Health Insurance & Health Issues

Note: We quote Dick Murra below. Dick was passionate about, and a champion for, health insurance. He was ASURA's Health Insurance Liaison for almost 20 years. All State of Arizona retirees owe him a big debt for his tireless advocacy and his plain talk.

A message from ADOA Benefits Services Division about next year's health insurance benefits package

Dear Retired State Employee,

As we are preparing our benefit offerings for the 2019 plan year, we continue to seek ways to offer a benefit package that remains among the most competitive and attractive in both the private and public sectors. As medical costs continue to rise nationwide, we are offering this important information so you can plan ahead.

Changes for 2019
  • Rates
    For the Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, rates will rise by 3%, effective January 1, 2019.
  • New EPO Deductible
    The EPO medical plan will have a deductible of $100 for individuals and $200 for families. This means you will have to pay $100 or $200 in qualified out-of-pocket expenses before the plan begins to pay.
Staying the Same
  • All other health plan coverage and carriers will remain the same for 2019.
Why are the changes necessary?
  • The State is self-insured, which means that employees, retirees and the State pay into the plan to cover the claims. As medical costs increase year over year, we must ask our employees and retirees to share more of the costs to meet our plan expenses.
Next Steps
  • End of September: Benefits Enrollment Packet for 2019 - Will be mailed to your address on file to help you determine what plan is best for your family. 

  • October/November: Benefit Expos - Will be held at locations throughout the state. Speak to our representatives and get answers to your benefit questions. You will find dates and times in your enrollment packet and on benefitoptions.az.gov. You are welcome to attend one of these events, or come to our new expo for retired state employees only, as listed below.
  • October 9: Benefits Expo for Retired State Employees
    Tuesday, October 9
    10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    Arizona Department of Administration
    100 N. 15th Ave
    Phoenix, AZ  85007
  • October 22 - November 9: Open Enrollment for 2019
    • To keep your current benefits, no action is needed. Your current plan elections will continue at the new premium rates starting January 1, 2019.
    • To change your benefits, visit yes.az.gov and make new elections for coverage. Your new benefits and premium rates will take effect January 1, 2019.
  • January 1, 2019: New benefits and premiums take effect
    • The new premiums will be billed in January 2019.

Questions?

Please contact a Benefit Options representative by phone 602-542-5008, toll-free 1-800-304-3687, by email benefitsissues@azdoa.gov or visit benefitoptions.az.gov.

Make an Informed HEALTH INSURANCE Decision

As Dick Murra says, "Study all plans and make an informed decision... Don't assume, ask questions...Take advantage of your own thought process... You... are the one that must be satisfied by your selection."

The following articles are provided to help you make choices about your health insurance, and to help you stay informed about health insurance issues.

  • The New York Times had an article on Medicare's Shifting Options in the Your Money section of its October 3, 2014 edition.
  • David Sayen's article Know Your Medicare Rights and Protections has appeared in several newspapers fall of 2014.
  • Medicare Q & A article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Healthstyle Magazine. Note that this article lists Cigna of Arizona as offering a good example of a Medicare Advantage plan. Our including this article for your reference does not mean that ASURA endorses any particular plan.

Make Life Care Planning Decisions, File Directives

Life Care Planning is an important task for all of us, whether young or old, healthy or facing challenges. Arizonans can make their choices known about who will manage their affairs in the event of an emergency.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office has the following available for you to use in your life care planning (at no cost):

  • General Information about Arizona laws related to future incapacity
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Life Care Planning
  • Life Care Planning forms with instructions:
    1. Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
    2. Durable Mental Health Care Power of Attorney
    3. Living Will (End of Life Care)
    4. Letter to My Agent (Representative)
    5. Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (Do Not Resuscitate)

In addition, the Arizona Secretary of State's Office has an Arizona Advance Directive Registry. This is a place to electronically store a copy of your advance directive so it will be available where and when it is needed 24/7. The Arizona Advance Directive Registry is a FREE database for the storage of advance directives (Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney, and Mental Health Power of Attorney).