AlaskaCare Employee News | September 2020

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September 2020 | #95

COVID-19 Resources

In response to the COVID-19 national public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020 and the State of Alaska public health disaster emergency declared on March 11, 2020 by Governor Mike Dunleavy, the Division of Retirement and Benefits has implemented temporary plan changes and suspensions in the AlaskaCare health plans. Learn how your health plan is supporting you.

Get Ready for Flu Season

During the 2020-2021 cold and flu season, getting a flu shot is more important than ever to protect yourself, your loved ones, your community, and the global community from flu. Especially now, everyone needs to do their part to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19. The coming fall and winter is uncertain, but it is likely that there will be COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity. Keep yourself healthy and protect the health of people around you, be sure to get your flu shot.

Where can I get my flu shot and how is it covered?
You can get a flu shot at many different places including your local pharmacy, your primary care provider, or at other special events. Flu shots received from a network pharmacist or provider are covered 100% by the health plan, making this a no brainer for your health and your wallet!

Don't get the flu, drive on through!
If you’re in the Anchorage area, Alaska Regional Hospital is offering a drive-through event with free flu shots for people nine years and older! All passengers in vehicles must wear masks. No walk-ups please!

Alaska Regional Hospital
C Building Parking Lot
2801 DeBarr Road
Anchorage, AK 99508

5:30 - 8 p.m.                               
Thursday, October 1           
Tuesday, October 6
Friday, October 16
Wednesday, October 21

9 a.m. – Noon
Saturday, October 10

Do I need to get a flu shot earlier this year?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get a flu shot in early fall – before flu viruses begin spreading in your community – so that your body has time to develop antibodies and provide protection against the flu. September and October are good times to get your flu shot. Getting your flu shot in July or August may be too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, you should consider getting a flu shot.

Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes. It is possible have flu (or other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms and believe you may be sick, please call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

You can take action to protect against the flu:

  1. Get a Flu Shot
    The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu shot each year. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu.
  2. Preventive Steps
    Take actions every day to help stop the spread of germs. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Treatment
    If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high-risk group or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your healthcare provider. There are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

The CDC's comprehensive website with general information on influenza transmission, symptoms, prevention, treatment and more can be found here.

Getting to Know your Benefits:
Bargaining Unit Deductible Carryover for New Members

When a State of Alaska employee moves from one position to another, or a position is reclassified, it can result in a bargaining unit change and in turn, a change in health plan coverage. In the past, this change has been challenging for employees who may have already met part or all of their annual deductible under their other State employee health coverage and must start again when they enroll in their new AlaskaCare plan. AlaskaCare understands and has a benefit in place to help.

Employees of the State of Alaska who move from a State bargaining unit that does not participate in AlaskaCare and who have satisfied all or a portion of the current benefit year deductible under their former plan may request a waiver of all or a portion of their new AlaskaCare plan deductible.

AlaskaCare Bargaining Unit Change Deductible Carryover Waiver
The AlaskaCare employee health plan will honor the amount an employee has met in the current plan year towards their deductible when they transfer into the AlaskaCare plan from another State employee health plan. The carryover is limited to the maximum deductible of their selected AlaskaCare plan. Employees are responsible for securing documentation from their former health plan to demonstrate the amount to be credited towards their deductible. This carryover does not apply to any coinsurance or out-of-pocket maximums.

What is a Deductible?
Your deductible is the amount of covered expenses for which you are responsible each benefit year before any benefits are payable under the plan. For example, if your plan has a $500 annual deductible, you generally pay the first $500 for services that apply toward the deductible, then your health plan will begin to cover portions of your health care costs for the rest of the year, subject to the plan provisions.

Requesting a Deductible Carryover Waiver
Requesting a bargaining unit change waiver is a straightforward process. To transfer deductible credits from your previous State employee health plan to AlaskaCare, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Contact your previous health plan and request a copy of your Explanation of Benefit (EOB) statements for the plan year.
  • Step 2: Contact the AlaskaCare Member Service Center to request a deductible carryover and to provide a copy of your EOBs for the year to date.

Customer service agents are available to assist you Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.

Voluntary Supplemental Benefits

Open Enrollment is coming up in November—now’s the time to learn more about your employee benefits! Help protect the things you value most. Take the time to understand your options ahead of this year’s Open Enrollment!

Take the time to understand your options and learn about the MetLife benefits available to State of Alaska employees by visiting

MetLife Benefits available to State of Alaska Employees:
Critical Illness Insurance: Helps keep your finances on track when a covered illness happens, so you can focus on your recovery. If a serious illness happens to you or a loved one, this coverage provides you with a lump-sum payment that can be used however you want, including to pay for everyday living expenses and out of pocket medical costs, like copays and deductibles.

Life Insurance and AD&D: Helps protect your income and cover essential living expenses in the event you cannot work due to an illness or injury. Having Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance from MetLife is a great way to ensure that your loved ones will have financial security even if something happens to you.

Short- and Long-Term Disability: Provide protection for those who depend on you with quality life insurance at competitive group rates. You can take steps now to help ensure that you can pay the bills in the event that you are unable to work.

More information can be found on our website.

Health and Wellness Scavenger Hunt in Anchorage

healthu logo

Join Alaska Regional Hospital and the Anchorage Daily News for The HealthU Hunt, a one-of-a-kind experience showcasing the latest in the world of healthcare and well-being.

The HealthU Hunt is a free 10-day family-friendly scavenger hunt that runs September 18 through 27, 2020.

For more information and to register, click here

Update on the Fall Health Fairs

Our members’ health and safety are our top priority. Out of concern for the well-being of the AlaskaCare members, event staff, volunteers, and the community, the 2020 health fair events have been cancelled. AlaskaCare typically partners with the Pacific Health Coalition in the fall to hold health fairs for AlaskaCare members. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the health fairs will not be held in 2020. We look forward to offering health fairs next year as things return to normal.

For those of you that were planning to participate in the 2020 health fair events, remember that the vaccines and preventive screenings offered at the health fairs are covered benefits through your AlaskaCare employee health plan coverage. Contact your regular health care provider or visit your local pharmacy to ask about what vaccines or screenings you may need this year.

We Value Your Feedback!

As an employee of the State of Alaska, your input is valued and important. Below, please see a list of ways to contact us with your feedback. Also, a full list of AlaskaCare health plan and partner contact information can be found on our website.

AlaskaCare – Plan Administrator

  • Toll Free: (800) 821-2251
  • In Juneau: (907) 465-4460
  • TDD: (907) 465-2805
  • Fax: (907) 465-3086
  • Email:
  Come visit us:
State Office Building
6th Floor
333 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, AK 99801 
Send us a letter: 
State of Alaska
Division of Retirement and Benefits
P.O. Box 110203
Juneau, AK 99811-0203

Health Benefit Contact Information

Division of Retirement and Benefits
Member Services: (907) 465-4460 | Toll-Free: (800) 821-2251

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

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

Health Flexible Spending Accounts (HFSA): PayFlex
Member Services: (800) 416-7053

Surgery Plus
Member Care Advocate: (855) 715-1680

Vision & Audio Benefits: Aetna VSP
Member Services: (855) 784-8646

Member Services: (855) 835-2362