• Benefits Corner
    4th Quarter 2021

    By Bill Dodge, CRA Benefits Chair

    Bill Dodge

    Included in this article:

    Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science  

    Open Enrollment for 2022     

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Claim Submission Reminder  

     

           Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science   

    Delta is currently the predominant variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the United States. Below is a high-level summary of what CDC scientists have recently learned about the Delta variant. More information will be made available when more data are published or released in other formats.

    The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    • The Delta variant is more contagious: The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
    • Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19. Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.
    • Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.
    • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time: For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.

    Vaccines

    Vaccines in the US are highly effective, including against the Delta variant

    • The COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective, and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For all people, the vaccine provides the best protection against serious illness and death.
    • Vaccines are playing a crucial role in limiting spread of the virus and minimizing severe disease. Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not perfect, and there will be vaccine breakthrough infections. Millions of Americans are vaccinated, and that number is growing. This means that even though the risk of breakthrough infections is low, there will be thousands of fully vaccinated people who become infected and able to infect others, especially with the surging spread of the Delta variant. Low vaccination coverage in many communities is driving the current rapid surge in cases involving the Delta variant, which also increases the chances that even more concerning variants could emerge.
    • Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community. High vaccination coverage will reduce spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. CDC recommends that everyone aged 12 years and older get vaccinated as soon as possible.

    Masks

    Given what we know about the Delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and current vaccine coverage, layeredprevention strategies, including wearing masks, are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant

    • At this time, as we build the level of vaccination nationwide, we must also use all the prevention strategies available, including masking indoors in public places, to stop transmission and stop the pandemic. Everyone who is able, including fully vaccinated people, should wear masks in public indoor places in areas of substantial or high transmission.

    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/coronavirus                                                                                                                                                     Last Updated Aug. 26, 2021 

    Additional Coronavirus Information located on John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center websitehttps://coronavirus.jhu.edu

    Open Enrollment for 2022

    Open enrollment for 2020 coverage for pre-65 Chevron retirees will be from October 18 to October 29, 2021with information available online at https://hr2.chevron.com/openenrollment. A multi-page open enrollment brochure will also be mailed to pre-65 participants from Chevron. Open enrollment for 2020 coverage for post-65 participants will be from October 15 to December 7, 2021 with information provided by Via Benefits.   

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Claim Submission Reminder  

     

    The following is a communique which Chevron Benefits sent to plan participants in April of this year:  


    “You may have recently heard of or received an email about settlement of a class action lawsuit related to health coverage through a Blue Cross or Blue Shield health insurance plan between 2008 and 2020. This could include coverage offered through Chevron and administered by Anthem Blue Cross or BlueCross BlueShield Texas, among others. Both the litigation and settlement originate from parties completely separate from Chevron, so you should visit www.BCBSsettlement.com or call 1-888-681-1142 for more information or answers to your questions. Your claims administrator and the HR Service Center will not be able to answer questions and are required to refer you to the same resources.”

     

    Class members who wish to submit valid claims online must do so at www.BCBSsettlerment.com or postmarked by mail no later than NOVEMBER 5, 2021. Forms are available at www.BCBSsettlemnet.com or may be requested by calling (888) 681-1142. Those who wish to submit by mail need to mail their claim form to:

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91390, Seattle, WA 98111.