Medicare Notice of Creditable Coverage
If you or your eligible dependents are currently Medicare eligible, or will become Medicare eligible during the next 12 months, you need to be sure that you understand whether the prescription drug coverage that you elect under the Medical Plan options available to you are or are not creditable with (as valuable as) Medicare’s prescription drug coverage.
Statement of Belief – Grandfather Status
ACERA believes the Kaiser Permanente HMO California plan is a “grandfathered health plan” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Affordable Care Act). As permitted by the Affordable Care Act, a grandfathered health plan can preserve certain basic health coverage that was already in effect when that law was enacted. Being a grandfathered health plan means that your plan may not include certain consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act that apply to other plans, for example, the requirement for the provision of preventive health services without any cost sharing. However, grandfathered health plans must comply with certain other consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, for example, the elimination of lifetime limits on benefits.
Questions regarding which protections apply and which protections do not apply to a grandfathered health plan and what might cause a plan to change from grandfathered health plan status can be Contact ACERA for more information.
Important Reminder to Provide the Plan with the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) of Each Enrollee in an ACERA Health Plan
Employers are required by law to collect the taxpayer identification number (TIN) or social security number (SSN) of each medical plan participant and provide that number on reports that will be provided to the IRS each year. Employers are required to make at least two consecutive attempts to gather missing TINs/SSNs.
If a dependent does not yet have a social security number, you can go to this website to complete a form to request a SSN. Applying for a social security number is FREE.
The SSN will also be used to help fulfill mandatory reporting requirements to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for the purposes of permitting Medicare to coordinate benefits for individuals enrolled in both an employer-sponsored medical plan and Medicare.
If you have not yet provided the social security number (or other TIN) for each of your dependents that you have enrolled in the health plan, please contact ACERA.
COBRA Continuation Coverage
In compliance with a federal law referred to as COBRA Continuation Coverage, this plan offers qualified beneficiaries the opportunity to elect temporary continuation of their group health coverage when that coverage would otherwise end because of certain events (called qualifying events).
Qualified beneficiaries are entitled to elect COBRA when qualifying events occur, and, as a result of the qualifying event, coverage of that qualified beneficiary ends. Qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA Continuation Coverage must pay for it at their own expense.
Qualifying events for dependents enrolled in Retiree coverage typically include death of the retiree, divorce/legal separation from the retiree, or a child ceasing to be an eligible dependent child.
In addition to considering COBRA as a way to continue coverage, there may be other coverage options for you and your family. You may want to look for coverage through the Health Care Marketplace. See https://www.healthcare.gov/. In the Marketplace, you could be eligible for a tax credit that lowers your monthly premiums for Marketplace coverage, and you can see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll. Being eligible for COBRA does not limit your eligibility for coverage for a tax credit through the Marketplace. Additionally, you may qualify for a special enrollment opportunity for another group health plan for which you are eligible (such as a spouse’s plan) if you request enrollment within 30 days, even if the plan generally does not accept late enrollees.
The maximum period of COBRA coverage is generally 36 months, depending on which qualifying event occurred.
In order to have the chance to elect COBRA coverage after a divorce/legal separation or a child ceasing to be a dependent child under the plan, you must inform the plan in writing of that event no later than 60 days after that event occurs. That notice should be sent to ACERA via first class mail and is to include the retiree’s name, the qualifying event, the date of the event, and the appropriate documentation in support of the qualifying event (such as divorce documents or death certificate). If you have questions about COBRA, contact ACERA.
Special Enrollment Rights Notice
CHANGES TO YOUR HEALTH PLAN ELECTIONS
Once you make your benefits elections, they cannot be changed until the next Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment is held once a year.
If you are declining enrollment for yourself or your Dependents (including your spouse) because of other health insurance or group health plan coverage, you may be able to enroll yourself and your Dependents in this plan if there is a loss of other coverage. However, you must request enrollment no later than 30 days after that other coverage ends.
If you declined coverage while Medicaid or CHIP is in effect, you may be able to enroll yourself and / or your Dependents in this plan if you or your Dependents lose eligibility for that other coverage. However, you must request enrollment no later than 60 days after Medicaid or CHIP coverage ends.
If you or your Dependents become eligible for Medicaid or CHIP premium assistance, you may be able to enroll yourself and / or your Dependents into this plan. However, you must request enrollment no later than 60 days after the determination for eligibility for such assistance.
If you have a change in family status such as addition of a new Dependent resulting from marriage, birth, adoption, placement for adoption, or Qualified Medical Child Support Order, or loss of Dependent due to divorce (including legal separation and annulment) or death, you may be able to enroll yourself and / or your Dependents. However, you must request enrollment no later than 30 days after the change in family status event (including legal separation and annulment).
Medicare Part D – Important Notice About Your Prescription Drug Coverage and Medicare
Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage
Your employer should distribute a notice to new employees when they are first hired that provides you with information in the event you wish to apply for coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace. This notice is at least two pages long.
If you wish to have someone assist you in the application process or have questions about subsidies that you may be eligible to receive, you can contact the Health Insurance Marketplace directly at www.HealthCare.gov.
WHAT IS THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE?
The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that meets your needs and fits your budget. The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. You may also be eligible for a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premium right away. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins in November 1, 2021 for coverage starting as early as January 1, 2022.
CAN I SAVE MONEY ON MY HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN THE MARKETPLACE?
You may qualify to save money and lower your monthly premium, but only if your employer does not offer you coverage, or offers medical coverage that is not “Affordable” or does not provide “Minimum Value.” If the lowest cost plan from your employer that would cover you (and not any other members of your family) is more than 9.5% of your household income for the year, then that coverage is not Affordable. Moreover, if the plan’s share of the total allowed benefit costs covered by the plan is less than 60% of such costs, then the plan does not provide Minimum Value.
DOES EMPLOYER HEALTH COVERAGE AFFECT ELIGIBILITY FOR PREMIUM SAVINGS THROUGH THE MARKETPLACE?
Yes. If you have an offer of medical coverage from your employer that is both Affordable and provides Minimum Value, you will not be eligible for a tax credit through the Marketplace and may wish to enroll in your employer’s medical plan.
Note: If you purchase a health plan through the Marketplace instead of accepting health coverage offered by your employer, then you may lose the employer contribution (if any) to the employer-offered medical coverage. Also, this employer contribution, as well as your employee contribution to employer-offered coverage, is often excluded from income for Federal and State income tax purposes. Your payments for coverage through the Marketplace are made on an after-tax basis.
Availability Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Notice of Privacy Practices
ACERA maintains a Notice of Privacy Practices that provides information to individuals whose protected health information (PHI) will be used or maintained by the Plan. If you would like a copy of the Plan’s Notice of Privacy Practices, please contact ACERA.
Premium Assistance Under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
If you or your children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP and you’re eligible for health coverage from your employer, your state may have a premium assistance program that can help pay for coverage, using funds from their Medicaid or CHIP programs. If you or your children aren’t eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you won’t be eligible for these premium assistance programs but you may be able to buy individual insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.
If you or your dependents are NOT currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, and you think you or any of your dependents might be eligible for either of these programs, contact your State Medicaid or CHIP office or dial 1-877- KIDS NOW or www.insurekidsnow.gov to find out how to apply. If you qualify, ask your state if it has a program that might help you pay the premiums for an employer-sponsored plan.
If you or your dependents are eligible for premium assistance under Medicaid or CHIP, as well as eligible under your employer plan, your employer must allow you to enroll in your employer plan if you aren’t already enrolled. This is called a “special enrollment” opportunity, and you must request coverage within 60 days of being determined eligible for premium assistance. If you have questions about enrolling in your employer plan, contact the Department of Labor at www.askebsa.dol.gov or call 1-866-444-EBSA (3272).
If you live in one of the states in the , you may be eligible for assistance paying your employer health plan premiums. The list of states in the is current as of July 31, 2021. Contact your State for more information on eligibility.
The UnitedHealthcare medical plans generally require the designation of a primary care provider. You have the right to designate any primary care provider who participates in our network and who is available to accept you or your family members. Until you make this designation, UnitedHealthcare will designate one for you. For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider. For information on how to select a primary care provider, and for a list of the participating primary care providers, contact UnitedHealthcare.
You do not need prior authorization (pre-approval) from the plan or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological (OB/GYN) care from an in-network health care professional who specializes in obstetrics or gynecology. The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan, or procedures for making referrals. For a list of participating health care professionals who specialize in obstetrics or gynecology, contact UnitedHealthcare.
The major medical plans described in our Enrollment Guide have provider networks. The listing of provider networks will be available to you automatically and free of charge by contacting your medical plan. A list of network providers can be accessed immediately by using the Internet address found in the Summary of Benefits and Coverage that relates to the Plan. You have a right to appeal denials of claims, and a right to a response within a reasonable amount of time. Claims that are not submitted within a reasonable time may be denied. Please review your Plan Document or contact ACERA for more details.
Notice Regarding the Wellness Program
The ACERA Annual Retiree Health and Wellness Fair Wellness Program is a voluntary wellness program available to all Retirees and is designed to promote health or prevent disease. The program is administered according to federal rules permitting employer-sponsored wellness programs that seek to improve employee health or prevent disease, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as applicable, among others.
If you choose to participate in the Wellness Program you may be asked to complete a voluntary health risk assessment or “HRA” that asks a series of questions about your health-related activities and behaviors and whether you have or had certain medical conditions (e.g., cancer, diabetes, or heart disease). You may also be asked to complete a biometric screening, which will include a blood pressure test. You are not required to complete the HRA questionnaire, participate in the biometric screening or other medical examinations.
However, retirees who choose to participate in the Wellness Program will receive an incentive of additional information regarding their health status. Although you are not required to complete the HRA or participate in the biometric screening or work with a health coach, only employees who do so will receive this additional information.
If you are unable to participate in any of the health-related activities or achieve any of the health outcomes required to earn an incentive, you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation or an alternative standard. You may request a reasonable accommodation or an alternative standard by contacting your medical plan.
The information from your HRA questionnaire and the results from your biometric screening will be used to provide you with information to help you understand your current health and potential risks, and may also be used to offer you services through the Wellness Program. You also are encouraged to share your results or concerns with your own doctor.
Protections from Disclosure of Medical Information
Our group health plan is required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your personally identifiable health information.
Information collected from Wellness Program participants will only be received by your employer in aggregate form. Although the Wellness Program and ACERA may use aggregate information it collects to design a program based on identified health risks in the workplace, our group health plan will never disclose any of your personal information either publicly or to the employer, except as necessary to respond to a request from you for a reasonable accommodation needed to participate in the Wellness Program, or as expressly permitted by law. Medical information that personally identifies you that is provided in connection with the Wellness Program will not be provided to your supervisors or managers and may never be used to make decisions regarding your employment.
Your health information will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or otherwise disclosed except to the extent permitted by law to carry out specific activities related to the Wellness Program, and you will not be asked or required to waive the confidentiality of your health information as a condition of participating in the Wellness Program or receiving an incentive. Anyone who receives your information for purposes of providing you services as part of the Wellness Program will abide by the same confidentiality requirements. The only individual(s) who will receive your personally identifiable health information is (are) a health provider or a health coach in order to provide you with services under the Wellness Program.
In addition, all medical information obtained through the Wellness Program will be maintained separate from your personnel records, information stored electronically will be encrypted, and no information you provide as part of the Wellness Program will be used in making any employment decision. Appropriate precautions will be taken by the group health plan to avoid any data breach, and in the event a HIPAA data breach occurs involving information you provide in connection with the Wellness Program, we will notify you immediately.
You may not be discriminated against in employment because of the medical information you provide as part of participating in the Wellness Program, nor may you be subjected to retaliation if you choose not to participate. If you have questions or concerns regarding this notice, or about protections against discrimination and retaliation, please contact ACERA.