December 31, 2020:IMPORTANT MEDICARE UPDATE:
READ THIS IF YOU ARE A RETIREE WHO OPTED OUT OF CITY MEDICARE IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A PERSONAL (Non-City of Houston) MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT.
ALL OTHERS CAN REFER TO “SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION” AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS EMAIL.
The HPROA recently issued a number of Medicare Information Bulletins regarding Medicare Open Enrollment.
In a five-page email that we sent out Tuesday, December 29, we related the following: The City discontinued United HealthCare Supplement “Plan F” and “Plan G” effective January 1, 2021. A group of 201 retirees elected to leave the City Medicare Plan by “Opting-Out” in order to continue “F” or “G” because they wanted to rightfully do this. Unfortunately, the City mistakenly enrolled this group into a City Medicare Advantage Plan. Although the City then cancelled the City Medicare, the federal SSA Medicare system wasn’t updated. This resulted in SSA Medicare canceling them from their newly-issued non-City coverage. This group faced/faces Medicare penalties and possibly an inability to subscribe to Part D Drug coverage. Yes, this is an unfortunate situation, especially during the Christmas season.
The HPROA personally spoke with the Director of City HR today, and the City maintained that they have notified all those affected. We found that this isn’t the case, and a few retirees may be unaware that they fit into this group. The City recommends that if you are a member of this group who opted-out of City Medicare Supplement Coverage:
CHECK WITH YOUR NON-CITY MEDICARE PROVIDER TODAY TO ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE VALID COVERAGE FOR BOTH YOUR SUPPLEMENT PLAN, and also FOR YOUR PART D PLAN. DO THE SAME FOR YOUR SPOUSE OR DEPENDENT IF APPLICABLE. ALSO CHECK ONLINE WITH MEDICARE.GOV
These are two separate components, PLAN G or F is one plan, Part D is another.
IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED THAT THIS IS THE CASE, THEN EMAIL THE HPROA at:
You also have the option of filing a complaint with MEDICARE if this is not resolved in the Medicare system. That is an individual decision.
We will forward your email verbatim to the Director of City HR and an AETNA Director, as per their instructions.
- The Director of HR and her staff will be working tomorrow, Friday, Jan 1, Saturday, and Sunday.
- The Aetna Director and special staff are aware of this and will be working the same schedule.
- SSA MEDICARE has assigned a remote person to work the same schedule who will be in contact with the above and can make the data-entry revisions in the Federal system.
- Yes, somebody from the HPROA (guess who?) will be available to facilitate these emails.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are in any other group, for example:
- didn’t receive your cards,
- received the wrong cards,
- decided to wait until now to send in your enrollment forms,
- have one spouse covered, but the other with the wrong coverage,
- found or suspect that you might have no coverage, or
- any other reason or question...
Do not email or call the HPROA, we don’t have the ability or staffing to provide individual assistance at the “11th hour”. We encourage you to refer to the five-page HPROA email that was sent out on December 29 for very specific contact referral resources. We have provided what we consider excellent resources for you to contact. At this stage, we recommend EMAILING, rather than calling any of these resources so that there is a record of your issue.
Everybody have a Happy New Year and thank you for being a member of the HPROA.
Anthony Kivela, Executive Director
(not proofed due to immediate release)
Medicare Open Enrollment - IMPORTANT UPDATE 12-22-2020PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING IF YOU “OPTED OUT” OF CITY MEDICARE COVERAGE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE WITH UNITED HEALTHCARE or ANOTHER NON-CITY MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PROVIDER.
The message in the above image is meant to provide a small bit of humor, but there hasn’t been anything humorous for many retirees navigating through the City’s recent Medicare Open Enrollment.
Approximately 200 retirees opted out of the city-provided United Healthcare Plan F or Plan G Medicare Supplement, in order to continue with a private non-city Supplement Plan.
Unfortunately, the City mistakenly sent this group of retirees a notice that they will be navigated to the City Aetna or Kelsey Plan, a move that this group specifically opted-out of doing. The HPROA advised the City of this error today, and they responded with advice detailing what these retirees should do. That message was sent in an email to every retiree who they believe was affected, and is as follows:
"This message is from the City of Houston’s Human Resources Benefits Division. You are receiving this message because you were defaulted to a City of Houston’s Medicare plan in error. Your election of opting out has been sent to the Aetna or KelseyCare Advantage who will then notify Medicare of the plan cancellation. If this error causes a deduction from your January pension check, you will receive a refund in the issued February pension check. Please contact your preferred plan to ensure that you enrollment status is valid for January 1, 2021.
The HPROA is emphasizing that it is important to note the following:
- If you opted-out of a city Medicare Advantage Plan in order to subscribe to a non-city Medicare Supplement Plan, but you didn’t receive the above email, email the city at email@example.com
in order to verify that the city is aware that you are opting out.
- If you obtained a non-City Medicare plan, verify with the provider that your enrollment date is set to begin on January 1, 2021 in order to prevent you from being left without any coverage.
- If you have any questions whatsoever, we recommend that you email City HR as soon as possible at: firstname.lastname@example.org
so that there is written documentation of you reporting the issue. Do not wait until after the holiday to do this. There is still one working day before Christmas and time is of the essence.
Merry Christmas to all & God Bless!
Anthony Kivela, Executive Director
MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED, and will run from Wednesday, November 18 to Friday, December 11, 2020.
The city related that every retiree should receive a Medicare Enrollment Guide in the mail.
If you didn’t get this guide, the on-line version is exactly the same as the guide that has been mailed out. You can access it HERE.
When you are ready to fill out the Medicare Plan Enrollment Form click HERE.
This process may be confusing, if so, multiple manners of obtaining additional information are available. These are listed on page 16 in the guide, and are as follows:
These telephone town halls are very informative and can be safely accessed from your home. During the calls, presentations are included from the City, Aetna, and Kelsey. There is ample time afterwards for live questions.
NOTE: ARE YOU ON MEDICARE, THINKING ABOUT OPTING OUT, BUT HAVE A DEPENDENT ON CITY HEALTH INSURANCE? IF SO, READ THIS:
We received an email where the city related the following:
- If a retiree “opts-out” of City (COH) Medicare to obtain a non-city Medicare provider, if there is a spouse/dependent under COH insurance who wants to retain city health insurance, they will NO LONGER qualify for COH medical insurance, and be involuntarily dropped from the COH health plan, and will likely see a significantly large premium increase when obtaining health insurance on the open market.
- If a retiree “opts-out” of COH Medicare and has an existing COH dental and/or vision plan, he/she will still remain in dental and/or vision.
Anthony Kivela, Executive Director
Houston Police Retired Officers Association
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