The Unions representing retirees in the University of Maine System worked hard to reinstate the group health insurance plan for its members. Now that our collective efforts have been successful, there are many questions about what to do now, and what does each plan provide. The following FAQs hope to answer those questions. If you still need support, the University of Maine System has hired an ombudswoman to help support you. Additionally, you can reach out to your union representative.

Coverage, Costs & What to Do Now

What are the advantages of the Aetna group plan?

In general, a group plan will provide better coverage at a lower cost. Costs are more controllable in a group plan due to the larger pool of participants. Prescription drug costs, as many have seen while comparing the two plans, are also generally much lower. Additionally, a group plan has more stability, due to the larger size or participants. 

I already chose new insurance coverage and received my new ID card, but I want to receive the Aetna group coverage. What do I do now?

Under the agreement reached with the Union and UMS, you can unenroll in the new plan you chose through AON. You must unenroll by December 31st. The agreement also states the University System will reimburse you for any costs you incurred under the AON plan. More information on how to receive reimbursement is coming soon. If you would like to unenroll, you need to contact the health care administrator to cancel, not AON. If you need help, the UMS system hired an ombudswoman. As soon as MEA receives her information, it will notify retirees.

What if I want an AON plan, what do I do now?

If you want to enroll in an AON plan you have until December 7th to do so. The Union negotiated to maintain the HRA for individuals who choose the AON plan. You will receive an additional benefit capping your prescription out of pocket expenses at $1500 if you enroll in an AON plan. The University administration is expected to release more details about this plan in the coming days. In addition, the University administration has committed to a maximum of $2900 HRA ($2100 for an individual, $800 for spouses) Any changes to the plan, including reimbursements, are subject to negotiations in the future. The figures mentioned here are for the 2021 year only.

I have not yet signed up for a new plan and want to keep the Aetna group plan. What do I do now?

You do not need to do anything. If you have not enrolled in an AON plan, you will automatically be enrolled in the Aetna plan. AGAIN, if you do not want a plan on AON you do not need to get one by December 7th -this is now a personal choice thanks to the advocacy of the Union.

Will retires receive the $2900 allowance for medical expenses and $1500 in prescription drug benefit if we are under the Aetna group plan? AND how secure is this benefit going forward?

No, these financial allowances are only available if you choose a plan through AON. However, please be aware that in many cases, plans offered through AON will have higher premiums and higher prescription drug costs than the Aetna group plan. For those who choose a plan through AON, any changes in the Health Care Reimbursement will need to be negotiated with the appropriate labor union (ACSCUM, AFUM, UMPSA). The allowances are for the 2021 plan year only and are subject to future negotiations.

Will the Aetna plan available to retirees in 2021 be identical to the plan we received last year? What are the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs?

The agreement reached between the MEA and the University of Maine System states that in 2021 the Aetna group plan offered will be without any changes in coverage and cost-sharing. For example, if you paid a zero dollar premium you will continue to pay nothing for your premium, and if you paid  15% of the premium you will continue to pay 15%-the cost-sharing percentages will remain the same as they were last year. However, it is possible health care premiums may increase for 2021 with the Aetna plan, as would be true for all health care plans, and the Union is still awaiting further details from the University of Maine administration.

Going Forward


Can a person who is signed up for an AON plan keep that plan for a year and then switch back to the University group plan and vice versa AND if I can do this, will I still receive the reimbursement allowances?

This will be a subject of negotiation going forward. For now, you have the option to choose either Aetna or a plan on AON for 2021. The Union will continue to work to ensure our retirees have the best plan options possible going forward. Our best way to advocate for better benefits lies in our ability to organize-as we have seen there is strength in numbers. If you are not currently a member of MEA-Retired, this is the time to join. Through MEA-Retired you will receive the most up-to-date information about benefits and how we can work together to succeed. To learn more and join, visit mearetired.org.

If more people switch to an AON plan, and the pool of participants declines in the Aetna plan, will those who stay with Aetna see increases in premiums due to the decline in participants—how viable will the Aetna plan be in years to come if this happens?

The group plan and its cost are all subject to negotiations. Moving forward, any changes to retiree health care plans MUST be bargained with the Unions-this was part of the agreement reached. Any and all health care changes will be subject to future negotiations. The MEA and local unions will fight to keep group health care plans going forward.

Dental Insurance

Will the current Cigna Dental Plan still be available for 2021? What are the costs?

Dental benefit questions should be directed to the University. Please email: benefits@maine.edu

Is it possible to keep the Cigna dental plan recommended by AON and unenroll in AON recommended health care plan?

Dental benefit questions should be directed to the University. Please email: benefits@maine.edu

Spouse Coverage

The form to reapply to UMS Aetna coverage does not have a place to include a spouse.  Do you know how to make sure both retiree and spouse are included?  Does the retiree and spouse each fill out the form or is there an additional form we need?

Please contact the ombudswoman, Tracy Bigney, hired by the University System to help guide you through this process. Her information will be available soon.