State Retirement System Reduces Provider Choice To One

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Oct. 30 to Nov. 21 is the insurance enrollment period for members of the Arizona State Retirement System. The language in the enrollment materials recently received in the mail is not clear in some instances.

The information received in the brochure suggests that we have a choice of providers. We do not. PacifiCare will be the sole state provider for medical insurance plans as of Jan. 1, 2001. If we do not choose PacifiCare by Nov. 21, we will not have any insurance or Medicare supplement for the year 2001.

Many doctors, especially in the rural areas, are not yet contracted with PacifiCare. We won't know until we visit our doctors if the Medicare supplement will be accepted, possibly limiting care. For those retirees who are not yet on Medicare, premiums and the deductible amount at the time of service may also limit the care they receive.

In calling the ASRS Group Insurance Office, I was told that retirees do not like change and always clog the telephone lines when there is one. It was also implied that we need to accept what is offered, blindly, without question, whether we understand it or not. The attitude conveyed was, "Take it our leave it."

Keeping in mind that we are the retired public servants of Arizona, I would urge every retiree who has not already done so, to review the materials carefully, knowing that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona is not an option. If you believed that you were already enrolled for 2001 coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and you disposed of the forms, as some members have, call the ASRS at (800) 621-3778 and request new ones.

Frances DeMare, Holbrook, Ariz.

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