4th Quarter 2017 Benefits Corner

by User Not Found | Oct 15, 2017

BENEFITS CORNER

By Lezley Barth

 

Lezley Barth Captioned

Effective January 1, 2018, Fidelity Investments will become the record keeper and administrator for Chevron’s Employee Savings Investment Plan (ESIP) and executive plans, replacing Vanguard. This change was announced to participants in late September, and another communication will be mailed in November.  In addition, targeted communications will be mailed to those who participate in the Vanguard Managed Account Program (VMAP), Vanguard Brokerage Option (VBO), and executive plans.  For more information, please visit hr2.chevron.com/esip.  In early October, Fidelity will be able to start answering questions about the transition and can be reached at 1-888-825-5247.

 Chevron’s Human Resource Service Center Telephone Number:  Starting October 3, 2017, 1-888-825-5247 will now accept calls from anywhere in the world. If you live outside of the U.S., please do not call 610-669-8595 after October 3, as that number will be disconnected. Replace your programmed HR Service Center contact with 1-888-825-5247.  When calling, you’ll first need to dial the international access code.

Q&A - Open Enrollment for 2018

October 15 through December 7, 2017 (Post-65 Eligible Participants)

Due to the importance of Open Enrollment, the majority of this quarter’s article is devoted to anticipated questions from Chevron’s post-65 eligible participants to assist in their 2018 healthcare decision making.  Naturally, the provisions in official documents issued by Medicare, Chevron, and/or OneExchange will prevail, in the event of any conflict with information contained herein.  

Q1.  If I am satisfied with the healthcare plan(s) selected for 2017 during Chevron’s Open Enrollment through OneExchange, is any action required to continue that same coverage for 2018? 

 A1.  No action is required, your healthcare plan(s) will automatically renew with no need to repeat the enrollment process or notify OneExchange of your intent to continue the current plans, with the following exception:

 If your plan is not available for renewal from your healthcare vendor in your geographic area, you will receive advance notice and will need to select an alternate vendor/plan. The complete enrollment process is required to ensure funding has been established and a replacement policy has been arranged.

Q2.  If I don’t change my current healthcare plan(s), are any actions required by me relating to my current premium payments or recurring reimbursements?

 A2.  Premium Payments:  If you remain with your current healthcare vendor(s) and your bank account for direct debit/electronic funds transfer (EFT) remains the same, changes in premium(s), if any, will automatically be reflected in your bank account without any action by you.  You will be notified in advance of any premium changes by your healthcare vendor to enable you to plan your banking requirements.

 Direct Debit/EFT Changes:  If you have recently changed or plan to change your bank account before January 1, 2018, be sure you contact the healthcare vendor (insurance company) to provide new information to set up a direct debit/EFT to automatically pay your insurance premiums from your checking or savings account. The relevant contact information is usually on the back of your insurance ID card.   

Recurring Reimbursements:  For those that are enrolled in plans that do not offer automatic reimbursement [e.g. Kaiser and other carriers], OneExchange will send a new Recurring Premium Reimbursement Request form in December which you will need to complete and follow the instructions for submission. 

Q3.  Are there scenarios when I should consider changing healthcare plans? 

 A3. Yes. You may want/need to change healthcare plan(s) if one of the following occurs:

 You have moved to a new state or zip code. (Because plan prices vary by location, it may present a healthcare premium savings.) 

  1. Your healthcare premiums have increased substantially under the current plan. 
  2. Your out-of-pocket medication expenses have increased under the current plan. 
  3. Your primary care physician is no longer in your current plan’s network.
  4. Your health status has significantly changed.  (Alternate plans could reduce your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.)

Q4.  What are the guidelines that may impact changes I want to make to my healthcare plan(s) for 2018?

 A4.  Medicare Advantage plans (Health Maintenance Organization plans, Preferred Provider plans, and Private Fee for Service plans) and Medicare Part D Prescription drug plans – Each year participants are allowed to change these healthcare plans during Open Enrollment.

 Medicare Supplement policies (Medigap plans) – Participants are free to apply for a different plan at any time; i.e., there is no Open Enrollment Period per se.  These plans have guaranteed issue rights during the initial and subsequent enrollment periods.  However, be aware:  

 If you do not enroll in a Medicare Supplement policy the first time you are eligible, in most states you will lose guaranteed issue rights for future applications.

  1. Or, if you want to change to a different policy after you first enroll, you may be denied coverage based on your health status.
  2. In addition, if you have opted out of your current group plan, or already have an individual Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medicare Advantage plan, federal law cannot guarantee your coverage for Medicare Supplement Insurance during this first enrollment period.

 For more information on Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare-related Plans, go to the official site at: https://www.medicare.gov/

 Q5.  What is the meaning of “Guaranteed Issue” and “Guaranteed Issue Rights?”  

 A5.  “Guaranteed Issue” is a term used in health insurance to describe situations in which vendors are required to offer an insurance plan. If an individual is Guaranteed Issue (GI), the healthcare vendor cannot deny you a policy, give exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or charge more for a policy because of health problems.  Losing group coverage and “ageing-in” are two common GI reasons. Medical underwriting may apply to those without GI.

 The federal government requires insurance companies to offer certain Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (Medigap) to individuals in specific situations. This ensures they have “Guaranteed Issue Rights,” which protects them if their healthcare coverage is changed or lost.  In addition to federal law, insurance companies must comply with any protections offered by individual states. These protections include but are not limited to:  You move out of your current plan's service area, your Medicare Advantage plan stops providing care in your area, or you are still within your initial enrollment year in a Medicare Advantage plan and you change your mind.

 Q6.  Will selecting an alternate healthcare plan trigger medical underwriting not required previously (I had Guaranteed Issue Rights in 2017 due to losing my healthcare coverage resulting from Chevron’s transition to OneExchange)?

 A6.  The answer on medical underwriting varies according to your current plan type as well as the plan to which you are proposing to transition. Your OneExchange benefits advisor can provide you with information relating to healthcare transitions.     

 Q7.  My Medicare Advantage plan includes Medicare Parts A and B, as well as Part D Prescription coverage.  I am considering a plan change to Part D since it doesn’t cover my new medications.  Will medical coverage (Parts A and B) be impacted?  

 A7.  In most of the United States, if you are a Medicare recipient receiving inpatient and outpatient benefits (Medicare Parts A and B) through a private Medicare Advantage Plan, that same healthcare vendor (insurer) provides your Part D coverage.

 When you change Part D, your medical benefits (Parts A and B) will also change.

  1. If, in the past year, you started taking a medication that is not regularly covered by your Medicare Advantage Plan and you anticipate taking that medication for a significant portion of 2018, you may want to consider switching plans. This could also affect your other benefits.

 Q8.  For individuals that decide to make changes to their initial healthcare selections, what is the contact information for scheduling an appointment with OneExchange?

 A8.  Prior to the Open Enrollment, October 15 through December 7, 2017, details on healthcare vendors, plans, and rates will be populated in the OneExchange system.  This information will be necessary to enable you to make comparisons that are important for your 2018 healthcare decision making. 

 Appointments can then be scheduled by going to the OneExchange website at:  https://medicare.oneexchange.com

  1. Log in with your ID and password. 
  2. Select the HELP & SUPPORT tab at the top of the page. 
  3. Click the link “Schedule a Call” in the right-hand column. 
  4. Click the green block “Schedule an appointment for the family members selected.” (Note: Ensure a check mark is shown for the appropriate individual).

 Alternatively, you can call OneExchange to schedule an appointment at 1-844-266-1392 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, from 7:00am to 8:00pm Central time. 

 Q9.  What can I do to prepare for my appointment with OneExchange?

 A9.  Once the OneExchange system is populated with healthcare plans and rates for 2018, you can log into the OneExchange website and work with the Prescription Profiler tool.  Having this pre-work completed at your convenience will save potential hold times when you speak with your OneExchange benefits advisor.  When you’ve updated your prescriptions, this tool will estimate your current prescription drug cost for the coming year.  It does not predict the cost of your future prescription medications if your health changes and necessitates higher-tier medications. An OneExchange benefits advisor can assist you with plans that can offer greater coverage that will protect you against this added financial exposure.        

Q10.  Are my healthcare premiums likely to change for 2018?

 A10. Pricing varies by healthcare vendor and plan provisions.  Pricing may fluctuate up or down depending on changes in provisions, costs, and market conditions.  For the majority of plans, premiums typically increase each year due to the rising cost of medical care. Over the last few years, rate increases have been lower (on average) in the individual Medicare market than in other non-Medicare insurance markets. Rate increases within your area may be lower or higher depending on the cost of medical care and other factors. In general, even with an increase, your plan premium will still be competitive with other comparable plans in your area for people of your age and health status.

 Q11.  Some healthcare vendors offer premiums on the open market that may be similar to those offered through OneExchange.  What are the advantages of continuing healthcare coverage through OneExchange?

 A11.  Coverage through OneExchange provides value and multiple advantages:

 One-stop shopping for a wide selection of medical and prescription drug plans, as well as optional dental and vision plans, offered by the nation’s leading healthcare vendors.

  1. Employs a team of licensed benefits advisors to assist you:
    1.  Navigate plan options that optimize your coverage versus expenses;
    2. Address issues that may arise during the healthcare period; and,
    3. Help with a solution if there is a change in your status.
  2. Provides access to Chevron’s Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), a beneficial financial incentive that reduces out-of-pocket expenses for your healthcare premiums.
  3. Offers coordination on the Chevron Catastrophic Supplemental Prescription Drug benefit. Coverage is extended to Chevron’s eligible retirees, dependents, or survivors, in the
  4. event of a catastrophic illness.  This is valuable additional protection!  

 Lezley Barth, Benefits Chair
 Phone: 816-506-0026
 Email: lezleykbarth@gmail.com