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State Pensioners - Change in health insurance?
Old 06-08-2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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State Pensioners - Change in health insurance?

I would like state pensioners to chime in if their health insurance got cut or changed. My wife retired as a teacher in 2009, and so far the COLA has been suspended but no change in the health coverage yet. Under ACA rules, the current health coverage provided by the state would be defined as a Cadillac plan.

I just attended my private company benefit fair (for information only) and noticed significant increases in copay amounts and out of pocket expenses for 2014. This was a surprise, as 2013 copay amounts and out of pocket expenses were unchanged from 2012.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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I am certainly not fortunate enough to have retiree health insurance, but I suspect that the general trend will be toward providing cash for purchasing health insurance through the Exchange, and for those 65+ to be changed to "supplemental" plans where Medicare is the primary and the employer insurance provides for the level above and beyond what Medicare pays for. At least this will be true for pensioners who paid into Medicare; not all government retirees did.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:01 PM   #3
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My COLA has been suspended as well. Subsidy for spousal coverage below age 65 has been taken away so we had to go to the private market for him. My coverage is still 100% paid for under state statute. My coverage will switch to supplemental once I turn 65, but it has always been that way. Spousal subsidy for supplemental is renewed once spouse is on Medicare.
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:24 PM   #4
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Yes, our retiree health care coverage has been changed. DH is retired and in the Ohio public employees pension system.

In 2010 there were 3 levels of health care coverage and generous allowances (based on years of service) for both the retiree and the spouse. The pension system realized this was not sustainable at that level and has been making changes.

The biggest change that impacted us directly was that in 2013 they eliminated the choice of 3 levels of coverage and all retirees had to have the most expensive coverage (high premium cost/low co-pay, low deductible). It was excellent coverage but far more insurance than we would ever want to pay for.

Along with that they announced that the retiree allowances would be reduced in a 3 year transition period and that spouses allowances for health care would undergo a 3 year transition to ZERO. Then spouses could pay 100% for a few years and then spouses would no longer have access to any coverage.

Luckily for us, Obamacare was upheld and for 2014 we left the retiree health plan (and our allowances) and bought insurance on the exchange.

If the retiree health plan would have kept it's choices for levels of coverage we would have stayed with them because their low cost plan was just right for us. They explained that they stopped offering the 3 choices because of "adverse selection", meaning that the healthier retirees chose the lower cost plan (Um, yeah, that's why we chose it) and they needed everyone to pay the higher rates.

DH has the option to return to the retiree plan and we may consider that at 65 if they still offer a Medicare supplement plan at low cost. There will be nothing for me.

On The Other Hand....... He continues to get a 3% COLA every year and the pension system appears to be strong. The health care portion was the part that was not sustainable and is a separate fund. Or so they tell us.
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:53 PM   #5
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As a former public employee, whose pension is offered through the state, I never got paid health care - zero, nada, zip. What I did get and still get post ACA is the ability to buy into the state group plan. I pay 100% of the monthly premium. And I could add a spouse, again at 100% of the premium.

It's a good plan, but expensive compared to the individual plans available on the state exchange. But, the deductible and stop-loss limits are thousands of dollars lower. Hopefully, the extra premium money will be wasted by virtue of good health.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:23 AM   #6
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The State of Illinois just changed its retiree health care benefit this year. They went from Medicare + supplemental to Medicare Advantage, and the literature they sent to recipients doesn't include a clear description of any change in covrage. It appears that, like most other Advantage programs, the formularies are more limited, as is the network of practitioners. Hard to tell, and UHC website doesn't help.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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In Arkansas, retired two years ago. Our retired teacher insurance is not subsidized, but there is the group rate, which is supposedly helpful. After the first year, premium increased by about $100/mo. Ouch.

Last year, it increased by about another $150. Double ouch.

This is the bronze plan. Seeing what some other folks pay is what prevents me from screaming. We have a 24yo on the plan, which explains some of the $$, and we are grateful to be able to keep him.

It was more than I had figured on the back of the envelope, but we have painfully adjusted.
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:50 PM   #8
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Retired from the state of Nevada and the cost is reasonable when you are working but horrible when you retire unless you have 30 years of service. For 2 people we pay 820.00/month which works out to almost 10,000/year. It keeps going up every year or 2.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:15 PM   #9
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All,
Thanks for the feedback. I hope my state starts providing some info on it's future health care plans - this is the biggest unknown in my retirement plan.
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