AlaskaCare Employee News | February 2021

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February 2021 | #100

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens for Additional People!

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens for Additional People!

As of Thursday, February 25, more vaccine phases and eligibility tiers have opened, meaning additional people will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Alaska. We are encouraging Alaskans to continue to visit the or call (907) 646-3322 to check eligibility and find a vaccine provider. For complete details about who can get vaccinated in Alaska, check the eligibility guidelines!

Those who are eligible to get vaccinated right now include:

  • *NEW* People who assist someone 65 years of age or older in getting a vaccine are now eligible to be vaccinated at the same time
  • *NEW* People 50 years and above with a high-risk medical condition*
  • *NEW* People 50 years and above working as a frontline essential worker*
  • *NEW* Pre K-12 and childcare education staff*
  • *NEW AND EXPANDED* People living or working in congregate settings*
  • People 65 years and above
  • Most health care workers
  • Long-term care residents and staff

*Limitations apply. See for details.

If you are eligible, please locate a clinic near you and book an appointment. If all slots are full in your area, please keep checking back. As more vaccines become available, more time slots will be added to the scheduling calendar.

Alaska’s vaccine supply is currently limited, but in the coming months the vaccine will become more widely available. Vaccine doses will be distributed across the state in a series of phases.

The AlaskaCare health plan covers 100% of the cost for FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines under both the medical and pharmacy plans, at any authorized site of care.

Welcome to Your 2021 AlaskaCare Health Plan

Better Benefits, Lower Costs
Are you new to AlaskaCare or did you make a plan change during the 2020 Open Enrollment in November? Still trying to understand all the healthcare information available to you? We want you to know where to easily find all the information you need. The Division’s website for the AlaskaCare plans offers information about premiums, links to plan booklets, finding a Doctor, and has our most frequently asked questions.

Your AlaskaCare benefits keep getting better and better every year!

More Network Facility Options in Anchorage
Looking for care options in the Anchorage area? The AlaskaCare hospital and facility network in Anchorage has expanded as of January 1, 2021! Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Regional Hospital are both in the AlaskaCare network, and many Anchorage-area freestanding surgical or imaging centers are in-network as well. Using a network hospital or facility will reduce your healthcare costs. The network expansion offers you more exceptional choices and greater convenience when seeking care. Use DocFind to locate network providers and facilities in your area.

Surgery Plus
Are you planning for an upcoming surgery? SurgeryPlus is included in your AlaskaCare benefits and helps you and your family plan and pay for non-emergency surgeries. Scheduling your procedure through SurgeryPlus gives you access to top-quality surgeons of excellence, full concierge service to help you coordinate your care, and special rates to reduce your costs—you only need to pay your deductible, and we’ll cover the rest, including your travel! If you or a dependent needs surgery, start a planning with a SurgeryPlus Care Advocate at (855) 715-1680 or online at To learn more about this benefit click here.

Know Your Benefits: Preventive Care Covered at 100%*

Keep Your Health in Check

Save now and later by being proactive and seeking preventive care. Preventive care received from an in-network provider is covered in full—no deductible or coinsurance!

Preventive services include routine screenings and checkups, as well as counseling to prevent illness, disease, and other health problems. Making sure to have annual preventive doctor’s visits will help you save as these services are not considered preventive when applied to a visit for diagnosis, monitoring, or treatment of an illness or injury.

Preventive Care Services Include:

  • Regular checkups for adults
    • Screenings for: Depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more!
    • Immunizations for: Hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, rubella, and more!
    • Counseling for: Alcohol misuse, domestic violence, nutrition, and more!

  • Routine gynecological exams for women
    • Screenings for: Breast cancer, Cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and more!
    • Pregnancy services: Anemia screenings, breastfeeding support, maternal depression screening, prenatal visits, and more!

  • Wellness exams for children
    • Assessments and screenings for: Adolescent depression screening, autism, hearing, medical history, obesity, oral health, vision, and more!
    • Counseling for: Obesity and sexually transmitted infections prevention
    • Immunizations: Hepatitis A and B, HPV, Polio, Meningitis, chicken pox, and more!

All other medical benefits are subject to the deductible and coinsurance. Call your doctor today to make a routine preventive care appointment. For assistance finding an in-network provider, call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search online using the Aetna DocFind tool.

*The AlaskaCare employee medical plan covers preventive services in full when received from an in-network provider or when use of an out-of-network provider has been pre-certified. Normal cost-sharing applies when preventive services are received from an out-of-network provider.

Alcohol and Medication Interactions

Drinking alcohol may cause side effects of nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. However, if you are taking certain medications, such symptoms can increase in pace and severity, putting you at risk for internal bleeding, liver damage, heart problems, and trouble breathing. If your medication has a Do Not Drink Alcohol label, it should be taken seriously.

In a study from the National Institutes of Health with 26,000 participants, 42% of those drinking were also taking medication that could interact with alcohol and almost 80% of the participants 65 and older were combining the two. The risk increases with age as the body takes longer to metabolize alcohol and there is a greater likelihood that a person is taking more than one medication, increasing the risk of interactions. Women are at higher risk of alcohol-related damage to organs due to holding less water in their bodies than men, allowing the alcohol to be more concentrated.

Certain prescriptions can create special side effects when combined with a central nervous system depressant like alcohol. Medications to be mindful of include opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety (benzodiazepines) medications, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, antidepressant drugs, blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, antihistamines, and antibiotics.

Protect yourself by avoiding alcohol if you are taking medications and don’t know how it may affect you. If you have questions about your medications, call your doctor or pharmacist.

Healthy Eating Tips

Eat with Color

Aim for a variety of color on your plate and balancing different textures with flavor. Try adding diced veggies like peppers and broccoli to salads or stews. Or sprinkle fresh herbs on your salads, pasta, or homemade sauce.

Healthy Fats

Keep your brain and heart healthy with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Try adding fish to your meals twice a week or swapping processed oils with cold-pressed oils like sesame or extra-virgin olive oil.

Make a Meal Plan

When you have a plan it’s easier to eat healthier and reduce the chance of grabbing easy processed snacks. Make the list on the weekend, when you have time to dig into new recipes and get all the necessary groceries in advance. This way, you can always plan for healthy snacks!

We Value Your Feedback!

As State of Alaska retiree, 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

Open Enrollment Survey—Thank you for your Feedback!

During last November’s Open Enrollment, we asked for your review of the AlaskaCare plan from your personal experiences. For those who participated, thank you so much for giving us your valuable time and feedback!

No matter what time of year, your feedback helps us create a better health care plan for you. You are always welcome to share with us parts of the plan that make you feel supported and able to move through the healthcare world with ease, or areas that could use improvement. The best way to reach the Division is listed above.

Thank you for another great year in keeping yourselves and others protected, safe and healthy.

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