The move by Illinois to change the Teachers Retirement Insurance Plan (TRIP) to the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois Plan (TRAIL or is it TRAILP?) is going badly by any measure.
Over the past several weeks I have tried to keep readers up to date with all the information I could gather.
What I haven’t done is posted hearsay horror stories that I couldn’t confirm. The stories that go, “My brother’s sister’s cousin tried to find a doctor who took Medicare Advantage in New Jersey…”
What wasn’t needed, it seemed to me, was more confusion than had already been created by the decision of Illinois and Central Management Services to roll this massive program out faster than a left turn signal at Damen and Fullerton.
The information seminar schedule has been released. Some of the meetings aren’t scheduled until days before retirees must decide what to do.
I have posted the places and times of as many of the seminars as I know about.
Our own retired chapter of IEA – Retired has scheduled our own information meeting with TRIP Director of Outreach Rich Frankenfeld for November 13th.
However, I have been deluged with stories from readers about their difficulties in getting answers from the phone number that Central Management Services provided.
There continues to be unanswered and answered questions about loss of coverage.
We are talking about retirees here. Many who are elderly and are frightened by the change.
The advice I give is don’t act in a rash way.
If you have been on TRIP and you don’t sign up for TRAIL, you will not be able to go back on at a later time.
Go to the meetings. Bring friends. Ask lots of questions.
A concern that keeps getting asked of me is what about retirees in nursing homes, out-of-state or without internet access?
I don’t have the answer and I haven’t heard anything from CMS.
Skeptics wonder if this isn’t all being done with the end game of the state getting out of the health insurance business.
I wonder too.