• YOUR RETIREE CONTACT:

    Kelly Johnson, District Treasurer
    (315) 495-4445 
    kjohnson@stockbridgevalley.org

    IF YOU HAVE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR INSURANCE PLAN WITH STOCKBRIDGE VALLEY, EXCELLUS BC/BS HAS A DEDICATED CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM THAT MANAGES OUR INSURANCE PLAN.  FOR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR HEALTH & PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS, CALL THE PHONE NUMBER LOCATED ON THE BACK OF YOUR INSURANCE CARD.

    I AM TURNING 65, WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MEDICARE?

    Approximately 3 months before you turn 65, you will receive your Medicare card.  You MUST provide the Stockbridge Valley Business Office with a copy of it.  If not, you will start running into issues with your insurance coverage!

     

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    I am getting all kinds of mail regarding Medicare and it's very confusing.  HELP!

    Here is a link to a quick video that explains Medicare!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9wGIaKE6fA

     

              FREE!                      NOT FREE!               NOT FREE!               NOT FREE!

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    I have school insurance and I am still working as an ACTIVE employee.  What are the most important things I need to know?

     As long as you are ACTIVELY WORKING, your school insurance remains your PRIMARY insurance.

    • As long as you are ACTIVELY WORKING, Medicare is your SECONDARY insurance.
    • Since you have paid for Part A thru a lifetime of payroll taxes, it is FREE but its AUTOMATIC once you turn 65. Effective date is 1st day of month in your 65th Birthday month.
    • Look carefully at your Medicare card to see if it says “MEDICAL (PART B)” with an effective coverage date.
    • If you see that, you have been automatically be enrolled in Part B, which is NOT FREE. The premiums for Part B will either be deducted from your monthly Social Security check if you start drawing benefits or you will be direct-billed.
    • As an ACTIVE employee you don’t need Part B because your school insurance is your PRIMARY insurance. All medical expenses will run thru Excellus FIRST.
    • YOU MUST CALL & OPT OUT of the Part B. Explain you are still actively working and have employer-sponsored health insurance. 

     

    I am now officially RETIRED from Stockbridge Valley, how does that effect my health insurance?

     Once you retire, things CHANGE.

    • Medicare becomes your PRIMARY insurance carrier; Excellus your secondary (“back-up”) insurance plan.
    • ONCE YOU HAVE RETIRED, YOU MUST CALL AND OPT BACK INTO PART B AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. YOU MUST HAVE PART B TO REMAIN FULLY COVERED & AVOID, POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC, OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES!!!!
    • Why the rush? There is a small window of eligibility for Part B.  If you miss that window you could pay 10% more in premiums for every 12 months you should  have had it and didn’t.  Also, they will “wait-list” you based on the period of time you failed to opt in.  You can’t afford to roll the dice!
    • All medical expenses that are deemed Part B eligible, will NOT be paid by Excellus. They are there to pick up anything Medicare won’t pay.  If you don’t have Part B, they will refuse to pay as they will claim Medicare is responsible as your PRIMARY plan.  Then you will be paying OUT OF POCKET!
    • Part B premiums are deducted from your Social Security check once you start drawing benefits. If you wait to draw SS benefits, you will be direct-billed. 

     My mailbox is being buried with Medicare info.  Do I need to enroll in Medicare Part C or Part D?

     NO! The coverage thru your school plan is equal to if not better than what you will get thru a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or Part D.  

    • The average policyholder receives $500 in prescription drug benefits PER MONTH thru the school insurance.
    • Medicare Part D runs on “donut-holes” where they will pay so much for prescription drugs, then there is a “donut-hole” where you pay out of pocket until you reach a certain threshold, then they will start to pay again. But only for 1 calendar year.  Then it starts all over again.
    • You have the option of keeping dental and vision insurance thru SVCS as a retiree.

     As a retiree, should I keep my school insurance?

     In one word: YES!

    • Nobody likes paying for insurance. But to avoid out of pocket expenses – which can be financially catastrophic - you need to have Medicare Part A, Part B & KEEP your school insurance.  
    • Part C is Medicare plans sold by private insurance companies and can be prohibitively expensive.  Those plans also include dental or vision coverage.  We make those benefits available to you thru your school insurance.
    • A very important consideration……….if you drop your school insurance, Stockbridge Valley is NOT necessarily obligated to allow you to re-enroll. While it’s a significant cost to the District to insure retirees, it is a benefit you WORKED for to have the peace of mind when it comes to your health insurance needs!

    TO RE-EMPHASIZE…………….. It is VERY important that you forward me a copy of your new Medicare card as soon as you receive it.  This will trigger a notification from our end to Excellus that you have reached Medicare-age eligibility.  This notification will tell them what exactly your employment status is  – Active Employee, Dependent of Active Employee, Retiree, Dependent of Retired Employee, etc.   This notification avoids insurance snafus so it is critical you provide it ASAP!   Please mail to my attention (Kelly Johnson) at SVCS, P.O. Box 732, Munnsville, New York 13409.

    Where do I get more information on the Medicare program?  You can call the toll-free helpline at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. Information is also available on the web at www.Medicare.gov. Please feel free to call Kelly Johnson, SVCS District Treasurer at (315) 495-4445 with your questions.

    ADDITIONAL LINKS YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL:

    https://www.fool.com/retirement/medicare-changes-everything-you-need-to-know-2019.aspx

    https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/05/10/medicare-explained-what-is-covered.html

    https://boomerbenefits.com/understanding-medicare/


    When are Payments for Retiree Health Insurance due? 

    Once the Madison-Oneida-Herkimer Health Board sets the rates for retiree insurance, I will generate and mail an invoice for you by June 1st.  If you have any changes in the elections you have made, you must notify my office as soon as possible.  The following schedule indicates due dates for quarterly health insurance premiums.  **Please note that premium payments are accepted anytime prior to those dates.  For your convenience, you may also pay an entire year's premiums in advance and eliminate the need for additional payments throughout the year. 

    1st Quarter (7/1-9/30): Due by July 15, 2021

    2nd Quarter (10/1-12/31): Due by October 15, 2021

    3rd Quarter(1/1-3/31): Due by January 15, 2022

    4th Quarter (4/1-6/30): Due by April 15, 2022

    If you have any questions, concerns or need the balance remaining on your account, please call the SVCS Business Office (315) 495-4445.  We are here to help!

     


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