Triton College Annuitants Association
Health Issues & Insurance
The Open Enrollment period for the 2017 plan year will be October 14 - November 15,
2016. 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. 27. A list of Chicago area seminars is shown below. Representatives
from the Department of Central Management Services (CMS), the Medicare
Advantage plans, and Silver Sneakers will be
present to answer your questions.
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
If you are over 65 and on Medicare, newly eligible members will be required to enroll online during the 2017 TRAIL Open Enrollment period, which runs Oct. 14 - Nov. 15, 2016. 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.
The 2017 premiums for the TRAIL Medicare Advantage plans are indicated below:
CIP Medicare Advantage Plan Monthly Rates for 2017Effective Jan. 1, 2017
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.
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.
Effective September 30, 2016, SURS assistance with the enrollment of all
member, retiree and survivor health insurance coverage will change.
Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has hired a third-party
online vendor, Morneau Shepell, to assist with the administration of the State
Employees Group Insurance Programs. SURS role going forward will be to
communicate retiree and survivor insurance eligibility and
to collect health insurance premiums from SURS pension payments. SURS
will no longer assist with processing health insurance coverage changes for our
Sept. 30, 2016, paper forms will no longer be accessible or accepted for
changes through the State Universities Retirement System.
change will impact all SURS members who are eligible for coverage through the
College Insurance Program and State Employees Group Insurance Program. This
also includes members enrolled in the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL)
Medicare Advantage plans.
For more information, click here.
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.)
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.
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.
Click this link for more info on the State's Medicare Advantage Plan, called TRAIL.
Click here for the link to the SUAA blog on the State's Medicare Advantage Program.
Message from Eleonore Weber, Insurance Broker
Dear TCAA Members:
Recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with
Linda Brookhart, Executive Director of the State Universities Annuitants
Association. We discussed the current College
Insurance Program (CIP) Healthcare plan as well any anticipated changes going
forward in 2016. Unfortunately, any changes requiring benefits and related
costs for 2016 are still pending within the state. The negotiated health insurance benefits are
through AFSCME. Their current contract
ends on June 30, 2015.
Nonetheless, it is vital to understand the current facts
pertaining to the subjects of Healthcare, related Benefits & Costs,
Medicare and Long-Term Care options for TCAA members. Below briefly outlines
CIP members Healthcare options fit
into (3) three different categories:
1. Members who are Medicare eligible at age 65
(those who have earned 40 quarter credits
Enroll for your Medicare benefits within the
allocated period of your 65th birthday, the CIP then is considered
your supplement until end of the current calendar year.
Open Enrollment for the following year commences
October 7th to November 7th for an effective date for
coverage on January 1st. Members have the option to select to enroll
for the CIP Medicare Advantage program or a traditional Medicare supplement or
another Medicare Advantage program.
Currently, the law does not allow for re-entry
into a CIP Health Insurance program after program exit. However, there is a pending Senate Bill #1583
to change this law, it is currently in “placed on 3rd order reading”
in the Senate but it then requires approval in the House. Third reading
in the Senate suggests that it will pass the Senate. However, passing the House could be a hurdle
since last year the bill was shelled - stripped of its content.
2. Members considered “Non” Medicare eligible for SS benefits (less than
40 quarter credits)
Members have the same health coverage as state
employees but must pay for the premium cost.
Individuals missing full quarter credits can
still earn credit during working years.
3. Retired but not age 65
These members have the same health coverage has
state employees but must pay for the premium cost.
Elect for an independent individual healthcare
Healthcare Benefits and Costs:
My conversation with Linda indicates no decision to date
however; the current movement is shifting healthcare benefits from a “Golden
Cadillac” plan coverage which is the current CIP plan, to a “Bronze” designed
plan. Therefore, one might suggest this means that members can anticipate greater
exposure to “Co-Pays” and “Deductibles” as well as participating in higher
premium shared costs.
Overall, Linda mentioned that the “most healthy members are
happy with the current CIP Medicare Advantage program, but not necessarily
those who are sick”. She does not anticipate disclosure for new benefits and
the related costs until well beyond May 31, 2015 perhaps into the fall season. Due to
how the law is written, Medicare Advantage might as to stay as is. A watchful eye will be kept as the
legislative session progresses.
Medicare Supplement Options:
As a CIP member, you may have several healthcare plan
options depending on whether fully vested with full quarter credits with Social
Security. See previous mentioned guideline. The CIP option is similar to
Medicare’s Part C or referred to Medicare Advantage (MA); essentially, a MA
plan can have comparable components of a HMO or PPO design, which is defined by
a set network of providers, co-pays and deductibles. Below is a basic definition of Medicare
Note: co-pays and deductible may apply based
selected healthcare plan
Part A – Hospital and Inpatient care
Skilled Care – 20 to 100 days max dependable
Part B – Doctor and Outpatient care
Monthly premium of $147 in 2015
Part C – Medicare Advantage – Combination of
Part A, B and D – depending on the plan
Part D – Prescription Plan
Member fee for discounted Rx costs
Call me for assistance in understanding your healthcare
options, how they fits with your health
needs, especially turning 65 or determining switching from a CIP plan.
Remember, the CIP current plan DOES NOT allow for a switch back to a CIP
option, once electing a change.
Medicare Supplement plan options and costs are very
competitive – call today for pricing.
Long-Term Care Insurance:
What is LTC – Long-Term
Care? It is the need for help with the most basic activities of daily living
such as eating, bathing or just getting ready for your day. There are
myths regarding LTC, and it best to understand how it works before a sudden
event or a crisis.
Myth # 1 “The government will take care of me”
Medicare is for 65 and older
and is not intended for debilitating disorders that result in the need to for
true long-term care beyond 100 days.
Medicaid care takes away
Medicaid does provide
long-term care benefits, but you may have to spend down your savings and assets
What happens to the
Legacy for loved ones?
Myth #2 “I’m already
LTC is not covered by employer’s Medical or Disability Insurance or
Medical insurance is
designed for acute medical condition that you will recover – broken leg,
Disability insurance is
meant to replace the income you lose when cannot work due to illness or
accident, without anything extra to pay for care needs and typically ends by
age 65 or 67.
Myth #3 “My children will take care of me”
Here you do not have
to worry about a cost, nor do you.
Family network –spend over
Dual working parents-who
gives up their job and income?
What about the grandchildren
Myth #4 LTC Insurance is too expensive.
It can be designed to fit a
Combination -> Insured & Self-funding
Call me to discuss all the various LTC options (traditional and
non-traditional) available in the market place, discount are available too.
In closing, I must stress the importance for TCAA members to aggressively
understand and be vigilant about any possible changes to your existing
healthcare plan; what are the financial ramifications when there is a plan
shifts from a Gold Cadillac plan to Bronze?
Therefore, be aware of the possible healthcare changes in the coming
months, and how the fluctuations affect your future healthcare needs and
Thank you for the time and consideration. Be mindful to develop a plan and reap the benefits.
Your Life Security.
Licensed Insurance Broker - Disability, Health, Life and Long-Term Care Insurance
Mobile (312) 952-1706
Web site: www.yourlifesecurity.com
“HELPING PEOPLE SECURE AND PRESERVE THEIR ASSETS AND FUTURE”
2017 Triton College. All Rights Reserved.