Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Health Care Chaos

The health care situation was changing even as I started this post, causing me to delete what I already had.  The basic news is: stay tuned, as you may well need to make a decision by Friday the 17th (depending upon the status of your prior decision, which may or may not still be valid).  This is a postmark deadline, though they would prefer that you get them the relevant form via fax or hand delivery by Friday. The ultimate place to stay tuned is the CMS website.

The SIUC Human Resources people are making an admirable effort to stay on top of the situation.  You should have received the email below (after the break), but as time is pressing I'll simply paste it in.  Unfortunately, as I write this one key link on this email (that to the form one would need to make changes to one's health care!) isn't working.  But I've emailed them about this, and I'm sure they'll fix it (very likely without needing my email, which will be one of many, I assume). If you are in Carbondale, they've scheduled numerous help sessions in the auditorium of the Student Health Center (near the rec center) during the next few days.  The email comes after the break.

[SIUC Human Resources email of 10:00 am June 15]

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) approved a motion at the hearing yesterday, June 14, 2011, to permit the State to operate a self-insured program for 90-days.  CMS is currently working with both the FY11 and FY12 vendors to potentially enter into those contracts. As soon as CMS has the agreements with these vendors, that information will be shared with you and it will also be posted on the CMS website (  AT THIS TIME, HMO IL, BlueAdvantage HMO and Cigna remain the only available options for FY12 until such time as CMS has an agreement with any other vendors.   


1. This is not a 90-day contract extension. These are new contracts and they will expire after the 90-day period.  However, it could result in your current healthcare provider, such as HealthLink or Health Alliance, continuing to be your provider for the next 90-day period beginning July 1, 2011.

2. The Benefits Choice deadline remains this Friday, June 17, 2011.  The most recent Benefits Choice Election form submitted by you to the HR Benefits office will represent your healthcare choice, if that carrier agrees to the 90-day contract extension.  The Benefits Choice period will NOT be extended.

3. CMS is still committed to a special enrollment period; however, at this time the dates have not been determined.  Once dates have been set, information will be provided to you and will also be available on the CMS website.


1. You must still make your healthcare choice by this Friday, June 17!  Since there is a possibility that FY11 and FY12 vendors (including Health Alliance, HealthLink, Personal Care OAP, etc.) might be among the choices available for this 90-day contract extension, it is recommended that you complete the Benefits Choice Election form indicating the specific carrier of your choice, regardless if at this point it is known if that plan will be an option.  CMS will allow members to indicate a first choice, and second choice, on the Benefits Choice Election form in case the healthcare provider listed as your first choice does not enter into the 90-day contract agreement with the State.  

For example:  You currently have Health Alliance and you which to remain with Health Alliance if that is an option.  However, if Health Alliance does not agree to the 90-day contract, your next choice would be HealthLink.  On the Benefits Choice election form, in Section C (Health Plan Elections), elect the Managed Care Plan (HMO or OAP) in the box to the right, and indicate #1-Health Alliance, #2-HealthLink under the Carrier/Plan name in the box to the left.

2. Please be sure your benefit choice election is clearly indicated on the election form.  Benefit Choice changes are made for a variety of reasons, and we cannot assume that any changes made were a result of the contract awards.  Therefore, the last election form received by the HR Benefits Office will your health plan choice (unless unavailable).  If you have already submitted a Benefits Choice Election form and wish to change the plan carrier, you MUST submit a new election form with your new election choice(s). 

3. If you do not submit an election form, you will remain in the healthcare plan you are currently enrolled in unless that is not an available option.  If this is the case, you will be defaulted to the Quality Care Health Plan effective July 1, 2011. 


Due to the overwhelming number of phone calls, emails and walk-ins as a result of these changes, the HR Benefits Office Staff will be offering the following group informational sessions to assist with completing the Benefits Choice Election forms and answer related questions.  Please try to attend one of these sessions if you plan to make an election change.  This will ensure that our staff can provide assistance to the vast majority of our members.

Wednesday, June 15
Student Health Center Auditorium 
Session Times:  1:30 pm; 3:00 pm

Thursday, June 16
Student Health Center Auditorium
Sessions Times:  10:00 am; 11:00 am; 2:00 pm & 3:00 pm

Friday, June 17
Student Health Center Auditorium
Session Times:  9:00 am; 11:00 am


If you are ONLY making a health carrier change, a sample election form can be found on the HR website at This sample form identifies the required sections needed specifically for a health carrier change only.  


CMS Benefits Choice Website

HR Website

Benefits Choice Options Booklet
The booklet contains benefits choice changes, available benefit options, rate and premium information, plan specifics, and plan administrator contact information.

Benefits Choice Election Form

Your COMPLETED Benefits Choice Election form can be submitted by doing one of the following:

Fax:  618-453-6693

Delivery:  805 S. Elizabeth St., Carbondale, IL  62901 or at one of the group sessions listed above.

Scan and email to

Given the time frame, it is not recommended that you mail your form as the deadline is Friday, June 17, 2011.  However, all elections forms postmarked June 17, 2011 or earlier will be accepted.


Your Benefit Choice Election form should be submitted to SURS.  SURS will accept the following:

Fax:  217-378-9800

Mail: *Must be postmarked by June 17, 2011 
P.O. Box 2710
Champaign, IL 61825-2710

No comments:

Post a Comment

I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.