4th Quarter 2006 Benefits Corner

by User Not Found | Oct 02, 2006

by Ken Smith, CRA's Benefits Chairperson

Read Medical Plan Open Enrollment details CAREFULLY

We are about to enter a very important period of the year - Medical Plan Open Enrollment for 2007. This year the health plan for Medicare-eligible retirees and surviving spouses will have some changes you need to be aware of. For pre-Medicare retirees and those individuals/families selecting the same HMO plan, there is minimal change in 2007.

You are well aware by now of the impact the implementation of Medicare D has had on the health care industry. Chevron chose to continue as primary provider for all prescription drug coverage for Chevron medical plans in 2006, making it unnecessary for our retiree population to select a Medicare D plan. For 2007, Chevron will move to the position of secondary provider through Medco, the same plan administrator that has handled our prescription drug coverage in the past. The good news is, for those Medicare-eligible retirees/surviving spouses who wish to continue with a Chevron Medical Plan, they will not have to go outside the plan for prescription drug coverage.

Chevron has worked hard to create plans that are, for all practical purposes, transparent with regard to Medicare D. For those selecting the Chevron Medicare Plus plan, the Chevron Senior Care plan or the new Chevron Medicare Standard plan, your prescription drugs will continue to be provided by Medco and the cost will be included with your monthly health plan premiums. There will be some changes to formularies, deductibles, copays, coinsurance and drug costs. To better understand these changes, carefully review the information provided in the Open Enrollment Newsletter.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: there will be no "donut hole" in your drug coverage. Information regarding the Medicare plans offered by Chevron is spelled out in detail in the 2007 Open Enrollment Newsletter you should have received the first week in October.

So what do you have to do? The Open Enrollment Period is Oct. 16-27. Whether you are a Medicare-eligible or pre-Medicare retiree, read the Open Enrollment letter carefully. (Unocal retirees will receive an insert with the newsletter specific to changes affecting only them.) The letter contains a lot of information, the most important of which is highlighted within boxes on each page. Use this information, along with the Open Enrollment Package you will receive prior to the Open Enrollment start date, to select the plan most applicable to your individual/family circumstances.

After carefully reviewing all material, keep two things in mind. First, choose your plan wisely. Evaluate thoroughly what each plan covers: your monthly cost under each one; your usage; total annual cost including premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copayments; and how each plan coordinates with Medicare. Second, it is imperative that, if you select a Chevron plan, that neither you nor your spouse sign up for any other Medicare D plan. Just as last year, signing up for another Medicare D plan will INVALIDATE your Chevron Medical Plan. No matter which Chevron Medical Plan you choose, each plan incorporates the same prescription drug coverage.

Another significant change is that each Medicare-eligible participant will receive his or her own prescription drug identification card. Previously, one card for the family was acceptable for anyone covered under that plan. In 2007, each member will be issued his or her own card and must use his or her own card to receive prescription drugs.

Chevron is offering a new Medical Plan for Medicare-eligible retirees - Medicare Standard Plan. It is offered to provide an additional lower cost alternative to the Chevron Medicare Plus Plan. Again, the Open Enrollment materials will provide details about this new plan and how it operates with existing Medicare plans. Compare it with the existing plans and decide if it fits your needs/circumstances.

For pre-Medicare-eligible retirees, your plans will not change substantially from those offered for 2006. There will be small increases to both drug deductibles and the out-of-pocket maximum. The amounts are consistent with those of Medicare- eligible retirees. Most important is the fact that colonoscopies recommended by your physician, including those performed as preventive screening, will be covered at 90% (80% when a non-network provider is used). This is very good news since screening colonoscopies were not covered in the past. Be sure to discuss this important plan feature with your doctor for his/her specific recommendation.

If enrolled in an HMO, make certain your HMO is still available for 2007 and, if not, what other options are attainable.

If you believe you may want to use the internet to access your personal information, or make changes to your health care benefits during Open Enrollment, you will need a PIN (Personal Identification Number).

If you don't know or can't find your PIN, call the HR Service Center. Act now. It can take up to two weeks to receive your PIN in the mail.

Chevron has worked hard to create plans that are, for all practical purposes, transparent with regard to Medicare D. For those selecting the Chevron Medicare Plus plan, the Chevron Senior Care plan or the new Chevron Medicare Standard plan, your prescription drugs will continue to be provided by Medco and the cost will be included with your monthly health plan premiums. There will be some changes to formularies, deductibles, copays, coinsurance and drug costs. To better understand these changes, carefully review the information provided in the Open Enrollment Newsletter.

Are you turning 65 in 2007 and thus becoming eligible for Medicare benefits/plans? If so, approximately 60-90 days before your birthday you will receive in the mail a package with all Medicare-eligible plans and information from which to make a selection. This is done automatically. However, if you do not receive such a package within 45 days of your 65th birthday, call the HR Service Center and request that the package be mailed to you. If you will not be at your regular mailing address for a 60-day period prior to your 65th birthday, make certain to notify the Service Center of a mailing address to which they can forward your package.

Finally, after Open Enrollment, verify your selections. You will receive a confirmation statement in the mail showing your 2007 coverage (whether or not you make changes). If any information is incorrect, you must call the HR Service Center within 10 days. Keep the statement as verification of coverage.

Still have questions after reading all the information sent you? Promptly call the HR Service Center at 1-888-TALK2HR. Or access the Benefits Connection Website at hr2.chevron.com.

Chevron has put together a very significant package of health care options for retirees in 2007. Make sure you completely understand ALL the benefits provided for each option and take advantage of one of the richest health care packages available in the industry.

10/06