September/October 2023 LivingPower Newsletter
By Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA
As keeper of the public purse, I have a duty and loyalty of care to preserve and protect benefits for retirees like you, as well as those who currently teach, protect, and otherwise serve. You have dedicated your working time to the citizens of North Carolina, and it is important to remember the Department of State Treasurer (DST) continues to work FOR YOU even after you retire. This includes delivering on-time monthly benefit payments to over 350,000 retirees and providing the best customer service, resources, and access to high-quality, low-cost benefit options.
I am pleased to announce that State Health Plan premiums are frozen for the sixth year in a row. Open Enrollment for the 2024 benefit year will be held Oct. 9-27, 2023. Non-Medicare retirees will continue to have the same health plan options as they do today. The Base PPO Plan (70/30) remains premium-free for eligible retirees. Members will need to take action during Open Enrollment if they would like to make any changes regarding their dependents or to enroll in the Enhanced PPO Plan (80/20). If no action is taken, the member will be moved to the 70/30 Plan.
Retirees who are Medicare-eligible and on the Humana Medicare Advantage Base Plan will continue to enjoy premium-free benefits, pay only $4 per month for a spouse or per dependent, all with ZERO cost to taxpayers.
Those who are satisfied with the plan in which they are currently enrolled will REMAIN on that plan for 2024 and do not need to take action during Open Enrollment. This includes the Humana Medicare Advantage Base or Enhanced Plan (90/10) or the Base PPO Plan (70/30). The good news continues as 87% of retirees over the age of 65 are taking advantage of these plans, saving $47 million for taxpayers.
If you would like to change plans or make changes to your dependents, you will need to take action during Open Enrollment! I encourage you to participate in State Health Plan outreach events prior to and during Open Enrollment. These include in-person events, webinars, and a telephone town hall. For more information and to register, visit www.shpnc.org.
Fall is a busy time of year, and you may be inundated with messages from insurance carriers and organizations by mail or phone and on television. I want to share some helpful tips to make sure you don’t do anything to NEGATIVELY IMPACT your State Health Plan coverage.
- Insurance agents or brokers may call you and encourage you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement. They ARE NOT calling from your State Health Plan, and the plans they’re selling are DIFFERENT from what the State Health Plan offers.
- Please know that you cannot be enrolled in two different Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plans at the same time.
- Therefore, if you enroll in something other than the State Health Plan’s Humana Group Medicare Advantage Plans (90/10), you will most likely be bumped out of your current Humana Group Medicare Advantage Plan (90/10) and enrolled into the 70/30 PPO Plan, which may cost more.
- Be wary of commercials featuring famous actors or athletes. Plans featured on television ARE NOT the same as your State Health Plan coverage. Calling to enroll in a plan that you saw on television may NEGATIVELY impact your State Health Plan coverage.
During Open Enrollment, the State Health Plan’s Eligibility and Enrollment Support Center (855-859-9066) offers extended hours Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be on the lookout for your Open Enrollment Decision Guide arriving by mail prior to Open Enrollment!
Supplemental Insurance (Dental, Vision, and Identity Theft Protection)
DST consistently works towards cost-effective options for our retirees. Negotiations over the past four years have resulted in substantial premium savings and better coverage for supplemental insurance offered through Pierce Insurance. If you choose to participate, payments for coverage can be deducted directly from your monthly retirement benefit, direct billed, or by bank draft.
Open Enrollment for dental, vision, and identity theft protection takes place Sept. 15-Oct. 31.
If you are currently enrolled, no action is needed. For more information and to enroll in benefits that will be effective Jan. 1, 2024, visit www.ncretiree.com or call 855-627-3847.
Thank you for your service to the citizens of North Carolina and for being a valuable member of the North Carolina Retirement Systems.