Latest News

ROLLING  Medicare Advantage (TRAIL) Enrollment

Beginning January 1, 2021, retired State Employees who will be eligible to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, will NO LONGER have to wait until the Fall to enroll in the State of Illinois Medicare Advantage (TRAIL) program.

Retirees who will be turning 65 (and are eligible for TRAIL) can expect to receive a letter from CMS approximately 3 months prior to your 65 birthday. The letter will remind you to enroll in Medicare, and to provide the CMS Medicare COB Unit proof of your Medicare registration

Rolling MAPD Enrollment FACT Sheet
What IS Medicare?
What IS TRAIL?
Another Good Explanation of TRAIL
TRAIL Program Initial Enrollment Guide
 

2021 Open Enrollment 

The TRAIL Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) Open Enrollment Period for the 2021 plan year runs October 15 - November 16, 2020.  Informational seminars will be held virtually this year to give eligible retirees and survivors an opportunity to learn about the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program.  A link to a list of seminar dates and times is given below.  Topics included eligibility criteria and an explanation of the benefits provided through the Program.

TRAIL OPEN ENROLLMENT SEMINAR
2021 State TRAIL Program Decision Guide​
2021 State TRAIL FAQs
2021 State TRAIL Plan Administrators
2021 TRAIL Map
2021 Rates
 

It is More Important Than Ever to Get the Flu-Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a flu-vaccine during 2020-2021 will be more important than ever. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu-viruses.

CMS sponsored Flu-shot clinics will be available at multiple locations around the state and continue to be free for State Employees and Retirees.  In addition, you and your dependents may also go to your doctors' offices, pharmacies, and county health departments. Universities are offering walk-in clinics on-campus daily while following CDC social-distancing guidelines.  

State Employees, Retirees, and your dependents have many options to obtain the flu vaccination at no cost to you.  Choose the option and location that is most convenient for you. Please remember, if you access care through your doctor or pharmacy, plan requirements and network utilization apply. 

Your insurance will be properly billed following the terms of the members' health plan. Be sure to bring your health insurance card and a State ID or another form of ID when accessing care.  

The following link is a complete listing of all public health departments and contact information throughout the state: http://www.idph.state.il.us/IDPHPrograms/v_LHDDirectory/Show-V-LHDDirectory-Public.aspx

To Receive the Seasonal Flu Vaccination at No Charge

  • Each employee must present his/her state health insurance card and his/her State ID card.
  • Each retiree must present his/her state health insurance card and another form of ID.
  • Unless receiving the vaccine at a CMS-sponsored flu shot clinic, these services are free only when delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan's network.
 

Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program

The TRAIL Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) Open Enrollment Period for the 2021 plan year runs October 15 - November 16, 2020. Informational seminars are held to give eligible-retirees and survivors an opportunity to learn about the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program. This year, the seminars will be online. Check back here to view your TRAIL Open Enrollment seminar on the following dates and times (registration to the event is not necessary). If you miss the live webinars, a recording will be provided here:

Week 1:

  • Oct 15, Thursday, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Oct 16, Friday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Week 2:

  • Oct 20, Tuesday, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Oct 22, Thursday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Week 3:

  • Oct 26, Monday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
  • Oct 28, Wednesday, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Oct 30, Friday 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Topics include eligibility criteria and an explanation of the benefits provided through the Program.

 

Retirees and survivors who became eligible for the TRAIL MAPD Program over the past year will receive a Decision Guide in the mail in mid-October, notifying them of their eligibility and the requirement to enroll, or opt-out of coverage, during the TRAIL MAPD Open Enrollment Period. All currently-enrolled members will also receive a Decision Guide notifying you of any plan changes for the upcoming plan year.

Note: If you are currently-enrolled in TRAIL MAPD, and wish to keep your coverage as is, you need not do anything. However, if you want to make any changes to your current TRAIL MAPD coverage for the 2021 plan year, you will be allowed to complete your changes online at MyBenefits.illinois.gov or contact MyBenefits (toll-free) 844-251-1777 between October 15-November 16, 2020.
 
 

No elections are allowed to be made prior to the October 15, or after the November 16, 2020 Enrollment Period.

 

Illinois Legislative News

On Sunday, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced new mitigation efforts for the Metro East region downstate that went into effect Tuesday. This particular region has seen three consecutive days of a test positivity rate of 8 percent or higher, which calls for the implementation of tighter restrictions. These restrictions are similar but less strict than the restrictions Illinois saw in the earlier days of the virus: closing of bars, restaurants, and casinos by 11 p.m., ban on party buses, and a reduction of gathering sizes to the lesser of 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity. If rates do not decrease after 14 days, tighter mitigation will occur. “If the data shows we need to go backward in our reopening, I won’t hesitate to tighten restrictions to protect our collective health,” Pritzker said in the news release. Through tightening restrictions in the Metro East areas, Pritzker and IDPH hope to decrease the ever-increasing cases in the region.

Earlier this week, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health won a ruling against three Illinois school districts who claim they do not need to enforce the wearing of masks for in-person learning. In July, Pritzker filed a lawsuit to prevent the spread of coronavirus in school by ensuring that students wear face masks to school if classes were to be resume in person. Last month, Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon wrote letters in opposition to this lawsuit, citing the Illinois Supreme Court Rule in 1922 that states that the government cannot make rules “which merely have a tendency to prevent” the spread of infectious diseases. Others noted that, because there are technically no consequences for those who do not wear masks, these rules should be considered recommendations for school districts. Last week, the Hutsonville school board voted 4-3 to comply with the state health guidelines released in June that set instructions for the safe congregation in schools from kindergarten through college in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

As of the end of Wednesday, August 19, 2,295 cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as 25 additional deaths within that day. This brings Illinois’ total coronavirus cases to 211,889 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 7,806 deaths. Testing has also been at an all-time high in the state. Within the past 24-hours, coronavirus testing laboratories have reported over 50,000 test subjects processed, the most tests processed in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign has recently developed a salvia-based COVID-19 test and is now using it to expand testing on campus as students begin to return for the fall semester. Gov. JB Pritzker announced on Wednesday during a press conference that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization of this test to be used state-wide. This new test is a “real game-changer” as it provides faster and more efficient results than current tests. Additionally, these tests are more affordable: the university has brought costs per test down to approximately $10 a test. “If ongoing research continues to yield positive results, this has potentially game-changing implications,” Pritzker told reporters during the press conference.


 

In the News

Pritzker Says State Closely Monitoring 2 Regions for ‘Troubling Trends'NBC Chicago, August 19, 2020
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that most of Illinois' 11 regions are seeing increases in positivity rates, but two in particular are reporting "troubling trends" as the state continues to see a rise in coronavirus metrics. Already, the state's Region 4, the Metro East region, is under stricter mitigation requirements implemented by the state after the area rose above an 8 percent positivity rate for three days in a row. As of Tuesday, the region had a positivity rate of 9.4 percent and Pritzker warned additional restrictions like the full closure of indoor dining and drinking could soon be put in place. In addition to Region 4, Pritzker said Regions 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11 have also seen an increase in their seven-day rolling average positivity rate. Only three regions - Regions 1, 5, and 6 - have seen slight decreases.

Legal Move Delays ComEd's First Installment of $200 Million Corruption FineIllinois News Room, August 19, 2020
Commonwealth Edison got a temporary reprieve from its due date to pay the first installment of a $200 million fine in a federal corruption case Monday. The delay came after a Chicago lawyer argued ComEd — which is supposed to pay the fine to the U.S. treasury — should instead pay back electricity-delivery customers who were victims of the power company’s long-running Springfield bribery scheme. Executives with the massive public utility had agreed to pay half of the fine within a month of announcing a deal with prosecutors on July 17, court records show.

But lawyer Joseph Stewart argued “that restitution is due to non-federal victims of ComEd’s bribery scheme” before any money goes to the U.S. government. Under what’s known as a “deferred prosecution agreement” with prosecutors in Chicago, ComEd agreed to pay the fine to end a federal investigation into what the company admits was an eight-year effort to buy influence in the Illinois Capitol. In the agreement, the benefits of the scheme for ComEd were said to exceed $150 million.

Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan says he won't quit in wake of ComEd scandalCrain’s Chicago Business, August 18, 2020
As Illinois Democrats join with their national party in hopes to formally nominate their candidate to reclaim the White House, the party’s state leader here has a message he knows you’ll want to hear: He’s staying around. Yes, in a new statement, Mike Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House and chairman of the Democratic Party, discounts those pesky federal investigators and concludes, “I have no plans to resign.” As chairman at the time of the Democratic National Convention, Madigan is leading a party that normally would be holding big delegation meetings every day, meetings that he’d have to attend and which would give reporters a chance to question him about a rising number of calls from within his own party that he hang it up after being implicated but not charged in the Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal.

Former Gov. James Thompson, a giant of Illinois politics, dead at 84 –  Chicago Sun-Times, August 15, 2020
Back when there was such a thing as a liberal Republican politician, James Thompson was the GOP’s rising star. “Big Jim” — he stood 6 feet 6 inches — was Illinois’ longest-serving governor. The native Chicagoan was elected four times and served 14 years. Though the most popular governor of the past half-century, talk of his running as a Republican candidate for president in the late 1970s was scuttled in part by his strong convictions, beliefs that he refused to abandon merely to achieve his lifelong dream. “I still believe that a reasonable pro-choice position is not only right but is a majority view of my party,” he once said. “But it’s not the majority view of the people who control my party.”

 
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