September 1, 2010
External Affairs Branch
Patricia K. Macht, Director
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Bill Madison, Information Officer
CalPERS Kicks Off Health Benefits Open Enrollment
Enrollment Period Begins September 13; Ends October 8
SACRAMENTO, CA – Members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) may now extend their health coverage to their adult children up to age 26 during the Health Program Open Enrollment period from September 13 through October 8, 2010. That is one of three key changes immediately affecting CalPERS members under new federal Health Care Reform (HCR) provisions. CalPERS will also participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) under HCR, and remove lifetime limits. During Open Enrollment members may enroll in or change health plans. Members may also add eligible family members not currently enrolled in CalPERS plans during the Open Enrollment period.
HCR extended the coverage of adult children from age 23 to age 26. CalPERS health plan participants adult children lost, or will lose, coverage by reaching age 23 by November 30, or due to marriage. Those members must take action during Open Enrollment to resume coverage for those dependents up to age 26 and coverage will resume effective January 1, 2011. Dependents dropped from coverage will not be automatically added back to the health plan. Coverage for any dependent turning age 23 December 1, or after, will automatically be continued.
California and other states will also benefit from the Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP) which provides temporary reimbursement to employment-based plans for the cost of health benefits for early retirees, their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents. Early retirees are classified as people, age 55 and older, who are neither active employees nor eligible for Medicare. The CalPERS Board of Administration approved using the anticipated Early Retiree Reinsurance monies to offset the cost of 2011 health care premiums.
CalPERS will also remove lifetime limits from the PERS Select and PERS Choice plans, as well as the California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) health plan. More information on all the changes affecting members under the HCR is available on the CalPERS website at www.calpers.ca.gov under "National Health Care Reform" in the members "Quick Link" section.
CalPERS offers a variety of HMO and PPO health plan options, including: Blue Shield NetValue, Blue Shield Access+, Kaiser Permanente, PERS Select, PERS Choice, PERSCare, California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) Medical Plan, CAHP Health Plan, and Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) Police and Fire Health Plan.
Member health plan premiums will increase by an average of 9.1 percent next year. The increase primarily reflects higher costs charged by hospitals, medical providers, and suppliers of prescription drugs, not from members using more services or as a result of HCR.
Active employees who want to change their plans or add eligible family members during Open Enrollment should contact their employer's Health Benefits Officer or personnel office. Retirees who have Internet access can change their health plan online through my|CalPERS during Open Enrollment. my|CalPERS is a secure, online site that allows members to maintain personal account profile information, access current health summary information, retrieve statements, manage financial and retirement planning activities, and much more. Retirees can access my|CalPERS at http://my.calpers.ca.gov.
Retirees can also make a change to their health plan by calling CalPERS toll-free at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377) to speak with a customer service representative or use the Interactive Voice Response System.
Members who need help selecting a health plan can use an online tool called the Health Plan Chooser, which will enable them to easily determine which plan best fits their needs. The Health Plan Chooser is available in the Open Enrollment Center, a one-stop shop for Health Open Enrollment, located on the CalPERS home page at www.calpers.ca.gov. The Open Enrollment Center also offers "Quick Links" to health program publications (Health Program Guide, 2011 Health Benefit Summary, and CalPERS Medicare Enrollment Guide). Members' open enrollment changes will take effect January 1, 2011.
The CalPERS Health Program began in 1962, when it was opened to State employees. In 1967, public agencies were allowed to contract with CalPERS to provide health benefits for their active and retired employees.
Today, CalPERS is the nation's third largest public purchaser of health benefits after the federal government and General Motors, providing health benefits to more than 1.3 million State and public agency employees, retirees and their dependents. For more information, please visit www.calpers.ca.gov.