Latest News

Benefit Choice Presentation by CMS (RECORDING)

For those State of Illinois Retirees who are eligible to participate in the 2021 Benefit Choice period, CMS has provided a link to one of their Benefit Choice Seminar Presentations.

The slide presentation and audio are located at: FY22 Benefit Choice Seminar RECORDING.

A hard copy of the slides are available at: Presentation Slides


The Latest News Regarding the State of Illinois Benefit Choice Period:
--------------------------- for those not enrolled in TRAIL Medicare Advantage Plan

BENEFIT CHOICE IS OPEN May 1, – June 1, 2021!

For Coverage Effective July 1, 2021

Check your mailbox for your Benefit Choice booklet with full details about benefits available July 1, 2021.  Visit to register, review your benefit options and compare health plans.


Rate Change – Contribution amounts for both members and dependents have changed and vary based on the member's salary and chosen health plan. Review the new member and dependent contributions for each health plan.  Dental rates also have changed.

Health Plan Availability – Members have multiple health plans from which to choose, Home Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Open Access Plans (OAPs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) Network, including the newly added BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois OAP.  Each available health plan is listed below and linked to its carrier website. Be sure to check the Benefit Choice Booklet and carrier websites for coverage details and provider availability to pick the plan that’s right for you.

HealthLink Service Area Outside of Illinois – HealthLink members will only have network access in Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin. Network access outside of Illinois and the states listed here will be limited to emergency services.


Behavioral Health –For those enrolled in the Quality Care Health Plan (QCHP), your behavioral health provider network and claims will now be administered by Aetna. Please make sure to review the Aetna provider directory to ensure your provider is in-network or contact Aetna to discuss transition of care.



CMS-sponsored Benefit Choice Open Enrollment fairs are currently scheduled for online webinar presentations throughout the month of May. Dates, times and links to the scheduled events are listed below. CMS representatives, as well as benefit vendors, available in your area, will be present during the webinars to answer questions.

  • Session 1 Monday, May 3, 2021 10:00 AM CT,
  • Session 2 Thursday, May 6, 2021 10:00 AM CT,
  • Session 3 Thursday, May 13, 2021 10:00 AM CT,
  • Session 4 Thursday, May 20, 2021 10:00 AM CT. 

 To login to any of the above sessions, go to


The Illinois State Employees Retirement System (SERS) is once again holding an election to fill a rotation spot on their Board of Trustees.


March 30, 2021 - The State Employee Retirements System (SERS) has released the following statement regarding the back pay issue that some retirees have been enduring for several years:

"The pandemic has had a significant impact on operations at SERS.  In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Orders and a strong commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our employees, for more than a year, SERS employees have been rotating between working from home and working at the office.  Throughout the pandemic, the building’s capacity has been limited to between 20% and 50%, depending primarily on the severity of the local infection rate.  Consequently, we have focused on processing and paying new benefit claims and ensuring those receiving benefits continue to receive the monthly benefit on time.

Prior to the pandemic, the SERS Board of Trustees provided resources to allow several SERS retirees to be brought back to work contractually to assist in the processing of back wage adjustments.  The goal at the time was to complete all adjustments by the end of 2020.  With the onset of the pandemic, these retirees, who were demographically vulnerable to the virus were sent home.  They have not yet been back to the office.  These retirees were unable to effectively work remotely, so the entire workload of processing adjustments fell back to the full-time employees, who have made some progress under very difficult circumstances.

We have completed the adjustments resulting from the Quinn Administration wage freeze.  We are optimistic the adjustments related to the Rauner Administration back wages will occur more quickly, as the detailed agency payroll data provided to SERS is much better than the data provided for the Quinn wage freeze.  We are hoping to complete all adjustment by the end of 2021, and we will start providing progress updates after the launch of our new website later this spring."


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?
Another Good Explanation of TRAIL
TRAIL Program Initial Enrollment Guide
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