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Partnership Assists Medicare Eligible State Employees

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | 02:20pm

A partnership between Benefits Administration and the TN State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides additional educational support for state employees and pre-65 retirees about their Medicare coverage options.

“I want to share with you how our partnership is breaking down the silos of government by providing more comprehensive health care coverage education to state employees and state retirees who may be eligible for Medicare, said Aging Program Director for TN SHIP, Shannon Jones. Ms. Jones continued, “It is so exciting to see this grow. Thanks again for your support and to those who are making this a great partnership.”

Benefits Administration provides comprehensive, affordable, dependable and sustainable benefits to employees and dependents across four plans for state and higher education, local education agencies, local government agencies, and pre-65 retirees. The division also administers The Tennessee Plan, supplemental medical insurance for retirees with Medicare, to retired state employees, local education and local government employees and their eligible spouses and dependents.  TN SHIP is a program operated by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

Specifically, Ms. Jones cited this information about the division’s efforts:

  • Benefits Administration representatives have talked to 2,163 state employees and retirees about SHIP and general Medicare benefits
  • More than 516 letters have mailed to those who were turning 65 about their current health care coverage and how to contact SHIP for Medicare coverage and coordination
  • 374 people have attended state employee and Medicare webinars

State employees and pre-65 retirees may call the Benefits Administration service center at 800.253.9981, and select option 2, to speak with a retiree representative if they have questions about their retirement options.

SHIP will continue to host quarterly Medicare Information Webinars for state employees to learn about Medicare benefits. Employees not currently eligible for Medicare or who plan to work past age 65 are welcome to attend. SHIP will share important information for employees to consider concerning Medicare and when to enroll. The next webinars are May 24 at 10 a.m. and August 22 at 10 a.m. State employees may register via email at tn.ship@tn.gov.

About Benefits Administration

The Division of Benefits Administration (BA) within the Department of Finance and Administration is responsible for the day-to-day management of the $1.6B self-funded State Group Insurance Program.  Benefits Administration administers the state-sponsored insurance benefits for the state, local education and local government public sector plans, and manages a customer service center. The plans cover 300,000 employees, retirees and dependents enrolled in medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, life, disability, behavioral health benefits, and other programs.

About TN State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

TN SHIP began in 1992 and since has grown from a one-topic consumer counseling program to one that covers a multitude of topics and issues.  Topics typically addressed are on Medicare and Medicaid (TennCare in Tennessee), Medigap, enrollment in Medicare prescription drug plans, (Part D), and the accompanying Low-Income Subsidy, finding help with the cost of prescription drugs during coverage gaps and access to drugs not covered under Part D, Medicare Advantage options, long-term care planning and insurance, claims and billing problem resolution, information and referral on public benefit programs, employer and retiree health insurance options for those with Medicare and VA benefits and other military health insurance for those with Medicare.