• By John Dewes, Interim Chair

    John Dewes Captioned

    This is my first Benefits Corner as the Interim Chair of the Benefits Committee.  I hope to follow Lezley Barth’s excellent example.  I am a former CRA National President, married to the current President, and did chair the Benefits Committee in the last century.

    It is Open Enrollment time for 2019! 

    The dates and newsletter links are:                                                                                                                                                                        Pre-65 – October 15 – 26, 2018:

                                        hr2.chevron.com/formeremployee (HRSC)                                                                        Newsletter is under “2019 benefit changes.”

     NOTE:  Personalized pre-65 open enrollment packages with group health choices and cost of coverage in 2019 were mailed October 8 – 10.  Please look for these and act promptly.  If they do not arrive soon, call the HRSC – they will have your personal information. 
                                        Post-65 (Medicare) – October 15 – December 7, 2018

                                        www.my.viabenefits.com/chevron (Via Benefits)

    You should have received the newsletters describing open enrollment in a timely manner this year. If not, you can read them on-line by using the links above.  Please note that there are some important items for post-65 retirees in the pre-65 newsletter.  These will be communicated directly to post-65 retirees by mail later in October, along with a post-65 open enrollment readiness letter. 

    There will be no change in the amount of the HRA reimbursement in 2019.

    Several instances have been reported by our retirees where HRA reimbursement stopped during the year.  You have to have medical/dental premiums from medical plans offered through Via Benefits, or Medicare Part B in order to be reimbursed.  The surest way to claim reimbursement is to use the November Social Security letter that states your Medicare Part B premiums for the coming year. (This is greater than the maximum reimbursement.)  Instructions for filling out your personalized claim form(s) are on the Via Benefits website under Claims and Reimbursement. 

    Again this year, if you are satisfied with your coverage, and haven’t had significant changes in your prescriptions or health status, you can let your current choices roll over without taking any action, unless your provider is no longer available.  Via Benefits does recommend you make a telephone appointment or go on line to review the choices you have, just to see what is available. 

    If you receive an annuity and are currently deducting supplemental insurance premiums from your monthly annuity check, there is one area where you must take action. In the future, you will be billed and will need to make monthly payments. In December 2018, the charge will be deducted from your annuity check, and you will need to make a separate payment for your January 2019 premium. You can set up a direct charge against your bank account, which is strongly recommended.  Those affected should already have received a letter explaining the new procedures.  Please contact the HRSC if you haven’t been notified. 

    For Pre-65, there will be a new sign-in procedure for the online Benefits Connection that will be secure, but eliminate the need for a PIN.  This is covered in the newsletter you should already have received. 

    Reminder: please update your Via Benefits profile when you receive your new Medicare card with your new Medicare number.  Via Benefits is able to use your Social Security number for 2019 as not everyone will have received his/her new Medicare cards yet. Medicare gives the following advice for protecting your identity: 

    • Don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
    • Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will only call and ask for personal information in these situations:
      1. A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
      2. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
    • Only give personal information like your Medicare Number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). (HICAP in California).
    • If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

    In any case, when you are not able to get answers or appropriate action from either the HRSC or Via Benefits, please contact me and I’ll do what I can to help.

     

    John Dewes
    Interim Chair, Benefits Committee
    craben03@gmail.com
    925-330-1537