AlaskaCare Retiree Health News | Monthly e-newsletter | August 2021

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 39| August 2021

Proposed Benefit Additions in 2022:
Please Share Your Thoughts!

Expanded Coverage, Same Great Health Plan!

Your AlaskaCare retiree health benefits are getting even better—the Division of Retirement and Benefits (Division) is working with the Retiree Health Plan Advisory Board (RHPAB) to review the following proposed updates to the AlaskaCare Defined Benefit (DB) Retiree Health Plan, effective January 1, 2022:

  • Addition of preventive care coverage
  • Addition of prior authorization for specialty medications

Have Questions?

Take a look at the Proposed Benefit Additions in 2022 informational flyer to learn more about what the proposed benefit expansions mean for you.

Want More Information?

Visit to review details about the proposals and read the FAQs.

We Want to Hear From You!

You may comment on the proposed updates by submitting written comments:

Public comments will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. AKDT on September 3, 2021.

Join the Conversation—Learn More at the Upcoming Retiree Townhall Event!

town hall

Please join us for a Retiree Townhall Event on September 1, 2021, at 10 a.m. Alaska Time focused on answering member questions on the proposed addition of preventive care coverage and specialty medication prior authorization to the AlaskaCare Retiree DB Health Plan.

Register in advance here to make sure your phone number is on the call list. If you don’t want to register or participate over the phone, you can listen online. The audio of the call will be streamed live on the registration page and on the Division’s Facebook page once the event begins.

Get Ready for Flu Season

During the 2021-2022 cold and flu season, getting a flu vaccine is important to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the flu.

Everyone needs to do their part to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19. What will happen this fall and winter is uncertain, but there will likely be COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.

Does the AlaskaCare Retiree Plan Cover Flu Shots?

Yes, through December 30, 2021, the AlaskaCare retiree plan is temporarily covering Trivalent and Quadrivalent influenza vaccines along with the pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine.

  • If you get your flu or pneumonia vaccine at a network pharmacy, AlaskaCare will cover 100% of the cost. Call OptumRx at (855) 409-6999 if you need help locating a network pharmacy.
  • If you get your flu or pneumonia vaccine at an out-of-network pharmacy, you will need to pay for the vaccine upfront and submit a claim to OptumRx to be reimbursed for the cost, up to the recognized charge.
  • The standard deductible and coinsurance will apply if you get your flu or pneumonia vaccine at your doctor’s office.
Permanent coverage for flu and pneumonia shots is part of the proposed
addition of preventive care coverage to the retiree health plan.

Do We Need to Get a Flu Vaccine Earlier This Year?

There is no change in the CDC’s recommendation on the timing of vaccination this flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated 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. Talk to your doctor to find out when the best time is for you to protect yourself against the flu.

Subscribe to the Monthly
Retiree Health Plan Newsletter

Want to keep up to date with the AlaskaCare Retiree health plan? Sign up to receive the monthly retiree newsletter. Retiree newsletters are sent electronically to Health Plan members and include information on health benefits, annual events, health plan reminders, and general news.

Join us today, you can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time by managing your preferences here.

2021 Fall Health Fairs Are Canceled 

AlaskaCare typically partners with the Pacific Health Coalition in the fall to hold health fairs for AlaskaCare members. The Pacific Health Coalition has announced that due to uncertainty around COVID-19 the health fairs will not be held in 2021.

Please Welcome the Following
Providers to the Aetna Network!

Aetna continues to expand the list of in-network providers. Please welcome the following providers added during the first half of 2021.


  • Aurora Pediatrics
  • Alaska Massage Company
  • Kindred Massage 
  • Morning Star Therapeutics
  • Belle Medical


  • Therapeutic Health & Home, LLC


  • Tanana Valley Urology 


  • Ketchikan Physical Therapy, LLC 


  • Last Frontier Eye Care 


  • Birds and Bees Midwifery 


  • Valley Dermatology Center

Using network providers can provide substantial benefits to members through the elimination of what's known as balance billing. The AlaskaCare plans limit payment of covered services to the recognized charge for the service provided. An out-of-network provider may bill you for more than the recognized charge, and require you to pay the difference (or the balance) between the recognized charge and the amount they actually charged. This is often referred to as balance billing and is solely the member’s responsibility to pay. Network providers have agreed to accept, as payment in full, the negotiated charge. Therefore, you are not subject to balance billing when you use a network provider.

Using network providers can also generate substantial savings to members by limiting charges to negotiated provider discounts. For assistance finding an in-network provider call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search online using the Aetna DocFind tool.

For more information about the benefits of network usage, please read our Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is easier than ever. Vaccines are available to both Alaskan residents and visitors.

Know Your Benefits: Free Aetna Nurse Advice Line

You can talk to a nurse when you have health questions. You can call the Aetna nurse line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even better, this service is provided at no cost to you. Simply call the nurse line number at (800) 556-1555.

The nurses can be a resource in considering options for care or helping you decide whether you or your dependent needs to visit your doctor, an urgent care facility, or the emergency room. The nurse can help you with:

  • Deciding whether to visit a doctor or urgent care center
  • Understanding your symptoms 
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Learning about treatment options and medical procedures

You can call the nurse line anytime to discuss any health concerns at (800) 556-1555.

Need Someone to Talk to?

We know that 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 event. 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 a 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:

Physical Address:

State Office Building
6th Floor
333 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, AK 99801 

Mailing Address:

State of Alaska
Division of Retirement and Benefits
P.O. Box 110203
Juneau, AK 99811-0203


Please Note: The DRB offices are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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