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Illinois retired teachers are in the dark about their health coverage.

September 9, 2013

Man_in_the_dark_by_Zoroo

TRIP is the Teacher Retirement Insurance Program. For those on Medicare, it can function as the supplemental insurance.

For those teacher retirees not old enough or who do not qualify for Medicare (Yes. Many Illinois teachers do not qualify for Medicare) it is their sole health insurance.

This may come as a surprise to some: Retirement health care does not come free to teachers. We pay most of the premium. Active teachers also pay into TRIP. The state and the home school district pay little into TRIP. Unlike our pension, it is not constitutionally protected since for some strange reason it is not considered a benefit.

Central Management Services (known as CMS) manages health care for teacher retirees.

Word has come from the Teacher Retirement System, IEA, IFT and the Illinois Retired Teachers Association that those covered by TRIP and Medicare will have to make some health coverage choices very soon.

This morning Janet Kilgus, Retired Chair of IEA, sent out this email.

You may want to have your members forward this to their legislators.  We are finding that many legislators do not know that those of us 65 and older who are on Medicare and who use TRIP insurance for our secondary insurance (as well as others on state insurance plans) are going to be forced to make choices we fear we will not happy about but also which we are currently “in the dark” about.

Janet Kilgus

IEA-Retired Chair

===============================================

The following was recently posted on the CMS web site. 

 

Please keep in mind that this is the first step in the process of having a different carrier/plan for those age 65 or older who are also eligible for Medicare.  This same carrier/plan will also be used for the state employee/retiree health plan.

 

The next step will be for CMS to review the bids and choose carriers.  CMS has promised that TRS stakeholders (IRTA, IEA, IFT, Administrators, School Board Association, etc.) will be informed of any changes prior to a new type of plan for retirees and the specific procedures for implementing this change.

 

Please do NOT call TRS requesting additional information because we don’t have any at this time.  As soon as we receive additional information, we will forward it to you.

 

CMS Web Site:  http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/Teachers/Pages/default.aspx

 

State-sponsored Medicare Plan

 

The State of Illinois requested bids for a State-sponsored Medicare plan on June 21, 2013. It is the goal of the State of Illinois, Department of Central Management Services to have a contract in place by October 1, 2013, which will allow an enrollment period to make elections which will be effective January 1, 2014. One or more of the following options will be available choices for coverage for anyone who has Medicare as their primary coverage:

 

  • Medicare Advantage PlanMedicare Supplement
    • HMO
    • Nationwide PPO

 

Once the contracts are in place, DCMS will schedule informational/educational seminars regarding the new health plan options for those retirees who will be affected. The locations and times of the seminars will be posted on this website once they are scheduled.

 

More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available. Please check back often.

 

Note: At this time, members who have one or more dependents on their coverage who do not have Medicare as their primary coverage will not be required to change to one of the new Medicare plan options.

 

Rich Frankenfeld

TRS Director of Outreach

Retired teachers who depend on TRIP and Medicare are absolutely in the dark about the coming changes to our health coverage. When CMS releases the options, retirees will have a very short amount of time to investigate their options, talk to their families and make a choice.

It is frightening to many.

The committee which is supposed to maintain oversight of CMS, made up of the stakeholders such as IEA, IFT and IRTA, has met only one time in the past six years. That one meeting was several weeks ago.

The situation is a mess.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2013 9:54 am

    Dollars to doughnuts if the state is throwing the 65+ retirees into health exchanges, can those of us under 65 be far behind? It’s just a matter of time that the state cries poor and puts us all into insurance exchanges under Obamacare like Rahm is doing with his retirees. If there’s anyway the state legislators can raid the TRIP fund, they will while they throw us under the [school] bus!

    • Louis Weigand permalink
      September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

      DAMM them their word to look after teachers in retirement is not worth ass wipe

  2. Janet C. Wahl permalink
    September 11, 2013 11:05 am

    I as a teacher do not have federal medicare (not enough quarters). I am covered under my spouse with quarterly payments. Will state medicare allow for spouses to be covered?

    • October 20, 2013 5:01 am

      It’s an outrage to see that the state of Illinois treats its retired teachers like pieces of dung!
      They can’t touch our pensions so they cut our COLA and health insurance!

  3. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2013 6:48 pm

    My husband and I both recieved letters from cms today. We both have masters degrees yet still cannot agree on what the letter really means to our future. I am afraid because I am on so many prescriptions.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 25, 2013 7:45 pm

    Yes, I’m confused by this letter also. I read it as now I will have to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan by Dec 13. I read into it that I then have to find a Medigap/supplemental plan and I will loose TRIP since it will become wrapped up in the MedicareAdvantage. This is outrageous to this retired 70+ teacher

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      October 25, 2013 8:05 pm

      Be sure to attend the meetings that will be scheduled. Bring all your questions and concerns. Go with others.

      • Imogene Willman permalink
        October 29, 2013 4:26 pm

        When are these meetings.. Couldn’t find them on the web site they gave us?

      • Fred Klonsky permalink*
        October 29, 2013 5:00 pm

        As soon as they are announced, I will post what I know.

    • Imogene Willman permalink
      October 29, 2013 4:25 pm

      Do you have to get a letter stating date of the end of your current insurance in order to get a medigap policy????

  5. Anonymous permalink
    October 27, 2013 3:06 pm

    Who can one call and get correct info on teacher insurance– retired teacher on Medicare who used to have PPO with Cigna and now finds she can only used Medicare approved drs and facilities. I have had to change my physical therapy place and other changes –in the middle of therapy and have been hit with two co-pays. Jamlady10@aol.com. I used to have PPO as I live in FL. Now it appears to be HMO with limited doctors and facilities.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      October 27, 2013 3:13 pm

      http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/Pages/default.aspx

  6. Imogene Willman permalink
    October 29, 2013 12:48 pm

    Trying to get letter stating when my coverage ends and changes take effect. Need letter to get Medgap? Can anyone help me. Called CIGNA, Called TRS, Called State of Illinois to receive nothing, nothing but “Crap”

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      October 29, 2013 5:02 pm

      When the meeting dates are announced, you need to attend one.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    October 29, 2013 3:49 pm

    The basic question: Is MedicareAdvantage replacing TRIP only?
    Secondly, Do we still have Medicare and the Advantage picks up the other 20% All very confusing with different answers depending on who you talk with.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      October 29, 2013 5:01 pm

      You need to go to the CMS website and watch for the dates for explanation meetings.

  8. Patsy Birkner permalink
    October 30, 2013 10:37 pm

    What can we expect from politicians? They have all the power. Corporations & politicians are in the same greedy boat. Take what little the rest of us have & use for their own “pet peeves, salaries, benefits, etc.” Do they ever cut their own salaries, benefits? Goodness, NO!! They’ve been after our pensions forever. [Teach 40 years for a full pension: and that amount is rather small.] Oh, yes, I was told when I first began my teaching career that the state of IL loved their teachers: salaries are regrettably small, but we’d be taken care of at pension time. NOT!! We loved your children & taught them well. We were their teacher, parent, nurse, whatever was needed, & the children knew it. Politicians just didn’t ‘get it’. But they weren’t looking at our jobs: what we did every day. Their eyes were on the pensions & any monies that they could garner for themselves & however else they could use that money: more salary & expense monies for themselves: trips, expensive suites & airplane fare, plus buffets for big meetings, preferably out of the country in a nice, warm environment: vacation.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    November 1, 2013 7:20 pm

    Through the phone calls I’ve made to the local hospitals, I’ve learned they will NOT be participating in the network of any of the three advantage plans being offered. I am in the Bloomington-Normal, Peoria area. I have talked to the people in charge at both Advocate Medical Centers and OSF hospitals and offices. Where will our providers be in central Illinois?????

  10. Anonymous permalink
    November 15, 2013 8:20 pm

    The “THIS” Fund ( teachers’ Health Insurance Security Trust fund has been “raided” by legislators for years ! J ust google the fund name on ILGA website . The TRS and union reps . have allowed it to happen and now health insurance deals have been made again . See PA 97-695 more to come. Why aren ‘t retirees asking the right questions of leadership?

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