Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amid all the Medicare Advantage confusion, have we forgotten there are approximately 600 TRS retirees paying more for health insurance than anyone else?



Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability
703 Stratton Office Bldg.
Springfield, IL 62706

October 18, 2013

Mr. Dan Long and members of CoGFA:

Having noticed the agenda of the CoGFA hearing scheduled for October 23, 2013 relates to retirees' Health Insurance, I wish to once again relate some major concerns.

Many "downstate" teachers who retired in 2004 were required to notify TRS a year or two in advance that they were retiring in 2004. One month after we retired, there was a TRS buy into Medicare Plan, which began on July 1, 2004. We were not able to take advantage of that opportunity. That information was not given to us in 2002-2003 either. Without Medicare, we do not qualify for secondary health insurance.

According to a recent FOIA request from the Comptroller's Office, there are 605 of us who do not have the needed 40 quarters for Social Security/Medicare and who made a choice to continue to reside IN Illinois since 2004; as a result, we have been charged more than $59,900 for single coverage health insurance premiums with the State self-insured CIGNA plan.

At the same time those retirees, age 65+ enrolled in the very same CIGNA Health Insurance Plan but made a choice to move OUT of the State of Illinois, have been charged 1/2 the cost for their premiums $29,000+.

According to the recent CMS notification, retirees age 65+ and without Medicare who make the choice to reside IN Illinois (2013 – 2014) pay a monthly premium of $719.96 for their CIGNA health insurance.

At the same time, retirees age 65+ and without Medicare who make the choice to live OUT of Illinois, are charged $359.99 a month for the very same health insurance coverage using the CIGNA network of Doctors, etc.

Some of us reside IN the school districts where we retired and have been charged disproportionate (double) premiums due to making a choice to reside IN an Illinois School District.

As you address issues relating to retired teachers' health insurance plans, I respectfully request you take into consideration these facts. May I also bring to your attention the many audits related to the TRS TCHP Health Insurance Plan and the lack of a written methodology for setting premiums, as stated by the Office of the Auditor General? I have also submitted written (pdf.) documents related to this issue. Thank you.

Sincerely ,
Jeri Shanahan

Why are approximately 600 TRS retirees paying more for health insurance than anyone else?  Click Here. 



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