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

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Volume 28|September 2020

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.

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.

Does the AlaskaCare Retiree Plan cover flu shots?
Yes—temporarily.* During the COVID-19 public health emergency the AlaskaCare retiree plans will temporarily cover Trivalent and Quadrivalent influenza (flu) shots along with the pneumococcal (pneumonia) shot. During the COVID-19 public health disaster emergency:

  • If you get your flu or pneumonia shot at a network pharmacy, AlaskaCare will cover 100% of the cost. If you need help locating a network pharmacy call OptumRx at (855) 409-6999.

  • If you get your flu or pneumonia shot at an out-of-network pharmacy, you will need to pay for the shot up front and submit a claim to OptumRx to be reimbursed for plan’s portion of the cost.

  • If you get your flu or pneumonia shot at your doctor’s office, the standard deductible and coinsurance will apply.

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 9 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

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.

* The preceding temporary administrative changes are prospective in nature and shall remain in effect until earlier of the date of: 1) the termination of the suspensions contained in the applicable COVID-19 Disaster Order of Suspension; 2) the termination of the Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy; or 3) the national public health emergency is terminated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; including any extensions or amendments thereof. The temporary administrative changes listed above are in response to a State of Alaska and federally recognized health emergency and do not provide a vested right to coverage for any individual. The Division of Retirement and Benefits retains the sole discretion to rescind or modify these temporary administrative changes depending on the circumstances.

Tired of Receiving a Mountain
of Paperwork Every Fall?

We are listening! This year we are streamlining the Medicare Part D-EGWP Annual Notices. Each calendar year Medicare requires OptumRx provide AlaskaCare enhanced Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) members with an Evidence of Coverage booklet. It tells you how to use your Medicare prescription drug coverage through our plan, explains your rights and responsibilities, what is covered, and what you pay as a member of the plan. This year, instead of automatically mailing a copy to all members, Medicare is allowing OptumRx to provide the document electronically through the online OptumRx member portal. You can still receive a paper copy of the Evidence of Coverage booklet upon request.

There are two ways to get an updated Evidence of Coverage booklet for your plan:

  • Visit, sign into (or register for) your account and download a copy of the Evidence of Coverage from the “Programs & Forms” page (found under the “Information Center” tab).

  • Call OptumRx at the number listed on your member ID card to request to have a copy mailed to you.

Members can still expect to receive the 2021 Annual Notice of Changes along with the instructions on how to request further information in the mail.

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 receive an annual flu shot at the health fair events, remember that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the AlaskaCare Retiree plans are temporarily covering the trivalent and quadrivalent flu shots, along with the pneumococcal (pneumonia) shot.

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

Join Us for a Town Hall Event

  Please join us on October 15 at 10 a.m. for a Town Hall event
focused on the upcoming Dental, Vision, and Audio Open Enrollment!

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. Pre-register now online.

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

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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

  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
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