CalPERS: Opens New Enrollment For Long-Term Care Program
The California Public Employees' Retirement System is opening a three-month enrollment period for its long-term care insurance program. From April 1 through June 30, the CalPERS long-term care option will be open to all California public employees and retirees, even if the agency that employs them is not a member of the CalPERS health or retirement system. In addition, spouses, parents and parents-in-law of public employees and retirees can also apply for the coverage, even if they do not live in California. Because CalPERS does not pay commissions to sales agents, it noted that its long-term care policies are available at prices 20% to 30% below those of comparable commercial plans. CalPERS initiated its long-term coverage plan in 1995, and three years later the program has "vaulted" into the top 10% of the nation's long-term care plans with more than 100,000 enrollees. Kurato Shimada, chair of the CalPERS Health Benefits Committee, said, "There is a misconception that long-term care insurance is only for older people. But the tragic horseback accident of actor Christopher Reeve reminds us that disabling accidents can happen at any age." For more information on the enrollment period, visit the CalPERS Website at . Eligible persons can also call (800) 338-2244 for more information (CalPERS release, 3/30).
Pharmacy Benefit Manager Considered
Medicine & Health reports that the CalPERS board will meet April 7 to "quiz Merck-Medco about its" pharmaceutical benefit management services. CalPERS is reportedly "fed up with rising drug costs and what it views as disruptive formulary changes by the 10 HMOs serving its members." Contracting with a PBM like Merck-Medco would allow CalPERS "to have the same benefit and same formulary for all plans." Medicine & Health notes that Kaiser, "which has its own pharmacies, would not be subject to the PBM" (3/30 issue).