Call volume remains high

Here are tips for contacting OPERS, Via Benefits by phone

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Nov. 4, 2021 – Open enrollment for both Medicare and Pre-Medicare retirees is now in full swing, and with the change in health care delivery for Pre-Medicare retirees in 2022 our call volume is especially high. That also is true for Via Benefits, the OPERS Pre-Medicare and Medicare Connector.

We have some important health care notes, as well as tips for all our retirees that will help avoid long waits on the phone and, thus, free up resources for other members.

Pre-Medicare retirees

Contact Via Benefits: Any questions about the HRA or available individual and family medical plans should be directed to Via Benefits. OPERS is experiencing a very high volume of calls, and some callers are waiting to speak to an OPERS representative only to learn that their question must be answered by Via Benefits.

When calling, please dial 1-833-939-1215, regardless of what your appointment confirmation email states. This line is dedicated to our Pre-Medicare retirees and will have the shortest wait time.

Take the required action to opt in to the OPERS HRA: You can enroll in any medical plan you choose for 2022. But regardless of whether you plan to enroll in a new medical plan through Via Benefits, you must contact Via Benefits – not OPERS – to opt in to the HRA to begin receiving HRA deposits in 2022.

You do not have to opt in to the OPERS HRA over the phone. It is much faster to do so online, by visiting Via Benefits’ OPERS website page.

Make full use of the Via Benefits website: In addition to opting in to the HRA online, you can build an online profile, schedule an enrollment call, register for an education event or shop for available medical plans by visiting the Via Benefits’ OPERS website page.

Building your online profile prior to your enrollment call will help your appointment go more smoothly. You can include information about your preferred doctors, hospitals, prescription drugs and pharmacies. We also encourage you to use the Via Benefits comparison tools to “Shop and Compare” for the plans available to you.

Ways to reach Via Benefits:

  • Log in to your online Via Benefits account.
  • Call 1-833-939-1215. Once you reach Via Benefits, you’ll need to provide two of the following three pieces of information before speaking to a representative: phone number, date of birth, and zip code.
  • You also can reach Via Benefits by calling OPERS at 1-800-222-7377 and choosing option “1” for health care issues and then “2” for the Pre-Medicare Connector.

Medicare retirees

Pre-scheduled calls take priority: If you’re a Medicare retiree, pre-scheduled appointments with a Via Benefits Benefit Advisor will take priority during open enrollment. However, appointments are not required to make changes to your coverage or ask questions.

Call early in the day: Appointments for Medicare-eligible retirees are currently filled for the open enrollment period. If you weren’t able to get one, that’s not a problem.You can still get the information and enrollment support that you need. We recommend calling first thing in the morning, and the best days to call are Wednesday and Thursday.

Use the Via Benefits website. Go online to the Via Benefits OPERS page to research, compare and enroll in plans at your convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Use the convenient chat feature if you have a question. During open enrollment, Via Benefits offers the Coverage Checkup, a convenient way for you to compare your current Part D Prescription Drug or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan to the plans available for 2022. You can identify formulary changes, and it may even help you save some money.

As a first step, make sure your Via Benefits online profile is up to date. Then, if you’re already enrolled in a Part D or MAPD plan, when you sign into your account during open enrollment, you’ll automatically be shown the results of your prescription drug plan checkup and your options for 2022.

All retirees

OPERS and Via Benefits are currently experiencing the same labor shortages affecting businesses all over the country, but we are training and adding staff members as quickly as we can. We apologize for any inconvenience and frustration this may cause. Please be assured that both OPERS and Via Benefits are committed to providing all retirees with the assistance they need. No one will go without help during this busy open enrollment season.

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

  • What is so disappointing about Via Benefits “performance” is that it was entirely predictable. I remember back to when VB was first stood up for Medicare retirees, and they faltered badly under the workload. What could possibly go wrong now? Praeteritum est prologus.

    • Yup, had a scheduled VIA Benefits call on 11/2 at 4:15pm and waited on hold till 9:15pm (5 hours), which I was disconnected. Called back 11/3, complained and had to wait 3+ hours. In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to extend the open enrollment period as choosing the insurance is more complicated than just going to the VIA website. The provider directories on VIA Benefits are not as up-to-date as advertised. I opted into the VIA HSA, but had to pay upfront / out of pocket for the insurance. The VIA Benefit site has no way to submit for reimbursement, nor is there the $1200 available upfront from OPERS. VIA Benefits told me it may take them 1-2 weeks to get their website updated to handle OPERS. I understand staffing issues, but that should be transparent to OPERS members. BTW, VIA Benefits website indicates there are NO remaining appointments to talk with a licensed professional.

      • David,

        OPERS sincerely apologizes for the excessive on-hold times and other difficulties our retirees have experienced when calling Via Benefits and our own member services center. Please realize that it is still very early in the open enrollment period. There are several weeks left before the Dec. 15 deadline. As retirees are served and Via Benefits builds efficiencies into their process, we anticipate on-hold times improving and appointments running closer to their scheduled times.

        We ask that retirees continue to be patient. OPERS is working hand-in-hand with Via Benefits to ensure all retirees are supported and able to opt in to the OPERS HRA and enroll if they choose.

  • Yup, had a scheduled VIA Benefits call on 11/2 at 4:15pm and waited on hold till 9:15pm (5 hours), which I was disconnected. Called back 11/3, complained and had to wait 3+ hours. In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to extend the open enrollment period as choosing the insurance is more complicated than just going to the VIA website. The provider directories on VIA Benefits are not as up-to-date as advertised. I opted into the VIA HSA, but had to pay upfront / out of pocket for the insurance. The VIA Benefit site has no way to submit for reimbursement, nor is there the $1200 available upfront from OPERS. VIA Benefits told me it may take them 1-2 weeks to get their website updated to handle OPERS. I understand staffing issues, but that should be transparent to OPERS members. BTW, VIA Benefits website indicates there are NO remaining appointments to talk with a licensed professional.

    • David,

      We apologize for the frustration retirees have experienced. Please know both OPERS and Via Benefits are working together to remedy this situation as efficiently as possible.

      • Michael – thus far this situation has not been remedied. At this point OPERS should consider extending the enrollment period and/or continuing to insure retirees with the current Medical Mutual plan until it is remedied. Via Benefits was a poor choice!

    • James,
      The appointments for the Medicare population are full, an appointment is not required to speak to a license benefit advisor. If you don’t already have a scheduled appointment, please consider waiting until the end of November or into December to call Via Benefits, as hold times are expected to decrease by that time.
      Thanks, MS

  • First, there needs to be a way to get a call BACK if we had already scheduled an appointment, rather than waiting on hold for several HOURS — this is simply not reasonable, and, my phone won’t even last that long.

    Second — we are retirement age — many of us are not comfortable signing up online for something that is such a major financial commitment, without speaking to someone who can explain the details and make sure we are signed up. OPERS and Via have known for a couple of years that we would ALL need to be doing this right now — there really is no excuse for not being able to assist us with this now.

    • Sheryl,

      OPERS sincerely apologizes for the excessive on-hold times and other difficulties our retirees have experienced when calling Via Benefits and our own member services center. Please know that we are 100 percent dedicated to ensuring that all Pre-Medicare retirees are able to opt in to the HRA and enroll in a medical plan by the Dec. 15 deadline.

      • The phone calls need to be answered and/or be offered a call back ASAP when a person is available. So far I have spent 2 hours providing my info, 2 hours providing my husbands info, and have appointments coming up to select plans but have questions so have been on hold for hours at a time waiting for calls to be picked up and nothing! I stay on hold until my phone dies or I need to give up! The message saying your questions can be answered online isn’t useful! The answers aren’t there and it makes this whole process even more maddening. Why on earth can’t Via Benefits call us for our appointments? Seems like a second tiny step that could alleviate a lot of stress! Why isn’t there a frequently asked question list on theVia Benefits site that answers our actual questions!

  • Bob
    I’m pre Medicare 61 years old do I need to be retired or put in to retire to be able to create an account with Via Benefits? I’m looking to retire next year in February or March and would like to look and see what’s available for me to choose from.
    Thank you

    • Bob,
      You would need to apply for retirement for Via Benefits to receive your eligibility file so you can sign up for an online account with Via Benefits. Please forward any additional questions through the online account message center so we can review your account and provide account specific answers.
      Thanks, MS

  • This is unbelievable! On September 7th, I scheduled an appointment for this afternoon. I updated our profiles on ViaBenefits. Thought I was doing everything according to the instructions. I have now been on hold for nearly TWO HOURS for a SCHEDULED appointment. So frustrating!!!!!!!

    • Ginger,

      We apologize for the frustration retirees have experienced. Please know both OPERS and Via Benefits are working together to remedy this situation as efficiently as possible. Your continued patience is greatly appreciated.

  • The 833-939-1215 line was disconnecting calls yesterday. I could hear the phone tree options but was disconnected several times after pressing option 1.

    • Dawn,

      Thanks for your feedback. Via Benefits continues to receive reports of calls disconnecting while on hold with them. We continue to investigate the root cause of the disconnects, as we are not seeing a consistent pattern.

  • I scheduled an appointment for 5:30. I called at 5:30. I waited on hold until 8:00 to talk with someone. OPERS and via benefits need to develop a better plan. 2 1/2 hours on hold is ridiculous.

    • Andy,

      OPERS sincerely apologizes for the excessive on-hold times and other difficulties our retirees have experienced when calling Via Benefits and our own member services center. Please know that we are 100 percent dedicated to ensuring that all Pre-Medicare retirees are able to opt in to the HRA and enroll in a medical plan by the Dec. 15 deadline.

  • Has VIA website crashed? I had an appointment at 10:30 and waited for almost 2 hours before the call disconnected. I also can’t even bring up my account on their website. What should I do make another appointment?

    • Janet,

      We are aware that some benefit recipients are experiencing an error when accessing Via Benefits website – specifically a “502 Gateway” error. Via Benefits is urgently investigating this issue. In some cases, if you refresh the page you are on when the error occurs, it will go away. But we will continue to research the cause of it until it is fully resolved.

  • I had to double check the date to see when Mr. Pramik posted this article. Posted on Nov. 4. Days before that date, I tried to schedule a call appointment with VB via their Website, but all dates and times were already scheduled (unless I selected a time/date after open enrollment period had ended). It’s unfortunate that we need to go through VB to take advantage of the HRA. It would be so much easier to do our own research and select plans. Also, VB has been known to push certain plans on folks. I suppose it’s all based on commissions.

    • Cheryl,

      If you only want to opt into the OPERS HRA, you can do that online at – marketplace.viabenefits.com/opers; there is no need to call. We also encourage retirees to explore the Via Benefits website marketplace.viabenefits.com/opers. We appreciate that some prefer to speak with a Via Benefits representative, but researching plans and building your online profile prior to speaking with a representative will result in your call going more smoothly.

      • How can your call go more smoothly when you can’t even get through to speak with a representative (even with a scheduled appointment)?

      • You can NOT OPT into your OPERS HRA on line. You have to speak with an ADVISOR! Why do you state this? I signed up without an advisor and couldn’t opt INTO my OPERS HRA. I’ve paid my insurance premium 2 weeks ago. I can’t access info for my HRA account. I was told you need to speak to an advisor. So frustrating. So much mislead information.

        • Linda,
          You can opt in by contacting Via Benefits by phone or by signing into the Via Benefits website. From the My Account page, select Manage decision located beneath Your Funding Decision.
          Thanks, MS

  • This is my second post about Via: I recently joined an online Ohio OPERS group for retirees and found out that VIA may be charging us a great deal more for monthly premiums than a provider may charge us if we enroll directly through them. In one instance, there was a $1200 annual difference in premiums ($1200 less in premiums) if you went directly through the plan provider. I don’t understand why or how this should be happening? Also, there is the fact that Via receives commission from the various providers. Perhaps I should contact Via for an explanation?
    Thank you.

    • Cheryl,

      Enrollment suggestions by Via Benefits to retirees are completely unbiased and driven solely by the needs of the retiree. Commission levels are never considered as part of the enrollment process. Via Benefits’ advisors are not compensated with commissions.

        • Linda,

          Enrollment suggestions to retirees will be completely unbiased and driven solely by the needs of the retiree. Commission levels are never considered as part of the enrollment process. Via Benefits’ benefit advisors are not compensated with commissions. In fact, they are unaware of the commission amounts Via Benefits collects from the carriers. That information is limited to executive staff.

      • Michael – you state that ViaBenefits “advisors” are not compensated with commissions. Does ViaBenefits receive compensation from the various health insurance providers? Also why are the premiums increased after filling out the actual application? One specific Medical Mutual insurance plan premium increased a total of $450.00 from the actual premium stated on the ViaBenefits site after the application was completed. What would cause this discrepancy in the cost?

        • Mona,

          Yes, Via Benefits receives commissions from carriers. But benefit advisors are not compensated with commissions. Thus, enrollment suggestions to retirees are completely unbiased and driven solely by the needs of the retiree. Commission levels are never considered as part of the enrollment process. In fact, benefit advisors are unaware of the commission amounts that Via Benefits collects from the carriers – this information is limited to executive staff.

          We can’t speculate on your individual premium amount. Please contact Via Benefits at 844-287-9945 for that information.

  • What priority are given appts? Suggest the website be updated to 1 hour plus hold times….as I am still waiting

    • In my opinion Scott those individuals with appointments are NOT given any priority. I had a 5:00pm appointment on Monday, November 1st. I was informed by a customer service rep that I was being transferred to a Licensed Benefit Advisor. I was on hold until 9:00pm and never got through/spoke with a Licensed Benefit Advisor. I called back on Tuesday, November 2nd and informed the customer service rep who answered (after a 20 minute wait on hold) that I had an appointment scheduled the previous day and despite a 4 hour wait never got through to a Licensed Benefit Advisor. The Customer Service Rep informed me that he could see that I had an appointment scheduled for the previous day and was transferring over to a Licensed Benefit Advisor. 90 minutes later I was still on hold. I had to call again and after another 20 minute wait on hold just to talk with yet another customer service rep I asked to speak with a supervisor. The customer service rep informed me that they would get a supervisor on the phone and then connect me directly with them. 25 minutes later and … It was quite frustrating to say the least.

  • We have been on hold for an hour. Do we wait? What happens if we hang up? We were also given two different phone numbers to call. One by email and one on the website. HELP!

    • Kristin,

      When calling Via Benefits, please dial 1-833-939-1215, regardless of what your appointment confirmation email states. This line is dedicated to our Pre-Medicare retirees and will have the shortest wait time.

  • My experience with Via Benefits Pre Medicare Agent went very well earlier today. Wait time was not long an I was in the phone approximately 2 hours. The agent even did a three way call to my Doctor making sure they took my new plan.

  • My husband and I had a noon appointment yesterday (11/9). We were on hold for an hour and a half. I hung up. I understand (?) that they are are overwhelmed but from reading the comments below, the wait times are completely unacceptable! I allowed 2 hours for our appointment. After waiting the time I did on hold, I knew we’d never get threw the appointment in time for the other things we had going on. Had I known this was going to take so long I still wouldn’t be happy, but I never would have scheduled anything else for the day. We should NOT be expected to sit on hold for this amount of time. Now we have to schedule another appointment and expect the same thing???

  • I would like to keep my existing coverages including eyecare and dental, as well as my HRA choices. Is is true that I don’t have to file anything with OPERS or ViaBenefits?

    • Bob,
      No action is required for the dental and vision coverage through OPERS during open enrollment if you do not want to make changes/cancel the dental and vision coverage you are currently enrolled into. If you are enrolled into a medical plan through the Medicare Connector we recommend you review your plan information for 2022 and if you have questions about that coverage or questions about possible changes please reach out to Via Benefits.
      Thanks, MS

  • I called on my scheduled appointment and was on hold for over 2 hours, and got disconnected, with no option for a call back number. These wait times are disappointing.

    Also, when will detail be provided on the reimbursement procedures?

  • My sister, a pre-medicare retiree can’t even get onto the VIA Benefits web site as it just keeps bouncing her between the log in page and the page where she has to enter a code texted to her for verification. She called them but can’t even get help. They said they made a ticket and will call her back when it’s her turn. Hopefully they will get this resolved for her before the 12/15 deadline! I was fortunate enough to not have an issue in creating my login.

  • I contacted Via Benefits for my appoint on the 8th. Peter with Via Benefits stated that the funding account is not available until January 1. I asked about the $1,200 transition deposit and he stated it was not available until after January 1st, that I would basically be getting $100 extra a month. OPERS website and the seminars stated this would be deposited during open enrollment and help pay for your first month premium. I sent an email to OPERS with no response and called but was told to call back later. Will this deposit be available in December or January?? Thank you

    • Karen,
      The $1200 transition deposit is deposited into the HRA approximately two weeks after the member opts into the HRA.
      Thanks, MS

        • Karen,
          The reimbursement from the pre-Medicare HRA can start with the January 2022 premium and you can start the reimbursement process through your Via Benefits mobile app or the Via Benefits online account.
          Thanks, MS

          • How does reimbursement process work for retirees who don’t own a smart phone or a computer? Not all retirees can afford the technology and some retirees don’t have anyone to help them with technology. Is there a way to obtain reimbursement forms that can be filed by mail?

          • Lynn,
            Members that are unable to complete the reimbursement from the HRA electronically will be able to request a paper reimbursement form from Via Benefits.
            Thanks, MS

  • Would sure be much more beneficial if we didn’t have to make a snap decision on our all important health care choice! Having to wait on hold over two hours, is frustrating enough. Then to be overwhelmed with what choice to make in less than a half hour is definitely frustrating and discouraging. You would think OPERS would have had this ironed out and up and running months ago. I made the call in appointment in September thinking I would call in get the information I needed and make a decision. I did not plan for hours on end on the phone listening to elevator music! Then in less than a half an hour I had to make a decision, I was hoping to have a couple of day’s to at least compare the options in front of me. Very Very displeased with the whole process.

  • I had a scheduled appointment on 11/3/21 and of course called the phone # Via Benefits provided, which I found out later was the wrong number. Then my call was disconnected 2 times. Well long story short, I did get enrolled on a plan, yet I haven’t received my confirmation letter. When I get on Via Benefits site to follow up on my application, the site connects me to the market place, and it said they don’t see my application. Wow am I frustrated. I received a letter from health insurance marketplace yesterday stating I need to pick a plan yet. Of course I call Via Benefits yesterday to see if my application went through, and waited total of 2 hours and had 2 dropped calls. I’m like back on square one.

    • Cheryl,
      Once you choose the plan Via Benefits will send you a confirmation letter confirming you applied for a plan under the policies listed in the letter. You will receive a letter from your insurance carrier confirming the enrollment. If you questions about the application and the plan you enrolled into please reach out to Via Benefits.
      Thanks, MS

  • There are no appointments available with Via benefits to make a change to my insurance supplement. How am I suppose to address this issue within the Open Enrollment period?

    • B. McAfee,
      The appointment is not required to make a plan the plan change. As retirees are served and Via Benefits builds efficiencies into their process, we anticipate on-hold times improving and appointments running closer to their scheduled times. In particular, if you don’t already have a scheduled appointment, please consider waiting until the end of November or into December to call Via Benefits, as hold times are expected to decrease by that time.
      Thanks, MS

  • This entire situation is ridiculous. Tried calling 2 different times, on hold for 1.5 hrs the first time , 2.5 hrs the 2nd. I was disconnected or hung up on both times. I opted in through my OPERS account [ I think ]. As stated above, the VIA Benefits site will send a code to your email, and will not let you see anything like you never logged in. There is no follow up to anything done. If i did get opted in shouldn’t there be a place to see whether I will have the $ 1200 transition deposit ? Saying you are working on this does not take care of the problem.

    • Dave,
      Once you opt in to the HRA you will be able to view your funding selection through your Via Benefits online account. The transition deposit is deposited approximately two weeks after the member has opted in to the HRA.
      Thanks, MS

  • My scheduled phone appointment with VIA was Nov 5th. It is now the 12th and I as still unable to get thru to speak with anyone. Apparently OPERS is also unable to communicate by phone. I have other friends in the same situation. What are we to do? I have completed everything I can on the VIA website as well as have already decided which plan I would like.

    • Ty,
      You can schedule a virtual appointment through Via Benefits website or you can log into your OPERS online account and schedule a in-house appointment with a Via Benefits License Benefit Advisor.
      Thanks, MS

  • Good evening. I’ve now been on hold for 3 hours. Yes, the website has “some” information – but I’m not familiar with the plans and the info presented is showing a hospital system as covered, but the Professional Group is not. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand – and really need to talk to someone to answer my questions. Fingers crossed – but this is not a “smooth” process.

  • We live in central Ohio and have only a few doctors/specialists we see. Right away the Viabenefits person came up with Anthem for our insurance. (I was a little worried it was because they were first in alphabetical list). Everything sounded ok. THEN, I asked if the major hospitals would be covered. The Mt Carmels were but the other major hospitals were not (OSU, The James). Pretty scary when the others accepted on the list were small county hospitals. We feel like third class citizens. I even had him check his list for hospitals instead of our doctors. He came up with Caresource and another unknown. I don’t understand how our new insurance plans won’t recognize bigger hospitals.

  • I received a letter in October about coverage changes in healthcare that would not be available in 2022. Please tell me what will not be available. Was it dental and eye coverage/

    • Larry,
      The dental and vision plans will continue to be offered through OPERS in 2022, the Medical Mutual plan is ending 12/31/2021.
      Thanks, MS

  • Moving into hour one of waiting on the phone attempting to speak to a pre-Medicare health insurance advisor to enroll and ask questions-
    I actually did speak to a person after 15 minutes- however she said she couldn’t help me – and transferred me to the first number I called.

    This is the same number I called last week and waited for 4 hours.
    I specifically woke up early today to start this process of calling as soon as via Benefits phone lines opened.
    … btw
    Members are required to call via benefits when their appointment time /date comes up. I called, couldn’t get through (waited 4 hours) — btw system scheduled me for Veterans Day so who knows if anyone was there. Next appointment I cans get in is nov 26, 6:15. Day after thanksgiving- hope someone will be there.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense if via benefits called the member when the members appointment time comes up- !?

    Btw.. I’m still on hold- moving into hour 2

    • Beth,
      If you were not able to complete your enrollment appointment you can schedule a virtual appointment through the Via Benefits website I provided below or you can schedule an in person appointment with a license benefit advisor through your OPERS online account under the Tools and Resources tab.
      https://marketplace.viabenefits.com/opers
      Thanks, MS

  • Viabenefits Saga began 11/8/2021 my scheduled phone appt. time with Viabenefits, never happen, disconnected twice, on hold an hour an half never got to speak to a benefits advisor. Can not enroll in plan, MY ACCOUNT KEEPS SAYING CANNOT VERTIFY IDENTITY. The 3rd party verification company doesn’t know why told me to call Viabenefits back and tell them I need a secondary verification method. What the heck does that mean? Today is 11/15 and no one has called as result from my supposedly trouble ticket on my account. Started called at 8am on hold, spoke to a person that asked me the same questions I have been answering and still needed to transfer me to get in queue for benefits advisor. So frustrated and disappointed in OPERS and this whole process.

  • I have a scheduled appointment today at 11am and am still on hold. Why bother with appointments? This is ridiculous. Would it not be better to have the rep contact me when he/she is ready? What an utter waste of time. So disappointing.

  • Had a video call on 11/3, not much was accomplished because my account was messed up. I was told somebody would call me back in a couple days. I scheduled a phone call for today at 11:45, I am still on hold. Emailing them does no good, I get a response that I will be contacted, bit that never happens. This is very frustrating. I am hoping that when a person finally answers I can get my questions answered before i tell them what i think about them.

    My account still doesn’t work properly so I can’t even shop.

  • I signed up for a plan as a pre medicare retiree approximately $1200 a month. I received an email from the insurance provider with a bill due on January 1. Our pension is not deposited until January 1st. As I understand it we can not access the $1200 deposited into our HRA without proof of payment. So, with what am I to pay this policy with?

  • On November 3rd I had a 1:15pm telephone appointment with a Via Benefits rep that and had to hold for two hours before being connected. When we have appointments scheduled, we should not have to wait that long. After I was connected to the rep, she and I spent another two hours trying to find an affordable plan option that covered my doctors. She really was patient with me but before I could enroll in a plan, we were disconnected. She did not call me back as I was told the reps would if we became disconnected. I ended up enrolling myself online and hope that I made the best option. Before doing so, I called several of the insurances and fortunately their reps gave me the insight I needed to select a plan that was not theirs. This whole transition was a very stressful and unpleasant experience.

  • I had a scheduled appoint for 11/9. I waited on hold for 3 1/2 hrs no one ever came so I when online and opted in to the HRA but also the tax plan. Been trying ever since to get someone to correct that. There needs to be steps on the website explaining how to correct an error like this. I did get to speak with someone after days of waiting on hold and we went through everything with a new application. I got a better plan than the one I chose on my own BUT he did not cancel the old insurance coverage I chose. Now I have 2 insurance with one connected to the tax credit. I have called everyday and sat on hold for hours. Lord help us if this is our future.

  • Very frustrating. I was told I would get a call back by 10:38 It is now 1:38. No call back. I guess I’ll make the best decision I can and hope for the best. Just a bad situation. Very disappointed

  • I have a question re: healthcare deduction from my monthly ck.? Only vision and dental. Nothing is listed for Medicare $ deducted?
    I retired in 1999 and have had Humana and Medicare since then.

    • Edith,
      The Medicare premiums or premiums for your Humana plan are not deducted from the OPERS monthly benefit. Generally the Medicare premiums are paid through Social Security and the premiums for the secondary plan would be paid directly to the plan administrator.
      Thanks, MS

  • Is it true that since these are HMO’s and not PPO’s like we had with Medical Mutual OPERS retiree’s will not have coverage outside of your designated network? In other words if I live in Columbus, Ohio and vacation in Texas or Florida I will not have coverage?

    • Phil,
      Generally an HMO provides coverage only within a defined network (except in the case of an emergency). Please reach out to Via Benefits to get additional information on how the coverage would work out of network.
      Thanks, MS

  • My appt was,at 215. Nobody comes on and tells you anything. I have been on hold woth no answer etc. Pers. What r are we supposed to do?

    • Lisa,

      OPERS sincerely apologizes for the excessive on-hold times and other difficulties our retirees have experienced when calling Via Benefits and our own member services center. Please know that we are 100 percent dedicated to ensuring that all Pre-Medicare retirees are able to opt in to the HRA and enroll in a medical plan by the Dec. 15 deadline. We greatly appreciate your continued patience as we make improvements to ensure each retiree receives the help they need.

  • This was supposed to be easy. It’s far from it. I did everything ahead of time; watched all webinars, created profile and account, opted in, scheduled appt. I live in ky and snowbird to fl. Everyone says find a PPO if you snowbird. Only HMO are available. In talking with advisor after an hour on hold she then tells me that she doesn’t deal with FL and then told me I need to contact my doc in Ky to see if they are in the plan. Well, I only have one cellphone so she says I can call back or enroll online myself. Called back next day and had to wait another hour on hold only to be connected to an agent that deals with Medicare only people, back on hold another hour and no one answered and I gave up. I tried to enroll myself, but when I click on the enroll for that plan, it takes me to a page that says I have to call for quotes. I went ahead and scheduled another appt in Dec hoping between now and then I will get someone to help me enroll. What I do not understand is their staffing issue. I tried to do research online as I’ve never heard of Ambetter. In doing so somehow I managed to be on healthcare.net. While I was on hold with Via, my phone had over 40 missed calls from agencies wanting to sell me insurance from different numbers. With as messed up this is to just enroll, I’m fearing about the reimbursement and claims. To be continued…..

  • I am an OPERS Medicare retiree. This year I am thinking about changing my Medicare Advantage plan. I was not able to get a pre-scheduled appointment with Via Benefits. I went on line and did the comparisons available through Via Benefits. They were certainly helpful but I still had questions. I am simply unable to get any information from Via Benefits. I have called them three times. The first was in late October. I was advised to call back in mid-November on a Tuesday or Thursday and someone would be able to talk with me about my Medicare Advantage plan questions. Thus far I have called Via Benefits twice this week, once on Tuesday morning and once on Thursday morning. I had a 41 minute wait the first time, then the call was dropped. This morning I was promised that I would be put through to a specialist. After waiting more than 30 minutes I gave up. While I realize the demand for information during open enrollment is high, and there is a staffing shortage, this is unacceptable. It should not be this difficult to speak with someone at Via Benefits about Medicare plan enrollment questions. This is a critical issue for so many retirees and I suspect I am not the only person who has experienced this frustration. I ask that OPERS seriously consider working with another Medicare connector agency. It should not be this difficult or frustrating for retirees who have questions about particular Medicare plans to get answers before the open enrollment window closes.

    • Jane,

      OPERS is working very hard with Via Benefits to remedy the long hold times, dropped calls and other issues our members have been experiencing during open enrollment. We apologize for the frustration retirees have experienced. Your continued patience is greatly appreciated.

  • I must have lucked out. I actually had the correct phone number to call listed on my e-mail from Via Benefits and I was only on hold for about 50 minutes when I called and spoke to them.

    Luckily I had already created my account and finished what I could online so they did not need to walk me through setting up or completing the account. The agent was nice and mostly had to read disclosures and other legal info that I needed to agree to. She also e-mailed me a list of potential insurers that I could look over and compare without having to make a decision right away.

    For the most part they can be helpful if you prefer talking to someone by phone or if you have difficulty navigating a computer. My biggest suggestion is to have Via Benefits CALL YOU at your appointment time. That alone could solve a large portion of the complaints.

  • I emailed VIA Benefits with a very general question on Nov. 7. I did not receive a response until Nov. 18. VIA Benefits email response said they were very happy to assist me with my question and then proceeded to tell me how they could not assist me with my question and that I would have to call a Benefits Advisor or go on their website. It took them 11 days to tell me that. I also had made a phone call appt. for Nov. 11 but apparently having an appt. means nothing. I eventually hung up. There are questions that their website can’t address. For one, why am I only seeing quotes for HMOs and not any for PPOs? I then saw where OPERS said to call a different number than the one that VIA Benefits said to call when they confirmed my phone appt. I called that number today (which is their main number). I felt relief when someone actually answered but then that person could not answer my questions and told me I would have to talk to a Benefits Advisor. Fine. She transferred me and I was on hold for over 2 hours before giving up.

  • I am a pre-Medicare retiree. I currently have dental and vision insurance through OPERS. I would like to keep it for 2022 and I don’t have any coverage changes. Do I need to complete the dental and vision form included in the open enrollment packet?

    • Cheryl,

      No. There’s no need to return the form if you’re continuing the same coverage you have now.

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