Health care open enrollment begins soon
Separate dates are set up for Pre-Medicare and Medicare retirees
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Oct. 4, 2022 – Open enrollment season 2023 is here for the OPERS health care program, and OPERS has begun mailing enrollment materials to all eligible benefit recipients.
We’ve also updated our website with where to direct inquires about this year’s open enrollment period. OPERS Pre-Medicare open enrollment runs from Nov. 1-Dec. 15, while Medicare open enrollment is from Oct. 15-Dec. 7.
For those eligible for a Health Reimbursement Arrangement, the materials will include a statement providing the monthly HRA deposit you’ll receive in 2023. Your monthly HRA deposit will not change next year. The HRA deposit you receive each month will remain the same through 2024, when it will be evaluated for any necessary adjustments beginning in 2025.
The enrollment materials will include the 2023 OPERS Health Care Program Guide, which provides lots of information about eligibility for the health care program and the OPERS HRA and Medicare requirements. They’ll also include OPERS vision and dental plan coverage details and 2023 premium information.
Pre-Medicare benefit recipients
- Review the 2023 medical and prescription drug plan details provided by your plan administrator. Depending on the administrator, you may receive this information in the mail. If not, visit the plan administrator’s website. Look for changes in premiums, plan design and prescription drug formulary. If you are unsure of any changes to your medical plan for 2023 or have questions, reach out to Via Benefits. Or, if you are enrolled in a plan outside of Via Benefits, contact your plan administrator.
- Enrolled in a plan through Via Benefits and have questions about your coverage in 2023? Contact Via Benefits between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15. You can opt to schedule a phone appointment with a Benefits Advisor to review your medical plan details for 2023 during this time period, but an appointment is not required.
- Because this is the first open enrollment since OPERS closed the Pre-Medicare group plan, we will offer a limited number of in-person appointments with Benefit Advisors from Via Benefits at the OPERS office in Columbus. These appointments will be offered between Nov. 7 and Nov. 18. You can register for an appointment by signing in to your OPERS online account.
As a Pre-Medicare benefit recipient, you can enroll in any medical plan you choose. It can be a plan offered through an employer (yours or your spouse’s) or a plan you choose through an insurance carrier, healthcare.gov or the OPERS Connector (Via Benefits).
If you’re looking to enroll in or change your medical plan for 2023, we highly recommend exploring plan options with Via Benefits. Even if you did not enroll in a plan through Via Benefits for 2022, they are available to you as a resource to help you understand and navigate individual and family health plan options. Also, once you become Medicare-eligible, you will be required to enroll in a plan through Via Benefits, so familiarizing yourself with Via Benefits now could ease that transition.
Medicare benefit recipients
- Review the 2023 medical and prescription drug plan details provided by your plan administrator. Look for changes in premiums, plan design and prescription drug formulary. If you are unsure of any changes to your medical plan for 2023 or have questions, reach out to Via Benefits.
- Enrolling, making changes or canceling coverage? Contact Via Benefits between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. You can call Via Benefits and schedule a phone appointment with a Benefits Advisor to discuss your 2023 medical plan, but an appointment is not required. Selecting a Medigap plan may require medical underwriting.
- Remember, you must enroll in or remain enrolled in a Medicare medical plan through Via Benefits to continue receiving HRA deposits.
Via Benefits has initiated an outreach effort this year, aimed at benefit recipients who’ve experienced a rate increase for their Medicare supplement plans.
Via Benefits representatives will conduct this outreach in the form of a quick “check-in” phone call. They’ll ask, “Are you happy with your Medicare supplement plan?” The representative will use the answer to help the participant determine if they’re still enrolled in the ideal Medicare supplement plan for them.
- If benefit recipients report being unhappy, Via Benefits will review options available right now. If there are none, the representative will schedule a follow-up call during open enrollment to continue the discussion.
- If benefit recipients report being happy with their Medicare Supplement plan carrier, but not with their plan, Via Benefits will review other plans from the same carrier and discuss options for making a change.
- If benefit recipients report they’re happy with their Medicare Supplement plan carrier and plan, but not the increased price, Via Benefits will discuss options for changing to a new carrier for the same type of plan.
Via Benefits is initiating these calls as a service to OPERS benefit recipients. Medicare supplement plans can have rate increases at any point during the year, sometimes even more than once a year. If you experience a rate increase and receive a ‘check-in’ phone call from Via Benefits, discussing your options with the representative could save you money and increase satisfaction with your plan. Keep in mind that switching Medicare supplement plans 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 2023. Use the form within your open enrollment packet to enroll in, 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.
- Not making changes to your OPERS vision and dental coverage? No problem. Your enrollment will automatically continue in 2023.
- Enrolling in, changing or canceling vision or dental coverage? Fill out the form provided in your open enrollment packet. You also can call OPERS between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15 to change your plan level or cancel coverage.
- If you’re enrolled in a vision and/or dental plan with both OPERS and Via Benefits (or another third-party provider), take some time to review your coverage needs to determine if both plans are needed. Enrollment in the OPERS plan(s) is for the entire calendar year and cannot be changed until next year’s open enrollment.
- If you have specific questions about how much the plans pay for certain services, please call the vision/dental plan vendors directly.
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.
10 thoughts on “Health care open enrollment begins soon”
Please confirm this statement from above:
Remember, you must enroll in or remain enrolled in a Medicare medical plan through Via Benefits to continue receiving HRA deposits.
I wish to confirm that if you remain enrolled through Via Benefits for your Medicare medical plan (I have a supplement plan) but enroll outside of Via Benefits for prescription drug, vision and dental, you WILL still receive your HRA deposits.
Don, yes, members must have at least a medical plan through Via Benefits in order to receive the HRA. Members can have separate prescription, vision and dental plans. Thank you, OPERS
I haven’t received my packet of information. What do I do?
Give us a call at 800-222-7377. There is a wealth of information about open enrollment on the OPERS website.
As in previous years, I urge you to remind retirees, especially those new to Medicare, that the Via Benefits site DOES NOT list all the plans available from which to choose. As an example, if you are thinking of choosing a Plan F Medigap plan, Via Benefits offers only 9 plans from which to choose, while Medicare.gov shows 61 plans available in Ohio. This disparity exists for all 12 Medigap plan “types” (A, B, C, D, F, F-high deductible, G, G high deductible, K, L, M, and N). Retirees are NOT limited to the choices shown on the VB site and can choose from ANY of the plans available in Ohio. However, they must still make contact with VB to advise them of the plan they chose to be eligible to receive their HRA.
In short, go to Medicare.gov first to review ALL the plan options.
I agree with Michael in the above post and wanted to add my experience with Via Benefits. I went to the Via Benefits web site to do a plan checkup before making my decision as to which Medicare Advantage plan I would select for 2023. My current plan Humana Medicare Gold Plus HMO came up showing all of my doctors and local hospitals were not available for this plan in 2023 and recommended an Aetna plan. I found it hard to believe that none of my doctors were available so I called Humana and they said all of my doctors and hospitals were providers for my current plan in 2023. I also verified my doctors through Medicare.gov site. Are we getting complete and accurate info. from Via Benefits?
Will we receive another $1200.00 deposit into our HRA account like we did for 2022?
Kent, OPERS will not be issuing another $1200.00 HRA deposit for 2023. Thank you, OPERS
Question – For 2023, my wife and I are going to keep our current Medigap plans, and I am going to keep my current Part D Drug Plan, but I am switching my wife to a different PDP. That plan, by the way, is not listed as an option on the VB site, but should provide a lower estimated annual cost for us than any of the plans they show on their site. And, yes, I checked with them, and it is available. I am aware that I cannot “turn on” the automatic premium reimbursement on the VB site if the plan I choose is not one of the ones they offer . . . I can only file a premium reimbursement form for that premium.
Am I still required to contact VB to make them aware of that change to her PDP?
Obviously, I’d rather not go through the effort of trying to contact them if it is not necessary, but I will if it is required to keep our HRA.
Michael, it is recommended to contact Via Benefits in regards to any changes in coverage to make sure the other plan is cancelled correctly. Thank you, OPERS