Friday, June 7, 2019

Runaway Train on Retiree Health Care

We have noted previously on this blog that there is a move to change retiree health care on January 1, 2020. The change - alleged to save $40 million - cannot be minor, given the magnitude of the supposed saving. It would essentially scrap the existing non-Kaiser offerings and substitute a "Medicare Advantage Plan" under which eligibility for services would not be determined, as it is now, by Medicare. Eligibility for services would instead by determined by whatever private insurance carrier is selected. UC would switch from self-insurance (with the carrier as administrator) to full insurance by the carrier. Thus, the private carrier would have full incentive to reduce eligibility.

Note that for such a change to be made on January 1, 2020, planning for open enrollment and other administrative requirements must start essentially now. These requirements would include bargaining with the relevant UC unions (that are now aware of this process). State law requires such bargaining before implementation. Apparently, the Regents are not being informed since the matter is not on the agenda of the Health Services Committee of the Regents which meets June 11 and, again, the clock is ticking for all the administrative and legal requirements to be met. If the Health Services Committee is not going to review the proposed plan, presumably the full Board of Regents won't review it either at the July meeting. There then wouldn't be another Regents meeting until September, by which point discussion would be moot, given the time constraints.

The following emailed message was circulated to a wide audience of UCLA emeriti, retirees, and others. Further action at the Senate level is a possibility:


Sent on behalf of Sue Abeles, president, UCLA Retirees Association and Ron Mellor, president, UCLA Emeriti Association

Dear Colleagues: 

We are sharing another update on the health benefits issue.  This past week, the Presidents of CUCRA (Council of UC Retirees Associations) and CUCEA (Council of UC Emeriti Associations) received a response to their May 20, 2019 letter to President Napolitano.  

The response was sent by Executive Vice President--Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff to the President, Rachael Nava. According to the letter, the newly formed Advisory Committee will be meeting on June 12 and June 17 to review the options related to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Medicare Advantage PPO.  

The response from Executive Vice President Nava indicates that an email address has been set up where comments and concerns may be sent to the new Advisory Committee. The email address is  

If you have not already done so, we urge you to make your concerns known directly to the Advisory Committee prior to their upcoming meetings next week.  You may also wish to send the Committee any correspondence that you previously sent to President Napolitano.  

Executive Vice President Nava's response also includes a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) to provide further information regarding the RFP.  The full text of the letter from Executive Vice President Nava and the FAQ's are available at the link below.


Sue Abeles
President, UCLA Retirees Association

Ron Mellor
President, UCLA Emeriti Association

*Editorial Note: FAQ stands for "Frequently Asked Questions." One might ask how questions could be asked frequently given the hidden nature of the process. Who asks questions frequently about something they haven't heard about?

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