PEBB and SEBB members: Prepare for open enrollment
Open enrollment is coming soon. It is your opportunity to select health plans that best fit your needs and those of your family.
It is important to take steps to prepare and research your plan options and their costs. Whether you’re selecting a new plan or staying with your current plan, we’ve put together some tips to help you feel confident that you are making the best decision.
Know when open enrollment begins and ends
- SEBB Program open enrollment is Monday, October 30 through Monday, November 20.
- PEBB Program open enrollment is Wednesday, November 1 through Thursday, November 30.
Review important changes to plans
Many medical plan premiums are increasing significantly for 2024. Retirees: Read the important information from the PEBB Program about the retiree premiums.
Why are premiums increasing?
- Kaiser Permanente plans: Nearly all Kaiser Permanente plans are seeing double- or triple-digit percentage increases for 2024 premiums. This change is not limited to the PEBB and SEBB Programs. Kaiser rates are also increasing on the Washington individual market and nationwide.
- UMP Classic Medicare: UMP Classic is experiencing a higher rate increase and remains significantly more expensive than other PEBB Medicare retiree plan options. This is because Medicare Advantage and Part D plans receive federal revenue that UMP Classic doesn’t qualify for. The 2024 premiums are influenced by a 17 percent decrease in UMP Classic Medicare enrollment that occurred during the 2023 open enrollment. The average projected per-member monthly cost of claims increased for the members who remained in the plan. High prescription drug costs also continue to be a significant factor in plan costs and premium increases.
Forms, PEBB My Account, and SEBB My Account availability
Retiree forms to make changes will be available on our website in mid-October. Employee and continuation coverage forms, PEBB My Account and SEBB My Account will be available the date open enrollment begins. (Employees are encouraged to use PEBB My Account or SEBB My Account to make changes.) Note: University of Washington, Washington State University, and Pierce County employees must use Workday.
Check that providers are in-network
Whether you want to stay with your current plan or switch to a new one, it’s important to confirm your current doctors and preferred hospitals and clinics are in-network. Even if they have been previously, it’s worth your time to check they still are, as this can change from year to year.
- More information to help you make decisions, including premiums, plan comparisons, and virtual benefits fairs, will be available on our website September 29.
- Retirees: Your personalized open enrollment letter will mail October 2.
- SEBB’s October edition of the Intercom newsletter will mail October 10.
- PEBB’s October edition of the For Your Benefit newsletter will mail October 13.
- Retiree forms to make changes will be available on our website in mid-October. Employee and continuation coverage forms, PEBB My Account and SEBB My Account will be available the date open enrollment begins. (Employees are encouraged to use PEBB My Account or SEBB My Account to make changes.) Note: University of Washington, Washington State University, and Pierce County employees must use Workday.
- We are hosting 15 in-person benefits fairs across Washington State. More information, including locations, times, and presentation schedules will be available on our website September 29. Dates and cities for the in-person fairs are:
- November 1: Vancouver and Spokane
- November 2: Centralia and Cheney
- November 3: Olympia/Lacey and Pullman
- November 6: Bellingham and Pasco
- November 7: Everett and Yakima
- November 8: Shoreline/Seattle and Ellensburg
- November 9: Tacoma/Lakewood
- November 14: Port Angeles and Bremerton
HCA is working with retirees to understand their needs when it comes to plans and communications. Learn more about retiree engagement and read the important information to our retirees from the PEBB Program.
Actions we are taking to address rising UMP Classic Medicare premiums
We are working hard to address retiree concerns about the affordability of UMP Classic Medicare. Over the past year HCA’s actions include:
- HCA senior leaders met with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator. We also sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation about the federal limits and impacts of UMP Classic Medicare not being eligible for valuable federal subsidies.
- Presented the PEB Board with an analysis on specific pharmacy benefit change ideas suggested by retirees in April 2023. We reviewed ideas including changing pharmacy cost shares to copays, doubling the annual pharmacy out-of-pocket maximum to $4,000, and creating a separate drug tier for high-cost specialty drugs. All these ideas were shown to either have no impact or increase overall costs for more than 95 percent of PEBB retirees (after taking into account the resulting increased costs of filling prescriptions).
- Performed a nationwide survey of public retiree Medicare offerings and presented to the PEB Board on June 8, 2023. Only a small number of states offer retiree plans similar to UMP Classic Medicare — but all of those plans have different benefit levels (such as, some do not include vision or hearing aid coverage, some have a Medicare Part D drug formulary, and some have no prescription coverage).
- Began analyzing the impacts if future UMP Classic Medicare drug coverage were changed to Medicare Part D coverage. There is no proposal or recommendation at this time. The PEBB Program will review the impacts on plans and on member finances, as well as formulary impacts, and present information to the PEB Board for their consideration throughout the 2024 Board season.
- Started drafting a legislative report about the 2023 retiree listening sessions and plan options for the Medicare portfolio. The report is due to the Legislature on December 1, 2023. It will be available on HCA’s website in December and presented to the PEB Board at the February 2024 Board meeting.