The open enrollment period for retired teachers in Connecticut who access their health insurance benefits through the Teachers’ Retirement Board (TRB) began on October 18. For calendar year 2022, TRB has selected UnitedHealthcare as the sole provider for both insurance options offered. retirees: the UnitedHealthcare Advantage Plan and the Senior Supplement Plan which supplements the original health insurance.
During this enrollment period, UnitedHealthcare offered in-person and virtual information sessions across the state. The sessions should offer a detailed, unbiased review of both insurance options. However, this did not happen. Presentations so far have been heavily geared towards the Advantage plan. Pre-authorization, which is a powerful payment control mechanism, is not mentioned at all unless people submit questions. In addition, in the free tote bag given to all participants, only the documents of the Advantage plan have been provided. Supplemental plan documents were only provided upon request to those who thought they would.
It’s no surprise that the Advantage plan is heavily promoted for 2022. The higher price of the Supplement plan is the only element that has been repeatedly highlighted. There was no explanation for the cost disparity between the two plans.
Retired teachers: please inquire about the protections inherent in the traditional Medicare supplement plan that are not guaranteed in the less expensive Advantage plan. Don’t be fooled by the price alone. Although UnitedHealthcare doesn’t tell you about the differences, it’s essential that you research the pros and cons of both plans before making your choice. You won’t want to find out the differences when you’re in the middle of a medical crisis. Ask your doctors which plan is easiest to manage and best for you.
Kathleen R. Hennessey is a retired teacher from Middlefield.