OP&F News

COBRA premiums now qualify for stipend use; open HRA for pre-Medicare set for 2020

At its April meeting, the OP&F Board of Trustees responded to suggestions from members by formally approving two changes to the retiree health care plan. The stipend available to eligible retirees can now be used for health care coverage through COBRA and, beginning with the 2020 plan year, the stipend is no longer limited to plans within the Aon Retiree Health Exchange for pre-Medicare retirees.

The COBRA change means that members who elect COBRA coverage from their employer at the time of retirement can use their stipend for those premiums. Members would be able to use the stipend for these costs until the next OP&F open enrollment or until the end of COBRA eligibility, whichever the member chooses. This change is effective immediately and for premiums paid after April 1, 2019. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code, members may not use the stipend for a spouse’s COBRA premiums or a COBRA account through a spouse’s employer.

Once COBRA enrollment is verified, OP&F will work with Aon to fund the member’s Health Reimbursement Arrangement, which could take up to three weeks. Once the HRA is funded, members will receive a welcome kit and can begin submitting claims online or manually using a claim form, which must be submitted for reimbursement. If members believe they qualify for this plan, contact OP&F at 1-888-864-8363.

The ability to select plans outside the Aon exchange (referred to as an open Health Reimbursement Arrangement) would allow pre-Medicare retirees to select individual plans either through Aon or the open market beginning with the 2020 open enrollment period in November.

The plans available on the open marketplace must be compliant with the minimum coverage requirements set by Affordable Care Act. Plans available from an employer or a spouse’s employer are not eligible pursuant Internal Revenue Code.

Posted 5/08/2019

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