• Triton College Annuitants Association

    Health Issues & Insurance

    TRAIL Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment 

    The Open Enrollment period for the 2018 plan year will be October 16 - November 16, 2017.  Informational seminars will be held statewide to give eligible retirees and survivors an opportunity to learn about the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program.  Topics will include eligibility criteria and an explanation of the benefits provided through the Program. The seminars will continue through Oct. 19, 2017.  Representatives from the Department of Central Management Services (CMS), the Medicare Advantage plans, and Silver Sneakers will be present to answer your questions.

    Eligibility Criteria  

    In order to be eligible for the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program, retirees and survivors of the State, CIP and TRIP group insurance programs must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. In addition, any covered dependent must also be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B in order to be eligible for TRAIL coverage. If either the member or any dependent on the member’s insurance through the State is not enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, then all are ineligible for TRAIL Medicare Advantage plans. Members and dependents of non-Medicare households must seek benefits under the non-Medicare programs offered by the State.

    If you are over 65 and on Medicare, newly eligible members will be required to enroll online during the 2018 TRAIL Open Enrollment period, which runs Oct. 16 - Nov. 16, 2017. If you are currently enrolled in TRAIL, and would like to make a change, you must do so online to change your elections, The web site is: www.MyBenefits.Illinois.gov

    If you are currently enrolled in TRAIL, and want to continue with no changes, you don't have to do anything.

    Rates  

     

    The 2018 premiums for the TRAIL Medicare Advantage plans are indicated below:

    CIP Medicare Advantage Plan Monthly Rates for 2018
    Effective Jan. 1, 2018

       HMO Plans          
     UnitedHealthcare PPO
     Member Rates
    $54.41 $71.47
     Dependent Rates
     $217.65  $285.88

    The State of Illinois offers annuitants and survivors under the College Insurance Program (CIP) a healthcare program called Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL). This program provides eligible members and their covered dependents comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage through Medicare Advantage plans (commonly referred to as “MAPD” plans). The CIP program also includes vision coverage through EyeMed, and dental coverage through Delta Dental.

    All Illinois counties have an HMO and PPO option. Annuitants and survivors residing outside Illinois may elect the PPO option available nationwide. If you are over sixty-five and have Medicare and choose the Medicare Advantage program the State of Illinois is offering, please remember that you no longer will use the Federal government's Medicare card, but instead use the one from the Medicare Advantage program being offered by the State. You will still pay the Medicare premium each month to the federal government. 

     

    Medicare Open enrollment dates: 

    Oct. 15 - Dec. 7, 2016. Annual election period. If eligible, you may enroll in Medicare health benefits, advantage programs, or Medigap plan with Prescription Drug coverage, or you can enroll in a stand-alone drug plan.

    Jan. 1 - Feb. 14, 2017. Annual disenrollment period. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can return to original Medicare and can enroll in a stand-alone drug plan. You will no longer be able to switch Medicare Advantage carriers at this time.

    Feb. 15 - Oct. 14, 2017. You are not allowed to make changes to your Medicare plan unless special circumstances arise (e.g. you move, you qualify or lose eligibility for Medicaid.)

    Medicare Rates 2017.

    Click this link to get a detailed explanation of Medicare rates and deductibles for 2017

    Note that how much you pay for Medicare will be different depending whether you have your Medicare premium deducted from your Soc Sec check or whether you pay your premium directly to Medicare. Clicking the link above will take you to an article that explains this in detail.

    College Insurance Program (CIP)   

     
     
    May 01 through June 01 is the Benefits Choice/Open enrollment period for CIP program.
     
    If you are an eligible benefit recipient who does not currently participate in the plan, the Open Enrollment Period gives you an opportunity to sign up for health, dental and vision coverage through the plan. Coverage could be provided to you and any eligible dependents at the current premium rates.
     
    The Open Enrollment Period lasts from May 1 through June 1, and is the only opportunity eligible members have to enroll in this plan without meeting certain limited criteria. If you choose to participate in this plan, coverage will become effective July 1 and premiums will be deducted from your July benefit payment.
     

    For more information on the current rates; who the participating insurance companies are; or enrollment; visit www.benefitschoice.il.gov. You can review the benefits Choice Options Book and College Insurance Plan Handbook

     

    Click the link below to read the article about transitioning to Medicare, for those approaching 65.

     Medicare Article - Part 1 by Ken Piwower  Transitioning to Medicare: Part 1 - Medicare Sign-Up and Basics by Ken Piwower
     Transitioning to Medicare: Part 2 - Supplemental Plans by Ken Piwower  Transitioning to Medicare: Part 2 - Supplemental Plans by Ken Piwower

      

    Click this link for more info on the State's Medicare Advantage Plan, called TRAIL

     

    Eleonore Weber
    Message from Eleonore Weber, Insurance Broker

    April, 2017

    Hello TCAA members  

    Where has the time gone? (both literally and figuratively). I don’t know what is more alarming: the fact that we lost an hour of sleep or a whole third of 2017 already. Whichever has you more determined to make a change in your lifestyle is what you should use as motivation!  

    March was National Nutrition Month and in April, we are start seeing more fresh fruits and vegetables in our stores and in our gardens. Artichokes, asparagus, honeydew and STRAWBERRIES are just a few of the early season’s best that are part of a healthy diet. Moreover, the warmer weather provides more opportunities for outdoor activities like a brisk walk, a quick run, or a long bike ride.

    Whether you are a millennial or baby boomer, a well-chosen role model or mentor can provide guidance on how to achieve a healthy and financially smart lifestyle.  

    In addition, if you or someone you know has lost more than an hour of sleep caring for a loved one either at home or in a facility, there are lots of ways to stay physically and mentally healthy with the help of others. “How to Support a Caregiver” is a must read if it’s for someone you love or even yourself. Moreover, Life and Long-Term Care insurance can be a major support for you and your family in the future. A complimentary consultation about securing your future is available at any time.

    Now on the National Healthcare front, the truth is, healthcare has changed over the last few and is still evolving for individuals and group health plans; continuous policy premium increases including the co-pays and deductibles. At times, the minimum cost for healthcare insurance is greater than most monthly mortgages. And, it is vital to watch for the annual changes to healthcare plan’s (Medical Providers) networks and their limitations. . . .

    Yes, providers are your doctors, treatment centers, diagnostic testing….drugs and pharmacy retailers.   Consequently, please do not rely on the past as your bases for the future.  In order for you to achieve manageable health insurance premiums, plan for an increase in shared costs. In addition, for current updates regarding Healthcare and Medicare policy, it best to consult your local Federal Congress representative and senator----- however, no changes for the immediate future (2017).

    “For now, the Affordable Care Act is still in force. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been operating under the assumption that the ACA and ACA-related regulations and policies will continue to govern the individual major medical market in 2018.”

      Thank you to the many TCAA members who have called me for assistances during the past few years, as well as their referrals to their trusted family members and friends. Remember, if you are frustrated the rising healthcare costs, we can discuss options to offset co-pays, deductibles for outpatient and inpatient surgery, rehabilitation skilled care, doctors, medical and hospital deductibles.  Beware, that these valuable options are only available before a doctor’s diagnose. Please feel free call! 

    In the short-run, continue to make healthy choices and living . . . all year long.

    Sincerely,

     

    Eleonore Weber, CLTC

      Your Life Security.

    Licensed Insurance Broker - Disability, Health, Life and Long-Term Care Insurance

    Mobile (312) 952-1706

    Web site: www.yourlifesecurity.com

    Email: eleonore.weber@yourlifesecurity.com

    “HELPING PEOPLE SECURE AND PRESERVE THEIR ASSETS AND FUTURE”