Changes for ‘Medicare Eligible’ Retirees of Johnson Controls!

Those of us who are ‘Medicare eligible’ and still participating in the Johnson Controls Retiree Group Healthcare Plan received a surprising letter in  late August. We learned that the group plan for us will be terminated as of January 1, 2020. And, that the company has engaged Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, LLC to provide us ” … with services and education as (we) convert from employer-sponsored group medical insurance  to individualized plans.”

Since the letter, we were invited to a webinar repeated in five different cities in the U.S. from September 16th to 25th. Here’s a link to the webinar as posted on the Mercer Marketplace 365+ website. We also received a kit to prepare us for the process with Mercer and urging us to schedule a consultation with one of the Mercer Marketplace 365+ Retiree benefits counselors. We each received a PIN for identification to set up the session and to get started in exploring the healthcare marketplace.

And, here we are, it’s October 11th. Paula and I have read through the kit, explored the online marketplace of 2019 options, and we both made our consultation appointments. The plan registration period opens October 15th and must be completed by December 7th for our new insurance to begin on January 1, 2020. In the process, we’re going to learn how today’s healthcare marketplace works. It’s not something we expected to do, at least not until we got close to that $50,000 lifetime limit imposed in the Johnson Controls Retiree Group plan.  We would have appreciated a bit more advanced notice, but we can do this. It’s what most people have done for years.

As Gene noted in the latest President’s Message, this is important, something we all need to act on now. We can help each other by sharing experiences and supporting those who may be having a particularly difficult time in making this change. We’ll share our experiences here on the website. I’ve updated the Resources page to include the contact information for Mercer Marketplace 365+. These are on the public side of the website, no login or membership required. The Open Forum Group however does require a login. There you can share your thoughts directly or post a question to other members. Several members have already taken advantage of it.

Most important, work with the people from Mercer to get this done right for yourself. Paula and I did have a call from their service center in response to several questions I had submitted online. It was a good experience. Jeannette answered my questions and offered further information on how the consultation sessions work.

We’re compiling a list of our questions now so we will be prepared for the consultation. I’m up first with Paula’s session later in the morning. We will both participate each session to get the most out the opportunity. We don’t expect to select plan(s) at this session, just learn more about our options, with the 2020 plan offerings.

I’ll let you know how the sessions go here at “From the Editor.” Let’s see how this goes. Everyone should have their selected healthcare plan in place by December 7th, so it is ready to go with you on January 1, 2020.

We are indeed better together!

Jude Anders

OOPS! Just as I hit ‘publish’ on this note, Paula asked if I received an email cancelling my consultation session on the 16th. Indeed, we both did. We immediately got out our calendars and hit the ‘Reschedule’ button to get back on the list. We did, but the first day we could get was October 24th. So that’s our next step, delayed 8 days.

But we will have those consultation sessions and get this done!