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Benefits Committee

The Benefits Committee monitors the medical plans for retirees, evaluates changes, and investigates alternatives where advantages may be gained.

A key part of the execution of this committee's responsibilities is through the support provided by the Purdue University Human Resource Services department that handles the communication, gathers additional vital data, and provides a focal point for problem resolution.

The committee also strives to keep retirees aware of additional University benefits and privileges and promotes program improvements where possible.

Questions concerning the PURA health care plan should be sent to Don Gentry, Chair, at dkgentry@purdue.edu

Purdue retirees and spouses are eligible for membership to this or any other PURA committee. Appointments are for a three-year term with membership limited to six consecutive years (two three-year terms). Anyone interested in joining this or any other committee should contact the committee chair.

Guidelines Utilized by the PURA Benefits Committee In Selecting a Health Insurance Plans and Provider

Medicare Senior Supplement Plan (PURcare):

  • Any Senior Supplement plan and provider of the insurance must be able to serve our PURA members wherever they live.
  • The plan must give complete freedom for the member to select any doctor or provider of health services that accept Medicare patients.
  • The plan must cover medical and prescription drugs.
  • Any prescription drug plan must cover any legal drug prescribed by a doctor.
  • The insurance company must have a good reputation for service in the industry.
  • The plan must cover emergency healthcare services while the member is traveling outside the United States.
  • The plan must have a market competitive premium with the lowest possible annual deductible rate and with no or very low co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs to the member.
  • The plan must be comprehensive with marketing advantages over off the shelf plans provided by the insurance company.

Medicare Advantage or Preferred Provider Organization Plan

  • The Plan and provider of the insurance should be able to serve our PURA members wherever they live in the State of Indiana.
  • The plan must cover medical and prescription drugs.
  • The insurance company must have a good reputation for service in the industry.
  • The plan must have a market competitive premium with competitive co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs to the member.

Learn more about the "Road to Retirement" here . . .

Purdue University Retirees Association Health Insurance Plans Are Renewed for 2015 with only a 5% premium increase

The Benefits Committee of the Purdue University Retirees Association (PURA) has renewed the PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO Health Insurance Plans with UnitedHealthcare (UHC) for 2015. Negotiations produced an overall 5% increase in the premium for the PURcare plan (Senior Supplement with Vision benefit and Part D Prescription coverage) and a 5% increase in the premium for the Medicare Advantage PPO plan by overcoming some major price increases - from the continuing impact of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, subsidy reductions from Medicare, and a surge in prescription drug costs.

There will be no changes in benefits of either plan.

PURcare, the Purdue sponsored Senior Supplement plus Part D plan, participated in by over 2200 Purdue Retirees, will continue for 2015 with the same medical/vision and prescription drug benefits as in 2014. The rise in the premium for the PURcare plan was totally driven by increases in drug costs and a Center for Medicare Services (CMS) requirement, put into place in 2013, that compelled maximum copays for retail and mail order drugs. This requirement resulted in a significantly richer benefit for our member (lowering prescription costs for many drugs). This change coupled with the utilization of several new and very expensive specialty drugs, often used to treat cancer, has driven our drug utilization costs up significantly.

PURcare drug premiums for 2013-14 did not keep pace with these added costs; during these two years, premiums plus co-pays did not cover the costs of the drug plan. To pay for these added costs for 2015, the premium for prescription drugs would have increased by 40% without some concessions from UHC. UnitedHealthcare will absorb the increased costs they had for 2013 and 2014 due to our contract and have agreed to make concessions on the increase of premiums for 2015-2017. UHC agreed to make these allowances due to the fact that they did not inform us of the potential cost changes when we negotiated 2014 so that we could have prepared our members for this increase; the fact that our drug costs for previous years was lower than expected trend costs; and the fact that they desired to keep our business as we have been good customers.

Despite these concessions, the premium of $94.69 is a 16% increase. But when coupled with a 0% increase for the supplement premium of $181.53, the resulting overall premium increase will be 5% over 2014, well below the industry trends. The PURcare total premium for medical/vision and prescription coverage for 2015 will be $276.22/member/month.

Even with this increase, the rate is only $1.70 per month higher than the rates we had for 2012 and lower than the 2010 premium by $6.34. We can expect increases in the Part D premium for the next two years until the premium plus the co-pays cover for the costs of the plan.

Members with Rx coverage from the Veterans Administration - for 2015 the PURcare supplement-only premium will continue to be $181.53/member/month.

The Medicare Advantage PPO Plan will have the same medical and prescription benefits as in 2014 with no change in co-pays or the Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum of $3000. The reduction of Medicare subsidies to these plans nationwide due to the Affordable Care Act and the major increases in some drug costs is totally responsible for any increase in premiums. The 5% increase is well below the industry trend and remains a good buy for our members. The reduction of subsidy from Medicare started last year and will continue until the plans are not subsidized by Medicare in the year of 2020. Good news, Purdue Retirees residing in any of the 92 counties in Indiana are now eligible to participate in this plan.

The Medicare Advantage PPO Plan will have the same medical and prescription benefits as in 2014 with no change in co-pays or the Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum of $3000. The reduction of Medicare subsidies to these plans nationwide due to the Affordable Care Act and the major increases in some drug costs is totally responsible for any increase in premiums. The 5% increase is well below the industry trend and remains a good buy for our members. The reduction of subsidy from Medicare started last year and will continue until the plans are not subsidized by Medicare in the year of 2020. Good news, Purdue Retirees residing in any of the 92 counties in Indiana are now eligible to participate in this plan.

For 2015, the premium will be $208.49/member/month.

New ID card for 2015 Medicare Advantage PPO
UnitedHealthcare is changing your plan number for 2015. This does not change your access to care. Members in this plan will receive a letter of explanation from UHC and a new 2015 member ID card.

Members enrolled in either of the retiree group plans who do not want to make a change: your coverage will automatically continue for 2015 – no re-enrollment. If you decide to terminate your Purdue Retiree group coverage for a non-Purdue plan, you will not be able to join again at a later time.

• The PURcare medical plan (UnitedHealthcare Senior Supplement), including vision care, will continue with the same benefits and with the same premium for 2015 of $181.53 per member per month as 2014. The medical premium has been down or stable for the past four years with the 2013 rate at $191.02 per member per month down from the $199.47 for 2012. We are really beating the national trend.

• The PURcare Prescription Drug coverage (Part D) continues with open formulary, no step therapy, and no “donut hole” for a rate of $94.69 per month per member. This means that any FDA approved drug prescribed by your doctor is covered. The reasons for the increase were explained earlier in this document. With these changes the committee found that the rates are very competitive when all costs are considered.

• For 2015 your share of prescription drug costs will remain at 50% for local pharmacies and 45% for mail orders with maximum co-pays. True-Out-of-Pocket maximum costs will be $4,550, which represents the Medicare-determined amount for the Standard Medicare Part D catastrophic threshold. Once this threshold is reached, prescription drugs are covered at 100% for the remainder of the year.

• Annual deductible for hospital/medical treatments will continue to be $300.00. After this level is reached, all Medicare-approved costs, including hospitalization, outpatient services, skilled nursing facility, home health care, and other benefits, will be covered at 100% for the remainder of the year, plus up to $150 per year for Vision care. • PURcare members must continue to be enrolled in both the medical and prescription drug plans to be eligible to participate in this plan. An exception is made for members with VA benefits for prescription coverage.

Special Notes from the Benefits Committee on frequently asked questions:

1. Medicare does not cover medical costs when you travel outside the US, but PURcare does. Please read information on this coverage in materials that you will receive from United Healthcare.

2. Most providers of vision care services do not file for insurance payments, so it is up to the member to file, utilizing the form provided by UnitedHealthcare. We recommend that you file your own claim even if the provider offers to file for you. If you have questions contact Kate LaMar.

3. While Medicare pays for many Home Health Care services, PURcare coverage provides an additional $5,000 per year for coverage of doctor-prescribed services. Please read the UHC material for more information or call Kate LaMar in Purdue Human Resources for assistance.

4. Females: Screening for cervical and vaginal cancers, including Pap tests and pelvic exams, are covered by Medicare Part B once every 24 months. Bone density tests are also covered by Medicare Part B once every 24 months, and mammograms are covered once every 12 months. Please check the time from your last procedure to make sure you are eligible. Males: PSA blood tests and digital rectal exams are covered by Medicare Part B once every 12 months. In each case, participants should make sure their doctors code the test correctly.

Veteran Administration Eligible Members:
For 2015, the PURcare medical-only premium will be $181.53 per month.

New UHC Account Executive representing UHC and continued service of Health Insurance Consultants:
The Benefits Committee worked with a new United Healthcare Account Executive, Lynn Groff, during the negotiation process. Lynn was very responsive to requests for data and information on a timely basis and was assisted by Vice President Greta Redmon in our discussions. In consultation with PURA, Purdue University continued the services of a consultant to assist the Benefits Committee in negotiations and in obtaining information needed to renew the insurance coverage. AonHewitt and Associates, Chicago, IL represented by Laurie Cooper and Rich Yurkowitz were of great assistance with the process. We appreciate the support of Purdue Human Resources in making this service available.

Purdue Human Resources Support Continues:
PURA members continue to receive outstanding support from Purdue Human Resources. We specifically rely on secretarial help from Michele Salla. Our full time support person for health insurance is Kate LaMar. Please phone or contact Kate with questions at klamar@purdue.edu or 765-494-1694.

Retirees Benefits Committee Update

Paying Your Insurance Premiums

Members of PURA Health Insurance plans may pay their premiums for the entire year, pay by the month or use automatic monthly bank debits for the premium payments, known as Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). EFT is highly recommended as a reliable and convenient way to make your premium payments. A member can change their method of payment anytime throughout the year. A large number of our members use this method and have experienced no problems. If you are interested in making a change in your payment method, contact Kate LaMar at 765-494-1694.

Purdue Human Resources Support

PURA members continue to receive outstanding support from Purdue Human Resources. We specifically rely on secretarial help from Michelle Salla. Our full time support person for health insurance is Kate LaMar. Please phone or contact Kate with questions at klamar@purdue.edu or 765-494-1694.        

SilverSneakers Fitness Program

A UnitedHealthcare Benefit for PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO Retirees

SilverSneakers is a fun, energizing program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and offering social events. SilverSneakers provides a fitness center membership to any participating location across the country. You can join a center close to where you live or at any participating location while you’re traveling.

Benefits Include:

  • Access to conditioning classes, exercise equipment, pools, sauna and other available amenities in participating centers
  • Customized classes
  • Health education seminars
  • Specially trained Program Advisors at fitness centers

Cordova Recreational Sports Center Open For Silversneakers

The wait is over! All PURA Health Insurance participants are now eligible to use the Cordova Recreational Sports Center at no charge.

To use the Cordova Recreational Sports Center either take your current Silversneakers card plus your Purdue ID, or, if you do not have a Silversneaker card, take you PURA United Healthcare medical card and your Purdue ID to the registration desk to get instructions on using the facility. If you do not have a Purdue ID, take a photo ID with you and the registration desk will put you in the system.

PURA and its over 2500 Health Insurance members participants are most appreciative to Purdue University and particularly thank Howard Taylor, Director of the CRSC for making this benefit available to our members.

Would you like to know more about SilverSneakers? 

To check out the benefits and locations, visit the web site, www.silversneakers.com .

Participating Fitness Centers in the Lafayette/West Lafayette Area:

  • Cordova Recreational Sports Center, Purdue University
  • A.H. Ismail Center, 800 W. Stadium Ave., West Lafayette
  • Club Newtone, 725 Sagamore Pkwy N., Lafayette
  • Lafayette Family YMCA, 1950 S. 18th St., Lafayette
  • Snap Fitness – Lafayette, 3830 State Rd. 26 E., Lafayette
  • Snap Fitness – West Lafayette, 2060 US 52, West Lafayette
  • Curves (women only), 441 Sagamore Pkwy., West Lafayette
  • Curves (women only), 2200 Elmwood Ave., Lafayette
  • Curves (women only), 3613 18th St., Lafayette
How do I start?

To participate or to just take a tour, take your UnitedHealthcare Medical Insurance card to a location of your choice.

If you are a member or want to see if you are eligible, please call:

Toll-free: 888-423-4632, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EST.
E-mail:  silversneakerswebcontact@healthways.com

Retirees on Purdue Health Plan, Purdue Health Plan Plus HSA 1 or Purdue Health Plan Plus HSA 2 Can Use Center for Healthy Living

Purdue’s new Center for Healthy Living opened Feb. 27 in the Purdue West Shopping Center at 1400 W. State St. The center serves benefits-eligible employees, retirees and their dependents covered on the Purdue Choice Fund, Purdue Incentive or Purdue Copay medical plans. Retirees must be covered by one of these three medical plans to be eligible to use the center. Retirees 65 and over with United Healthcare (PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO) are not eligible to use the services of the Center for Healthy Living at this time.

For more information about the center, including services, costs and hours, visit www.purdue.edu/healthyliving. For questions, call the center at 765-494-0111 or contact Purdue Human Resources at 765-494-2222.

ATTENTION FUTURE PURDUE RETIREES!

Are you concerned about Medical and Prescription Drug Insurance after you retire?

As you plan for your retirement the decision you make on Supplemental Medical and Prescription Drug health insurance will be one of your most important decisions.  There are lots of choices and if you are healthy now you may be tempted to buy the cheapest available plan.  However, we suggest that you consider that as you grow older your medical and drug needs will most likely increase—maybe exponentially.  The old adage of “pay me now or pay me later” applies here. Find out more about the Purdue retiree's group insurance plan, PURcare, here.

For more information for Purdue retirees visit
Purdue University's Human Resources' Benefit webpage.