AlaskaCare Retiree Health News | Monthly e-newsletter | January 2022

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AlaskaCare Retiree Health News

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Volume 44| January 2022

New Benefits—Preventive Care Benefit Overview

The AlaskaCare plan expanded preventive care coverage to the Retiree Defined Benefit health plan, effective January 1, 2022.

Join us throughout 2022 as we explore the preventive care benefits offered by your AlaskaCare retiree insurance plan. Each month from January through June, we will take a closer look at some of the preventive services now eligible for coverage by your AlaskaCare health plan.

January Preventive Care Benefit Overview
February Routine Physical Exams for Adults and Children
March Cancer Screenings
April Immunizations
May Maternity and Newborn Care
June Dental Preventive Cleanings & Hearing and Vision Screening

Preventive Care Benefit Overview

You don’t need to feel sick in order to see your doctor. In fact, the best time to go might be when you feel well. Perhaps you need a flu shot or a screening test. Or maybe you’re just looking for some health tips. That’s preventive care—and it can help you stay healthy or catch health issues early.

AlaskaCare covers preventive care for you and your eligible dependents. There are no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for covered preventive services when you see a network provider. Call your doctor to schedule your appointment and be on your way to good health.

What Preventive Services are Covered?

Preventive care and recommended screenings are important tools to keep you and your family healthy. AlaskaCare retiree members can now get many checkups, screenings, vaccines, prenatal care services, contraceptives, and more with no out-of-pocket costs. These include, but are not limited, to:

  • Routine Physical Exams
  • Well Woman Preventive Visits
  • Maternity and Newborn Care
  • Routine Cancer Screening: breast, lung, cervical, colorectal, prostate
  • Preventive Care Immunizations

Coverage for preventive services is based on recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and other governmental advisory groups and may include additional services as outlined in the AlaskaCare Third-Party Administrator’s clinical guidelines. These guidelines will change over time as they are updated to reflect the most current research and evidence.

How are Preventive Services Covered?

If you see a network provider for preventive services, your AlaskaCare plan will pay 100% of the cost and your deductible will not apply.

If you see an out-of-network provider, you will first have to meet the $150 deductible, and then the plan will pay 80% coinsurance (up to the recognized charge) for covered services. Your AlaskaCare out-of-pocket maximum will not apply to preventive care services received from out-of-network providers.

Many retiree plan members have other health coverage, such as Medicare, or additional coverage through their spouse. The AlaskaCare plan will continue to coordinate with other plans the way it does today when determining payment for covered services.

How Do I Find an In-Network Provider?

For assistance finding an in-network provider, call the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 or search online using the Aetna DocFind tool.

If you do not have access to an Aetna network provider in your area, you may contact Aetna to pre-certify the use of an out-of-network provider, and if approved, those services will be paid as though they were received in-network.

Preventive Versus Diagnostic. What’s the Difference? Many procedures, imaging, or services can be diagnostic in nature or preventive. For example, you are symptom-free and your doctor wants you to have a routine colonoscopy because of your age. If you have a colonoscopy, it’s considered preventive care and this costs you nothing extra. If you are having symptoms, your doctor may suggest a colonoscopy to help determine what is causing those symptoms—that’s diagnostic care.

When your doctor’s office submits a claim for your service, they indicate if the service is preventive or diagnostic. The amount you owe will depend on how the service is reported by your doctor.

Services are considered preventive care when you:

  • Do not have symptoms or any abnormal studies indicating an abnormality at the time the service is performed.

  • Receive a screening service within the age and gender guidelines recommended by the USPSTF.

  • Receive a diagnostic service with normal results, after which your physician recommends future preventive care screenings using the appropriate age and gender guidelines recommended by the USPSTF.

  • Receive a preventive service that results in a diagnostic service being done at the same time because it is an integral part of the preventive service.

Services are considered diagnostic care, and not preventive care, when:

  • Abnormal results on your previous preventive or diagnostic screening test that requires further diagnostic testing or services;

  • Abnormal test results found on your previous preventive or diagnostic service requires the same test be repeated sooner than the normal age and gender guideline as recommended by the USPSTF would require; or

  • Services are ordered due to your current symptom(s) that require further diagnosis. 

Have More Questions? Contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646 for information about whether or not a service is diagnostic or preventive or if you would like more information about your health plan benefits.

AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan Booklets

Plan Booklets are available for all members of the AlaskaCare health plans, they are designed to help you understand your plan and the benefits it provides. You’ll find a benefit summary and information about plan coverage, how benefits are paid, travel coverage, precertification, what expenses are covered, and more.

For your convenience, the Plan Booklets are available on the AlaskaCare website. You can view the booklets online or download them to your computer. 

Aetna Local Offices Reopening to the Public

Want to talk to an Aetna representative in person?

AlaskaCare members can make an appointment to visit the Aetna office in Juneau or Anchorage and talk directly with an Aetna representative. The Aetna local offices are reopening in January 2022 after being closed during 2021 due to COVID-19. They can assist you with questions about your benefits, and with services such as:

  • Paper claim submissions
  • Travel precertification
  • Appeals assistance
  • Eligibility issues
  • Help to understand your explanation of benefits
  • Coordination of benefits for multiple plans
  • And more…

To schedule an appointment, contact the Aetna Concierge at (855) 784-8646. Appointments will be available:

  • Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Juneau Office
Reopened January 3, 2022

One Sealaska Plaza, Suite 305
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Anchorage Office
Reopened January 19, 2022

2525 C Street, Suite 205
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Please note that local COVID-19 mandates may be in effect.

For updated COVID-19 information, visit:

AlaskaCare Dental-Vision-Audio Benefits

You may have heard about a lawsuit related to the AlaskaCare Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA) plan. In 2014, in an effort to protect you from rising premiums and to preserve the value of your benefits, the Division updated the dental portion of the DVA plan to align with best dental practices and reduce the cost of services through an expanded dental network. This sought to preserve the plan’s value while maintaining members’ access to care and averting premium increases.

In January 2016, a lawsuit was filed contesting the Division’s efforts. In April 2019, the Alaska Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. This decision resulted in two DVA plans being offered, the Standard DVA plan and the Legacy DVA plan. This decision was appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.

On January 21, 2022, the Alaska Supreme Court vacated the Superior Court’s judgment. The Division is evaluating the decision. There will be no immediate changes to the AlaskaCare Retiree Dental-Vision-Audio benefits.

The Division of Retirement and Benefits is dedicated to providing affordable, valuable, and sustainable dental benefits to retirees. The AlaskaCare retiree Dental, Vision, and Audio plan is fully funded by your monthly premium payments, and the Division works hard to maximize the benefits you receive while keeping premiums affordable.

What is the AlaskaCare retiree Dental Vision Audio (DVA) Plan?

Upon retirement, AlaskaCare retiree beneficiaries may choose to participate in a voluntary Dental, Vision, and Audio (DVA) plan to provide coverage for themselves and their eligible dependents. Unlike the medical and pharmacy plans, the DVA plan benefits are funded entirely by member-paid premiums.

Will my DVA coverage change as a result of the Supreme Court decision?

There will be no immediate changes to the AlaskaCare Retiree Dental-Vision-Audio benefits. The Division will provide any updates to retirees as they become available.

Coverage for At Home
Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

The federal government recently announced new guidelines for health plan coverage of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. Though the AlaskaCare Retiree plan is exempted from the new guidelines, the Division is temporarily providing coverage for test kits to the Retiree Plan to support members during the national public health emergency.*

Effective January 15, 2022, and through the national public health emergency as determined by the Plan Administrator, your AlaskaCare health plan will cover at-home over-the-counter FDA authorized COVID-19 tests, 8 per month per covered person, up to $12 per covered test.

You can purchase an FDA-authorized over-the-counter COVID-19 test kit at stores or online retailers. Keep your purchase receipt(s) to submit to OptumRx for reimbursement. You will be reimbursed for up to 8 tests per covered member, per month without a prescription. AlaskaCare will reimburse you up to $12 per covered test. You can submit an online claim form here. For questions about claim form submission contact OptumRx at (855) 409-6999.

Testing may also be available through non-network pharmacies, at community testing sites, at your school or your health care provider, and at private testing sites.

Remember Medicare pays for COVID-19 tests performed by a lab, such as PCR or antigen/rapid tests, at no cost to you when the test is ordered by an authorized health care professional but is not currently covering over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.

*The preceding temporary administrative changes are prospective in nature and shall remain in effect until earlier of the date of: 1) the termination of the suspensions contained in the applicable COVID-19 Disaster Order of Suspension; 2) the termination of the Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy; or 3) the national public health emergency is terminated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; including any extensions or amendments thereof. The temporary administrative changes listed above are in response to a State of Alaska and federally recognized health emergency and do not provide a vested right to coverage for any individual. The Division of Retirement and Benefits retains the sole discretion to rescind or modify these temporary administrative changes depending on the circumstances.

COVID-19 Prevention

Below you will find the best ways to protect yourself and the people around you from getting and spreading COVID-19. A layered approach—using multiple prevention methods—provides the strongest protection.

  • Get Vaccinated and Boosted
    COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus and provide strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. If you've already received your initial COVID-19 vaccine series, it may be time to get a booster shot or an additional dose for stronger, longer-lasting protection.

    Learn more about getting vaccinated at

  • Wear a Mask
    Wear a mask when indoors in public, especially if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. When cases are high in your community, this is an important protective measure even if you are vaccinated. You can check the alert level in your community on the COVID-19 cases dashboard.

    In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings, but you might consider wearing a mask during crowded outdoor activities when you're in close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

  • Use Caution When Gathering with Others
    Being around others is important to our health and well-being, but keep in mind that the risk of virus transmission is higher in places like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters.

    Protect yourself when cases are high by minimizing time indoors around others, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation. Spend time with others outdoors when you can. Wearing a mask when indoors around others can help protect you and those around you. Consider getting tested before or after an event, like a concert or a large family celebration, especially if it includes older adults or those with significant underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk for serious illness.

    Physical distancing—staying six feet from others—can also be an important tool. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Wash Your Hands
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Cover Coughs and Sneezes
    If you are wearing a mask, cough or sneeze into your mask. Put on a new, clean mask as soon as possible and wash your hands.

    If you are not wearing a mask, always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands.

  • Clean and Disinfect
    Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily, especially if someone in your household is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

  • Monitor your Health Daily
    Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, take your temperature and follow CDC guidance. Stay home if you are sick to prevent spreading illness to others.

  • Focus On Your Overall Health and Wellness
    Taking care of your mental and physical health can help protect you from severe illness due to COVID-19 and other diseases too. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and stay connected to friends and family.

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