AlaskaCare Retiree Health News | Monthly e-newsletter | January 2020

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 20| January 2020

Medicare Part D

The Division Would Like to Extend Our Gratitude to the
AlaskaCare Retiree Members!

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In 2019, the AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan adopted a Medicare Part D enhanced Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) for all Medicare-eligible members covered under the AlaskaCare retiree health plan. The AlaskaCare enhanced EGWP has increased federal subsidies for prescription drugs to the retiree health trust by over $50 million in 2019. With your partnership in this effort, the enhanced EGWP has successfully enabled AlaskaCare to maintain high-quality benefits for retirees and decrease future projected costs.

One of the benefits of implementing EGWP was the Division’s ability to expand coverage of vaccines covered by Medicare Part D to both Medicare-eligible and non-Medicare eligible retirees when administered at a pharmacy. Common vaccines that have been added to the AlaskaCare retiree pharmacy benefit include shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio, hepatitis, and HPV.

The AlaskaCare enhanced EGWP is one way the Division is working to reduce the cost of health care while maintaining or improving benefits for retirees. In 2020, your AlaskaCare team will continue to work to enhance, protect, and sustain the health plan and high quality benefits for current and future generations of retirees.

IRMAA Income Tiers Updated for 2020

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Certain high-income retirees are required to pay an extra premium surcharge, known as an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, or IRMAA. This is similar to the surcharge for high-income enrollees in Medicare Part B plan, or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. If you are an individual or a married couple earning more than the threshold, you will be required to pay an extra surcharge for being enrolled in the AlaskaCare EGWP because it is a group Medicare Part D plan. Retirees whose household income is below this threshold will not be subject to the IRMAA premium surcharge.

If you are subject to the Medicare Part D IRMAA surcharge, you will be reimbursed for the surcharge related to your prescription drug coverage.

For all Medicare plans, the IRMAA will be deducted directly from your monthly Social Security check (if you qualify for Social Security) or will otherwise be invoiced to you directly each month. If you are charged a Medicare Part D IRMAA for your prescription drug coverage, the Division of Retirement and Benefits will reimburse you for the full cost of the surcharge each month, through a tax-advantaged Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account. Please contact the Division to learn about your reimbursement options and visit our website for more information.

How will I know if I must pay an IRMAA, and how much it will be?

Each year, if you are Medicare-eligible, you will be notified by the Social Security Administration about your plan. This includes if you are required to pay an IRMAA and at what amount. The Social Security Administration uses your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) to determine if the IRMAA applies to you and, if so, how much you will have to pay. MAGI is the sum of:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which can be found on the last line your IRS 1040 tax form (line 37 on form 1040, line 21 on form 1040A, or line 4 on form 1040EZ), plus

  • Any tax-exempt interest income (line 8b on form 1040).

The Social Security Administration requests income information from the IRS for the tax year that is two years prior to the surcharge year. IRMAA is automatically re-determined each year as long as you file an income tax return. The below table shows the IRMAA for 2020. The MAGI and IRMAA is subject to change from year to year.

For 2020, Medicare has increased the tax return thresholds for the IRMAA based on the 2018 filing year, as well as reduced the monthly IRMAA amount in each bracket.

Individual Modified Adjusted
Gross Income (MAGI) based on 2018

Household Modified Adjusted
Gross Income (MAGI) based on 2018

Monthly IRMAA
(Medicare Part D)

  • Less than or equal to $87,000
  • Less than or equal to $174,000
  • $0.00
  • Greater than $87,000 and less than or equal to $109,000
  • Greater than $174,000 and less than or equal to $218,000
  • $12.20
  • Greater than $109,000 and less than or equal to $136,000
  • Greater than $218,000 and less than or equal to $272,000
  • $31.50
  • Greater than $136,000 and less than or equal to $163,000
  • Greater than $272,000 and less than or equal to $326,000
  • $50.70
  • Greater than $163,000 and less than or equal to $500,000
  • Greater than $326,000 and less than or equal to $750,000
  • $70.00
  • Greater than $500,000
  • Greater than $750,000
  • $76.40

Can I still submit for reimbursement for the 2019 IRMAA Part D Surcharge?

Yes, you have until March 1, 2020 to file for reimbursement of the 2019 IRMAA Part D surcharge.

How Do I Establish an HRA Account for my
2020 IRMAA Premium Surcharge?

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The Division is prohibited from paying your Medicare Part D IRMAA premium surcharge directly and will instead reimburse you. Follow the steps below to establish your 2020 IRMAA reimbursement account:

  1. Scan, copy, or take a photo of your Social Security letter or Medicare bill that shows what your 2020 Part D IRMAA surcharge will be.

  2. Complete the PayFlex Claim form.

    Mail, fax, or email your completed form and documentation to:

    Division of Retirement and Benefits
    PO Box 110203
    Juneau, AK 99811-0203
    Fax: (907) 465-3086
The Division will coordinate with PayFlex on your behalf to establish your 2020 HRA account. Please allow up to 3 weeks for processing. For more information, contact PayFlex at (800) 416-7053.

AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan Booklets

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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.

Retiree Dental, Vision, and Audio

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For the plan year beginning January 1, 2020, two DVA plans were available to eligible members, the Legacy dental plan or the Standard dental plan. Eligible retirees had the opportunity to select the plan of their choice during the open enrollment period held from October 16 through December 13, 2019. Members who did not make a plan selection during open enrollment were moved from the Standard dental plan, into the Legacy dental plan.

If you have any questions about which DVA plan you are enrolled in, please contact the Division toll-free at (800) 821-2251, or in Juneau at (907) 465-4460.

Please Join Us for Future Town Hall Events

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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.

For those of you who have participated, thank you for joining us, you have asked some great questions! Town Hall events are held on the third Thursday of the month.

We want to hear from you!

Join us on:

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:

  • How do I avoid receiving a balance bill?
    • You may prevent balance billing by verifying all medical providers are in the Aetna network and making sure your AlaskaCare Plan covers the services you need. For example, if you're having x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or PET scans, make sure both the imaging facility and the radiologist who will read your scan are in the network. If you're planning surgery, ask whether the anesthesiologists are in the network. If available, the facility should accommodate your request to use a network provider for your services.

      Similarly, for AlaskaCare covered dental services, you may prevent balance billing by verifying the provider is in the Moda/Delta Dental network.

  • If you travel out of country are you covered by Medicare? What about by Aetna?
    • Medicare does not provide coverage when you are out of county, but your AlaskaCare DB Retiree plan does provide coverage. AlaskaCare benefits are good worldwide. You usually must pay for the care upfront, and then receive reimbursement from Aetna. Cost sharing provisions such as your deductible and coinsurance still apply.

Subscribe to the Monthly Retiree Health Plan Newsletter

Computer with Email Graphic 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.

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