Alameda County Transitions Retirees To Private Exchange — A Look Back

August 6, 2014

In February 2012, the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA) made a change in the way it was offering health benefits to its retirees; the public pension fund decided to transition its Medicare-eligible retirees and their dependents to Towers Watson’s OneExchange.

Now, two years after the initial transition, Kathy Foster, ACERA’s benefits administrator, is speaking publicly for the first time about the decision and how it’s going. Alameda County, located in the East Bay near San Francisco, is the nation’s seventh most populous county. ACERA is responsible for ensuring that all county employees have cost-effective health benefits when they retire.

Said Foster in an April 2014 Towers Watson case study, “Through the exchange, we are able to provide our retirees a wide choice of high-quality Medicare plans as well as expert advice to help them choose among them. And we have confidence in the predictability and sustainability of the health benefits we will provide into the future.”

In an article in Employee Benefits News in June 2014, Foster touched on the challenges of running a public pension plan and managing costs, explaining how the association’s group plan offerings continued to get more and more expensive each year. According to Foster, ACERA was able to cut its costs in half, saving $2.5 million in 2013 alone for its more than 1,200 retirees.

For the complete Towers Watson case study click here. To read the article in Employee Benefits News click here. (Please note you will need to register to access the article, which is free.)

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