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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • State retirees informed of health benefits

  • Retirees from State of Illinois agencies, Universities and Community Colleges and teaching districts around the immediate area heard a presentation Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Southeastern Illinois College regarding deadlines for filing for Medicare and other pension benefits.
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  • Retirees from State of Illinois agencies, Universities and Community Colleges and teaching districts around the immediate area heard a presentation Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Southeastern Illinois College regarding deadlines for filing for Medicare and other pension benefits.
    The program was informative and aimed at those already retired or nearing retirement. The Illinois Department of Central Management Services administers the state's retirement or pension program.
    Presented Thursday was an explanation of benefits under TRAIL or Total Retiree Advantage Illinois program. A new hotline for the program became operational in late November. The phone number is 1-800-610-2091 and is available 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the open enrollment period. Members may leave a message and the staff will call them back if busy at the time of the call. The CMS website address is:
    www.cms.illinois.gov/thetrail
    A 40-minute video seminar similar to the one offered at SIC is available on the site.
    John Weir, president of American Federal State County and Municipal Employees Union Retirees Sub Chapter 55 representing Pope, Hardin, Gallatin and Saline Counties said Thursday that negotiations between the state and the union reached an agreement in February that changed the way state retirees would receive health care.
    Under the new Medicare Advantage Program state retirees who were receiving health care benefits from the state and also Medicare will now be grouped with all the retirees receiving health care benefits under one plan.
    Due to the size of this larger group the state expected to gain bargaining advantages that would save the state significant money when the contracts were put out for bid, Weir said.
    The state did bid out the contract and ended up awarding it to four insurance companies around the state. The company serving Saline, Gallatin, Pope and Hardin counties is United Healthcare PPO, Weir said.
    That company sent representatives to the meeting at SIC and made its own presentation.
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