University of Maine System To Retain Aetna Group Health Plan and Cap Out-Of-Pocket Prescription Drug Expenses at $1,500 for Participants Who Switch to Exchange Plans 

Responding to retiree and union concerns and resolving their legal challenges, UMS will commit to more options including the retention of the existing University-sponsored Aetna group health plan and a $1,500 cap on prescription drug expenses for retirees transitioning to an HRA-funded exchange-based plan administered by Aon 

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is responding to concerns expressed by retirees and UMS labor unions and resolving them by retaining options for both new exchange-based individual health plans and the current University-sponsored group health plan offered by Aetna for eligible retirees who feel they are better served by their existing coverage. In exchange for these commitments, three UMS unions and several retirees will withdraw their legal challenges to the retiree health changes. The existing supplemental group health plan has been in place since January 1, 2014, providing healthcare coverage and Medicare benefits for UMS’s 3,000 retirees and their spouses.

Retirees will still have the option of transitioning to marketplace exchange-based plans administered by Aon that may offer more flexible coverage options and better affordability.  These plans will continue to be supported by a University contribution into a Health Reimbursement Account of $2,100 for retirees and $800 for eligible spouses. Retirees transitioning to the new plans will also have the option to add protection for prescription drug coverage that caps out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications at $1,500 annually.  

“Many of our former employees and our bargaining units have engaged with the Board of Trustees over the last several weeks expressing both support for our existing group plan and concern that the individual exchange does not provide an affordable solution for everyone,” said James Erwin, Chair of the Board. “The Board has heard these concerns and commends Chancellor Dannel Malloy and his team for the options they have developed to provide coverage consistency and prescription drug protections for our retirees.”  

“The marketplace is changing, and we owe it to Maine’s taxpayers and the university community to find a better, more affordable way to meet the supplemental health insurance needs of our former employees. And we need to find that solution together,” said Chancellor Malloy. “In the upcoming year we will be retaining our group health plan while also providing new exchange-based options with prescription drug protections to make sure our commitment to retiree health coverage is met.”  

Summary of Options and Steps for Retirees Based on Enrollment Status

The University of Maine System will begin communicating today with retirees about their new options for supplemental insurance coverage starting January 1, 2021. Benefit specialists and a new retiree health insurance ombudsman will be available to assist retirees with questions. UMS will also be posting an instructional video to help explain the new options to its retiree population.

Actions retirees should consider include:

  • Enroll by December 7, 2020 in an Aon Retiree Health Exchange supported with an HRA contribution and a $1,500 limit on out-of-pocket for prescription expenses. Coverage begins January 1, 2021. Retirees who have already enrolled will also be able to take advantage of the $1,500 limit on prescription expenses;
  • Unenroll from an Aon Retiree Health Exchange plan by December 31, 2020 and remain enrolled in the University-sponsored Aetna group plan as of January 1, 2021; and,
  • Retirees who have not engaged with Aon can do nothing and be automatically renewed in the existing University-sponsored Aetna group plan as of January 1, 2021. 

Important Resources for UMS Retirees

Easy to Follow Infographic Link to Document

Beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2020 an instructional video will be available on the Employee Benefits Center website at   

UMS Employee Benefits Center — 1-207-973-3373

Aon Retiree Health Exchange — 1-833-704-1028 (TTY 711)