Advocating for Active and Retired
State Employees and Educators
The Georgia State Retirees Association (GSRA) is an organization focused on keeping retirees and prospective retirees from all parts of Georgia Government well informed about any impacts to promised retiree and health insurance benefits.
BCBS Medicare Advantage Plan Dropped for 2015
The Department of Community Health has just notified GSRA that Blue Cross Blue Shield “has made the decision to discontinue its Medicare Advantage plan offering under the State Health Benefit Plan for 2015.” As shown in the GSRA September newsletter the BCBS rates were being increased by 771% and 312% for Standard and Premium options, respectively. Because of the financial impact on retirees, GSRA asked SHBP to move all MAP members to the UnitedHealthcare options and let the retiree choose Blue Cross Blue Shield if he/she desired. The rationale for the action would be that some retirees would erroneously remain in the BCBS options and be charged the higher premium. Many retirees would in all probability have insufficient monthly benefit to pay the BCBS rate. GSRA continues to be concerned about the benefits under the UHC Medicare Advantage options, but according to SHBP Chief Rickman, the benefits are similar to the 2014 schedule. We will need to review the SHBP Decision Guide thoroughly to understand any changes in benefits. Hopefully this information will be forthcoming in a few days.
2015 SHBP Plans/Rates
The GSRA September Newsletter provides analyses of the 2015 benefits and rates that have been approved by the Board of Community Health for the State Health Benefit Plan. The bottom line is that if you are under age 65 and want to continue with your current option, there are no rate increases but the co-payments have been dropped or changed; if you want to stay in a plan that has co-payments for doctor’s visits, you will want to move to an HMO option and pay more in premiums than you are currently paying.
If you are age 65+, staying with BCBS will mean a TREMENDOUS premium increase—771% for individual Standard or 312% for individual Premium. UHC is providing a rate that is the same or just a little more for the Medicare Advantage Plan options. Please carefully review the material that you receive from the SHBP. The benefit provisions for MAP have not been announced.
DCH has responded that all retirees will be mailed a “Decision Guide” at the address they have on file, so if you have changed your address in the last two years, contact the SHBP to update your address.
(Note: the newsletter is available to “members only”. Members should “log-in” to view the newsletter, and non-members should consider joining GSRA.)