UCLRG Status Report 11/10/11
The California Supreme Court heard argument in Retired Employees of Orange County v. County of Orange on Oct 3, 2011. The court has 90 days to rule, so we expect there will be a decision by Jan 2, 2012. The opening brief for our appeal was initially due on Nov 28, 2011. We asked UC to agree to a 60-day extension to allow time for the Supreme Court to rule in the Orange County case. If the Court grants the extension (which is likely), our brief will be due Jan 27, 2012. UC asked us to agree to a 60-day extension for their brief which we did. We will then have an opportunity to file a Reply Brief. (As the Appellants, we get the last word.) There may be developments in the meantime that we cannot predict when the Orange County ruling comes out (although it is also possible that the Supreme Court will issue a narrow ruling that will not have a significant impact on our case).
The Livermore Open enrollment meetings were held on11/ 9/11. We attended both the Medicare and non-Medicare sessions. LLNS didnŐt segregate the information given by the type of audience so it was difficult to tell what information applied to which group.
Basically the $2400 HRA per retiree/dependent for Medicare retirees remains the same and there was no indication it would ever increase regardless of medical insurance cost increases. The 20%/80% premium split applies only to nonĐMedicare retirees and is in full effect in 2012 after a three year phase in. It is not clear whether it is on an individual or aggregate basis.
Extend Health admitted that availability of policies varies from County to County and blames the fact on the insurance providers not filing enabling papers in some Counties. They also refuse to provide comparison pricing because of the variability of options and locations. LLNS asserts that we are still in group policies. We re a bit skeptical of these answers,
The letter sent to Contra Costa residents touting Kaiser as a replacement for canceled Anthem policies led many retirees to believe Kaiser was their only option. Extend Health admitted that there are other policies available but did not comment on comparability with canceled policies. Contact them for details.
There was a discussion about Medicare retirees moving between Medigap and Advantage plans. Generally that requires underwriting (i.e. showing that you have no pre-existing conditions that would cause the receiving company to deny such a move). If your policy is being canceled because it is no longer offered in your area, you are eligible for one time state mandated chance to switch policies without underwriting, We are not experts in this area and canŐt give you advice but if your policy is being canceled, You should talk to Extend Health or Aon Hewitt to determine what your one time open enrollment options are. We all had this one time option for 2008 open enrollment but were not told of it.
There was a discussion about applying for Medicare Part B when you turn 65. If, for instance, neither you nor your spouse are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 but your spouse is younger than you and you will become eligible for Medicare on the basis of your spouses contributions when reaching 65 you must apply for Medicare part B when you turn 65 or you will be assessed a continuing penalty cost for Medicare Part B when you do become eligible for Medicare. This is another case where we arenŐt competent to advise you but you should be aware of the problem and discuss the issue with your medical insurance provider before you turn 65.
If you have children under the age of 26, there are changes which provide medical coverage for them starting in 2012 that you should be aware of.
In 2012, grand children currently receiving coverage may no longer be covered. If you have grandchildren currently receiving coverage, you should check to determine if they will remain eligible.