Don’t Like Your Health Plan? October is the Time to Switch

Open-Enrollment

By GREGORY N. HEIRES

If you wish to change your health-care plan, now is the time to act.

The city’s annual health-care “reopener” runs from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31.

For city employees who change plans, coverage is effective on the date of their first paycheck in 2018.

Retirees can only change their plan in even-numbered years. But they are allowed to change plans in an odd-numbered year if they exercise a one-time exception to that rule.

Retiree alert! Beware of aggressive marketing

During the annual open enrollment period, retirees are inundated with material from insurance companies and other groups that administer Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental plans.

Edward W. Hysyk, executive vice president of the DC 37 Retirees Association, urged retirees to sit tight and be very cautious about changing their plan.

“The health-care coverage we receive from DC 37 is very comprehensive and affordable, so I would advise folks not to jump ship without talking to us or a DC 37 Health & Security staffer,” Hysyk said. “Our prescription drug benefit is excellent. I seriously doubt that many private-sector plans can match ours.”

The administrator of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, Willie Chang, echoed Hysyk’s concerns.

Chang noted that eligible retirees are reimbursed every year for their Medicare Part B premium contributions ($1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for families, on average). The association is fighting for uncovered members to receive the full benefit.

“Besides losing your Medicare Part B premium reimbursement from the city, you also will no longer enjoy the free coverage you get with a city plan. You also lose the DC 37 prescription drug benefit.”

To review the city’s plans, you should visit the NYC Health Benefits Program section of the Office of Labor Relations website at www1.nyc.gov.

Open enrollment for state workers begins Nov. 1

For state workers, the open enrollment period begins on Nov. 1 and ends on Jan. 31, 2018. But if you want your new coverage to start at the beginning of the year, you need to enroll in the new plan by Dec. 15

This article appeared in the October 2017 issue of Public Employee Press.

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