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

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 16 | August 2019

Finding An In-Network Provider
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When you need care, selecting a provider that is in-network can save both you and the plan money.

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 Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or visit the AlaskaCare website and select Find a Doctor.

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AlaskaCare Opioid Guidelines
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State and federal guidelines were developed to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and Alaska. New safety guidelines were adopted for the AlaskaCare plans on January 1, 2018 and were further enhanced on January 1, 2019. The guidelines limit the dispensing of opioids as follows:

  • For patients that don’t normally use opioids:
    • The plan limits the maximum dosage per day to 50 mme (morphine milligram equivalent) and only allows up to a 7-day supply every 91-days.
    • A pre-authorization is required to obtain more than a 7-day supply within any 91-day period.
  • For patients that regularly use opioids:
    • The plan limits the maximum dose per day to 90 mme and only allows up to a 30-day supply.
    • A pre-authorization is required periodically.
  • For patients age 19 or under:
    • A pre-authorization is required for cough medications that contain opioids, and the prescription is limited to a 3-day supply.

Members are encouraged to discuss the effect of the AlaskaCare opioid dispensing policy with their providers and to contact OptumRx at (855) 409-6999 for support.

Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication. They can have serious side effects if you don't use them correctly. For people who have an opioid addiction, their problem often started with a prescription. Opioid drugs include:

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet) 
  • Oxycodone and naloxone
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)


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Know Your Benefits: Vaccines
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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.

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Aetna Local Office in Juneau and Anchorage
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Want to talk to an Aetna representative in person?

AlaskaCare Employee Plan members can stop by Aetna offices in Juneau and Anchorage and talk directly with an Aetna representative. Their offices operate on a walk-in basis, no appointment needed!

Anchorage Office
2525 C Street, Suite 205

Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
and 1 - 5 p.m.

Juneau Office
One Sealaska Plaza, Suite 305
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
and 1 - 5 p.m.

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Please Welcome the Following Providers to the Aetna Network!
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  • Anchorage
    • Alyeska Vascular Surgery, LLC (AHS)  
    • Snow Creek Medicine (Family Practice)  
    • Center for Vein Restoration
    • All Alaska Oral & Craniofacial Surgery
    • Bobbie Mumm, MST
    • Alliance Foot & Ankle
    • Alaska Medical Specialty Group
    • Handson Health & Wellness (Massage Therapy) 
  • Fairbanks
    • Alaska Therapeutic Massage 
  • Haines
    • Specialized Speech Services
    • Southeast OT
  • Kenai
    • Odyssey Family Practice
  • Palmer
    • Brent Taylor, MD (Surgery)
    • The Family Health Centers
  • Wasilla
    • Alaska Surgical Associates, LLC

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Please Join Us for Future Town Hall Events
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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 events are on the third Thursday of each month. The next Town Hall Event will be:

Thursday, September 19, 2019 | 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT (1 hour)

Pre-register now online.

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Retiree newsletters are sent electronically to Health Plan members that have subscribed to receive updates. You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time by managing your preferences here.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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We are updating the FAQs regularly, please keep checking back for new information! Here are some recently asked questions:

  • Do I need to sign up for or purchase Medicare part A? 
    • If you are not provided with Medicare Part A free of charge, you should submit a copy of your letter from Medicare stating that you are not eligible to the Division of Retirement and Benefits. Everyone is eligible for Medicare Part B.

Read more FAQs here

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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