opportunity to re-establish their policies. He was also unable to say if members had been notified about listing their beneficiaries. He could only say that the company had been sending our batches of notifications and he “thought they were all out.” Mr. Black shared that he had not received any notification from Minnesota Life. EBD now has an in house person working on these problems.
If you have not received notification from Minnesota Life about your beneficiary or have other questions, please call Mr. Chaing and ask him who you can contact to get accurate information for your Minnesota Life questions. He may be able to direct you to the in house EBD employee. It is apparent from his appearance before the EBD Board he doesn’t know much. Mr. Chaing’s cell phone number is, 804-837-2814. His office number is 804-644-2420, extension 101.
EBD Benefits Committee Looks at Options (Posted July 12th & revised July 22nd)
The Benefits Committee for The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met Friday, July 12, 2013 and reviewed data from several surrounding states on health insurance plan designs. Click here for the Benefits Committee recommendations to the EBD Board.
EBD Benefits Committee Looks at Options (Posted June 25, 2013)
The Benefits Committee for The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met on Monday, June 24, 2013 and reviewed data from several surrounding states on health insurance plan designs. Out-going Executive Director, Jason Lee also reviewed several plan designs as suggestions with the Committee. After a discussion, the committee made additional requests for Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the Board, to price several different options on plan design. This information will allow the Committee to see how changes in the plan design will effect the premium structure for the 2014 plan year.
The Committee also elected Lloyd Black as Chair and Gwin Wiggins as Vice-Chair for the coming year. Becky Walker, will be stepping down after her two year term as Chair of the Benefits Committee. Thanks Becky for your service.
EBD Board Looks at Options (Posted June 18, 2013)
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 and heard from Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the Board. Several options were reviewed on ways to reduce premium costs with cuts to benefits by adding to or increasing co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance with no action being taken. The Board and Benefits Committee will be given information on cost and premiums for surrounding states in addition to other basic plans being offered by other vendors. Cheiron’s updated report is linked below. Please remember the information included in this report is very preliminary. It is more discussion material for members of the Committee to see the effects of various options available to them rather than actual recommendations. The final premiums and plan options will be decided in August.
The Benefits Committee will meet on Monday, June 24th to continue to look over the plans and options for the 2014 plan year.
EBD Benefits Committee Looks at Options (Posted June 11, 2013)
The Benefits Committee for The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met on Monday, June 10, 2013 and heard from Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the Board. After a lengthy discussion on ways to reduce premium costs with cuts to benefits by adding to co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance, no action was taken. The committee made additional requests for information on cost and premiums for surrounding states. Cheiron’s updated report is linked below. Please remember the information included in this report is very preliminary. It is more discussion material for members of the Committee to see the effects of various options available to them rather than actual recommendations.
Update on EBD Board Meeting on May 21, 2013
The State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board met on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 and heard from Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the Board. Their updated report is linked below. Please remember the information included in this report is very preliminary. It is more discussion material for members of the Board to see the effects of various options available to them rather than actual recommendations.
The financial report from EBD showed a gain in revenue for the month of April allowing for a shift in funding back into the Catastrophic Reserve. If this trend stays the same, along with the $8,000,000 one-time appropriation from the General Assembly and previous cuts made by the Board, it appears the PSE fund will not require an increase in premiums or additional cuts in benefits during the 2013 plan year.
That will push the dilemma of funding shortfalls into the 2014 plan year. The Benefits Committee and the Board will be reviewing all possible combinations of rate increases, benefit reductions, cost cutting measures within EBD operations and other possibilities. They will also be trying to gauge the effects of plan migration when people move from the Gold to the Silver or Bronze plans. Please note, the Board is open to any suggestions from the affect groups. ARTA will continue to monitor the progress of the Board and Benefits Committee and keep you informed of any changes taking place.
Cheiron, the financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm for the State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board revealed the 2012 plan year net assets were $5.2 million lower than projected at the Board’s February meeting. As a result, no excess assets are available for 2013 and some catastrophic reserves have been used. Some of the reasons are listed below.
- Active member counts were slightly lower than projected, but more than anticipated elected to join the Bronze plan than the Gold or Silver. Both of these factors contributed to the lower than projected assets.
- The plan also added an unprecedented number of retirees near the end of the year. (1,213 retirees)
- Expected reductions/offsets to expenses (Rx rebates, etc.) were also not fully realized in 2012.
- A higher than usual number of high cost claims. This included four claims that exceeded $8 million dollars.
The Board discussed the possible need to revise the 2013 PSE group health insurance plan during the year to address the plan’s critical asset dilemma. The Board met in April 23rd to look for solutions. A number of cost cutting measures have already been implemented in the area of Rx drug costs. Cheiron’s full updated monitoring report can be found at the link below.
On another front, the Education Committee has been looking at the increases in health insurance funding through a special Subcommittee on Health Insurance. In fairness to the State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board, they can only allocate more funding if it is made available to them by the legislature. ARTA will continue to work with the General Assembly and you can help by letting your local representative know our plan (especially for retirees) is going to need help (funding) in the future.
A second way to help is with expenses or claims. Since this is a self-insured plan, the premiums paid by the members (you and your family) are paid right back to the claims incurred by the members. The ability to control premiums for future years in some ways rests with us. By being prudent with healthcare expenses, we can have an immediate impact on claims for this year and premiums for 2014 and beyond. Please understand that no one is asking anyone to go without necessary medical care. We all do need to make informed decisions about how our healthcare decisions impact the bottom line. (Posted February 23, 2013 & Revised April 26, 2013)
HB 1128 Signed by the Governor & Becomes ACT 331 of the 89th General Assembly
Governor Mike Beebe signed ACT 331 into law on Tuesday, March 12th in the Governor’s conference room at the Capitol. Below is an explanation of how this might affect retirees who are not part of the ARHealth State plan. Thanks go out to Representative David Kizzia and Senator Bill Sample for sponsoring this legislation. (Posted March 15, 2013)
ARTA Recommends Minnesota Life Speed Up Contact
*After you have read the information below, you should call Joe Chaing for any additional information. He is the Arkansas account manager. We are deeply saddened by what has happened with this change over to Minnesota Life on the life insurance. I will continued to see what we can correct. Mr. Chaing’s cell phone # is, 804-837-2814. His office number is 804-644-2420, extension 101.
Steve Singleton, Executive Director of ARTA, recommended to Minnesota Life Insurance representatives they need to speed up contact with all affected retirees who received incorrect pricing and changes to their life insurance rates and coverage in January. (It should be noted here that a Minnesota Life representative has said there is not incorrect pricing based on the EBD RFP (Request For Proposals) however they have change several items listed below that will have the effect of lower the premium and holding the coverage at 2012 levels for our group 75+.)
Minnesota Life shared the following changes would be in place by the April payroll:
1) Establish PSE retirees who were retired as of 12/31/2012 as a special closed group.
2) Bring insurance coverage back on this closed group of PSE retirees to what they had on 12/31/2012 without further reductions. If you had $25,000 in coverage and it was reduced to $12,500 in January, your coverage will be moved back up to $25,000. You will not receive a reduction in premiums you have already paid in January, February and/or March. Apparently EBD could not make Minnesota Life pay this back under the new and current contract with Minnesota Life.
3) Carve out PSE retirees who were already retired 12/31/2012 into a special rate table so the 75 and 75+ age banded rate is reduced to $3.70 per every thousand dollars of life insurance. Under the old USAble PSE group rates were $2.84 per thousand. This would make a PSE Life Insurance policy on $20,000 last year under USAble $56.80 per month. The new Minnesota Life replacement would cost $74.00 which is a difference of $17.20 for the same coverage (see # 2 above).
Singleton requested affected members be contacted ASAP so they don’t have to wait until April to find out what is going on. If you have had a problem with your policy, please follow this page. We will be posting updates as they are received from EBD and Minnesota Life. (Revised March 7, 2013) & Revised again March 20, 2013) It should be noted here that after 13 days we still have members who have not been contact by Minnesota Life or EBD. EBD has mentioned something about the problem in their publication THE BUZZ. (Revised again March 20, 2013)
HB 1128 by Representative David Kizzia, if passed, could offer some financial relief for many retirees who dropped their coverage with the school group when they retired. If you have continued to keep your Medi-Pak Plus or non-group policy you may be eligible to return to the school group policy if this bill passes.
How this bill would be implemented by EBD is not known at this time. However, if these retirees qualify for the return to the school group and do not get the state subsidy, the current cost of the Medicare eligible plan is $139.38 per month plus an administration fee would bring the total to somewhere around $175 per month. This would be a savings over the cost of their current Medi-Pax Plus for most of this group.
This bill has been amended to give those who retired while on their spouses health insurance plans an option to return to the PSE group. Since they did not have school insurance on the last day of employment they were not eligible for the PSE group even though as an active teacher they helped subsidize the PSE retiree group. If you are in this category, you may want to support this bill.
This bill is on the agenda for Monday, March 4, 2013.
Click on the link below to see the bill.
(Posted March 3, 2013)
EBD Announces Minnesota Life Problems Being Corrected
Jason Lee, Executive Director of the Employee Benefits Division (EBD which oversees our current health and life insurance group) is working with Minnesota Life (the new life insurance carrier for our group) to correct problems which occurred with the switch from USAble. If you have had a problem with your policy, please follow this page. We will be posting a more detailed explanation as the issues are worked out between EBD and Minnesota Life. (Posted January 24, 2013)
2013 Health Insurance Rates Approved By EBD Board Today!
August 21, 2012
The State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board at EBD approved the new health insurance rates for 2013. The Board discussed the three reasons for the increase.
1.) Reserve funds available to offset the increases coming to the Public School Employee (PSE) group have been exhausted during the 2012 plan year.
2.) Rates are increasing at about 6% per year and,
3.) The number of enrollees is increasing. More people in the group means there is less subsidy per person thus increasing the cost per person for insurance.
These rates will go into effect January 1, 2013. The rates are posted below. (Posted August 21, 2012)
Pre-65 (NME) 2012 Cost/Mnth 2013 Cost/Mnth
Retiree Only $457.42 $469.68
Retiree & NME Spouse 1,152.01 1,186.36
Retiree & Child(ren) 768.28 821.66
Retiree & NME Sp. & Ch. 1,159.82 1,538.32
Retiree & ME Sp. 596.84 609.06
Retiree & ME Sp. & Ch. 907.71 961.04
Pre-65 (NME) 2012 Cost/Mnth 2013 Cost/Mnth
Retiree Only $401.62 $401.62
Retiree & Spouse 1,097.40 1,097.40
Retiree & Child(ren) 712.64 712.64
Family 1,105.20 1,200.54
Pre-65 (NME) 2012 Cost/Mnth 2013 Cost/Mnth
Retiree Only $148.90 $182.78
Retiree & Spouse 349.34 421.00
Retiree & Child(ren) 238.70 299.78
Family 352.42 538.02
For more details on the three plans above, please click on the link below. It will require the Microsoft Excel program.
Medicare Eligible (ME) 2012 Cost/Mnth 2013 Cost/Mnth
Retiree Only $41.44 $50.14
Retiree & NME Spouse 568.37 597.87
Retiree & Child(ren) 421.17 509.62
Retiree & NME Sp. & Ch. 877.42 1,061.68
Retiree & ME Sp. 170.59 206.42
Retiree & ME Sp. & Ch. 550.32 630.74
(NME stands for Non-Medicare Eligible & ME stands for Medicare Eligible)
(Sp. = Spouse, and Ch. = Children)
The Gold vs. Bronze Comparison
Below we have listed a comparison for 2012 Gold v. Bronze Health Insurance rates. We hope to update with data based on the new rates (2013) approved later today. As soon as our analysis is reviewed by EBD staff for accuracy we will post it. (Revised August 21, 2012)
What you need to know about health insurance if you are retiring this year.
If you are eligible to draw a retirement annuity, and meet the requirements to enroll in retirement health insurance, you have some options to consider.
1.) If you are going to continue your health insurance as a retiree, you must complete a Retirement Deduction Authorization Form and submit it to Employee Benefits Division (See Blogroll links to EBD on the right hand side of this page) within 30 days of your termination of active employment.
2.) You also have the option to enroll in COBRA for 18 months and apply for retirement insurance within 30 days of the end of your COBRA coverage. You can do this in your school district business office. You need to know that you can still get the “active” school health insurance rate if you go COBRA. Some folks in the business office might not know you will still qualify for the “active” rate and will try to sign you up for the “retiree” rate that is much higher. (Please note that any subsidy your local school district pays for each “active” employee will not be paid by the district if you are on COBRA. You will have to pay this, but it should still be less expensive than the “retiree” rate.)
3.) If you choose not to enroll in retirement health insurance or COBRA at this time because you and/or your dependents are covered under another group health plan, you must complete a Waiver of Enrollment Form and return to Employee Benefits Division (EBD) to be eligible to enroll in the retirement group health plan at a later date. A Waiver of Enrollment form is included in the COBRA packet that is mailed to you at the end of your employment. A completed Waiver of Enrollment Form must be on file at Employee Benefits Division (EBD). You have 30 days to submit this form at the end of your employment.
Please note the short timelines you have to notify Employee Benefits Division (EBD) when you retire or change your health insurance coverage. This includes going from “active” to “retired” status, “active” to COBRA, COBRA to “retired” or your health coverage under your spouse’s insurance back to “retired” state health coverage. If you don’t follow these timelines with the proper forms and notification, you will not be allowed back in the state Public School Employees (PSE) Health Insurance Group coverage.
If you have questions, please feel free to call us in the ARTA office for additional information. Our toll free number is 1-888-929-0955 and our local number is 501-375-2958.