You are here: Retiree Medical Transition to Medicare Exchange

American University, Washington DC

September 13, 2019

Dear American University Retiree:

American University is proud to support the wellness of our retired faculty and staff and providing comprehensive health insurance to retirees is among our highest priorities. We recognize the importance of health care coverage and one of the ways that we demonstrate our commitment is to provide you with access to comprehensive medical, prescription drug, and dental benefits. The university is taking steps to improve retiree benefits based on feedback that we received. We are pleased to announce changes that are responsive to the feedback and will provide our retirees with greater choices and more affordable options.

Over the last few years, the cost of health care has continued to increase faster than the rate of inflation, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs for medical plan premiums (including Medicare coverage), co-pays, and deductibles. We have received feedback from our retirees that the cost of maintaining coverage is becoming challenging on their budgets, especially when a retiree is also paying insurance premiums for their spouse and possibly other eligible dependents.

To address these concerns, the university worked with the University Benefits Advisory Project Team, comprised of AU faculty, staff, and emeritus faculty, and outside Benefit Consultants, to explore and evaluate options for maintaining comprehensive retiree health care benefits that are also more cost effective. As a result, we are pleased to share some changes to the way AU will provide medical benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees and their Medicare-eligible dependents. Medicare-eligible individuals are those who are retired and at least 65 years of age.

After an extensive assessment, the university will transition Medicare-eligible medical benefits to a Private Medicare Exchange provided through Mercer. The Private Exchange is called Mercer Marketplace 365+ RetireeSM, provided by Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, LLC. There are many benefits to retirees in a Private Medicare Exchange, and it has become widely adopted by higher education institutions in recent years.

Benefits include:

  • additional benefit plan choices and improved value;
  • flexibility to select a plan that best fits individual healthcare needs and budgets; and
  • access to expert advisory support to find the right medical coverage and to navigate medical benefit matters.

The Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree offers more options, more affordable choices and in many cases, lower costs than in AU’s current group plan. In addition, retirees will receive ongoing support with a certified benefit consultant at no cost. Currently, AU retirees have a choice of three insurance plans – CareFirst, Kaiser, and AARP Medigap. It is important to note that Kaiser and AARP are available in the exchange and that there are many choices for current CareFirst participants.

Effective January 1, 2020:

  • If you have Medicare supplemental group insurance through CareFirst or Kaiser, your coverage ends on December 31, 2019. AU will partner with Mercer Marketplace 365+ to help you select coverage that best meets your personal situation through the Private Medicare Exchange.
  • If you have coverage with AARP United Healthcare, you can remain with your current plan or you can enroll in a new medial, prescription drug, and/or dental plan through the Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree. Their benefits counselors can help you to select coverage that best meets your personal situation.
  • Some retirees currently receive a subsidy from AU. The university will now fund a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account for you. The HRA funding will be comparable to the premium subsidy those retirees have been receiving and can be used to pay for monthly premiums and qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree will administer the benefits plan and provide decision, enrollment education and ongoing benefit counseling support to retirees through the Private Exchange.

The week of September 16, Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree will be sending a personalized letter and Benefit Enrollment Guide to your home that will confirm your eligibility to transition to the Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree program and provide important information in order to participate. If you have a Medicare-eligible dependent they will receive their own welcome kit.

We encourage you to review the information that you receive and to attend one of the scheduled seminars, Transition your Retiree Medical to a Private Medicare Exchange, presented by Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree and AU on October 3rd and 8th:

  • October 3rd – 9 am, 11 am, 4 pm, 6 pm in the Butler Boardroom
  • October 8th – 10 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm in the Butler Boardroom

Your family members or caregivers are welcome to attend. Please RSVP for any of the sessions or to arrange a one-on-one session with a Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree Benefits Counselor by calling 1-855-871-0436. The sessions will be recorded for easy access in the event you are unable to attend.

If you have any questions regarding this transition, please contact the American University Retirement Team in HR at 202-885-3400, email myBenefits@american.edu or contact Marketplace 365+ Retiree at 1-855-871-0436.

We recognize the enormous value of the contributions you have made over many years at American University. We appreciate your service and are committed to supporting you through this transition and continuing to provide high-quality health coverage.

Sincerely,

Beth Muha
Assistant Vice President of Human Resources

BEP Transition Timeline
Key Steps Action

September 13, 2019

AU announces the transition of retiree medical coverage to a Private Medicare Exchange to eligible faculty and staff.

Beginning September 13, 2019

American University Retirement Team in HR and Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree counselors are available to talk with retired faculty and staff.

Week of September 16, 2019

Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree mails personalized letters and benefit guides to homes of eligible retired faculty and staff.

Beginning September 30, 2019

Begin contacting Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree at 1-855-871-0436 to schedule a one-on-one telephonic consultation and RSVP to participate in the on-campus seminar.

October 3 & 8, 2019

AU and Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree host Transitioning Retiree Medical Coverage to Private Medicare Exchange educational seminar sessions on AU campus.

  • October 3 - 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m.
  • October 8 - 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.

All sessions held in the Butler Boardroom. Spouses and caregivers are invited.

October 15 - December 7, 2019

Retiree explore plans options through the Exchange with Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselor.

November 1, 2019

Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree sends enrollment reminders to eligible retired faculty and staff.

No later than December 7, 2019

Retirees enroll in plan through the Exchange.
January 1, 2020 Begin coverage through Exchange if you enroll by December 7 deadline.
December 31, 2020 Deadline for filing medical, prescription and/or dental claims incurred during calendar year 2019 through CareFirst, Express Scripts and Delta Dental.

Resources

Happy senior couple sitting on a bridge in a forest

For More Information

  • For questions regarding this transition, please contact the American University Retirement Team in HR at 202-885-3400 or email myBenefits@american.edu
  • For information about the Private Medicare Exchange, plan options, or to RSVP for the information sessions, contact Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree at 1-855-871-0436.

Information Sessions

Transition your Retiree Medical to Private Medicare Exchange

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Butler Boardroom
9 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Butler Boardroom
10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.

Your family members or caregivers are welcome to attend. Please RSVP for any of the sessions or to arrange a one-on-one session with a Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree Benefits Counselor by calling 1-855-871-0436.

The sessions will be recorded for easy access in the event you are unable to attend.