Campus News

Info sessions on upcoming changes to retiree health insurance to be held

Two sessions on upcoming changes to retiree health insurance from the University System of Georgia, which includes UGA, will be held on campus April 3.

The first of two identical informational sessions will be from 10 a.m. to noon with the second following from 2-4 p.m. Both events, which are open to USG retirees and active employees, will be held in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

USG representatives will discuss the plan that will provide supplemental health care coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees through a private retiree health care exchange instead of through the USG health care plan. The change, which was approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in 2013, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

“Anyone who is retiring soon, anyone who is retired and Medicare-eligible or active USG employees who want to hear more about the change should plan to attend one of the sessions,” said Travis Jackson, UGA’s interim senior director of employee benefits.

USG is holding informational sessions at each of its colleges and universities next month, Jackson said.

According to information sent to retirees by the USG office, the change to a private health care exchange for retirees “will allow USG to continue to provide a viable, sustainable retiree benefit for our current and future retirees.”

The information also said that a private exchange “presents an opportunity to provide a similar health care benefit to retirees yet in a more efficient, cost-saving way while also providing a broad range of options and choices for retirees.” Moving to a private exchange with millions of other retirees will save USG money by spreading the cost of claims as well as the risks.

There will be advantages for retirees as well, according to the USG information. A private exchange will provide a larger range of plan options, both in design and selection of health insurers, including the insurers offered today to the Medicare-eligible population: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Kaiser. Retirees will be able to work with expert benefit advisers and access decision tools to help them select and enroll in coverage. There also will be advocacy services to assist after enrollment.

The USG information sent to retirees said the system expects “retirees will continue to receive a similar level of health care coverage that they have been previously provided.”

Jackson said the USG will continue to communicate and update UGA on the plan, and his area in Human Resources will pass along any communications when they are received.