Open enrollment begins soon

Separate dates are set up for Pre-Medicare and Medicare retirees

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Sept. 30, 2021 – Open enrollment time begins soon for OPERS health care. While all eligible OPERS benefit recipients will receive a 2022 open enrollment packet, there are separate instructions and separate open enrollment dates for Pre-Medicare and Medicare retirees.

OPERS Pre-Medicare open enrollment runs from Nov. 1-Dec. 15, while Medicare open enrollment is from Oct. 15-Dec. 7. 

Note that if you are eligible for the OPERS Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) in 2022, you will receive information regarding the HRA and OPERS vision and dental plans. If you are not eligible for the OPERS HRA, you’ll receive only information about vision and dental coverage.

The enrollment packet contains:

  • An open enrollment statement that features your 2022 monthly HRA deposit amount, if eligible, and premiums for the OPERS vision and dental plans
  • A 2022 OPERS Health Care Program Guide, which provides lots of information about eligibility for the health care program, the OPERS HRA, Medicare requirements and the OPERS vision and dental plans, or a 2022 OPERS Vision and Dental Plan Guide if you do not qualify to receive the OPERS HRA

Pre-Medicare benefit recipients

Effective Dec. 31, OPERS no longer will offer a medical or prescription drug plan. During open enrollment, you’ll need to opt in to the HRA through the OPERS Pre-Medicare Connector (Via Benefits) to begin receiving monthly HRA deposits in 2022. And, although it’s not required, we recommend you explore individual and family medical plan options with Via Benefits.

If you haven’t already done so, please contact Via Benefits (see phone number below) to schedule an appointment from Nov. 1-Dec. 15, to opt in to the HRA and explore individual and family medical plans for 2022.

Here are some items to keep in mind:

  1. Via Benefits will be reaching out to Pre-Medicare retirees by phone to encourage scheduling an appointment and to offer assistance in completing an online profile. Keep in mind that your caller ID may not always show “Via Benefits,” but the callers will identify themselves and explain the purpose of the call. If you prefer to initiate the contact rather than take an inbound call, please do so using the information below.
  2. To reach Via Benefits by phone, call 1-833-939-1215, or call OPERS at 1-800-222-7377 and choose option “1” for health care issues and then “2” for the Pre-Medicare Connector. Once you reach Via Benefits, you’ll need to provide two of the following three pieces of information before speaking with a representative: your date of birth, phone number and ZIP code.
  3. You can build an online profile, schedule an enrollment call, register for an education event or watch educational videos by visiting marketplace.viabenefits.com/opers. You also will be able to shop for 2022 medical plans on the Via Benefits website beginning Nov. 1. Building your online profile now will help your appointment go much more smoothly.

Medicare benefit recipients

If you already have a medical plan through Via Benefits, review the 2022 medical and prescription drug plan details provided by your plan administrator. Look for changes in premiums, plan design and the prescription drug formulary. If you are unsure of any changes to your medical plan for 2022, reach out to Via Benefits.

If you’re enrolling in, making changes to or cancelling coverage, contact Via Benefits from Oct 15-Dec. 7. Selecting a Medigap plan may require medical underwriting.

OPERS vision and dental plans

Open enrollment is your opportunity to enroll in, cancel or change OPERS vision and/or dental coverage for yourself and any eligible dependents for 2022. Use the form within your open enrollment packet to enroll, cancel or change your level of coverage for 2022. You can call OPERS from Oct. 15-Dec. 15 to change your plan level or cancel coverage.

For specific questions about how much the vision and dental plans pay for certain services, call the plan vendors directly. Contact information is available within your packet.

OPERS is offering open enrollment webinars for both Pre-Medicare and Medicare-eligible benefit recipients. Visit the Member Education Center at opers.org to register. Webinars also are available as recorded presentations to watch at your convenience.

For more information about changes to the OPERS Health care program in 2022 and answers to many frequently asked questions, please visit the Health Care 2022 section on the OPERS website.

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

  • Cat says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    Is this info arriving in the US mail. If yes, when does the mailing begin?
    • Cat,
      Open Enrollment Statements for Pre-Medicare, Medicare, and Vision &
      Dental Only will be mailed in batched from 9/24/2021-10/7/2021.
      Thanks, MS

  • David says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    If I continue enrollment in the vision and dental plans in 2022 and I am reemployed in a OPERS position, my premiums for the dental and vision insurance will not be automatically reimbursed by the HRA deposit, correct? It is my understanding that I cannot access HRA funds while reemployed.
    • David,
      Starting in 2022 if re-employed in an OPERS covered position the HRA deposits will go into an accumulated HRA until re-employment ends. Once re-employment ends the funds will be deposited into the HRA and the member will gain access to start submitting expenses for reimbursement. The funds in the HRA cannot be used to be reimbursed for expenses that occurred during the re-employment period.
      Thanks, MS

  • Thomas McCartney says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    I’d recommend all Medicare retirees to take a close look at their coverages and costs this year. I see our Part D Rx coverage through Wellcare is being automatically changed from Rx Select to Rx Value Plus for 2022. Current premium for the Select plan is about $23/mo while the premium for the Value Plus plan is going to be about $69/mo. For us that would be a 300% increase for the same coverage. Look closely at your plans.
    • Carolina,
      Via Benefits will be able to offer assistance with questions about plans offered in your area.
      Thanks MS

    • Ellis,
      Please send your questions through the online account message center so we can provide account specific answers or you can contact our Member Service Center at 800-222-7733 for further assistance.
      Thanks, MS

      • I want to keep my same health insurance plans. Is there anything I need to do, or will the insurance just continue in 2022 ?

        • Judith,
          Please refer to your open enrollment packet to determine what action is required from you during open enrollment. If you have further questions please send them through your online account message center or contact our Member Service Center at 800-222-7377.
          Thanks, MS

        • I am wondering the same thing. I can’t find an answer to this question. It is very confusing and can they continue regardless of monthly allowance to HRA? My premiums will be more than my monthly allowance but I want to continue the same coverage. I am a Medicare retiree. I dread trying to get through to ask these questions.

  • Hello, I wanted to know when the Open Enrollment packet will be mailed out. I have not received mine yet. Thank you

    • Marcia,

      They have been all sent out. If you have not received it we suggest you use your online account to send us a secure message requesting the packet.

  • I didn’t receive a 2022 open enrollment packet. I would like a printed copy. It’s to hard to read all the information on a phone. Please send me one. Thank you!

    • Marcia,
      The open enrollment statement can be printed from the online account Document History section. If you do not have access to print the document please send your request through the online account message center or contact our Member Service Center at (800)222-7377 for further assistance.
      Thanks,
      MS

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