UMaine System To Retain Independent Retiree Health Insurance Ombudsman to Assist Retirees with Transition and Provide Reports to the Board

Forty-four percent of eligible employees enrolled as end of December deadline approaches

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is retaining an independent retiree health insurance ombudsman to assist retirees with the transition to a new supplemental medical and drug coverage through the Aon Retiree Health Exchange.  The impartial ombudsman will field inquiries from the 3,032 University of Maine System retirees and dependants eligible for supplemental coverage, ensure they are addressed, and make regular reports to the UMS Board of Trustees on the health coverage transition.

The ombudsman will be supported through a contract with a consortium of five area agencies on aging to access the Maine State Health Insurance Program, an independent and well-established health insurance assistance program providing information and support to Medicare-eligible Mainers.  The ombudsman is expected to be on board and communicating with retirees the week of November 24.

The UMS Board of Trustees received a briefing on the plan at its November 16 meeting.

Maintaining Purchasing Power of Health Reimbursement Accounts

The University of Maine System has committed to providing a contribution to a Health Reimbursement Account of $2,100 for retirees and $800 for spouses (and eligible Medicare dependents) starting in calendar year 2021.  Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Ryan Low informed the Board of Trustees that the UMaine System would be committing to maintaining the overall purchasing power of its contributions to HRAs through a biennial review and indexing process.

44% of Eligible Retirees Enrolled as End of December Deadline Approaches

Chancellor Malloy and the University of Maine System Board of Trustees are committed to providing university retirees with supplemental health insurance on top of their Medicare coverage that is cost effective and delivers value and flexibility for plan participants. To date 1,333 of the 3,032 eligible plan participants (44%) have made the transition to the Aon Retiree Health Exchange.

This enrollment activity and appointment engagement is updated regularly on a website set up to transparently track progress.

The existing University of Maine System retiree Medicare supplemental group plan will expire on December 31, 2020.

“Retiree Health Exchanges are a cost effective, flexible way to provide eligible retirees with supplemental Medicare insurance coverage,” said Ryan Low, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration for the University of Maine System.   “We are committed to this change. Participants in the expiring group retiree health plan are strongly encouraged to engage with Aon’s transition specialists to join the more than 1,300 retirees who have already enrolled in an individualized health exchange plan.”

Retirees who sign up with the Aon Retiree Health Exchange before December 31, 2020, will not face a lapse in coverage.  Retirees that act before a February 28, 2021 deadline will face a disruption in their retiree supplemental coverage.

Background and Communications with UMS Retirees / Stakeholders

UMS Website Tracking Transition to the AON Retiree Health Exchange, Updated Weekly

Chancellor Malloy’s Letter to Retirees and FAQS, October 9, 2020

Chancellor Malloy’s Letter to Maine Legislators, September 30, 2020

UMS Budget Context — $2.5 million in anticipated annual savings from transition

UMS Trustees Approve Final $550 Million Spending Plan, bridging $5.69 million shortfall and $2.25 million state curtailment amidst pandemic that has resulted in $80 million in unanticipated COVID expenses and lost revenue, October 28, 2020

Facts and Data on Medicare and Medigap Coverage in Maine:  Medicare in Maine

  • Medicare Advantage enrollment in Maine grows sharply, reaching 43% of beneficiaries

  • Maine has extensive consumer protections related to Medigap coverage