2018-2019 Important Healthcare Notices
Statement of Belief – Grandfather Status
ACERA believes the plans listed below are “grandfathered health plans” 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 directed to ACERA.
You may also contact the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor at 866.444.3272 or www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform. This website has a table summarizing which protections do and do not apply to grandfathered health plans.
Newborns and Mothers Health Protection Act (NMHPA)
A health plan which provides benefits for pregnancy delivery generally may not restrict benefits for a covered pregnancy Hospital stay (for delivery) for a mother and her newborn to less than 48 hours following a vaginal delivery or 96 hours following a Cesarean section. Also, any utilization review requirements for Inpatient Hospital admissions will not apply for this minimum length of stay and early discharge is only permitted if the attending health care provider, in consultation with the mother, decides an earlier discharge is appropriate.
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA)
Do you know that your plan, as required by the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, provides benefits for mastectomy-related services including all stages of reconstruction and surgery to achieve symmetry between the breasts, prosthetics, and complications resulting from a mastectomy, including lymphedema. For more information, you should review the Summary Plan Description. Contact ACERA for more information.
Grievance / Appeals
You have a right to two levels of appeal with our carriers, and a right to a response within a reasonable amount of time. However, also know that if a claim is not submitted within a reasonable time, the carriers have a right to deny that claim. The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is responsible for regulating health care plans. If you have a grievance against your health plan, you should first telephone your health plan and use your plan’s appeal process before contacting the DMHC. Please review each contract for specific procedures on how to submit an appeal to a claim. This does not prohibit any potential legal rights or remedies that may be available to you. If you need help with a grievance involving an emergency or that has not been satisfactorily resolved by your health plan, or that has remained unresolved for more than 30 days, you may call the DMHC for assistance. You may also be eligible for Independent Medical Review for an impartial review of medical decisions made by a health plan related to medical necessity, coverage decisions for treatments that are experimental in nature, and payment disputes for emergency or urgent medical services. The DMHC can be reached at 888.HMO.2219 (TDD 877.688.9891) or www.hmohelp.ca.gov.
COBRA Continuation Coverage
This notice has important information about your right to COBRA continuation coverage, which is a temporary extension of coverage under the Plan. This notice explains COBRA continuation coverage, when it may become available to you and your family, and what you need to do to protect your right to get it. When you become eligible for COBRA, you may also become eligible for other coverage options that may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage.
The right to COBRA continuation coverage was created by federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). COBRA continuation coverage can become available to you and other members of your family when group health coverage would otherwise end. For more information about your rights and obligations under the Plan and under federal law, you should review the Plan’s Summary Plan Description or contact the Plan Administrator.
You may have other options available to you when you lose group health coverage. For example, you may be eligible to buy an individual plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. By enrolling in coverage through the Marketplace, you may qualify for lower costs on your monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, you may qualify for a 30-day special enrollment period for another group health plan for which you are eligible (such as a spouse’s plan), even if that plan generally doesn’t accept late enrollees.
WHAT IS COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE?
COBRA continuation coverage is a continuation of Plan coverage when it would otherwise end because of a life event. This is also called a “Qualifying Event.” Specific Qualifying Events are listed later in this notice. After a Qualifying Event, COBRA continuation coverage must be offered to each person who is a “Qualified Beneficiary.” You, your spouse, and your Dependent children could become Qualified Beneficiaries if coverage under the Plan is lost because of the Qualifying Event. Under the Plan, Qualified Beneficiaries who elect COBRA continuation coverage must pay for COBRA continuation coverage.
If you’re an Employee, you’ll become a Qualified Beneficiary if you lose coverage under the Plan because of the following Qualifying Events:
- Your hours of employment are reduced, or
- Your employment ends for any reason other than your gross misconduct.
If you’re the spouse of an Employee, you’ll become a Qualified Beneficiary if you lose your coverage under the Plan because of the following Qualifying Events:
- Your spouse dies;
- Your spouse’s hours of employment are reduced;
- Your spouse’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
- Your spouse becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both); or
- You become divorced or legally separated from your spouse.
Your Dependent children will become Qualified Beneficiaries if they lose coverage under the Plan because of the following Qualifying Events:
- The parent-Employee dies;
- The parent-Employee’s employment ends for any reason other than his or her gross misconduct;
- The parent-Employee becomes entitled to Medicare benefits (Part A, Part B, or both);
- The parents become divorced or legally separated; or
- The child stops being eligible for coverage under the Plan as a “dependent child.”
WHEN IS COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE AVAILABLE?
The Plan will offer COBRA continuation coverage to Qualified Beneficiaries only after the Plan Administrator has been notified that a Qualifying Event has occurred. The Employer must notify the Plan Administrator of the following Qualifying Events:
- The end of employment or reduction of hours of employment;
- Death of the Employee; or
- The Employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare benefits (under Part A, Part B, or both).
For all other Qualifying Events (e.g. divorce or legal separation of the Employee and spouse or a Dependent child’s losing eligibility for coverage as a Dependent child), you must notify the Plan Administrator within 60 days after the Qualifying Event occurs. You must provide this notice to ACERA.
Life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment benefits and weekly income or long-term disability benefits (if part of the Employer’s Plan) are not eligible for continuation under COBRA.
NOTICE AND ELECTION PROCEDURES
Each type of notice or election to be provided by a Covered Employee or a Qualified Beneficiary under this COBRA Continuation Coverage Section must be in writing, must be signed and dated, and must be furnished by U.S. mail, registered or certified, postage prepaid and properly addressed to the Plan Administrator.
Each notice must include all of the following items: the Covered Employee’s full name, address, phone number and Social Security number; the full name, address, phone number and Social Security number of each affected Dependent, as well as the Dependent’s relationship to the Covered Employee; a description of the Qualifying Event or disability determination that has occurred; the date the Qualifying Event or disability determination occurred on; a copy of the Social Security Administration’s written disability determination, if applicable; and the name of this Plan. The Plan Administrator may establish specific forms that must be used to provide a notice or election.
ELECTION AND ELECTION PERIOD
COBRA continuation coverage may be elected during the period beginning on the date Plan coverage would otherwise terminate due to a Qualifying Event and ending on the later of the following: (1) 60 days after coverage ends due to a Qualifying Event, or (2) 60 days after the notice of the COBRA continuation coverage rights is provided to the Qualified Beneficiary.
If, during the election period, a Qualified Beneficiary waives COBRA continuation coverage rights, the waiver can be revoked at any time before the end of the election period. Revocation of the waiver will be an election of COBRA continuation coverage. However, if a waiver is revoked, coverage need not be provided retroactively (that is, from the date of the loss of coverage until the waiver is revoked). Waivers and revocations of waivers are considered to be made on the date they are sent to the Employer or Plan Administrator.
HOW IS COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE PROVIDED?
Once the Plan Administrator receives notice that a Qualifying Event has occurred, COBRA continuation coverage will be offered to each of the Qualified Beneficiaries. Each Qualified Beneficiary will have an independent right to elect COBRA continuation coverage. Covered Employees may elect COBRA continuation coverage on behalf of their spouses, and parents may elect COBRA continuation on behalf of their children.
COBRA continuation coverage is a temporary continuation of coverage that generally lasts for 18 months due to employment termination or reduction of hours of work. Certain Qualifying Events, or a second Qualifying Event during the initial period of coverage, may permit a beneficiary to receive a maximum of 36 months of coverage.
DISABILITY EXTENSION OF THE 18-MONTH PERIOD OF COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE
If you or anyone in your family covered under the Plan is determined by Social Security to be disabled and you notify the Plan Administrator in a timely fashion, you and your entire family may be entitled to get up to an additional 11 months of COBRA continuation coverage, for a maximum of 29 months. This disability would have to have started at some time before the 60th day of COBRA continuation coverage and must last at least until the end of the 18-month period of COBRA continuation coverage.
SECOND QUALIFYING EVENT EXTENSION OF 18-MONTH PERIOD OF COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE
If your family experiences another Qualifying Event during the 18 months of COBRA continuation of coverage, the spouse and Dependent children in your family can get up to 18 additional months of COBRA continuation of coverage, for a maximum of 36 months, if the Plan is properly notified about the second Qualifying Event. This extension may be available to the spouse and any Dependent children receiving COBRA continuation of coverage if the Employee or former Employee dies; becomes entitled to Medicare (Part A, Part B, or both); gets divorced or legally separated; or if the Dependent child stops being eligible under the Plan as a Dependent child. This extension is only available if the second Qualifying Event would have caused the spouse or the Dependent child to lose coverage under the Plan had the first Qualifying Event not occurred.
OTHER OPTION BESIDES COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE
Instead of enrolling in COBRA continuation coverage, there may be other coverage options for you and your family through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, or other group health plan coverage options (such as a spouse’s plan) through what is called a “special enrollment period.” Some of these options may cost less than COBRA continuation coverage. You can learn more about many of these options at www.HealthCare.gov.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS
For more information about your rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), including COBRA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and other laws affecting group health plans, contact the nearest Regional or District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in your area or visit www.dol.gov/ebsa. (Address and phone numbers of Regional and District EBSA Offices are available through EBSA’s website.) For more information about the Marketplace, visit www.HealthCare.gov.
KEEP YOUR PLAN INFORMED OF ADDRESS CHANGES
To protect your family’s rights, let the Plan Administrator know about any changes in the addresses of family members. You should also keep a copy, for your records, of any notices you send to the Plan Administrator.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF COVERAGE
COBRA continuation coverage, if elected within the period allowed for such election, is effective retroactively to the date coverage would otherwise have terminated due to the Qualifying Event, and the Qualified Beneficiary will be charged for coverage in this retroactive period.
COST OF CONTINUATION COVERAGE
The cost of COBRA continuation coverage will not exceed 102% of the Plan’s full cost of coverage during the same period for similarly situated non-COBRA Beneficiaries to whom a Qualifying Event has not occurred. The “full cost” includes any part of the cost which is paid by the Employer for non-COBRA Beneficiaries.
The initial payment must be made within 45 days after the date of the COBRA election by the Qualified Beneficiary. Payment must cover the period of coverage from the date of the COBRA election retroactive to the date of loss of coverage due to the Qualifying Event (or date a COBRA waiver was revoked, if applicable). The first and subsequent payments must be submitted and made payable to the Plan Administrator or COBRA Administrator. Payments for successive periods of coverage are due on the first of each month thereafter, with a 30-day grace period allowed for payment. Where an Employee organization or any other entity that provides Plan benefits on behalf of the Plan Administrator permits a billing grace period later than the 30 days stated above, such period shall apply in lieu of the 30 days. Payment is considered to be made on the date it is sent to the Plan or Plan Administrator.
The Plan will allow the payment for COBRA continuation coverage to be made in monthly installments but the Plan can also allow for payment at other intervals. The Plan is not obligated to send monthly premium notices.
The Plan will notify the Qualified Beneficiary in writing, of any termination of COBRA coverage based on the criteria stated in this subsection that occurs prior to the end of the Qualified Beneficiary’s applicable maximum coverage period. Notice will be given within 30 days of the Plan’s decision to terminate.
Such notice shall include the reason that continuation coverage has terminated earlier than the end of the maximum coverage period for such Qualifying Event and the date of termination of continuation coverage.
See the Summary Plan Description for more information.
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 a new Dependent resulting from marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption, divorce (including legal separation and annulment), death or Qualified Medical Child Support Order, you may be able to enroll yourself and / or your Dependents. However, you must request enrollment no later than 30 days after the marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption or divorce (including legal separation and annulment).
Medicare Part D – Important Notice About Your Prescription Drug Coverage and Medicare
Please read this notice carefully and keep it where you can find it. This notice has information about your current prescription drug coverage with ACERA and about your options under Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. This information can help you decide whether or not you want to join a Medicare drug plan. If you are considering joining, you should compare your current coverage, including which drugs are covered at what cost, with the coverage and costs of the plans offering Medicare prescription drug coverage in your area. Information about where you can get help to make decisions about your prescription drug coverage is at the end of this notice.
There are two important things you need to know about your current coverage and Medicare’s prescription drug coverage:
- Medicare prescription drug coverage became available in 2006 to everyone with Medicare. You can get this coverage if you join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or join a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that offers prescription drug coverage. All Medicare drug plans provide at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare. Some plans may also offer more coverage for a higher monthly premium.
- ACERA has determined that the prescription drug coverage offered by ACERA Medical Plan is, on average for all plan participants, expected to pay out as much as standard Medicare prescription drug coverage pays and is therefore considered Creditable Coverage. Because your existing coverage is Creditable Coverage, you can keep this coverage and not pay a higher premium (a penalty) if you later decide to join a Medicare drug plan.
WHEN CAN YOU JOIN A MEDICARE DRUG PLAN?
You can join a Medicare drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare and each year from October 15th to December 7th.
However, if you lose your current Creditable prescription drug coverage, through no fault of your own, you will also be eligible for a two (2) month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to join a Medicare drug plan.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR CURRENT COVERAGE IF YOU DECIDE TO JOIN A MEDICARE DRUG PLAN?
If you decide to join a Medicare drug plan, your current ACERA coverage may be affected.
If you do decide to join a Medicare drug plan and drop your current ACERA coverage, be aware that you and your Dependents may not be able to get this coverage back.
WHEN WILL YOU PAY A HIGHER PREMIUM (PENALTY) TO JOIN A MEDICARE DRUG PLAN?
You should also know that if you drop or lose your current coverage with ACERA and don’t join a Medicare drug plan within 63 continuous days after your current coverage ends, you may pay a higher premium (a penalty) to join a Medicare drug plan later.
If you go 63 continuous days or longer without Creditable prescription drug coverage, your monthly premium may go up by at least 1% of the Medicare base beneficiary premium per month for every month that you did not have that coverage. For example, if you go nineteen months without Creditable coverage, your premium may consistently be at least 19% higher than the Medicare base beneficiary premium. You may have to pay this higher premium (a penalty) as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. In addition, you may have to wait until the following October to join.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR YOUR CURRENT PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE
Contact the person listed below for further information. NOTE: You will get this notice each year. You will also get it before the next period you can join a Medicare drug plan, and if this coverage through ACERA changes. You also may request a copy of this notice at any time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS UNDER MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE
More detailed information about Medicare plans that offer prescription drug coverage is in the “Medicare & You” handbook. You will get a copy of the handbook in the mail every year from Medicare. You may also be contacted directly by Medicare drug plans.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE
- Visit www.medicare.gov.
- Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see your copy of the Medicare & You handbook for their telephone number) for personalized help.
- Call 800.MEDICARE (800.633.4227). TTY users should call 877.486.2048.
If you have limited income and resources, extra help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage is available. For information about this extra help, visit Social Security on the web at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call them at 800.772.1213 (TTY 800.325.0778).
Keep this Creditable Coverage notice. If you decide to join one of the Medicare drug plans, you may be required to provide a copy of this notice when you join to show whether or not you have maintained Creditable coverage and, therefore, whether or not you are required to pay a higher premium (a penalty).
Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage
PART A: GENERAL INFORMATION
This notice provides you with information in the event you wish to apply for coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace. 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 KeenanDirect at 855.653.3626 or at www.KeenanDirect.com, or contact the Health Insurance Marketplace directly at www.HealthCare.gov.
WHAT IS THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE?
The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. You may also be eligible for a tax credit that lowers your monthly premium right away. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins November 1, 2017 and ends on January 31, 2018.
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 medical coverage offered covers less than 60% of the benefits 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 already enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP and you live in a State listed below, contact your State Medicaid or CHIP office to find out if premium assistance is available.
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 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 866.444.EBSA (3272).
If you live in one of the following states, you may be eligible for assistance paying your employer health plan premiums. The following list of states is current as of August 10, 2017. Contact your State for more information on eligibility.
ALABAMA – Medicaid
Website: http://myalhipp.com/ I Phone: 855.692.5447
ALASKA – Medicaid
The AK Health Insurance Premium Payment Program
Medicaid Eligibility: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dpa/Pages/medicaid/default.aspx
ARKANSAS – Medicaid
Phone: 855.MyARHIPP (855.692.7447)
COLORADO – Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) & Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)
Health First Colorado Website: https://www.healthfirstcolorado.com/
Health First Colorado Member Contact Center:
800.221.3943/ State Relay 711
CHP+ Customer Service: 800.359.1991/ State Relay 711
FLORIDA – Medicaid
GEORGIA – Medicaid
Click on Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP)
INDIANA – Medicaid
Healthy Indiana Plan for low-income adults 19-64
All other Medicaid
IOWA – Medicaid
KANSAS – Medicaid
KENTUCKY – Medicaid
LOUISIANA – Medicaid
MAINE – Medicaid
TTY: Maine relay 711
MASSACHUSETTS – Medicaid and CHIP
MINNESOTA – Medicaid
MISSOURI – Medicaid
MONTANA – Medicaid
NEBRASKA – Medicaid
NEVADA – Medicaid
Medicaid Website: https://dwss.nv.gov/
Medicaid Phone: 800.992.0900
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Medicaid
NEW JERSEY – Medicaid and CHIP
Medicaid Phone: 609.631.2392
CHIP Website: http://www.njfamilycare.org/index.html
CHIP Phone: 800.701.0710
NEW YORK – Medicaid
NORTH CAROLINA – Medicaid
NORTH DAKOTA – Medicaid
OKLAHOMA – Medicaid and CHIP
PENNSYLVANIA – Medicaid
RHODE ISLAND – Medicaid
SOUTH CAROLINA – Medicaid
SOUTH DAKOTA – Medicaid
TEXAS – Medicaid
VIRGINIA – Medicaid and CHIP
Medicaid Website: http://www.coverva.org/programs_premium_assistance.cfm
Medicaid Phone: 800.432.5924
CHIP Website: http://www.coverva.org/programs_premium_assistance.cfm
CHIP Phone: 855.242.8282
WASHINGTON – Medicaid
Phone: 800.562.3022 ext. 15473
WEST VIRGINIA – Medicaid
Toll-free phone: 855.MyWVHIPP (855.699.8447)
WISCONSIN – Medicaid and CHIP
WYOMING – Medicaid
To see if any other states have added a premium assistance program since August 10, 2017, or for more information on special enrollment rights, contact either:
U.S. Department of Labor
Employee Benefits Security Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
877.267.2323, Menu Option 4, Ext. 61565
Discrimination Is Against the Law
ACERA complies with the applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ACERA does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
- Provides free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as:
- Non-professional interpreters for a few languages
If you need these services when you’re dealing with ACERA benefits, contact ACERA.
If you believe that ACERA has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, you can file a grievance with ACERA in person, or by mail, fax, or email. If you need help filing a grievance, help is available to you.
You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/cp/complaint_frontpage.jsf, or by mail or phone at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
800.368.1019, 800.537.7697 (TDD)
Complaint forms are available at:
The medical plan requires 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, the plan will designate one for you. For information on how to select a primary care provider, and for a list of the participating primary care providers, contact your medical plan.
For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider.
You do not need prior authorization from the plan or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional in our network 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 your medical plan.
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 Summary Plan Description or contact the Plan Administrator for more details.
Wellness – Alternative Standards
Your health plan is committed to helping you achieve your best health. Rewards for participating in a wellness program may be available. If you think you might be unable to meet a standard for a reward under the wellness program, you might qualify for an opportunity to earn the same reward by different means. Contact your medical plan who will work with you (and, if you wish, with your doctor) to find a wellness program with the same reward that is right for you with regard to your health status.