Medicare Supplements (“Medicare carve-out”, “Medigap”, "Medicare Advantage”)

Currently offered to UI faculty and spouses is the UIChoice plan (through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Iowa). The premium for eligible faculty is $254/month, after subtracting the amount UI contributes. Spouses pay double that amount. The premium will increase to $264 in 2015. For the coming enrollment period, the UI is offering two additional plans through Health Alliance Co. of Champaign-Urbana, IL:

A plan on a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) format: This is very close to UIChoice in terms of coverage, costs ($279/month, close to UIChoice for 2015), and doctors and hospitals choices (e.g., UIHC, Mercy of Cedar Rapids, but not yet Mercy of Iowa City). This also covers prescription drugs (generics are free). Thus, spouses could choose this plan at roughly half the price of UIChoice.
A plan on the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) format: (a) Premium is only $39/month, but with larger deductible and more for out-patient visits, (b) is restricted to UIHC doctors and hospitals and UI Health Alliance Providers, (c) has a built in “doughnut hole” for coverage costs and (d) free generic prescription drugs can only be obtained from Walmart or Sam’s Club (other pharmacies would charge $8).

Also, new this year: Participants may switch back and forth between UIChoice and a Health Alliance plan at each enrollment period. That is, one may want to try out a different plan for a year and may do so without penalty if one wants to return to the original plan.

Delta Dental: Currently at $40/person/month. Premiums will rise to $42 in 2015.

–by Gene Spaziani