September 10, 2015

External Affairs
(916) 795-3991
Brad Pacheco, Interim Deputy Executive Officer, External Affairs
Contact: Bill Madison, Information Officer
newsroom@calpers.ca.gov

New Medicare plan in the offerings

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) annual health Open Enrollment for the 2016 calendar year is September 14 - October 9, 2015.

Following the theme, "Know your choices," the retirement system is again providing members with information on its six Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and three self-funded Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health plans. Members may enroll in the CalPERS health program, add eligible family members, or make changes to their existing health plans during Open Enrollment.

The coverage becomes effective January 1, 2016.

A new benefit in CalPERS health coverage offerings in 2016 is a single-plan option for Medicare coverage provided by UnitedHealthcare (UHC). In June, the CalPERS Board of Administration adopted the plan to provide CalPERS members with more extensive coverage and reduce costs. The UHC Group Medicare Advantage PPO plan replaces HMO Medicare health plans previously provided by Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, and Sharp Health. The Kaiser HMO and CalPERS PPO Medicare plans will not be affected. The move fits with CalPERS’ goal of providing sustainable, high quality, accessible, and affordable health benefits for its members.

"The UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan will provide our Medicare enrollees with pricing like an HMO and the expansive network of a PPO," said Doug McKeever, CalPERS Deputy Executive Officer for Benefit Programs Policy and Planning. "Members in the UHC plan will have a $10 co-payment for any office visit, and they will be able to visit any doctor or medical facility in California's 58 counties or in the U.S. that accepts Medicare."

CalPERS' Basic (non-Medicare) health plan options include six HMO plans through Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Sharp Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare. The System's three PPO plans, offered through third-party administrator Anthem Blue Cross, are PERS Select, PERS Choice, and PERSCare.

In August, members already enrolled in health plans received information packets describing details of their current coverage. They can use the convenient option of accessing additional CalPERS Open Enrollment information by using the Quick Response (QR) code enclosed within their packets. Scanning the QR code with a smartphone will allow them to connect directly to Open Enrollment materials on the CalPERS website. It contains several resources for members - including health program publications, premium information, and areas of coverage - to aid their decisions on which plans are best suited for them and their families.

CalPERS also offers an online tool called the Health Plan Chooser for members who need additional help selecting a health plan. They can connect with all Open Enrollment information - including contact telephone numbers for all CalPERS health plans - in the member Health Benefits section.

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.7 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $288 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.

###