How We're Addressing Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The CalPERS team recognizes that the global pandemic resulting from the coronavirus is creating uncertainty and concern among our members. We want to reassure you that your benefits are safe, and we are fully operational. Despite the circumstances, CalPERS is here for you.
Although our Sacramento headquarters and regional offices are closed to protect the public and our team members, there are many ways that you can still reach us:
- We know you may have questions about your retirement and health benefits during this time of uncertainty. To get you timely answers and avoid having to wait on the phone, we've compiled answers to frequently asked questions we're getting from our active and retired members.
- The CalPERS Contact Center remains open and our benefit team members are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).
- You can also use your myCalPERS account to make important updates online like making changes to tax withholdings or direct deposit, or you can submit secure member inquiries.
- Our website also includes resources and publications to help answer any of your questions.
CalPERS support teams will continue to process documents sent by U.S. Mail and route them to team members to process and respond.
We know this is a difficult time for you and your families, so please be safe and know that you can count on CalPERS to be there when you need us.
- We've closed the CalPERS Regional Offices to in-person appointments. This action will be in effect until further notice. We are implementing this step out of an abundance of caution to protect the health of our members and our Regional Office employees.
We will be contacting members who already have appointments scheduled to conduct them over the phone. We'll call you within 15 minutes of your scheduled time so that we can still answer your questions. If you want to schedule a telephone appointment in the future, call us during business hours at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377).
- We've postponed in-person training and educational classes for employers and members until further notice. We may move meetings where possible to online, conference calls, and video conferencing.
- We've postponed upcoming CalPERS Benefits Education Events (CBEE). View the up-to-date CBEE calendar.
CalPERS Health Plans
- CalPERS has engaged our health plans to ensure members have access to the care they need during this time. We've had regular calls with our health plan leaders to ensure that our health plans are well prepared to provide excellent service to all of our members.
- We've asked our health plans to provide information regarding COVID-19 testing and treatment on their websites. We encourage you to visit your plan's website for the latest information and protocols. All of our plans have complied with this request.
- We have ensured that CalPERS members will not have to pay anything out of pocket for screening and testing of COVID-19. This applies to members in both our Health Maintenance Organization and Preferred Provider Organization plans.
- We've been coordinating with our Pharmacy Benefit Manager, OptumRX, so members have access to medications they need. While we do not anticipate any interruptions to prescription medications, we're working closely with our pharmacy partners to ensure you receive your medications as soon as possible. It's a good idea to fill your prescriptions through your plan's mail-order service, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. There's no additional cost for delivery and most orders arrive in 2 to 4 business days. For more information, contact your health plan.
- Because of the medical and societal disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are postponing the two pharmaceutical initiatives we had planned to launch in July. Reference Based Pricing and Biosimilars were scheduled to begin on July 1. We now plan to launch them on January 1, 2021. The success of these two programs is based on effective communication with health care providers, pharmacists, and members. During this time of uncertainty, health care providers are focused on providing the safest care possible to their patients, and members are focused on keeping themselves and their families safe. We anticipate being able to successfully implement these two important pharmaceutical programs beginning in January.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and believe you may have been exposed, you should call your health care provider or local health department before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will help you get the care you need without putting yourself or others at risk.
- Members who are in need of non-urgent medical care should consider using a remote option like phone or video appointments. Telehealth appointments can be an effective way to get the care they need while practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. All CalPERS health plans offer various forms of either phone or video appointments. Plan website and contact information can be found on our Plans & Rates page.
Governor Newsom has issued a statewide stay-at-home order for California residents. The order allows people to leave home for essential activities and to deliver essential services like paying retirement benefits as we do at CalPERS.
We remain in constant communication with state health officials and are following the California Department of Public Health's guidance as it relates to operations and the safety of our members, stakeholders, and employees. We are also in regular contact with CalPERS health plans to ensure that our members are getting the care they need.
You can access our website, myCalPERS, or call our Contact Center at 888 CalPERS (or 888-225-7377) to conduct business with us and get questions answered about your retirement and health benefits.
As a reminder, these everyday actions can help prevent the spread of illness including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Cover your cough and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay away from work if you become sick
We appreciate your cooperation and patience during this emerging and evolving situation, and we will keep you posted on further CalPERS developments.
Consult these additional resources for up-to-date information:
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization