This page will be used to inform SCARE members and other retirees of information related to their health insurance benefits through Sonoma County and to a variety of types of insurance through Pacific Group Agencies. If the words are in blue and underlined, they are a link. Click on it to get to another web page or to documents.

Call Board member Phyris Tobler at 707 795-6926 if you have questions.

2021 Annual Enrollment Information

It has come to our attention that some additional information is needed related to the County Annual Enrollment

Life Insurance: UnitedHealthcare will replace Hartford in providing retiree life insurance. If you are not changing your beneficiary, you do not need to complete a new beneficiary form unless you are married and want to designate someone other than your spouse. In that case, you have to complete the Community Property State Beneficiary Designation form. Or you may want to file a new form if it has been a long time since you completed your current one to update the information. Both of these forms can be found at Sonoma County Human Resources website. Be sure to use this link. You have to scroll quite a ways down this page until you see heading for "Retirees", and then "New Life Insurance Provider". Both the standard form and the Community Property form can be found there.

For Medicare retirees: We think there was an error on page 46 of the Annual Enrollment booklet under the mail order benefit for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement. It says that a Tier 2 drug costs $120 for a 90 day supply. In our checking, it appears that a Tier 3 drug (brand name) costs $120 but Tier 2 which is generic is free. The AARP coverage is very reasonable (about half the cost of the County Health Plan) and is available anywhere in the United States. You can call (877) 558-4759 to get your exact cost for medical and prescription coverage. There is more information in the County Annual Enrollment booklet on applying for AARP/UnitedHealthcare insurance. On this plan, you can go to any doctor who takes Medicare.

There is a new Medicare plan available through Western Health Advantage (WHA). We are mentioning it because we know that at least some retirees with the County Health Plan (CHP) just figure they will keep it and don't read all the information in the Annual Enrollment booklet. If you live in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano or Sacramento counties, you may want to check out this new plan. The premium is about half of the CHP premium and you can have a spouse under 65 on it while you are on the Medicare part (unlike AARP). It is about the same cost as the AARP/UnitedHealthcare plan but prescription costs are capped so if you are on higher cost, brand name drugs, your cost is less than on either the CHP plan or the AARP plan. You can get more information at Western Health Advantage for Sonoma County, including checking to see if your doctor is covered under the WHA plan.

We are not recommending any particular plan but you have more options than you did and you may want to check those out. There are so many different plans now that it is not easy to keep track of the pros and cons, but you can possibly save a lot of money by checking them out. If you need assistance in figuring out what might be best for you, you can contact Care Counsel at (888) 227-3334. They will be glad to assist you. Any change to your health plan must be made by April 2, 2021

Health, Dental and Vision Insurance Available through Sonoma County Human Resources Department:

You can change your health insurance plan once a year at annual enrollment. You can also change it when you qualify for Medicare. You should contact the Human Resources Department Benefits Unit at 707 565-2900 as soon as you get your Medicare card.

Information on all benefits available through Sonoma County are available at the Sonoma County Human Resources website. These include health, dental, vision and life insurance.

If you qualify for Medicare, the only plans available to you are the County Health Plan, Kaiser and the AARP/UnitedHealthcare plan. If you are covering a spouse, that person must also be 65 or older to qualify for the AARP/UnitedHealthcare plan.

Care Counsel is available to help you at annual enrollment or at any other time if you are not sure which plan to choose or if you have other questions about your health insurance, need to find a doctor, or need help with a claim or dispute you are having with your insurance company. You can reach Care Counsel at 888 227-3334.

Insurance Available through Pacific Group Agencies:

SCARE members have a variety of types of insurance available to them through Pacific Group Agencies. These are offered at discounted group rates and are only available to SCARE members and their families. You have to pay for them yourself and can select any you want. These include dental, vision, legal shield, ID shield, pet, travel, accident, hearing and others. Dental and vision are only offered at open enrollment and you can only enroll at that time. The open enrollment period coincides with the County Annual Enrollment so that you can compare plans. You can enroll in all the other types of insurance any time you want. For more information on each of these plans, including the cost, go to Pacific Group Agencies insurance for SCARE members.