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Health and HUman Services System The Connection

June 27, 2011


ERS News: Sept. 1 Changes, Annual Enrollment,
Coverage of Children to 26, SKIP Ending, Evidence of Insurability,
Dependent Audit, Retirement Events

ERS logoChanges for Plan Year 2012

On May 24, the ERS Board of Trustees approved health insurance carriers and premium rate increases, effective Sept. 1.

The board:

Annual Enrollment, Fairs

Annual Enrollment for Plan Year 2012 will be July 11–Aug. 5. During this time, you can change your benefits and enroll eligible dependents in coverage, effective Sept. 1.

ERS will start mailing personal benefits enrollment statements to employees June 27. More information about Annual Enrollment 2011, including a special insert for health and human services employees, is available on the ERS website.

You can speak with ERS representatives and vendors about your benefits by attending an Annual Enrollment event. Dozens of fairs are scheduled in locations across Texas for Annual Enrollment; you can find the schedule of Annual Enrollment Events on the ERS website.

Coverage of Children to Age 26

On Sept. 1, 2011, the federal Affordable Care Act raises the age for children’s eligibility in the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program to 26, regardless of marital status.

During Annual Enrollment (July 11–Aug. 5), you can enroll children who turn 25 before Sept. 1, 2011, or children under age 26 who are married. This includes children currently covered by COBRA. You did not have to cover your children through the state’s health plan previously to enroll them during this summer’s Annual Enrollment.

Evidence of insurability (proof of good health) is not required to enroll these children in during Annual Enrollment. Their coverage will begin Sept. 1.

SKIP Ending Aug. 31, 2011

State funding for the State Kids Insurance Program (SKIP) will end on Aug. 31, 2011.

State employees who are covering their children in SKIP can now apply for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Children’s Medicaid. Both programs let employees pay reduced premiums for their children age 18 or younger.

On June 17, ERS sent a letter to current participants about SKIP’s ending. ERS does not manage enrollment or eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP. HHSC will contact participants about applying for CHIP or Children’s Medicaid. If you have questions, call HHSC toll-free at 877-543-7669 or visit www.chipmedicaid.org

If your children are approved for CHIP, you will have to drop their Texas Employees Group Benefits Program health coverage because they cannot be enrolled in the state’s health insurance and CHIP at the same time. If your children are approved after Annual Enrollment, it will be considered a qualifying life event and you will have 31 days to drop the coverage.

You can keep your CHIP-approved children enrolled in the state’s dental and dependent life coverage.

If you are a current SKIP participant and do not apply for CHIP or Children’s Medicaid, or if your children are not eligible for these programs, your children can continue their coverage in the state’s health insurance. However, you will pay significantly more for your children’s health insurance starting Sept. 1.

For more information, see the SKIP frequently asked questions on the ERS website.

Evidence of Insurability Applications Now Being Accepted

On June 1, Dearborn National began accepting evidence of insurability applications for Plan Year 2012 coverage. Applications for coverage to be added during Annual Enrollment must be postmarked no later than Aug. 5.

This year, during Annual Enrollment, evidence of insurability (also known as proof of good health) is not required for health coverage for employees and their dependents who are eligible for coverage under the ERS Group Benefits Program. This includes employees and dependents who are currently enrolled, not currently enrolled or change plans (from HealthSelect to an HMO or from an HMO to HealthSelect).

However, you will need to provide evidence of insurability if you plan to apply for or make changes to the following optional coverage:

To provide evidence of insurability, complete and fax to Dearborn National at 972-996-9371 an Evidence of Insurability application form as soon as possible to prevent a delay in coverage.

Note that you will not be able to add or change this coverage in ERS OnLine. If evidence of insurability is required, ERS OnLine will display a pop-up window when you attempt to add the affected coverage. These elections will be updated by Access HR once the approval is received from Dearborn National. This applies only to the affected coverage; all other elections must be entered into ERS OnLine.

If you have questions, contact the Access HR Service Center at 888-894-4747. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time.

Have You Heard from Aon Hewitt?

All ERS participants with dependents covered under health insurance should have received a request by now from Aon Hewitt, asking them to provide proof that their dependents are eligible.

If you don’t send the requested documents, your dependents will lose their health, dental, and life insurance.

If you have dependents covered in the state’s health insurance and you haven’t received any communication from Aon Hewitt, sign in to your ERS account to verify that your mailing and e-mail addresses are correct. You also can call Aon Hewitt toll-free at 800-987-6605 Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Time.

More information about the dependent audit is available on the ERS website.

Upcoming Retirement Presentations

More information about these and other ERS upcoming events is available on the ERS website.