Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Retirees can get health insurance details in September


Town-hall meetings in late September center on new supplemental health insurance choices for current and future retirees in the Oklahoma Conference Health Benefits Plan.

  • Sept. 22, OKC-St. Luke’s, 1 p.m.
  • Sept. 23, Tulsa-Asbury, 1 p.m.

These educational sessions are part of the overall effort to prepare retirees for changes that become effective Jan. 1. On that date, a program administered by Towers Watson OneExchange will replace the existing Medicare supplemental plan administered by the Conference.

The enrollment period is Oct. 15 through Dec. 31.

The change won 95 percent approval by delegates at the 2014 Annual Conference.

It applies to all Medicare-eligible retirees covered by the Conference health plan: clergy, spouses, surviving spouses, disabled participants, etc.

If you are in this group, you must make a selection and enroll through Towers Watson OneExchange in a new individual health plan by Dec. 31, to prevent a lapse in your health insurance coverage. The company’s role is to work with you to identify the Medicare supplemental plan that best fits your lifestyle and to help you through the enrollment process.

  1. During the week of Aug. 10, the Oklahoma Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits mailed a personal letter to each eligible person. The letter introduced Towers Watson OneExchange and announced the town-hall events.
  2. The General Board of Pension & Health Benefits mailed materials to each person during the week of Aug. 17.
  3. Towers Watson OneExchange will send each person a "getting started" guide in early September. It includes instructions to start the enrollment process.

    Read closely and keep all these materials, advised Oklahoma’s Benefits/Personnel Director Stephen Mitchell. Start a folder with them, and begin making lists of your doctors (including specialists), medications, and clinics and hospitals you use.
  4. Learn more by attending one of the town-hall meetings in late September. If you cannot attend one, a recording will be made available upon request.
  5. Future communications will come from Towers Watson OneExchange.

You also will contact Towers Watson OneExchange benefit advisers when you have questions. This is a change from contacting the Conference Benefits Office staff. The company’s advisers are available to assist you; they do not sell products or work for commissions.

"Individual" is a word to remember, said Mitchell. Each retiree will choose the plan that best meets that person’s needs. Thus both members of a retired couple are not required to enroll in the same plan.

"We have to shift our mindset to the word ‘individual,’" he explained.

The town-hall meetings are being hosted by the Conference Board of Pension & Health Benefits.

Funding also has been addressed. The Conference will establish and contribute to a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) on behalf of each eligible retiree, based on years of service.

HRA funds can be used by the retiree to pay the monthly premiums for the supplemental health insurance and/or other out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

For more information: www.okumc.org/benefits.

— by Holly McCray

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