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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 . . .

Health Insurance Plans Renewed for 2014 with Great News!

For the Third Year PURcare Health Insurance (Senior Supplement plan) Premiums Are Lower

The Benefits Committee of the Purdue University Retirees Association has renewed the PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO Health Insurance plans with UnitedHealthcare (UHC) for 2014 and has negotiated an overall lower premium for the PURcare plan and a very market competitive rate increase in the premium for the Medicare Advantage or PPO plan, overcoming some major price increases resulting from the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

PURcare, the Purdue Retirees Association’s Senior Supplement health plan participated in by over 2,100 Purdue Retirees, will continue for 2014 with the same medical, vision and prescription drug benefits as in 2013, but for a lower premium than paid in 2013. The Medicare Advantage PPO plan will have the same benefits and co-pays as in 2013 with a premium increase driven totally by mandates from the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Please see the later explanation of why this is a reasonable increase.

Through the expertise of AonHewitt Consulting, paid for by Purdue University; the support of the Purdue Human Resources Department; the desire of United Healthcare to continue to serve our members; and the hard work of the Retirees Benefits Committee members, our premiums are set at very competitive rates as compared to other health insurance plans. Over the past several months the Benefits Committee reviewed plans from many other health insurance companies and received health care utilization information on our plans from UnitedHealthcare. This background and information was used to negotiate our continued coverage with UHC at very competitive premium rates.

For the PURcare Senior Supplement plan, the negotiators needed to overcome many price changes that were mandated by the Federal Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Beginning in 2014, an insurer's fee (tax) of 2.3% is assessed on all health insurance premiums. The fee will be used by the federal government to assist in funding the State Insurance Exchanges for individuals without health insurance. The rates also included a premium tax increase from 1.3% to 1.75%. An additional charge of $.17 per member per month was mandated by the federal government to fund a Patient Centered Outcomes Institute. All of these charges were overcome without raising the combined premium for the PURcare Senior Supplement and Prescription Drug plan. This was made possible by some very favorable reductions in claim costs by our members and the size of our pool. Examples are: as a group we increased the usage of generic drugs versus brand name drugs, we had fewer hospital admits per thousand members and fewer days spent in the hospital, our number of visits to the emergency room were reduced and inpatient skilled nursing days as well as outpatient surgeries were down.

In summary, we were a healthier group during 2012, the year that was used to determine rates for 2014. We hope that members will utilize healthcare services when needed but we propose that we all make full utilization of preventive healthcare services such as wellness screening, flu shots and Silver Sneakers. These services cost much less than healthcare services once you are sick.

For the PPO Medicare Advantage Plan, the negotiators needed to overcome the same additional costs that were included in the Senior Supplement plan, with the exception of the state tax which is not applied to these plans. We were also faced with a 4.6% reduction in subsidies from Medicare for all Medicare Advantage programs mandated by the Affordable Care Act. This reduction in support is expected to continue over the next several years until the premiums cover the cost of the plan. Also the new insurer’s fee of 2.3% is not only applied to the premium but also to the un-reimbursed subsidy from Medicare for the program. The insurer’s fee alone totals $21.21 per member per month. All insurance providers will be faced with the same insurer’s fee.  The reduced support from Medicare coupled with the large increase from the insurer’s fee made for the premium increase of $11.16 per member per month for 2014. The monthly premium per member will be $197.12.   Note that the increase does not even cover the increased charges for the insurer’s fee; therefore we did get a benefit for our reduced health care claims for the previous year. The premium is still very competitive when compared to other similar plans, especially considering there is no change to co-pays or out-of-pocket maximum.

If you are currently a member of one of our plans and do not want to make a change, your coverage will continue for 2014 without re-enrollment.

PURcare for 2014:

• The PURcare medical plan (UnitedHealthcare Senior Supplement), including vision care, will continue with the same benefits as 2013 but with a lower premium of $181.53 per member per month. The 2013 premium was $191.02 per member per month, down from $199.47 for 2012. We are really beating the national trend of about 4% annual increases.

• The PURcare Prescription Drug coverage (Part D) continues with open formulary, no step therapy, and no “donut hole” for a rate of $81.41 per member per month. The premium for 2013 was $77.30 per member per month up from $75.05 in 2012.  Our increased usage of generic drugs helped us beat the industry standard expected increase of 7-10%. Members will continue to benefit from Medicare imposed rules on maximum co-pays for four different tiers of drugs.

• For 2014 your share of prescription drug costs will remain at 50% for local pharmacies and 45% for mail orders. True-Out-of-Pocket maximum costs will be $4,550, down from $4,750 in 2013, which represents the Medicare-determined amount for the Standard Medicare Part D catastrophic threshold. Once this catastrophic threshold is reached, prescription drugs are covered at 100% for the remainder of the year.

• Annual deductible for hospital/medical services 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.

Per person total monthly premium for medical and prescription drug coverage for 2014 will be $262.94 down from $268.32 for 2013 which was down from $274.52 for 2012.

Veteran Administration Eligible Members:
The PURcare medical-only premium will be will be $181.53 per month down from $191.02 in 2013.

2014 Medicare Advantage PPO plan:
The Purdue sponsored Medicare Advantage plan, UnitedHealthcare® Group Medicare Advantage (PPO) was also renewed for 2014.  The premium will be $197.12 per member per month with no change in covered benefits or co-pays from 2013. This premium covers a combined medical and drug plan. This is an excellent rate when one considers that the 2.3% insurer’s fee is included in the premium and that Medicare reduced their subsidy for Medicare Advantage Plans starting in 2014.

Health Insurance Consultant Continued for PURA by Purdue University:
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 was of great assistance. We appreciate the support of Purdue Human Resources in making this service available.

Purdue Human Resources Support Continues:
All members of any Purdue Retirees Association Health Insurance plan pay a small portion of their premium ($1.44) each month to support a full time staff person in Human Resources to assist our members with health insurance enrollment and claims issues. PURA members continue to receive outstanding support from Purdue Human Resources and we thank them. 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. We also receive excellent secretarial help from Michelle Salla.

Retirees Benefits Committee Update

Vision Care Claims Process

The PURcare Benefit Plan provides vision benefits in addition to those included with your medical
coverage. When you enroll in the UnitedHealthcare® Senior Supplement plan, you will have access to a
$150 allowance per calendar year for routine eye exams and eyewear. Read more . . .

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:

  • Club Newtone, 725 Sagamore Pkwy N., Lafayette
  • Cordova Recreational Sports Center, Purdue University
  • 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
  • A.H. Ismail Center, 800 W. Stadium Ave., 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.

Purdue retirees applaud retiree medical plans, according to survey

A July 2011 survey of PURA retiree health insurance participants yielded high levels of satisfaction with both the PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO plans. More than 90 percent of the 300 respondents indicated satisfaction with these insurance plans; 92 percent agreed that the plans are a best buy; and 99 percent indicated they intended to stay in these plans for the foreseeable future. Read more . . ..

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.