MEA is pleased to inform you the affiliate unions of the MEA in the University of Maine System have reached an agreement with the University regarding healthcare benefits for retirees. The University agreed to reinstate the group healthcare plan for all retirees.

This is a tremendous victory for retirees and is the direct result of our collective efforts.  A debt of gratitude is owed to the many retirees who shared their stories, picketed, emailed, called, and wrote letters – together we were successful in protecting your group health care plan going forward. Our collective action made a difference! 

While this is good news, retirees will need to make quick decisions about their healthcare. MEA will host a webinar on Monday, November 30 at 10AM to answer any questions you may have about the recent agreement reached regarding the healthcare benefits for UMS Retirees.
Please pay close attention to the following FIVE items that you need to know:

1) All retirees who are currently eligible for the Aetna group healthcare plan can choose to stay in the group healthcare plan at your current cost sharing arrangement for premiums.
2) All retirees can choose to sign up using the AON exchange with the HRA established by the University of Maine system ($2100 per individual, $800 for spouse). This is a personal choice, and no longer required. Retirees can choose to maintain their current group health plan through Aetna, or they can choose a plan via the AON/exchange. 
3)The University has increased a benefit for AON retirees to provide a maximum out of pocket cap on prescriptions at $1500. This was recently added to the program being offered by the University of Maine System. 
4) If you already signed up for an AON plan but you want to remain in the group AETNA plan, you should contact the provider you signed up with and cancel the plan. The University has agreed to make any retirees whole if they experience any financial loss due to the cancellation.
5) The University has moved forward with the hiring of an ombudsman who will help retirees navigate the coming days and weeks. 

How to take immediate action on securing your healthcare for January 1, 2021:
For those choosing to stay with AON, please note the following deadline:
Enroll by December 7, 2020 in an Aon Retiree Health Exchange supported with an HRA contribution and a $1,500 limit on out-of-pocket for prescription expenses. Coverage begins January 1, 2021. Retirees who have already enrolled will also be able to take advantage of the $1,500 limit on prescription expenses. 

For those who enrolled in AON but wish to switch back to the group plan, please note the following deadline:
Unenroll from an Aon Retiree Health Exchange plan by December 31, 2020 and remain enrolled in the University-sponsored Aetna group plan as of January 1, 2021. 

For those who have not switched to AON and wish to stay on the Aetna Group Plan, please note the following information:
Retirees who have not engaged with Aon can do nothing and be automatically renewed in the existing University-sponsored Aetna group plan as of January 1, 2021.  

In the future, the University System agrees to negotiate future changes to retiree health care program with the appropriate unions – AFUM, UMPSA, ACSUM.
This victory would not have happened without our collective efforts. It was our Unions, working together, that pushed back against this effort to cut our healthcare. Now more than ever, we need retirees working together to make sure we preserve our healthcare and our pensions. 

For those who are not MEA-Retired members, please consider joining MEA-Retired so you can keep informed of our statewide efforts to raise the voices of educators in Maine.