Open Enrollment Date Corrected

By The Independent 10/29/09

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees thinking about enrolling in Kaiser health plans for the coming year have until November 20 to make their choice under Open Enrollment, despite a letter from Hewitt Associates announcing that the last day of Open Enrollment is Nov. 6.

    At the time The Independent went to press, neither the Lab nor Hewitt, which administers the Kaiser health plans, had issued a correction.  However, the Lab’s Retiree Association confirmed the Nov. 20 date with the Lab and sent an email to its more than 800 members.   Kaiser had just made a presentation to a luncheon meeting of the Association in which the Nov. 20 date was announced. Association chair Chuck Meier received puzzled inquiries about the Hewitt letter.

    There are nearly 5,000 Lab retirees. Meier asked email recipients to forward the correcting email to other retirees.

    A 26-page Open Enrollment guide mailed by the Lab to retirees earlier in the month had the correct Nov. 20 date.  The error was made in a subsequent letter from Hewitt.

    Meier said he telephoned to notify Hewitt of the error in the letter, and learned that the company knew about it.  A Hewitt Associates representative told him that Hewitt declined to fix the mistake because the date was correct for many more retirees at the other companies that it serves.

    Meier said he was disturbed at the response, since changing dates selectively is easy with today’s computer technology.  “I told them that was the wrong answer!” he said.

    His email message pointed out that Medicare-eligible retirees who wish to enroll in non-Kaiser plans, which are administered by Extend Health rather than by Hewitt, have a different Open Enrollment period, Nov. 16 to Dec. 31.  He recommended that retirees sign up for new or changed plans early in the enrollment period to allow time for a smooth transition by the start of the New Year.

    The Retiree Association hopes to have a video of the Kaiser presentation on-line in the near future.  A representative from Extend Health will speak at the next meeting, on Nov. 18.

    Those interested in 2010 Kaiser plans who are still unclear on the procedure for enrolling should call Hewitt at 1-800-994-5567 or go on-line to www.ybr.com/benefits/llns, Meier advised retirees.