Information for Pre-Medicare Retirees

2022 Information for Pre-Medicare Retirees


The way you receive your retiree healthcare coverage will change beginning January 1, 2022. The intent of this transition is to maintain providing you with coverage options that are accessible, affordable, and comprehensive, and stems from our recognition of the importance of healthcare coverage. 

UVA’s decision to make this change reflects two important considerations:

  • Since 2014, plan participation by pre-Medicare retirees has steadily decreased from 540 participants to 204 today. And, while participation in the UVA Retiree Health plan decreased, the marketplace for pre-Medicare insurance has expanded to establish additional protections for people with preexisting conditions; it also now includes required coverage of essential health benefits in individual policies, and has introduced marketplace premium and cost-sharing subsidies.

  • Retirees are currently paying more in monthly premiums than the COBRA equivalency rate for active employees; in short, the coverage is becoming unaffordable for some retirees, which has been voiced as a concern by pre-Medicare retirees over the past couple of years. Continuing with the existing plan would have resulted in a significant increase in premiums for 2022. 

Upcoming Changes:

You must choose a marketplace or alternative plan because your current UVA Health and Dental Plan Retiree Group coverage for you and your covered dependents will end on December 31, 2021. The medical insurance coverage you choose will replace your existing medical coverage, and will be effective January 1, 2022, but only if you take the appropriate actions. 

Actions You Should Take

  1. Review your enrollment guide. This information, which was mailed to you, provides you with what you need to know about your individual medical and prescription drug plan options and the enrollment process. 
  2. Schedule your consultation with a Mercer benefits counselor. They will explain your new health insurance options and assist you with enrolling in new health insurance that best meets your needs and budget. You may schedule your consultation with a Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselor in one of two ways: 
  • Visit the Mercer Marketplace website at any time to schedule your consultation.     
  • Call the contact center at 1-855-429-8822, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m ET to schedule your consultation. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals should dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service. 

What is Mercer Marketplace

Mercer Marketplace 365+SM* Retiree, a partner of the UVA Retiree Health Benefits Program, provides access to affordable, comprehensive medical plan options for pre-Medicare and Medicare-eligible retirees. Within the new Mercer Marketplace 365+ structure, you can choose from a comprehensive menu of individual insurance plans across the country, and you can enjoy the comfort and familiarity of well-known insurance carriers that provide a variety of options.

Mercer is dedicated to simplifying healthcare insurance options and helping you feel confident that your choice meets your unique needs and budget. In the marketplace, you'll find a comprehensive menu of individual insurance plans across the country, providing you with the comfort and familiarity of well-known insurance carriers that provide a variety of options.

You can choose from:

  • Medicare Supplement Plans
  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Pre-Medicare Individual Plans
  • Prescription Drug Plans
  • Dental
  • Vision

How You Benefit

If you choose to contact Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree, you will have:

  • Access to one-on-one help from a licensed Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselor
  • The opportunity to enroll in medical, prescription drug, dental, and vision benefits
  • Multiple options to choose from and you may choose coverage that best meets your individual health needs• Access to Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselors year-round to answer any benefit questions
  • The potential to reduce your health insurance costs
  • The ability to review your health insurance coverage annually through Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree
  • A team of benefits counselors who will serve as your ongoing advocates.

How Does the Mercer Marketplace Differ from the Affordable Care Act Exchange?

The ACA (Affordable Care Act) Exchange is a state-based or federal government-sponsored exchange that offers health care plans from a variety of insurance carriers who are contracted with the either a state or the federal government. These plans are considered ‘On-Exchange’ plans.

Some insurance carriers offer other plans that are not offered through a state-based or the federal ACA Exchange. These plans are referred to as Off-Exchange plans.

Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree is a private exchange that offers Off-exchange health care plans through a variety of insurance carriers who are contracted directly with Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree. By working through Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree private exchange, individuals have the opportunity to shop and compare both On- and Off-exchange health care plans through a variety of insurance carriers. If the individuals elects to enroll in an Off-exchange plan through Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree, the Mercer benefits counselor will be able to assist the individual with completing the Enrollment process. If the individual elects to enroll in an On-exchange plan, in many cases the Mercer benefits counselor will be able to assist the individual with completing the enrollment process. In instances where the Mercer benefits counselor is unable to assist the individual in completing the enrollment process, the Mercer benefits counselor will be able to provide direction on what the individual will need to do to complete the enrollment process on their own.

Resources to Support You

  • On-Demand Webinar

    Located online, this webinar will discuss the transition and your insurance choices. View it on the Mercer Marketplace website. From the home page, click on “Webinar” in the navigation bar at the top and follow the instructions for viewing the webinar. 

  • Plan Comparisons

    To shop and compare individual plan options through Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree, access the Mercer Marketplace website. Through this site, you will be able to review individual insurance plan information and compare your options.

    Plan shopping is easy when you follow these steps: 

    1. On the main landing page, scroll down to “PRE-MEDICARE” and select “Shop and Compare Pre-Medicare Plans.”   

    2. Once you are ready to review your options, click “Get Started” toward the bottom of the page. 

    3. Click on the “START SHOPPING” button and you will then be asked to select from a list of options as to why you are seeking coverage. Click on the “Lost Coverage” option. 

    4. You will be asked to enter your zip code and the date of birth for yourself as well as any other pre-Medicare dependents in your household.  

    5. If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for tax credits, you can select the size of your household and your projected household income for 2022. 

    NOTE: Enter the information for the person in your household who has retired from UVA if he or she is pre-Medicare; otherwise, enter the information of the member of your household who is pre-Medicare.  

    You will use this information to access the plan-shopping site until you are prompted to create an account using your email address and a password of your choice. After creating your account, you will use your email address and password to log in moving forward. 

      

  • Mercer Marketplace Benefits Counselors

    Schedule an appointment to speak with one of the Mercer benefits counselors by calling 1.855.429.8822.  

  • UVA Benefits Counselors

    You may call UVA Human Resources at 434.243.3344 and ask to speak with a UVA benefits counselor about the transition to Mercer 365 Exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is my health insurance changing?

    The University of Virginia is changing the way it provides retiree healthcare coverage. Your current group health plan coverage will end on December 31, 2021. You will need to choose a new plan through Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree that is effective January 1, 2022 to ensure you have the coverage you need going forward.

  • Why is my health insurance changing?

    UVA is committed to providing access to affordable, comprehensive, medical and prescription drug and dental benefits. The new UVA Retiree Health Benefits Program allows you and your currently enrolled dependents to continue to receive quality care through a variety of comprehensive healthcare coverage options. You will have multiple insurance plans from which to choose the one that best meets your individual needs. Depending on your income, you may also have access to federal tax health credits including federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies.

  • WHAT IS MY DEADLINE TO ENROLL IN A NEW PLAN THROUGH MERCER MARKETPLACE 365+ RETIREE?

    To avoid a gap in coverage, you must enroll in your new Mercer Marketplaces plan before your current coverage ends. To ensure you have coverage on January 1, 2022 and beyond, you must enroll no later than December 31, 2021. You will not be able to enroll retroactively in coverage.

  • HOW CAN I OBTAIN HELP ENROLLING IN MY NEW HEALTH INSURANCE?

    To help you find the plan that best fits your needs and budget, the University of Virginia has contracted with Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree to guide you through the process of enrolling in your new coverage from beginning to end. Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree will be your single point of contact for healthcare insurance issues — before, during and after the transition to your new healthcare plan.

  • WHEN CAN I BEGIN THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS WITH MERCER MARKETPLACE 365+ RETIREE?

    Your enrollment period runs from November 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. As of September 20, 2021, you have access to Mercer’s website where you can view an educational webinar about your insurance choices or “Shop & Compare” medical plans.

  • WILL I BE REQUIRED TO CHOOSE A NEW DOCTOR?

    It depends on the health insurance strategy that you choose. Individual healthcare plans offer narrower provider networks. Your Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselor will review the plans you have available in your zip code and determine if your doctor(s) are included in the provider networks. You may also call your doctor to confirm the plans in which they are a participating provider.

  • HOW DO I ENROLL IN MY NEW HEALTH INSURANCE?

    You will receive an enrollment kit in the mail from Mercer Marketplace 365” Retiree. It will detail the process you should use to schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Mercer benefits counselor who will walk you through the entire decision-making process and help you choose the coverage that best meets your needs and budget. The kit will also provide you with ways to prepare for your consultation.

  • HOW LONG WILL THE APPOINTMENT WITH MY MERCER BENEFITS COUNSELOR LAST?

    In general, you’ll spend about 60 to 90 minutes on the phone speaking with your Mercer benefits counselor. The length of the call will depend on whether you enroll that day or want to include a family member or caregiver, or a power of attorney on the call. The length of your appointment will also depend on how much preparation you wish to do in advance.

    Remember, your Mercer benefits counselor is an excellent resource and will take as much time on the phone or in a future conversation as you need to feel comfortable with your enrollment decision. If you go online to the Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree website prior to your consultation to enter your prescription drugs, your appointment could be much shorter. See the checklist in this Enrollment Guide for details on how to prepare for your call.

  • IF I NEED ASSISTANCE WITH ENROLLING, CAN SOMEONE SPEAK WITH MY MERCER BENEFITS COUNSELOR ON MY BEHALF?

    If you complete and sign a Personal Information Authorization form, anyone listed on the form can assist you with your plan information and/or selections. However, a durable Power of Attorney (POA) document must be on file at Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree for anyone but the policy holder to enroll in healthcare coverage. Anyone who is listed on the durable POA can act on behalf of the retiree in all insurance capacities; this form must be in place prior to your consultation. A Mercer benefits counselor can mail or email you the Personal Information Authorization form upon request.

  • IF I LIKE THE MERCER BENEFITS COUNSELOR WITH WHOM I HAVE MY CONSULTATION, CAN I REQUEST THAT SAME PERSON AGAIN?

    The person you enjoyed dealing with before may not be available due to other scheduled appointments when you call. Every Mercer benefits counselor must, by law, be licensed, and certified to talk with you about the plans in your specific geographic area.

    Please be assured that if you can’t reach the Mercer benefits counselor you request, all of your information is available in our secure system, and another licensed Mercer benefits counselor will be able to assist you.

  • WHAT HEALTHCARE PLANS WILL BE AVAILABLE?

    The individual healthcare insurance market has the following metal tier plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Plans in these categories differ based on how you and the plan share the costs of your care. Bronze plans will have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket expense when going to a doctor. Gold plans will have higher premiums but will have lower out of pocket expenses when going to a doctor. The categories have nothing to do with the amount or quality of care you receive.

  • WHAT BENEFITS WILL BE COVERED UNDER MY PLAN?

    All individual healthcare plans provide the same essential health benefits, cover pre-existing conditions, and offer free preventive services. However, many plans will offer additional benefits which your benefits counselor can review.

  • WHAT ARE “ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS?”

    Essential health benefits are included in all individual healthcare plans. There are ten categories of essential health benefits including: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

  • IF I DON'T LIKE THE PLAN IN WHICH I'M ENROLLED, WHEN CAN I CHANGE?

    Outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period—typically November 1st through December 15th—the only way you can obtain or change your health insurance is through one of two ways: (1) Qualify for a special enrollment period if you lose job-based coverage, have a baby, get married, or have certain other life changes, or (2) Qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Your Mercer benefits counselor can answer any questions you may have about changing your plan during your consultation or at any point throughout the year.

  • WILL MY NEW HEALTH PLAN BE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MY CURRENT HEALTH PLAN?

    Your new health plan may be more expensive or less expensive than your current health plan depending on the type of plan you choose. When calculating the difference, take into consideration the fact that your current health plan premium was scheduled to increase by 15% in 2022. Also remember that depending on your income, you may have access to federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies which will lower the cost of your new health plan.

    You can use the Kaiser Family Foundation tax subsidy estimator to gain additional information and estimate Health Insurance Premiums and Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage through Marketplaces

  • WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE THE HEALTH PLANS THAT ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE MERCER EXCHANGE?

    During your consultation with Mercer, the Mercer benefits counselor will seek to understand the needs of the retiree, i.e. are their current physicians on any of the plans that are offered on the Mercer exchange, does the retiree travel, what coverage options are they looking for, etc. Once the benefits counselor understands what is most important to the retiree, the benefits counselor will initially look at the plans that are available on the Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree exchange. If there are no plans that fit the needs of the retiree, then the benefits counselor will look outside of the Mercer exchange for other plan options. This might include looking on the healthcare.gov exchange or a State-Based Exchange (SBE). They will be able to assist the retiree in shopping for other plan options as they compare and contrast physician networks, coverages, out of pocket costs and premium costs and enrolling in the retiree’s preferred plan.

  • WILL I BE ABLE TO ENROLL IN THE STATE’S ADVANTAGE65 MEDICARE PLAN WHEN I BECOME MEDICARE ELIGIBLE IF I ENROLL IN A PRE-MEDICARE MERCER HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN?

    Yes. Your eligibility for enrollment in Advantage65 is maintained if you have continuous health coverage through the UVA Retiree Health Benefits Program after retiring from UVA. 90 days prior to becoming Medicare eligible, complete the Retiree Health Insurance Attestation Form and submit it along with a copy of your insurance ID card to the UVA Solution Center at AskHR@virginia.edu. The form can be found on the UVA HR webpage or can be requested from the UVA Solution Center. A UVA benefits counselor will contact you regarding your Advantage65 enrollment once the completed form and ID card are received at UVA.

  • I AM CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN THE UVA HEALTH AND DENTAL PLANS RETIREE GROUP. WILL MY UVA RETIREE HEALTH AND DENTAL PLAN PREMIUM DEDUCTIONS BE STOPPED AFTER THE DECEMBER 2021 PREMIUM IS PAID SINCE MY ENROLLMENT IN THOSE GROUPS WILL END?

    For VRS retirees who currently have their premiums deducted from their monthly VRS checks, your monthly health and dental premium deductions will be stopped after the December 2021 premium is deducted from your January 1, 2022 VRS check. If you currently have health and dental premium deductions setup through the Chard Snyder retiree billing site, Chard Snyder will stop taking those premium deductions from your bank account after the December 2021 premium is paid. If you scheduled your own automatic monthly payment process with your personal bank and authorized it to write a monthly premium check to Chard Snyder, you will need to contact your bank to stop this payment process after the December 2021 premium is sent to Chard Snyder.

  • WILL I CONTINUE TO RECEIVE MY MONTHLY HEALTH CREDIT WHEN I TRANSITION TO A PRE- MEDICARE MERCER PLAN ON JANUARY 1, 2022?

    If you are currently receiving monthly health credit payments from VRS because you’re enrolled in the UVA Health Plan Retiree group, they will end after the December 2021 health credit is paid since your health insurance will change on January 1, 2022. To continue receiving health credits in 2022, a VRS-45 Request for Health Insurance Credit form will need to be submitted to VRS detailing your new health insurance information. UVA benefits counselors can help complete this form and submit it to VRS if you provide proof of your new healthcare coverage to them once your initial enrollment in a Pre-Medicare Mercer plan is completed. Do this by completing and submitting the Retiree Health Insurance Attestation Form along with a copy of your insurance ID card to the UVA Solution Center at AskHR@virginia.edu. The form can be found on the UVA HR webpage or can be requested from the UVA Solution Center. A copy of the attestation form was also included in one of the recent mailings you received from Mercer. A UVA benefits counselor will contact you regarding your VRS-45 health credit request form once your completed attestation form and ID card are received at UVA. You can also choose to complete the VRS-45 form yourself and submit it to VRS.