OPERS introduces website section for Connector

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has introduced a Medicare Connector Readiness page on its website for those seeking information about the upcoming changes to retiree health care.

OPERS will introduce a Connector in 2016 for our retirees enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. They will choose a Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage plan and a prescription drug plan on the individual health care market.

The Connector Readiness page includes information about the Connector, Medicare basics and the OPERS Health Care Timeline Tracker, a month-by-month, illustrated calendar of key events leading up to the Connector’s debut in 2016.

Click here to access the Connector Readiness section of OPERS.org.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

  • I’m am so confused. It looks like the retirees that do not qualify for Medicare A (the ones that only worked in Public Service) are up the creek without a paddle.
    I was under the impression that my retirement included insurance coverage for my family and upon the age of 65, I needed to apply for medicare and my retirement insurance would become secondary coverage. It looks as though lifetime Public Service employees have gotten the short end of the stick.

    • Gary,

      That is the current monthly premium of the plan that we sponsor for Medicare-age participants. It includes medical and prescription drug coverage.

      –Ohio PERS

    • James,

      Because the Connector is such a significant change for our retirees, we want to ensure they are getting the best help possible. When our retirees use the Connector that’s exactly what they’re getting.

      –Ohio PERS

      • I am glad that OPERS wants to ensure that retirees who need help with their health insurance purchases get the best help possible. But some OPERS retirees are already knowledgeable about Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D. Why are retirees who do not need or want help with their health insurance purchases being forced to go through the Connector in order to claim their health care allowance?

        • James,

          The previous answer also answers this question. We made this a requirement for all participants, not some participants.

          –Ohio PERS

  • I see that the statewide education is optional. The OPERS informational sessions are always way over in the adjacent county. I don’t want to drive that far. I hope you will mail some more printed material for people like me. I am sure I’m not alone……I think I am pretty well on top of what I want….I envision discussing it with the connector representative just to make sure I didn’t miss something.

    I am grateful for the connector. Thanks JA

    • JA,

      We are preparing a Connector information kit to send to all eligible Connector retirees. Also, if you don’t want to drive to another location for a seminar, you can sign up for a webinar that you can attend at home through your computer. Use this link to sign up: http://tinyurl.com/l3xnq4p

      –Ohio PERS

      • You mention all eligeble members. During the meeting last year the same thing was said and I am so confused by all of this. How do we know if we are eligeble?

        • Lynda,

          If you are eligible for OPERS health care, you will be eligible for the Connector if you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you have any questions about your eligibility, call us at 800-222-7377. If you happen to be a spouse of an eligible member who is eligible for our health care and is enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you also would be eligible for the Connector. Although remember that spousal allowances eventually will be eliminated.

          –Ohio PERS

  • Why is the allowance for the retiree going down in $ amount each year? Is this program also being phased out before it has even started?
    After 2018 can I still submit my spouses healthcare costs to the HRA? Only if he has roll over still in the HRA?
    While on the subject of health care- I left my employment shy of 40 days for 15 years due to my age and the upcoming years of service change for health care. I basically have 3 deductable years over 4 months. One for Dec 2014, one for Jan and Feb 2015 when I must enroll in Medical Mutual and one in March of 2015 when my letter dated Dec 18, 2014 states I will be enrolled in Humana medicare coverage. At no time was this explained and I even went to Columbus for a private session. This has caused a major impact on our finances and my spouse’s healthcare. I am being told that this is a requirement of Medicare? Please explain why and how. Thank You.

    • Kate,

      If you are still having an issue with your health care coverage, please call us at 800-222-7377.

      –Ohio PERS

  • I know that OPERS is now looking into insurance through the connector & not group insurance for those retirees who are short credits with social security; these are retirees who do not qualify for Medicare Part A. I know that it should be passed soon. But I thought that if your spouse was eligible for Medicare A (this spouse not a govt. employee) that you as their spouse would be eligible for Medicare Part A . Is this not true?

  • i just opened a package from OPERS marked Connector readiness kit for my mom’s coverage. I believe this is a complicated issue for many of our elderly. Especially those in their 80’s and 90’s that may have to rely heavily on others to help them through this process, that is if they have someone to help. People worked many years to have health care benefits in place. I realize change is a given in any process but i do not see that needs for our eldest most dependent retirees will be met as they try to navigate this process. Some may be “left behind” and not get enrolled properly simply due to lack of someone to act in their best interests. Will this contract with the chosen vendor be proactive and reach out to those that may miss a step and miss the enrollment due to advanced age: i.e. those 80 and over. Or if this has not been addressed could the contract be amended to take this into consideration

    • Jeanne,

      We are sending out an unprecedented amount of communication on the Connector. Beginning in July, the Connector will send targeted mailings to retirees, encouraging them to get started. The Connector will call the retirees to set up the insurer-scheduling appointment.

      OneExchange will keep up this communication until all our eligible participants are contacted. We encourage all retirees to make sure we have their latest contact information. Finally, we recently send a toolkit to our eligible members that has the Connector’s phone number. Retirees can call the Connector with questions.

      –Ohio PERS

    • Charles,

      You should be able to retrieve it through your online account. If you can’t, call us at 800-222-7377.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Our coverage is via my husband, John. We never received the connector readiness kit from OPERS nor any calendar that was with it in order to choose a day to register for one of the seminars in our area. We are 81 & 92, we cannot drive hundreds of miles to go to one of the seminars!! .
    They said they were mailed in January, so wondering…????
    Did receive a DVD, about the connector info, which I just looked up via the website for that info.
    No one seems to say WHO a connector really is. A person, a company, an insurance agent…who?
    Seems some of this info is really vague.

    • Mary,

      The second Connector kits will be mailed to members in June. The Connector is actually an exchange that brings together many insurers who will offer you Medicare plans of their own design. The idea is for you to choose the best coverage for you. The Connector is administered by OneExchange, an outside company.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Will we receive in advance of call with the connector detailed information about the medical insurance and drug plans that will be available to us to choose from? It would be helpful to be able to look at possible plans and be better informed when decision time comes.

    • Robert,

      That information will be available in early October through the OneExchange website — after the insurers nail down the details of their plans for 2016. We will provide more information well in advance.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Last night my brother had an appointment to speak to someone about my mother getting her insurance renewed. The person he talked to said he had the wrong Medicare card, because it said “Insurance” on the top right and not “health insurance”. Otherwise her ss# matched with their records. So, she was denied coverage until she gets the “correct” card. This person directed my brother to call Social Security, why? And she said that my mother may have a lapse in coverage. At the age of 89, I find this to be unacceptable. I thought that her coverage would just roll over, picking a plan best suited to her. But it sounds to me that coverage has been denied. I was not aware that Medicare was anything but MEDICAL insurance. Perhaps I am wrong. But I am very unhappy with the help this company provided. My brother does not have a computer, so I am trying to figure out what is going on.

    • Deborah,

      Your mother’s insurance can’t just roll over, because we’re discontinuing the OPERS-sponsored plan. You don’t say who your brother spoke with. You should be contacting OneExchange, who you need to go through to select a plan for your mother.

      –Ohio PERS

  • >