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

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 42| November 2021

Annual DVA Open Enrollment—It’s Happening Now!

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

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, 2022.

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 13, 2021, and ending November 24, 2021, at 5 p.m. Alaska Time.

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:

You can make changes to your benefit elections online at during the Open Enrollment period, beginning October 13, 2021, and ending November 24, 2021.

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

Ready to Enroll?

Find the Online Enrollment Form and Instructions at If you are not a current Retiree DVA plan member, you are not eligible to participate in Open Enrollment.

Need Assistance to Enroll?

If you need assistance to complete your enrollment, or if you need a paper enrollment form 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

Annual IRMAA Letters

Each November, Medicare-eligible individuals receive a letter from Social Security that outlines their Medicare premiums. 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. For all Medicare plans, the IRMAA will be deducted directly from your monthly Social Security check (if you qualify for Social Security) or will otherwise be invoiced to you directly each month. If you are charged a Medicare Part D IRMAA for your prescription drug coverage, the Division of Retirement and Benefits will reimburse you for the full cost of the Medicare Part D premium surcharge each month, through a tax-advantaged Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account. If you receive a bill from Medicare, you should pay the bill timely, and contact the Division to learn about your reimbursement options. 

New in 2022!

Your health benefits are getting even better—AlaskaCare is adding coverage for preventive care services, effective January 1, 2022.

Preventive care and recommended screenings are important tools to keep you and your family healthy. Learn more about this upcoming benefit expansion at

Get the Facts: Prior Authorization for Specialty Drugs

In addition to adding coverage for preventive care services on January 1, 2022, the plan will also add prior authorizations for certain specialty medications. We know you may have some questions about the prior authorization process, and we want you to get the facts straight from us.

What is prior authorization? Prior authorization is a pre-approval process that checks to make sure drugs are being used safely and effectively. Before you fill your specialty medication, the prior authorization process will verify your drug is medically necessary, appropriately prescribed, and meets clinical, evidence-based standards including those established by the FDA to promote safe and effective use of those medications.

What are specialty medications? Specialty Medications are prescribed to treat chronic, complex, or rare conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and hepatitis C, and can have severe side effects if taken incorrectly. Only about 1% of prescriptions filled under the plan are specialty medications.

How do I know if I’m taking a specialty medication? 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. Please note this list may change over time and may be updated prior to January 1, 2022.

If I’m taking specialty medication that requires prior authorization, what should I do next? If your specialty drug requires prior authorization, you will receive a notification letter advising the medication requires prior authorization review. Prior authorization is common in health plans and physicians are already familiar with the process. Providers may submit prior authorization requests electronically, over the phone, or by mail.

Can I request prior authorization for my prescription before January 1, 2022? While it is not necessary to obtain prior authorization for your specialty medication prescription before January 1, 2022, you may call OptumRx at (855) 409-6999 and the customer service agents can help you to submit all of the required pieces of information ahead of time. If you do so, OptumRx will initiate your specialty medication prior authorization on your behalf after January 1, 2022.

Have more questions? We’re here to help.

Is Your Address a P.O. Box?

Make sure you’ve provided the required information to remain eligible for EGWP prescription drug coverage.

Effective January 1, 2019, AlaskaCare implemented an enhanced Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) to provide prescription drug coverage for all Medicare-eligible members covered under the AlaskaCare retiree health plan. Members who have provided a P.O. Box for their address must also provide a physical address in order to maintain EGWP eligibility. No mail will be sent to this address, it will only be used to verify that you live inside the Medicare service area.

If you have only provided a P.O. Box as your address, please contact OptumRx Member Services at (855) 235-1405 or the Division's Member Service Center at (907) 465-4460 to provide your physical address.

If you do not have a typical residential (street) address, please call the Division and we can work with you to record an address that will satisfy the CMS requirement.

Tired of Receiving a Mountain of Paperwork Every Fall?

We heard you! Each calendar year, Medicare requires OptumRx provide AlaskaCare enhanced Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) members with an Evidence of Coverage booklet. It tells you how to use your Medicare prescription drug coverage through our plan, explains your rights and responsibilities, what is covered, and what you pay as a member of the plan. This year, instead of automatically mailing a copy to all members, Medicare is allowing OptumRx to provide the document electronically through the online OptumRx member portal. You can still receive a paper copy of the Evidence of Coverage booklet upon request.

There are two ways to get an updated Evidence of Coverage booklet for your plan:

  • Visit and download a copy of the Evidence of Coverage from the “Programs & Forms” page (found under the “Information Center” tab).
  • Call OptumRx at the number listed on your member ID card to request to have a copy mailed to you.

Members can still expect to receive in the mail, the 2022 Annual Notice of Changes along with the instructions on how to request further information.

COVID-19 Booster Doses

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is easier than ever. Vaccines are available to both Alaskan residents and visitors. People 18+ may receive either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, while 5-17 year-olds may receive only the Pfizer vaccine.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type they originally received while others may prefer to get a different booster. Booster doses are available for Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines with mixed dosing allowed.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at most pharmacies and provider offices in Alaska. Visit to find convenient appointments or walk-in vaccine clinics near you, or browse the events calendar for special vaccine events.

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:

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


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