Chair Talk

October 2019

Retirees will soon be receiving the 2019-2010 Retiree Benefits Bulletin. The Bulletin will explain the Benefit Enhancements that take effect on October 1, 2019. As of October 1, 2019, the eyeglass frame allowance will be increased from $100 to $150 and the Telemedicine copay will be reduced from $20 to $10. Also, on October 1, BCBSM will replace Magellan Health as the State Health Plan PPO Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse carrier. Retirees recently received new BCBS ID cards that reflects these changes.

Beginning January 1, 2020 Medicare retirees will be enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Plus Blue PPO). Currently, Blue Cross and Employee Benefits Administration Division have been attending SERA Chapter meetings to explain the new plan. Starting October 14 there will be 39 regional meetings scheduled in the state to explain the new Medicare Advantage Plan. The meetings run from October 14th through November 22nd. The list of meetings, times and locations will be included with the Retiree Benefits Bulletin. Cheryl Streberger, Lauri Schmidt and I will be involved in these meetings. We will take this opportunity to explain SERA’s involvement in working with the State and Blue Cross in explaining the plan. We also view this as an opportunity to increase our membership as many of those retirees may not be SERA members at this time. It is our understanding that Blue Cross will also have meetings in Arizona and Florida in December that have a high number of state retirees residing there. Cheryl and I will also be involved with the out-of-state meetings.

State Retirees will be receiving information about the new plan from Civil Service and Blue Cross in the next couple of months. This time of year, Medicare-eligible retirees receive an avalanche of mail from various insurance companies about Medicare health plans — I shred those offers! The mail you need to open and read will come from Blue Cross and Civil Service. The new Medicare Plus Blue PPO cards will be mailed in December. Make sure that the Office of Retirement Services has your correct mailing address — what ORS has on file is the address that will be used. If you are a “snowbird” make sure ORS has that winter address.

Editor’s note: Bob Kopasz is Chair of the Michigan SERA Council. He may be reached at P.O. Box 692, Mt. Morris, MI 48458; phone 810/240-8380.