AlaskaCare Retiree Health News | Monthly e-newsletter | May 2019

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 13 | May 2019

The Division of Retirement and Benefits sends monthly e-newsletters to provide you with accurate, timely information about your AlaskaCare retiree health benefits. You can expect to receive an e-newsletter each month, and the Division may also send out timely information and updates through this email list. If you prefer not to receive these email updates, you can unsubscribe at any time. Either way, you will continue to receive the HealthMatters newsletter in the mail, as well as your important health plan information.


Please Join Us for Future Town Hall Events

Town Hall

What is a Town Hall Event?

Town Hall Events are group calls hosted by the Alaska Department of Administration, Division of Retirement and Benefits for all interested AlaskaCare retirees and families to ask questions about the AlaskaCare health plans. You can join the call to learn more about your health plan and ask Division staff any questions you have about your benefits. This format gives retirees a chance to connect directly with Division staff to hear the latest news on all things AlaskaCare, raise questions, share comments, and learn more about the health plans.

We want to hear from you! The next Town Hall Event will be on:

Thursday, June 20, 2019 | 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT (1 hour)

Pre-register now online

Know Your Benefits: Vaccines


Effective January 1, 2019, vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and administered at a pharmacy are a plan benefit!

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover many commercially-available immunizations recommended by the CDC to prevent illness. As a result of the adoption of the AlaskaCare enhanced EGWP, the Division has expanded coverage of vaccines covered by Medicare Part D for all retirees—including those who are not yet Medicare-eligible, who are in the EGWP or Standard Pharmacy plans, or who have elected the Opt-Out pharmacy benefit plan. However, members that have opted-out of the EGWP will be responsible for a greater portion of vaccine costs.

Common vaccines that have been added to the AlaskaCare retiree pharmacy benefit include shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio, hepatitis, and HPV.

Don’t forget to have the vaccines administered at your pharmacy!

Please note that flu and pneumococcal shots are not covered by Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans and therefore are not presently covered by the AlaskaCare plan. They are typically, however, a benefit for persons with Medicare Part B coverage.

Reminder: Notify Us of Your Dependent Status Changes


If you have a dependent that will be graduating from college, remember to notify the Division of Retirement and Benefits of their change in status. Also, be sure to notify the Division if you need to add or remove dependents due to marriage, divorce, birth, death, or adoption.

In accordance with Alaska Statutes 39.35.680(12) and 14.25.220(13):

  • If your dependent child is under 23 years old, they are required to be registered and attending an accredited educational or technical institution recognized by the Department of Education and Early Development on a full-time basis.
  • If your dependent child is age 19 or older and is not a full-time student, then the dependent is eligible for coverage only if they are totally and permanently disabled.

The AlaskaCare Verification of Student Status Forms are available on the AlaskaCare website.

Providers in the Aetna Network
Doctor with Patient

Using network providers can provide substantial benefits to members through the elimination of what’s known as balance billing. Balance billing occurs when an out-of-network provider may bill you for the difference—or the balance—between the recognized charge and the actual charge. It is solely the responsibility of the member to pay the balance. The AlaskaCare plans limit payment of covered services to the recognized charge for the service provided. Network providers have agreed to accept, as payment in full, the negotiated charge. Therefore, you are not subject to balance billing when you use a network provider. Using network providers can also generate substantial savings for members by limiting charges to negotiated provider discounts. For assistance finding an in-network provider, call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search online using Aetna’s DocFind tool.

Please welcome the following providers to the Aetna Network!

  • Alaska Eye Care Center | Anchorage
  • Alaska Health Services | Anchorage
  • Alaska Retinal Specialists | Anchorage
  • Alpine Surgery Center | Anchorage
  • Dwayne Trujillo, MD | Anchorage
  • Functional Medicine of Alaska | Kenai
  • Goldstar Longevity and Wellness | Fairbanks
  • LabCorp | Nationwide
  • Mayo Clinic | Nationwide
  • Northern Lights Surgical | Anchorage
  • Pacific Pediatrics | Ketchikan
  • Sea Wolf PT | Anchorage
  • SEARHC Wrangell Medical Center | Wrangell
  • Ursa Optical | Anchorage

For more information about the benefits of network usage, please visit the AlaskaCare Defined Benefit Retiree Plan FAQ webpage.

Alaska Regional Hospital—Senior Health and Fitness Day
Seniors Jogging

Alaska Regional Hospital is hosting a Senior Health & Fitness day on Wednesday, May 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include health screenings, interactive demonstrations, nutrition seminar, yoga, fall prevention seminar and more. Dress comfortably and bring your own blood pressure cuff with its instructions. The event is free and open to the public!

Please RSVP by phone at (907) 264-1722 or online through Alaska Regional Hospital’s website.

News from the Retiree Health Plan Advisory Board

The Retiree Health Plan Advisory Board (RHPAB) is tasked with facilitating engagement and communication among the Commissioner of Administration, the Division of Retirement and Benefits, and the community of AlaskaCare retirees. The seven-member board meets four times per year, with additional meetings of the modernization committee each quarter.

The full board met on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The agenda included updates and in-depth discussion about the modernization project, a collection of initiatives and proposed changes to the health plan under consideration by the Board and the Division to provide updated and improved benefits for all retirees.

Members of the public are always welcome to attend and observe the meeting or listen in via phone. Each RHPAB board meeting includes time on the agenda for public comment, and written comments may be submitted to the board at For more about RHPAB and upcoming meetings, including meeting locations, teleconference information and meeting materials, please visit

Frequently Asked Questions


We update the FAQs regularly. Please keep checking back for new information! Here are some recently asked questions:

Why aren't dependents covered to age 26 under the AlaskaCare retiree health plan?

The AlaskaCare retiree health plan is exempt from Affordable Care Act requirements that expand coverage to dependents up to age 26. Dependent coverage in the AlaskaCare retiree health plan is outlined in State statute which stipulates that qualifying dependent children are covered up to age 19, or up to age 23 if they are a full-time student. The Division of Retirement and Benefits understands that there is strong interest in expanding dependent coverage but doing so would require a statutory change.

When I use an out-of-network provider, how much of the bill am I responsible for?

If you use an out-of-network provider, you are responsible for the difference between the recognized charge and the amount charged by the provider. This is in addition to other applicable charges such as deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance, and non-covered charges. When you see a network provider, the plan will pay based on the lesser of the billed amount or the provider’s discounted fee amount.

What is a “recognized charge”?

A recognized charge is the maximum amount that the AlaskaCare medical, dental, vision, and audio plans will pay for a covered service. The term is sometimes referred to as the usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) charge or the maximum allowed charge. An out-of-network provider has the right to bill you for the difference between the recognized charge and the actual charge. This is sometimes referred to as “balance billing.” When you use a network provider, you are not subject to balance billing for covered services. In other words, the provider has agreed to accept, as payment in full, the recognized charge for the service provided. You are only responsible for payment of other applicable charges such as deductibles, co-insurance, and/or non-covered charges.

Health Benefit Contact Information

Division of Retirement and Benefits
DRB Call Center: (907) 465-4460 |Toll Free: (800) 821-2251

Medical Benefits: Aetna
Member Services: (855) 784-8646

Long Term Care Benefits: CHCS Services, Inc.
Member Services: (888) 287-7116

Dental Benefits: Moda/Delta Dental
Member Services: (855) 718-1768

Pharmacy Benefits: OptumRx
Member Services: (855) 409-6999

Specialty Pharmacy: BriovaRx
Enrollment Services: (855) 427-4682