3rd Quarter 2007 Benefits Corner

by Ken Smith, CRA's Benefits Chairperson

Health company reps make informative presentations at annual meeting

It's hard to believe that we are starting the year 2009.

I recently returned from an outstanding CRA Annual Meeting at which the delegates had the opportunity to hear not only from Chevron Human Resources but also representatives of United HealthCare and Medco (UHC).  The presentations that each made were excellent and informative.  However, they were not anywhere as animated as the question and answer session which followed.

Your chapter presidents represented our membership well by asking the many questions that I know each of you has on YOUR mind. Also, after the Chevron, United HealthCare and Medco reps concluded their program, delegates had the opportunity to visit with them one-on-one to discuss additional issues important to them and their chapter members back home.

Where answers were not readily available, each company rep promised to get back to the individual who posed the question as soon as possible.  This is just one of the advantages of membership in the CRA.  As a member, you have CRA delegates and officers who have the ability to interface with Chevron and its health care vendors in getting the answers to your medical issues.

While there was much information that was shared during this session, there are some items I would like to highlight.  By the time you read this, those of you who are insured through one of the Chevron plans -- and who pay by using one of the automated plans -- should notice a reduction in your premium for July which is normally paid in June.  This is part of a previously announced premium reduction holiday which will be in place the remainder of the year.

I just paid my premium for July and was pleasantly surprised at the very significant premium reduction which I will enjoy the remainder of 2007.  This reduction was based on the favorable recent claim history experienced by the Chevron Plans and will not be repeated in 2008. 

The health care plan open enrollment period for 2008 will be October 15-26 this year. During September you will receive the U.S. Retiree Benefits Newsletter which will provide detailed health plan and prescription drug changes, Medicare coordination, and open enrollment information and reminders.

Then, in early October, you will receive additional open enrollment materials, including a personal enrollment worksheet. This is your annual opportunity to enroll or make changes to your health care benefits. Make ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU THOROUGHLY REVIEW this information in light of your current plan and medical history. It's imperative you fully understand the changes and make the most informed decision on this very valuable retiree benefit.

Finally, each of the annual meeting presenters reviewed the internet resources available through the hr2.chevron.com, myuhc.com and medco.com websites for those retirees who have internet access.  They said new tools and information are updated on a regular basis.

For example, if you are insured through a Chevron UHC plan, a new tool on the myuhc.com website provides information on top performing hospitals and physicians covered under the plan.  Both hospitals and physicians are rated as to quality and efficiency.

I will undergo knee replacement surgery in July and I used this tool to select both surgeon and hospital.   It gave me an additional measure of comfort knowing that both the surgeon and hospital received the highest rating in both categories.  If you have planned surgery ahead I urge you to check out and utilize this tool in your decision making process.

Let me close with one last tip.  When I go into the hospital for my knee replacement, I plan to take all of my current medications with me.  If you simply bring a list of your current medications the hospital will provide them for you -- but at a significant higher cost.  However, if you also choose to bring your own meds, be advised they must be in the original prescription bottles or the hospital pharmacist will not allow their use.

This is my last Benefits Corner as I will assume new duties in the Chevron Retirees Association beginning July 1.  It has been my pleasure and honor to represent our retirees as Benefits Chairman the past four years.  The next Benefits Corner will introduce the new Benefits chair.  I wish each of you a very healthy and enjoyable year ahead.