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.
Concerns Surface with 2015 SHBP Rates
GSRA has taken a little time to look at the premiums that the Board of Community Health approved on Thursday, August 14, 2014. We knew from the beginning that the “communications” that were coming from several news organizations were much too positive given what the Board approved. Several days will be required to complete an analysis and prepare communication that is “fair” in the approach taken by DCH and that informs members about the approvals.
However, we want to present one piece of the analysis about the Medicare Advantage Plan options—the only reasonable options that is offered for retirees over age 65. Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealthCare are offering MAPs options; the BCBS rates that HAVE BEEN APPROVED are 771% increase for the MAP Standard and 321% for the MAP Premium option, but UHC rates are reasonable. GSRA has contacted DCH Commissioner Reese to say that these rates are unaffordable to the retirees and many will have insufficient retirement benefit to pay such rates. We also stated that the benefit options that we presented to the Board DID NOT INCLUDE a benefit plan for the Medicare Advantage Plan Options. The response from DCH is, “Because the rates for the Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans are fully insured, the ultimate member premiums are heavily dependent upon the rates proposed by the vendors offering the plans and the subsidy applied. The rates proposed by the two vendors this year differed significantly, which led to a large difference in the prices offered to the members. Regarding the MA plan designs for Blue Cross and United Healthcare, we are still in the process of finalizing the specific plan designs with the vendors. However, it is our intent to have the MA Plans offered by United Healthcare resemble those offered by BCBS as closely as possible. “
GSRA has requested further information about the benefit plans and the contract rates and will provide more information when the responses are received.
GSRA invites you to join us at the
2014 GSRA Annual Meeting
Decision 2014 - Electing Georgia's Leaders!
Featuring Governor Nathan Deal and State Senator Jason Carter
October 6-7, 2014
Anderson Conference Center
State Health Benefit Plan News
The Department of Community Health announced on July 1st that vendor selection for the 2015 State Health Benefit Plan options had been completed.
While Blue Cross Blue Shield will continue with the “bronze, silver, and gold” and Medicare Advantage options, additional vendors will be added to the SHBP options. United Healthcare was selected to provide a statewide HMO, High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), and Medicare Advantage and Kaiser was selected to provide a “fully insured” in-network benefit for the Atlanta Metropolitan area.
The announcement stated that Express Scripts is the 2015 contractor for prescription drugs and Healthways is the vendor for the wellness benefits. Presumably, these two vendors will provide prescription drug and wellness benefits for all options provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare but not Kaiser.
Premium rates and specific benefit levels will be refined and presented for approval to the Board of Community Health at an August meeting. No public comment period will be included in the process.
The announcement can be found on the DCH website. You can view the announcement by clicking here.