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Office of Administration Extends Retired State Employees Health Benefits Enrollment Period to March 21
Date:2/11/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Office of Administration today announced it has extended the enrollment deadline to March 21 for retired state employees to select a new medical plan. The new plans will become effective on May 1.

"We understand choosing a health care plan can be difficult, and we have heard retirees' requests for additional time to make careful decisions about their medical options," Secretary of Administration Naomi Wyatt said. "Therefore, we are providing another month for state retirees to choose the best medical plan for themselves."

Retirees qualifying for Medicare will continue to have three medical plan options to choose from: a Medicare health maintenance organization (HMO); a Medicare preferred provider organization (PPO); or a Medicare private fee-for-service plan. The latter plan is a new option that simply combines traditional Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare supplemental and major medical, which will result in reduced paperwork for retirees and, in most cases, fewer out-of-pocket expenses.

"The commonwealth, like other employers, is confronted with rising health care costs. These changes are necessary if we're going to combat health care-related costs, use taxpayer money cost-effectively, and continue to provide what will still be one of the most generous retiree health care plans in the country," Wyatt said.

Last September, the Office of Administration announced changes to the commonwealth Retired Employees Health Program that will preserve health care benefits for current and future retired state government employees.

"We are committed to continuing to provide a generous and comprehensive health care plan to our retirees," Wyatt said. "Some benefits will change, some health and wellness benefits will even be added -- but no benefits are being eliminated."

In just four years, the annual costs for the Retired Employees Health Program have increased 63 percent -- from $336 million to $550 million. Last year alone the commonwealth spent an average of $9,250 on health care benefits for each retiree.

Under the new plan, the commonwealth will reduce projected cost increases by $94 million annually.

State retirees who need assistance can call the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund's toll-free hotline at 1-800-522-7279, or can get information online at http://www.state.pa.us/retireehealth.

CONTACT:

Mia DeVane

(717) 772-4237


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Administration
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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