MAR News

MEDICAL INSURANCE NEWS

Annual Medicare Open Enrollment is held October 15th through December 7, 2021 for persons who decide to purchase individual Original Medicare or an Advantage Plan.  Marketing materials from a number of insurance companies such as Martin’s Point, United HealthCare, Humana, etc. are mailed to people who are age 65 and over.  You can ignore these mailers. As a public service retiree you have medical and drug insurance coverage under one of the following group plans – State-Aetna Medicare Advantage; Educators-Anthem Medicare PPO; Municipal-Anthem Retiree Group Companion Plan.

NOTE: If you chose not to have medical insurance for yourself and/or a dependent under a group plan, then during Medicare Open Enrollment you can make changes to your individual health coverage plan.

STATE RETIREES ONLY:  There will be benefit enhancements which will take effect on the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan beginning January 1, 2022.  You will receive further information from Aetna prior to January 1st.

National Tax Security Awareness Week   November 29- December 3, 2021

An article from the IRS regarding awareness of scams, identity theft, and ways to protect your information.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-risks-remain-during-pandemic-security-summit-focuses-special-week-on-taxpayer-tax-professional-protection-against-identity-theft

Important News About Your Employee Health Insurance Premium

According to Employee Health & Wellness there was a slight increase in certain plan premiums beginning in July 2021. These rate increases will be mitigated by a Premium Holiday for the months of September and October 2021 – resulting in a lower overall premium cost for the year. State of Maine Health Plan members will get a break (or “holiday”) from medical premiums for the months of September and October.

Deductions for premiums associated with any dental and vision plan coverage will continue normally. Anthem Health Plan deductions will resume in November.
For more details/information regarding the Premium Holiday, please review the FAQ (link below).
Do not hesitate to contact your Department’s HR team, or reach out to Employee Health & Wellness at info.benefits@maine.gov or (207)624-7380.

Updated COLA

On August 12, 2021, the MainePERS Board of Trustees adopted the 2021 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) using the Consumer Price Index – Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rate compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 30, 2021, as the basis for COLA for all pension plans to which it applies. Since the June 30, 2021 rate was 5.4%, all plans will receive the maximum COLA allowable by law.

Eligible State, Teacher, Judicial, and Legislative retirement plan retirees will receive the 3% COLA on their benefit up to $22,947.11 (which is the 2021 base), or a maximum increase of $57.37/month.  The 2021 COLA-base will increase by 3%, to $23,635.52.  The total amount that will be paid to the approximately 37,100 eligible benefit recipients in these plans during the next 12 months as a result of the 2021 COLA is expected to be approximately $18,300,000.

Eligible Participating Local District – Consolidated Plan (PLD) retirees will receive a 2.5% COLA on their current benefit.  The total amount that will be paid to the approximately 8,600 eligible benefit recipients in this plan during the next 12 months as a result of the 2021 COLA is expected to be approximately $3,900,000.

Eligible recipients will first see the COLA reflected in their September pension payment.

You can read more about eligibility requirements and how your plan implements this COLA on MainePERS website.

 

 

–SCAM ALERT–

With all of the issues concerning the COVID-19 vaccination signups, scammers are now trying to take advantage, targeting seniors.
 
The scammers are using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms and door-to-door visits to perpetuate scams. The warning said fraudsters are offering COVID-19 tests, HHS grants and Medicare prescription cards in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information.
 
Please read the article attached below concerning this scam, and please be careful! If you have any questions about the information, please feel free to contact me at MAR.
 
As always, NEVER give out your Social Security Number or Date of Birth!! Should you receive a call from a scammer ask for the person’s employee ID number and a follow-up contact number. In the case of callers asking for personal information as part of contact tracing, Shah recommended that skeptical individuals hang up and call the Maine CDC at 207-287-8016 and ask to speak to the contact tracing department.
 

BECOME A CONTACT TRACER

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently recruiting for a number of positions related to the spectrum of work that is “contact tracing”. Among the positions they are looking to fill are field epidemiologists, informatics epidemiologists, logistics coordinators, managers and supervisors. As we continue to expand the project, other positions may, and likely will, come up. Here is how MAR members can become involved:

  • Send a cover letter and resume to Ed Gott at Atlantic Staffing (ed.gott@atlantic-staffing.com) to be considered for specific positions for which we are recruiting;
  • If members are interested in volunteer work, they are invited to visit this website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/maine-helps to see the Governor’s message on how Mainers can help. If you scroll down the page, you will find a link to MaineResponds.org, the Maine Emergency Health Volunteer System webpage. If you register at this site as a person willing to provide services during a disaster or emergency situation, this will help the CDC collect some information and will also put you in a group to whom they can push notifications when they are looking for volunteers for specific tasks;
  • Keep an eye on the DHHS webpage (https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/) and the Maine CDC webpage (https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml ) for announcements regarding recruitment;
  • The Maine CDC will also be using platforms such as LinkedIn, Monster, Maine Craiglist and Maine Joblink (https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/ ) to advertise openings and opportunities.