Benefits Info

Since we are in a changing environment with regard to benefits issues, it is important that our members keep informed through the SUAA state website (www.suaa.org) and the websites by Central Management Services (CMS) and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) websites discussed below.

Benefits Choice Periods

The Central Management Services Benefits Choice period for Medicare-eligible annuitants and their Medicare-eligible dependents is in the fall.  An annuitant who is Medicare-eligible will not qualify for this period if that annuitant has a dependent who is not eligible for Medicare on the annuitant's health insurance through the State.  During the Benefits Choice period, an annuitant may choose to opt out of health insurance.  When opting out, an annuitant may lose other benefits such as vision and prescription coverage.  Be sure to read the CMS information carefully before making a decision.  Thus far any annuitant and/or dependent must be Medicare-eligible before the beginning of the Benefit Choice period, the date being determined by CMS.

The Benefit Choice Period for annuitants and dependents who are not Medicare eligible is in the spring.  Again, be sure to read the opting out information carefully.

CMS has hired an online vendor, Morneau Shepell, to assist with the administration of the State’s insurance programs.  Members will view and make changes to their coverage through the MyBenefits Marketplace website.  According to the SURS website, SURS will no longer assist with processing health insurance coverage for its members, but members have the option to call a State group insurance customer service representative (1-844-251-1777 or TTY 1-844-251-1778).  Detailed information will be included in the Benefits Choice materials.

Repayment of Survivor Refund

Elsewhere in this newsletter is information from SURS about the repayment of survivor refunds taken at retirement.  Those annuitants who are members of an additional retirement system such as TRS should have also received information from that system about repayment.  The information was sent only to those annuitants who took a survivor refund.

Immunizations

Free flu shots have been available in the fall at the McKinley Health Center for most members, often in October.  Be sure to monitor the McKinley Health Center website for updated information (http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu).  There are some immunizations that are covered by Medicare health insurance plans, an example being the pneumonia vaccine.  However, the DPT vaccine (the diphtheria, tetanus acellular, and pertussis adult vaccine) is covered under the Medicare Part D prescription plan.  Some health providers also charge a fee for administering this immunization, and this fee may not be covered.  The cost of administering an immunization does vary by provider so it is a good idea to check costs when choosing to have an immunization that is not covered by your health insurance.

Claim Payment Delay

The CMS website contains updated information on the payment of claims as follows:

“The State of Illinois’ Quality Care Health Plan, HealthLink OAP, Coventry OAP and Quality Care Dental Plan are self-insured plans with funding provided through Legislative appropriations, State revenue and a small amount of employee premiums.  Funding availability is based on State revenue, which fluctuates from month to month. At this time funds remain insufficient to pay claims on a normal schedule, and we cannot estimate when a regular payment schedule will resume.”  Go to the CMS website noted in this article to get further information and to learn of the current payment schedule.

Did You Know?

The members of the Chapter Benefits Committee will continue to review and update the information on benefits available to retirees and other annuitants in issues of The Annuitant and on the chapter website: http://www.suaa-ui.org.  Most will be of interest wherever these individuals are living.  Some benefits will be principally for those living in the Champaign-Urbana area.  These include the following: 

Access through I-Cards.  Retirees with I-Cards have access to many benefits on campus and in the community.  If a retiree does not have an I-Card, that retiree should go to the Illini Union Bookstore ID Center on the first floor.  Retiree status will be verified and an I-Card issued.  In addition to benefits on campus, the I-Card serves as a free pass on any Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) bus.

Employee Assistance Program.  The services of the Faculty Staff Assistance Program are available free of charge for employees, retirees and family members or significant others living in their households.  Services include assessments, short-term counseling, crisis services, and referrals to appropriate resources.  The offices are located at 1101 West Springfield, Urbana.  (Phone 217-244-5312, website http://fsap.illinois.edu). 

Campus Recreation.  Retirees who want to continue (or start!) using Campus Recreation facilities such as CRCE and the ARC can now have the membership fees deducted from their SURS annuities..  The fee is $40 per month.  Your spouse/partner can be added for just $23 per month.  You can join at any time and start the deduction at that point.  More information is available at the Campus Recreation website:  http://www.campusrec.illinois.edu/.

Walking in UI Armory.  Those who are interested in walking for fitness at the UI Armory may not be aware that seniors 55 and over may purchase a lifetime registration for $25 rather than pay the $3 daily fee (see http://fightingillini.com/sports/2015/3/24/uiarmory_info.aspx for further information).

Staying Informed About Your Benefits

Within SUAA, you can visit the state web site at www.suaa.org and the Chapter website at www.suaa-ui.org.  We recommend that you contact Central Management Systems concerning questions about health care benefits and the State Universities Retirement System about your annuity.  The contact information for those offices and further information about what is available on the SURS website is shown below.

Central Management Services (CMS)
Employees Benefits pages for State Employees:
http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/StateEmployee/Pages/default.aspx
Phone: 800.366-8768 or 217.524-4784   TTY: 866.277-5669

CMS uses your information on file with SURS.  Thus, you should remember to keep your personal information up to date with SURS

State Universities Retirement System (SURS):  http://surs.com/
Phone:  800-ASK-SURS (800-275-7877) or 217.378-8800.‚Ä®Fax: 217.378-9800
Mailing Address:  SURS, P.O. Box 21710, Champaign, IL 61825-2710
Street Address:  1901 Fox Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820

The SURS home page provides access to a number of topics of interest to our members such as the schedule of the “Post-Retirement Seminars” held in Champaign each fall and spring.  The “Life Events” link at the top of the home page provides a link to the “Death of a Member” site which contains instructions on the steps that survivors should take when this event occurs.  The steps presented there are similar to those discussed in the Survivor Assistance Workshops offered in the past.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, you can use the “Member Login” link at the top of the page to learn how to reach what is essentially your own home page.  After entering your username and password (established on your first visit), you can view a wide range of information about your annuity including your entire payment history and your current payment information.  You can also change such items as your address, beneficiaries, phone number or email address, and your Federal Income Tax withholding status.  For those in the Champaign area without easy computer access, SURS has set up a kiosk computer station in the lobby for its members.  The receptionist is available to assist annuitants using the kiosk.

Last Updated on April 12, 2017
Web Master: J Engelgau