Argonne National Laboratory

Retiree Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-65 Retirement Health Care Benefits

What are my health care coverage options if I retire before I turn 65?

You can continue with your current medical and prescription drugs under the PPO or HMO plan as well as dental coverage.

How do I make payment for my health care premiums?

Payments are collected by CONEXIS, the billing vendor of Argonne. You will receive an invoice following your retirement and will be able to establish a payment method (online, ACH deduction, check).

If you need to change your payment option, you will also need to contact CONEXIS at (877) 722-2667.

If I retired before age 65, what happens when I turn 65?

You will receive an education package from Aon Hewitt with complete information about obtaining individual health care coverage through Argonne's private retiree exchange. The private retiree exchange will offer options to enroll in Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans. Some of these plans also include options for dental, vision and hearing coverage. 

You'll also have helpful one-on-one resources that will be available to you free of charge through the health care exchange. One-on-one assistance will be provided by a dedicated Aon Hewitt benefits advisor. Please see below for more questions and answers regarding post-65 retiree health care coverage.

Post-65 Retirement Health Care Benefits

Beginning January 2017, Medicare-eligible retirees age 65 or older and their Medicare-eligible dependents age 65 or older will purchase individual health insurance (i.e., medical, prescription drug and dental) through the private health exchange managed by Aon Hewitt. Argonne will provide credit toward the purchase of health insurance through a retiree health reimbursement account (HRA). The credit is equivalent to current Argonne's portion of the retiree health care premiums. 

There will no longer be medical, prescription drug, and dental coverage through Argonne's group plan.

Why  won't Argonne be offering a group health plan for Medicare-eligible age 65 retirees?

These days, retirees can find more opportunities to supplement their Medicare benefits with health plans in the individual market than an employer's group plan could offer. Additionally, because of the competition among insurers in this market, the plan options are reasonably priced. Therefore, most Argonne Medicare-eligible retirees age 65 and older will be able to buy health insurance that offers medical, prescription drug, and dental coverage that is equal to, or better than, the current Argonne-sponsored options. They may even pay less than they do today.

With the help of the Aon Retiree Health Exchange, retirees can explore a variety of health plan options at prices that fit their individual needs and budgets. They can also select a different plan for themselves and their Medicare-eligible dependents age 65 and older so everyone's needs are better met.

What's the difference between group and individual health coverage?

A group health plan is generally offered through an employer or association. Everyone covered under that plan has something in common (e.g., employment, former employment, membership, etc.), and the eligible population is usually limited based on the size of the company or group. Plan choices are usually selected by an employer or association and also tend to be limited. However, anyone can purchase a health plan in the individual market, either directly through an exchange or through an insurance agent.

As a retiree, you may have several types of plans available to you, depending on where you live. And because health insurers in the individual market generally cover many more individuals than most group health plans do, they can offer more competitive pricing to you.

Although I have been eligible to enroll in Argonne's group retiree medical plan, I have deferred participating up to now. Am I required to enroll in the Aon Retiree Health Exchange?

If you are Medicare-eligible and over age 65, you have the choice of enrolling in the Exchange now or you may defer participation until a time of your choosing.

If you are under age 65 and meet the eligibility requirements for Argonne retiree medical insurance, you continue to have the choice of enrolling in Argonne's group retiree medical plan or deferring enrollment until a time of your choosing.

If health care reform is overturned, will Argonne reinstate the group health plan?

No. This decision is not related to national health care reform legislation. A private exchange is unrelated to national health care reform. Argonne is partnering with the Aon Retiree Health Exchange, the industry's leading private exchange, to offer our retirees access to more choices to fit their individual needs.

Aren't Medicare Parts A and B enough without supplemental coverage?

As you may know, under Medicare Parts A and B alone, there's no cap on your out-of-pocket medical expenses. In addition, Medicare Parts A and B do not cover retail or mail order prescription drugs. Supplemental health insurance limits your annual liability, assuring continued coverage, if you have significant health care needs. We strongly recommend that you find an individual health plan to supplement your Medicare benefits.

What types of coverage are available to supplement my Medicare benefits?

Generally, there are two options: Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans. More information about these types of plans will be included in the education package you'll receive in September. Your benefits advisor will help you decide which type of plan is right for you and for your Medicare eligible dependents.

Will there be comprehensive Medicare Advantage Plans to choose from that include dental and vision coverage?

In many cases, yes.  Some Medicare Advantage Plans offer extra coverage, such as dental, vision, and/or hearing benefits. And most Medicare Advantage Plans include Medicare prescription drug coverage, which means you don't need to purchase separate prescription drug coverage. The Aon Retiree Health Exchange can also enroll you in a dental and/or vision plan offered by a national provider.

My spouse and I are both eligible to select plans in the exchange. Will this be handled in one combined call with a Benefits Advisor or through separate calls?

If you and your spouse are both eligible to select plans in the exchange, you will receive one education package from the Aon Retiree Health Exchange in early September. The education package will include a letter with individual HRA information for both you and your spouse and a joint telephone appointment with a benefits advisor. If you would prefer to schedule a separate meeting with a benefits advisor, contact the Aon Retiree Health Exchange service center.

How do I enroll?

You will receive an education package from Aon Hewitt with complete information about obtaining individual health care coverage through Argonne's private retiree exchange. You'll also have helpful one-on-one resources that will be available to you free of charge through the health care exchange. One-on-one assistance will be provided by a dedicated Aon Hewitt Benefits Advisor. All Benefit Advisors are licensed, certified, and experienced in Medicare-related insurance. They are not incentivized to steer you to specific health insurance carriers and/or plans.

How do I pay for coverage?

A health reimbursement account (HRA) will be established for you. The HRA will be funded by Argonne and managed by Aon Hewitt. You can receive reimbursement from this account for the health insurance premiums and some other expenses. The Argonne subsidy plus the retiree's premium contribution provides enough purchasing power to replace or exceed the value of our current plan.

Can my spouse and dependents continue to be on the Healthcare Plan after I pass away?

As long as you have 15 years or more of service with Argonne in a benefits-eligible position, your spouse and dependents can continue to be covered under the Argonne Retiree Healthcare Plan.

Where can I get more general information on the Retiree Health Exchange?

For general information, call the Aon Retiree Health Exchange service center at (844) 689-7831 (TTY use 711 Relay). Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.

When is it important to contact Argonne, and who do I call?

Call the the Benefits Department when you have to report:

  • An address or phone number change (for pre-65 plan participants)
  • A death of a retiree, spouse or eligible dependent who is covered under the pre-65 health care plan
  • A divorce of a retiree

For retirees with the last name beginning with A-L, contact (630) 252-2985.

For retirees with the last name beginning with M-Z, contact (630) 252-2986.