REPORT FROM THE JOINT BENEFITS COMMITTEE (JBC) TO THE COUNCIL OF UC EMERITI ASSOCIATIONS (CUCEA) & THE COUNCIL OF UC RETIREES ASSOCIATIONS (CUCRA), AT THEIR MEETINGS - AT UCSF - 11/4 & 11/5/2013
CUCEA and CUCRA function, among other things, as partners and advisors to the Office of the President on matters relating to retirees, annuitants, and retirement benefits. JBC, as an agent of both Associations, advises CUCEA and CUCRA by providing insights and information to aid in their partnership with the Office of the President.
We appreciated receiving an advanced copy of the Open Enrollment materials prior to our deliberations. Unfortunately, there are a number of statements, which are not completely clear, and which could likely have been clarified, if prior review by lay individuals had been included in the preparation process. For example, on page 3 it states: “Medicare members who change medical plans must complete additional paperwork and submit it by Dec. 6, 2013.” And on page 12 it states: “If you are in a medical plan that is being discontinued and you do not enroll in a different plan during Open Enrollment, you will be automatically enrolled in a new plan.” What is the character of the paperwork, how does that relate to the “automatic enrollment,” and what would happen if the stated deadline for submitting paperwork is missed? In one prior year the JBC Chair was asked to perform a review of draft materials resulting in a number of changes in the original text. We are concerned about the lack of prior consultation in the process leading up to all the dramatic changes taking place this year.
The three most important issues deriving from our deliberations about the announced health plans for next year are:
1 - The major changes, which apply to those of us who live outside of California, appear to be ill conceived. It is unclear how the financial part of the arrangement will affect people. Likewise, the requirement to use Extend Health initially and beyond, even if they move back to California, is potentially a real problem. The JBC has expressed its concerns about Extend Health previously --- specifically in relation to the experiences of UC’s annuitants who were employed at our National Labs. We have recently received several very negative reports from individuals about their specific experiences. A simple Internet review also provided some very interesting and disconcerting information on Extend Health. The following links bring to light comments from prior users and employees:
2 - The problem at UCSB is well documented in the attached article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and will not be repeated here.
3 - The Wellness Program is re-launched as UC Living Well and expanded to include Kaiser.
We are gratified that further changes have not been made in deductibles and co-payments after the dramatic increases that occurred for this year. It would appear that, with the exception of those items discussed above, and potential problems created with respect to pharmacies (for example, in the past when Anthem-Blue-Cross changed pharmacy providers, there were serious problems), the health plans remain highly competitive and appealing to those who are eligible.
It appears that our concerns about processes involved with Minimum Required Distributions (MRDs) have now been properly addressed and resolved. We thank you.
We continue to look forward to cordial and cooperative relations with OP staff with whom we deal, for the mutual benefit of the University and its family of annuitants. We want to particularly thank Joe Lewis for his constant and highly effective involvement and communications with the JBC and our two sponsoring Councils. We wish him a wonderful life in retirement, and will welcome him into our “special University family.”
Adrian Harris, Chair, UCLA,
Julian Feldman, UCI; Jack Fisher, UCSD; Charles Hess, UCD; Richard Jensen, UCSC & UCSB; Larry Pitts, UCSF; Louise Taylor, UCB.
Ex-Officio: Roger Anderson, UCSC; Lee Duffus, UCSC; Doug Morgan, UCSB; Marianne Schnaubelt, UCI
Attachment: Article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 10, 2013