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Department of Employee Trust Funds
March 21, 2018

GIB Approves Selection of Medicare Advantage Plan Vendor

The Group Insurance Board today selected UnitedHealthcare as the vendor for the Medicare Advantage (MA) plan option under the state’s group health insurance program. The new MA plan will be offered alongside the current Medicare supplement and wraparound plans, which follow uniform benefits for medical and drug coverage of the group health insurance program.

ETF will begin contract negotiations to offer the UnitedHealthcare MA plan option with its nationwide network beginning January 1, 2019. The board is slated to approve the 2019-2021 contract and 2019 premium rates this May.

The selection of UnitedHealthcare caps off a procurement process that began last fall to secure an MA vendor(s) with the intent to:

  • Provide options with lower monthly premiums
  • Provide high-quality, high-value services
  • Offer more benefit packages
  • Reflect participant input

The group health insurance program previously offered an MA option through Humana, but it was discontinued for 2018 due to Humana leaving the program. About 8 percent of participating retirees were enrolled in the Humana MA plan in 2017. Adding the UnitedHealthcare MA plan option will help to round out retirees’ health benefit choice, which is a priority for the board and ETF.

Last November, ETF surveyed a random sample of Medicare and non-Medicare eligible members and used the results to inform plan recommendations. Survey participants were asked about their preferences related to costs, coverage, provider networks and other options. The survey methodology, distribution and tabulation were completed by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center.

The general themes of survey respondents are:

  • Low costs are important
  • They are open to a Medicare Advantage option
  • Provider network is critical
  • They prefer familiar options

ETF is developing an outreach and education plan to help members evaluate their health benefit choices. Watch for upcoming educational opportunities.

Other Board Action
The board approved revising the It’s Your Choice open enrollment period for plan year 2019 to October 1-26, 2018. The board had earlier approved October 31 as the end date.

For More Information

Group Insurance Board Meeting Agenda and Materials, March 21, 2018

Medicare Survey Results

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