AlaskaCare Employee News | January 2021

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January 2021 | #99

Coronavirus Vaccines


Alaska’s vaccine supply is currently limited, but in the coming months the vaccine will become more widely available. The State is implementing a phased approach to vaccine eligibility and has shared the eligibility requirements and timelines for Phase 1a and Phase 1b - this includes Alaskans aged 65 years of age and higher.

The Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee meets regularly to adjust, clarify, and create more phases, as meets the vaccine distribution quantity. It is expected to take many months to vaccinate the entire U.S. population.

For more information about the vaccines and distribution, check out the links below:

COVID-19—What Your Health Plan is Doing for You

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.

Rest assured that the AlaskaCare health plan is covering the vaccine at no cost to you during the public health emergency. When available, you can receive any FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine at any authorized vaccine provider, which may include pharmacies, public health clinics, physician offices, and hospitals during the public health emergency. The COVID-19 vaccine is covered by the AlaskaCare plan under either your medical or pharmacy plan, depending on the authorized vaccine provider.

Learn how your health plan is supporting you.


Sign Up for Insights Into DHSS's COVID-19 Response
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2021—Better Benefits, Lower Costs

AlaskaCare is here to work for you and with you!

In the new year, AlaskaCare is working to enhance your benefits and reduce your costs. There is a lot to look forward to with your 2021 health care plan benefits, such as more hospital choices in Anchorage, reduced premiums, lower rates for Select Life, Supplemental Life, and Long-Term Disability, and more. We covered these and others in last month's newsletter, click here to check it out. 

With each passing year, our continued goal is to offer you the best healthcare coverage at lower costs. This month we want to give you more information about all the increased advantages through our partner, OptumRx. 

OptumRx—Taking Charge of the Medicine Cabinet

Variable Copay Solution Program
If you use a specialty medication you may be able to reduce your drug copayments to $0! AlaskaCare can help you eliminate your out-of-pocket costs for certain specialty medications through the Variable Copay Solution program by applying rebates that are available from drug manufacturers. If you or someone in your household has one or more specialty prescriptions, contact Optum Specialty pharmacy at (855) 427-4682 to find out if your medication is eligible for a $0 copay and to learn more about how to enroll in this program.

Optum Specialty
AlaskaCare is bringing you deeper discounts on high-cost specialty medications! By partnering with Optum Specialty pharmacy to serve as the sole network specialty pharmacy, you could pay less for your prescriptions. If you are currently filling your specialty medications through a different pharmacy, OptumRx will be in contact with you soon to help you transition your prescriptions to Optum Specialty pharmacy. You can still fill your non-specialty medications at the network pharmacy of your choice.

Home Delivery
Providing you with smooth and convenient care to optimize your health is our greatest priority. In partnership with OptumRx, we help you save time and money on your prescriptions with home delivery. There are many benefits to this service, including free shipping, 24/7 pharmacist access and lower prescription costs. Ask your physician to send an ePrescription to OptumRx or request a refill and OptumRx will ensure safety, member details and ship the medication in tamper-evident, eco-friendly packaging right to your door!

Prescription Home Delivery is:

  • Safe and convenient
  • Once approved, your order is shipped directly to your door.

To Enroll:

Click here to sign up. The home delivery services save you time, giving you one less thing to worry about. OptumRx makes certain you have the right medications at the right time.

If you need any assistance enrolling in home delivery, please call the Optum Home Delivery Team at (855) 640-0005, option 2.

Go After Your Goals

There comes a time when you realize you want to make a change, a shift that betters your health or your quality of life. But change isn’t always easy, there may be things preventing you from reaching your goals. It can be overwhelming and hard to know where to start. That’s why setting goals is so essential, they give you direction and keep you focused. What’s your reason for wanting to make changes in your life? What inspires you? Recognize your purpose and this will help you stick to the goals you create.

Keep yourself motivated by asking yourself these questions:

  • “Why do I want to make this change?”
  • “In what ways will this change make my life better?”


Upgrade Working from Home to Working Out from Home

Daily routines have completely changed from what they were a year ago. Many of us are working from home or have children who are attending school online. Many of us are leaving the house less often and not getting the exercise we need. 

So why not upgrade from working to working out from home?

There are a multitude of Android and iOS apps to help you find the best workout for your at-home space. Keep in mind the main benefits of all exercise habits are:

  • helps control weight,
  • combats health conditions and diseases,
  • improves mood,
  • boosts energy,
  • promotes better sleep, and
  • shows you what you are capable of.

Any time you start something new, it is important to begin with small attainable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. The best part—once you get in the groove, you won’t want to miss the feeling of accomplishment after working out. Remember! Start small and have fun!

Emotional Well-Being Resources and the
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The holidays have come and gone, while COVID safety restrictions during this health pandemic have lasted. We look ahead into a new year and the surprises it will bring, there is hope on the horizon as vaccines are becoming available. Yet there are some things that remain—working from home, minimal social gatherings, and so much stress. 

We want to know, how are you doing? Becoming aware of our mental and emotional health is more important than ever.

Aetna provides resources and support to focus on the less visible, but growing mental health crisis. While so much seems behind us, we know there is still a long road ahead.

This is the perfect time to dive into increasing resiliency and strengthening our mental and emotional health. Emotional well-being resources are available on Aetna’s website, and offer multiple options for support.

Resources for Living

COVID-19 has brought a lot of change to our lives, including stress and anxiety. Resources for Living mental well-being services include:

  • Real-time phone support to help callers cope with emotional impact of the pandemic, reach out by calling (833) 327-2386.

  • Access to informational content, community referrals, and management consultation for organizations.

  • Support for basic needs including family meals, access to childcare, and financial guidance.

  • Partnering with vendors to provide direct access to essential needs for seniors.

  • Access to Aetna’s Resources For Living (RFL) Toolkit online, which includes lives webinars, targeted articles, and expert resources on key topics like managing stress, helping young children cope, and strategies for medical staff.

Staying connected during social distancing can be challenging, especially for seniors who are at-risk for social isolation. Aetna's RFL is providing wellbeing and emotional support for seniors, expanding social connectedness outreach. This enhanced support system is available for anyone, you do not need to be covered by an Aetna plan, so please feel free to share with friends and family.

Aetna’s Member Site

Manage your healthcare on your schedule by using Aetna’s secure member portal. Along with your Aetna plan coverage information, you will find resources to help you find a health care professional, change a doctor, download your claims, and get your statements online. Signing up for the member site will give you a wealth of health information at your fingertips, with increasing wellness solutions coming up in the new year. This is the best time to take charge of your health, login to Aetna’s Member site today.

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

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