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

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 17| September 2019

NEW—Open Enrollment for AlaskaCare Retiree Dental, Vision, and Audio Plan

More dental benefit options are headed your way! Effective January 1, 2020, eligible AlaskaCare retirees will have a choice between the current dental plan (Standard Plan) and the dental plan in place prior to 2014 (Legacy Plan). You can choose the plan that works best for you and your family.

Here's what you need to know:

  • You don’t need to do anything today.
  • Eligible AlaskaCare retirees will have a choice between two dental plans effective January 1, 2020.
  • In October 2019 the Division will provide more information, including plan benefit and premium comparison charts.
  • During the first annual open enrollment period, eligible AlaskaCare retirees can make Dental, Vision, and Audio plan selections. Vision and audio benefits are not affected.

In October, you will receive an Open Enrollment notice with instructions on accessing everything you need to review your benefits and enroll for the coming benefit year.

We know you will have questions and will need more information to make your choice. We will send you more information over the coming months, and more details are available on our website, which will be continuously updated over the coming months—keep checking back for more information!

Questions? You can reach the dental claims administrator, Delta Dental of Alaska, at (855) 718-1768. You can also contact the Division toll-free at (800) 821-2251, in Juneau at (907) 465-4460, or by email at

Getting to Know your Benefits: AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan Booklet

At the last town hall event, retirees asked how they could find the Plan Booklets. Plan Booklets are available for all members of the AlaskaCare health plans, they are designed to help you understand your plan and the benefits it provides. You’ll find a benefit summary and information about plan coverage, how benefits are paid, travel coverage, precertification, what expenses are covered, and more.

For your convenience, the Plan Booklets are available on the AlaskaCare website. You can view the booklets online or download them to your computer.

If you have any questions about your benefits, you can contact:  

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

2020 Plan Booklets Now Open for Public Comment. We Want to Hear From You!

The Department of Administration, Division of Retirement and Benefits, proposes to adopt changes to the AlaskaCare Defined Benefit Retiree Health Plan, effective for the 2020 plan year, including providing members with an additional dental plan choice under the Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA) plan. You may comment on the proposed plan booklet updates by submitting written comments to:

State of Alaska Department of Administration
Division of Retirement and Benefits
PO Box 110203
Juneau AK 99811-0203.

Additionally, the Division of Retirement and Benefits will accept comments by email at Comments may also be submitted through the Alaska Online Public Notice System.

A copy of the proposed plan booklet is available on the Division of Retirement and Benefits webpageA public teleconference to answer questions about the proposed changes will be held on October 16, 2019 at 1 p.m. Alaska time (800) 564-0654.

Public comments will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. AKDT on October 25, 2019.

How to Find a Dental Provider That Is In-Network

When you need dental care, selecting a provider that is in-network can save both you and the plan money. To find an in-network dental provider, call Delta Dental Member Services at 855.718.1768 or use the Find a Dentist search tool at  

Getting to Know your Benefits: Vaccinations

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. The implementation of the EGWP for AlaskaCare Retiree plan members has resulted in benefits being added for all retirees including those who are not yet Medicare-eligible, in the EGWP or Standard Pharmacy plans or have elected the Opt-Out pharmacy benefit plan. Although, members that have opted-out of the EGWP will be responsible for a greater portion of vaccine costs.

As a result of the adoption of the enhanced EGWP, the Division expanded coverage of vaccines covered by Medicare Part D to both Medicare-eligible and non-Medicare eligible retirees.

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


Covered by the AlaskaCare Pharmacy Benefit


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


Yes, when administered at your pharmacy


No, however it is covered by Medicare Part B


No, however it is covered by Medicare Part B

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

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


What Are Shingles?

Shingles (also called herpes zoster, or just zoster) is a painful skin rash, often with blisters. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can cause shingles later in life. You can’t catch shingles from another person, however, if you never had chickenpox (or chickenpox vaccine), you could get chickenpox from someone with shingles.

A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and heals within 2 to 4 weeks. Its main symptom is pain, which can be severe. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach. Very rarely, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.

About 1 in 5 people can experience severe pain and it can continue long after the rash has cleared up. This long-lasting pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).

Shingles is far more common in people 50 years of age and older than in younger people, and the risk increases with age. It is also more common in people whose immune system is weakened because of a disease such as cancer or by drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy.

Additional information:

Free Flu Shots for Seniors

While flu shots are not presently covered by the AlaskaCare plan, there are resources for retirees to receive free flu shots.

  1. Health Fairs, the annual Health Fairs offer complimentary flu shots
  2. Free flu shots in Anchorage, provided by Alaska Regional Hospital
    • Don’t Get the Flu, Drive on Thru! Roll down your window, roll up your sleeve, then roll down the road. No appointments needed, drive up only, no walk-ups.
    • Who: Participants 9 years and older.
    • When: 5:30 – 8 p.m. September 17, 18, and 24. October 3 and 9.
    • Where: Alaska Regional Hospital, C Building parking lot
      2801 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, 99508
    • Receive a windshield and headlight wash while you wait.

Keep Up to Date with news from the AlaskaCare Health Plan


Join us for Town Hall Events

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. We are also hosting Special Town Hall Events during October and November to review the new Retire Dental Vision and Audio 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. Pre-register now online.

Please Join Us! Upcoming Town Hall Event Schedule

DVA Event

Oct 1, 2019 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT Click here to register

Regular Event

Oct 17, 2019 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT Click here to register

DVA Event

Oct 22, 2019 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT Click here to register

DVA Event

Nov 7, 2019 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT Click here to register

Regular Event

Nov 21, 2019 10 to 11 a.m. AKDT Click here to register


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Retiree newsletters are sent electronically to Health Plan members that have subscribed to receive updates. Each month we feature an article that helps you Get to Know your Benefits, provides you with updates about the Health Plan, and information about health events and resources. You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time by managing your preferences here.