Tips on when to call OneExchange

Open Enrollment is a busy time; here’s how to avoid delays

By Heather Drago, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Oct. 16, 2017 — Open Enrollment for 2018 is here for retirees participating in health care coverage through OPERS. If you’re over 65 and participating in the OPERS Medicare Connector, and you’d like to change your coverage, you need to speak with a Licensed Benefit Advisor with OneExchange.

OneExchange offers some tips on when to call to avoid long wait times. Call volume is expected to be at its highest levels during the first and last week of Open Enrollment, which ends Dec. 7. In general, OneExchange receives the highest volume of calls on Mondays.

OneExchange recommends calling in the afternoons on Tuesdays through Fridays, and recommends avoiding the following dates if you do need to contact the company:

  • Nov. 1
  • Nov. 13-17
  • Nov. 27-Dec. 1
  • Dec. 4-7

Please plan accordingly, and if you have an urgent need during peak call volume times, expect a longer wait time.

  • Why has the amount of the HRA monthly deposit decreased each year? How low will it go? To zero?
    You may have answered this question years ago, but I no longer have that information.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Ms. Chamberlin,

      In 2012, the OPERS Board of Trustees adopted a set of changes to the OPERS health care plan to increase the sustainability of the heath care fund. As you may know, those changes included a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to provide funds to OPERS Medicare Connector participants. Beginning in 2016, for pre-Medicare retirees, the amount OPERS pays toward the total monthly cost of your coverage, known as an allowance, is based on your qualifying years of service at retirement and your age when you first enrolled in the OPERS health care plan.

      For those eligible for Medicare, the allowance is a monthly amount we provide in an HRA account. The retiree can use these funds to receive reimbursement for the cost of Medicare plans and other qualified medical expenses as they wish.

      In order to make the transition to the new health care plan flow more smoothly, OPERS did two things: (1) furnish enrolled retirees with an additional $300 deposit to their HRA accounts once per year between 2016 and 2018, and (2) provide a higher allowance amount for the first three years. Between 2016 and 2018, the monthly allowance amount was decreased annually until the final allowance amount is reached in 2018.

      Julie, OPERS

  • Do I understand this correctly that the HRA allowance showing on our Open Enrollment
    Form for 2018 will also be the amount for future years?

  • Answer to Ms. Chamberlin unclear. How long is the “final amount” you mention going to be left unchanged? By “final” do you mean for the remainder of the retiree’s lifespan, or until 2019, when you reassess and lower it again?

    Many people clearly don’t understand how the CPI is calculated and that it does not fully include things that affect retirees most such as health care costs. That is the problem when moving to cpi as basis. Because cpi is based on a limited number of items, it has been 0% many years in the recent past. So retirees would get 0 increase, while health care and other costs are dramatically increasing.

    • Ms. Young,

      No, you can save the dollars in your HRA for future medical expenses. Any unused amount in your HRA Account is carried over month to month and Plan Year to Plan Year.

      Julie, OPERS

  • I would love to know the top plans that were selected by OPERS retirees when that information is available.
    Thank you, Cheryl

    • Cheryl,

      Once reporting is complete and analyzed, we will be able to share some plan selection information. That information should be available in March.

      Julie, OPERS

  • >