This month: Learn details about the enrollment process
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Aug. 31, 2021 – As we draw nearer to 2022, and the changes that will affect OPERS Pre-Medicare retirees next year, we will periodically post questions and answers to key topics we believe will benefit our members.
This month we’re answering several questions regarding enrollment procedures for both Pre-Medicare coverage and the OPERS Medicare Connector.
Q: When will we receive information about open enrollment for 2022?
A: At the end of September, OPERS will mail open enrollment materials for 2022 to all eligible benefit recipients. These materials will feature general information on the OPERS health care program and details about the optional OPERS vision and dental plans for 2022.
Open enrollment periods are as follows:
- Pre-Medicare: Nov. 1-Dec. 15
- Medicare: Oct. 15-Dec. 7
- OPERS dental and vision: Oct. 15-Dec. 15
Q: I’m enrolled in the OPERS Pre-Medicare health care plan. When we find our own insurance plan for next year, how will OPERS or health care providers know that we are currently enrolled in the group plan?
A: In late September, OPERS will mail a Loss of Coverage letter to each individual enrolled in an OPERS group medical plan. As you enroll in a new plan, you may be asked to provide documentation of your prior coverage. This letter will serve as your proof of prior coverage with the OPERS group medical plan.
If you enroll in a medical plan with Via Benefits, you will not need to provide this letter to them since we have already sent them a copy. You may put this letter in your files. If you choose to enroll in a medical plan through an organization other than Via Benefits, you may be asked to provide this letter during the enrollment process.
Your Loss of Coverage Letter (and letters for any enrolled dependents) will also be available to download and print from your OPERS online account.
Q: Based on what I’m going to receive monthly in my HRA, I don’t think OPERS is providing me enough money to cover my premiums.
A: Covering the entire cost of an individual or family medical plan is not the intention of the OPERS Health Care Program. In the current group plan, all retirees pay some percentage of the monthly premium, based on age and years of service credit. (See the allowance table on OPERS’ website.) It will be the same way with the new coverage.
However, there’s more flexibility. To the extent that a participant opts for lesser coverage, he or she may be able to cover the full premium, and even have money left over to go toward dependent coverage or to save for future health care expenses. Also, keep in mind that the current amount you have deducted from your OPERS benefits for your medical premiums will be added back into your monthly benefit.
Q: What if a retiree chooses not to enroll in a plan and just pays for expenses out-of-pocket? Will they still receive HRA deposits?
A: Yes. Enrolling in a medical plan is not a requirement for Pre-Medicare retirees to receive HRA deposits. Pre-Medicare retirees only need to meet eligibility guidelines and opt-in to receive the HRA deposits.
Q: If a Pre-Medicare retiree is covered as a dependent on their spouse’s medical plan or enrolled in an employer’s plan, are they still eligible to receive HRA deposits?
A: Yes. Once they’ve opted in, retirees will receive HRA deposits regardless. This is how an open HRA works. Retirees can use the funds within their HRA to be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses such as post-tax premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and other out-of-pocket expenses.
For more information on this transition, visit the Health Care 2022 page at opers.org. Also, plan to attend a 2022 Open Enrollment webinar. OPERS will offer a webinar for both Pre-Medicare retirees and Medicare retirees this fall. Visit the Member Education Center at opers.org to register. All webinars are also available as Recorded Presentations to watch at your convenience.