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

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Volume 29| October 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.

Dental, Vision, and Audio Open Enrollment
Begins October 20, 2020

Open Enrollment for the AlaskaCare Retiree Dental, Vision, and Audio (DVA) plans opens on October 20 and runs through November 25, 2020.

This is your opportunity to review your DVA coverage options and make benefit elections for you and your family for the next plan year, which begins on January 1, 2021. This does not apply to or impact your medical benefits. If you do not participate in Open Enrollment, your benefit elections will not change from what you have now. You can make changes to your benefit elections online at during the Open Enrollment period, beginning October 20, 2020 and ending November 25, 2020.

The plan options and monthly premiums are the same as they were last year. You can review the 2021 Benefit Comparison Guide and 2021 Enrollment Guide containing monthly premium information and coverage comparisons online:

You can make changes to your benefit elections online at during the Open Enrollment period, beginning October 20, 2020 and ending November 25, 2020.

If you are not a current Retiree DVA plan member, you are not eligible to participate in Open Enrollment.

Need more information?

  1. Visit the AlaskaCare Retiree Dental-Vision-Audio Plan webpage. This page is updated frequently with more information about your dental plan options and open enrollment.
  2. Check out the DVA Frequently Asked Questions. If you have questions, we may already have provided the answer in our online FAQs.
  3. Contact the AlaskaCare Member Services Center. You can reach us toll-free at (800) 821-2251 or in Juneau at (907) 465-4460 or at

Mask-Up, Lather-Up, and Sleeve-Up

This fall and winter, the flu and COVID-19 both may spread. Wearing a mask, washing hands often, and getting a flu vaccine are three simple actions that everyone, especially people at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, should take to help reduce the spread of flu and help save medical resources needed to care for people with COVID-19. Keep yourself healthy and protect the health of people around you, be sure to get your flu shot.

You Can Take Action to Protect Against the Flu
Getting a flu vaccine this fall can reduce your risk of getting the flu and help save medical resources needed to care for people with COVID-19. It’s important for everyone to do their part to stay healthy this flu season.

Together we can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Mask Up: Cover your nose and mouth with a mask when out in public.
  • Lather Up: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Sleeve Up: Roll up your sleeve to get a flu shot.

When Should I Get a Flu Shot?
October is a good time to get your flu shot. 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. 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 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 the 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.

Can I Have the Flu and COVID-19 at the Same Time?
Yes. It is possible have the 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 the 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 the flu or COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms and believe you may be sick, please call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

The CDC's comprehensive website with 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.

Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic

Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic provides high-quality, cost-effective healthcare to Medicare beneficiaries in Anchorage and its surrounding communities. The Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic is unique in that it provides integrated physical and mental health services to patients who participate in Medicare Part B. Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic is committed to the care and improvement of human life, and treats each patient with the compassion and respect they deserve. For more information contact Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic at (907) 433-5100.

EGWP Enrollees: IRMAA Submission Reminder

Certain high-income retirees who are Medicare eligible and enrolled in the AlaskaCare enhanced Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) pharmacy plan are required to pay a premium surcharge associated with Medicare Part D plans, known as an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, or IRMAA. This is required by Medicare and is the same type of surcharge that high-income enrollees already pay for a Medicare Part B plan. If you are an individual earning more than $87,000 per year or a married couple who earns more than $174,000 per year, you will be required to pay the IRMAA; retirees enrolled in EGWP and whose household income is below this threshold will not be subject to the IRMAA premium surcharge. If you are required to pay the IRMAA premium surcharge, the Division will reimburse you for the amount you are charged each month through a tax-advantaged health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) account, so the EGWP plan has no additional cost to you!

We have exciting news regarding the IRMAA reimbursement process coming in 2021. The Division of Retirement and Benefits have partnered with OptumRx and Optum Bank to create a more efficient way for members to receive reimbursement for the Part D IRMAA surcharge. Each November, Medicare eligible individuals receive a letter from Social Security that outlines your Medicare premiums for the next year, and you will be submitting this letter to Optum for 2021. Stay tuned for more information on how to submit your IRMAA for 2021 reimbursements.

If you have not been paid for your 2020 IRMAA please email the Division at or contact PayFlex at (800) 821-2251. For steps on completing your 2020 IRMAA reimbursement until 12/31/2020, please visit our IRMAA webpage or contact the division.

The deadline to receive reimbursement for the 2020 Part D IRMAA is 3/31/2021. If documents are received after 12/15/2020, your 2020 reimbursement will be established with Optum.

Join Us for a Town Hall Event on DVA Open Enrollment

  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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Need Someone to Talk to?

We know the uncertainty around COVID-19 may cause stress and anxiety. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please know that help is available. Aetna is providing support for AlaskaCare employee and retiree health plan members through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency. EAP staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

To speak with a counselor contact AlaskaCare EAP at (855) 417-2493. You can also contact Alaska’s suicide prevention and someone-to-talk-to line at (877) 266-help or text 4help to 839863.

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