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

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 40| September 2021

—New for 2022—
Coverage Added for Preventive Care!

Your AlaskaCare health benefits are getting even better! Beginning January 1, 2022, your plan will cover preventive care services. One of the main pieces of feedback we receive from retirees is that you would like to see the plan cover preventive services. We heard you and worked with the Retiree Health Plan Advisory Board (RHPAB) to evaluate adding modern updates to the plan, including coverage for preventive services and prior authorizations for specialty medications.

On September 9, 2021, the RHPAB voted to recommend the addition of Preventive Care Coverage and Specialty Medication Prior Authorization to the retiree Defined Benefit health plan. The recommendation was approved by the plan administrator, the Commissioner of the Department of Administration, and will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Preventive Care: Preventive care and recommended screenings are important tools to keep you and your family healthy. The expanded preventive care coverage includes, but is not limited to vaccinations, wellness visits, colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms, pap smears, prostate cancer screenings, and lung cancer screenings. After January 1, 2022, when you visit an in-network provider for preventive services, your AlaskaCare plan will pay 100% coinsurance and your deductible will not apply.

Specialty Medication Prior Authorization: Prior authorization for specialty drugs is a pharmacy management process that reviews certain medications against clinical, evidence-based standards including those established by the FDA to promote safe and effective use of those medications. Only about 1% of covered prescriptions are specialty medications. You can review the OptumRx Specialty Pharmacy Drug List to see if any of your current medications are specialty drugs that may require a prior authorization starting January 1, 2022. If your drug appears on this list you will receive a notification letter at the beginning of November, 60 days in advance of January 1, advising the medication requires prior authorization review.

Have More Questions?
Review the proposals and Frequently Asked Questions on the AlaskaCare website. We want to thank the retiree plan members for participating in the process by sending in public comments, joining us for a town hall event, and attending the RHPAB meetings. Your input is valued and important.

Stay tuned, there will be more information about the benefit expansion in future newsletters.

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.

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading at that time. Relaxed COVID-19 mitigation measures (such as stay-at-home orders, or mask mandates) may result in an increase in flu activity during the upcoming 2021–2022 flu season. Take action today to protect yourself and your family!

Does the AlaskaCare Retiree Plan Cover Flu Shots?

Yes, through December 31, 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.

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

Permanent coverage for flu and pneumonia shots is part of the addition of preventive care coverage to the retiree health plan and will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

When is the best time to get my influenza vaccine?

September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October.

For more information on Influenza, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage.

Dental-Vision-Audio Open Enrollment
Begins October 13, 2021

Open Enrollment for the AlaskaCare Retiree Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA) Plans opens on October 13 and runs through November 24, 2021.

This is your annual 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, 2022. This does not apply to or impact your medical benefits.

If you do not participate in DVA 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 13, 2021, and ending November 24, 2021.

The plan options and monthly premiums are the same as they were last year. You can review the 2022 Benefit Comparison Guide and 2022 Enrollment Guide containing monthly premium information and coverage comparisons online:

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 Service Center. You can reach us toll-free at (800) 821-2251 or in Juneau at (907) 465-4460 or at


We hope you were able to join us for the September Town Hall Event with special guest hosts Anne Zink, MD, and Joe McLaughlin, MD. Retiree plan members asked some great questions! If you missed the event or want to listen again, you can find the audio file on the Division's webpage.

For questions regarding COVID testing or vaccines, you can contact the State’s COVID Helpline at (907) 646-3322

Future AlaskaCare Town Hall Events

town hall

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.

Please join us for a Town Hall event on:

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.

We Value Your Feedback!


Below, please see a list of ways to contact us with your feedback. Also, a full list of AlaskaCare health plans 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


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