VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON RETIREE HEALTH CARE
Insurance and Medicare Supplement
Health insurance is an important part of retirement. If you are 65 or older when you retire, you will go onto Medicare when the insurance from your school district stops. If you are insured with the Blue Cross plans from Educators Health Alliance (EHA), you will receive a mailing from Blue Cross about 4-6 weeks before your insurance coverage ends giving you information on NSEA-Retired BlueSenior Classic Medicare Supplement with optional dental coverage. This is the ONLY Medicare supplement that is endorsed by NSEA-Retired and underwritten by Blue Cross. The mailing comes automatically from Blue Cross in a plain, white envelope with a green sticker on the front indicating that the envelope contains information about NSEA-Retired BlueSenior Classic. This is the only notice you will receive on our endorsed Medicare supplement. Fill out the forms that are in the envelope and return them by the deadlines listed in the mailing to enroll in NSEA-Retired BlueSenior Classic.
As you approach age 65, you will receive many mailings from insurance companies promoting their Medicare supplement products. Be careful! Blue Cross calls its general Medicare supplement "BlueSenior Classic." If you do not see the name NSEA-Retired BlueSenior Classic on the materials, and if you do not have the option to select dental coverage, it is not the supplement that NSEA-Retired endorses.
If you are not enrolled in an EHA plan when you turn 65, or if you selected COBRA coverage when you retired, you may enroll in NSEA-Retired BlueSenior Classic if you are a member of NSEA-Retired. You will need to call Blue Cross about 60 days before your insurance coverage ends to request that enrollment information be sent to you. Call Blue Cross at 1-800-562-6394 to request the enrollment information. Be sure to identify yourself as a member of NSEA-Retired to ensure that the proper forms are sent to you.
Since your EHA coverage ends on August 31 of the year that you retire, you will need to have your Medicare coverage start with an effective date of September 1 of that year. Your Medicare supplement should also begin coverage on September 1. You will also need to sign up for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit for Medicare, with a start date of September 1. The procedures that you need to follow to sign up for Medicare are outlined in Health insurance after you retire, a guide to post-retirement insurance options prepared by NSEA-Retired. CLICK HERE to download this useful guide.
If you are younger than 65 when you retire, you have the option of continuing your EHA coverage as a direct-bill, early-retiree subscriber. The forms explaining the insurance options available to you will be sent automatically by Blue Cross about 4-6 weeks before your coverage ends -- for most individuals, this will be in mid-July, since your coverage through your school district typically ends on August 31 of the year you retire. Fill out the forms and return them by the deadline listed in the mailing to be sure that your coverage will begin on time.
In order to participate in EHA early-retiree coverage, you must also be a Special Services member of NSEA. The fees for NSEA Special Services are determined by your membership status when you retire. If you retire as an NSEA member, your Special Services fees will include NSEA-Retired annual dues unless you are a life member of NSEA-Retired. You can become a life member of NSEA-Retired at any time during your teaching career to avoid the annual retired dues payment. Click on the JOIN NOW link at the top of this web page to enroll now as a life member of NSEA-Retired. Special Services fees only last as long as you need early-retiree coverage -- typically until age 65.
Individuals who are married when they retire may select two single retiree policies (one for each spouse) rather than retiree-and-spouse coverage. Both individuals must pay Special Services fees in order to have two single policies. The premiums for two single policies are lower than for retiree-and-spouse coverage. It is less expensive to enroll with two single policies when you retire, even after paying Special Services fees for both individuals.
Additional information about the three early-retiree coverage options available from EHA is featured on the main web page for NSEA-Retired. The handouts from the early-retiree seminars that NSEA-Retired holds each year are on that page and can be downloaded and viewed for more complete information.
If you have questions about how to sign up for our Medicare supplement, be sure to call Blue Cross at 1-800-562-6394 to get help. If you call the general Blue Cross number on the back of your membership card, you will not be connected to service representatives who have knowledge of our Medicare supplement.