Retiree Medical Home

Other Options for Health Coverage

Just because you’re eligible for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage doesn’t mean you have to take it when you retire. You can always enroll during the annual Open Enrollment period.

COBRA COVERAGE

COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is available when you first leave PG&E. Within two weeks after you retire, PG&E’s COBRA administrator will send you cost information and forms to continue medical, dental, vision, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health care flexible spending account participation.

You won’t have dental, vision, flexible spending account or Employee Assistance Program coverage through PG&E after you retire—but you can continue these benefits through COBRA at your expense.

If you plan to enroll in a PG&E-sponsored retiree medical plan when you retire, do not elect COBRA medical coverage.

COBRA medical coverage

COBRA medical coverage could cost less than PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage—but it may not be such a good deal.

Risk of a coverage gap

COBRA coverage ends 18 months after you retire.

After that, you could be without coverage until you elect other coverage.

You wouldn’t be able to elect PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage until the next Open Enrollment—for coverage effective the following January 1.

Higher premium costs

There’s a subsidy for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage that you don’t get with COBRA—the (RMSA).

You can only use the RMSA to help pay for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage—not for COBRA coverage.

The costs for COBRA medical coverage will be in your COBRA packet. PG&E’s COBRA administrator will mail the packet to you within two weeks after you retire.

You’ll probably pay less out of pocket for PG&E-sponsored retiree medical premiums than for COBRA premiums.

No automatic pension deduction

You can use your pension to pay for COBRA coverage—but there’s no automatic pension deduction. Instead, you’ll get a monthly bill from PG&E’s COBRA administrator.

You can pay your COBRA premiums by mailing a check with your monthly invoice to the COBRA administrator; through automated payments from your checking or savings account; or online via the COBRA administrator website.

If you decide to elect COBRA medical coverage, your benefits will be identical to your current employee coverage. You won’t be able to change plans or add dependents under COBRA until Open Enrollment. Any changes to the plans for active employees will also apply to your coverage.

COBRA dental and vision coverage

You have the option of electing COBRA dental and vision coverage when you first leave PG&E. This coverage ends 18 months after you retire, and you pay the full cost plus an administration fee. You may be able to find more affordable coverage through Other Dental and Vision Options.

OTHER MEDICAL OPTIONS

Federal law requires that you have minimum essential coverage to avoid tax penalties. You may be able to find more affordable coverage outside PG&E.

Why consider other coverage?

You and PG&E share the cost of your PG&E-sponsored retiree medical premiums through your Retiree Medical Savings Account (RMSA) and your pension payments.

The longer you wait to use your RMSA and pension to pay for your PG&E-sponsored retiree medical premiums, the longer those resources will be available for future use.

Consider taking other coverage to stretch your RMSA balance and your pension income—for example, by enrolling as a dependent in your spouse’s plan at work.

  • Do you plan to get a new job? You may be able to enroll in an employee health plan.
  • Does your spouse have a plan at work? Consider enrolling as a dependent.
  • Are you a veteran? You may be able to enroll in a Veterans Affairs (VA) plan.
  • Not yet eligible for Medicare? You may qualify for government-subsidized coverage through coveredca.com if you live in California—or another health exchange if you live outside California. Visit healthcare.gov/marketplace-in-your-state for listings of other states’ plans.
OTHER DENTAL AND VISION OPTIONS

Looking for a better deal on dental and vision coverage than you can get through COBRA?

Group rates

You might qualify for group rates through credit unions, college alumni groups, AARP, AMAC or other organizations.

The Pacific Service Employees Association (PSEA) offers dental and vision coverage to former PG&E employees at group rates. PG&E does not endorse or contribute to PSEA plans. For details, visit psea.info or call 1-800-272-7732.

Individual plans
Some insurance companies like Vision Service Plan (VSP) and Delta Dental sell individual and family policies. Coverage and costs will be different from the employee plans.