If you are a pre-65 AEP retiree, you may have questions about how Medicare and AEP medical plans work as you or your spouse near the age for Medicare coverage. The list of Frequently Asked Questions below has been created to answer your questions and provide information about this issue.
You can find more information and resources on AEP medical plans at AEPHealthHUB.com.
Annual Enrollment for 2016 medical plan coverage will take place from October 29 through November 19.
(Story by Carmen Prati-Miller)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — September ended with more than 150 women from 12 states converging on Charleston for the 2015 Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP) conference. The event included sessions on professional development, etiquette, managing crises and stress management in addition to tours of West Virginia American Water, Amos Plant and the M/V Mountain State river towboat.
“I was very impressed with all aspects of this year’s conference,” said Carolyn Gordon, AEP retiree and WiNUP president and chief executive officer. “I applaud the West Virginia Chapter members for the countless hours and tireless efforts they invested in making our event successful.
“The conference theme of “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” could not have been more appropriate because it was an absolutely wonderful experience.”
Although each day of the three-day conference was rewarding, the event highlight was the awards banquet held at the historic Edgewood Country Club. It was there that WiNUP recognized AEP employees and one retiree with the most prestigious awards offered by the organization. Awards presented are as follow:
Honorary Life Award
Lila Munsey, regulatory consultant principal, was recognized for her years of service, leadership and achievements. The award is WiNUP’s highest recognition for a member’s contributions to the organization. The Honorary Life Award honors an established WiNUP member who has exhibited exceptional leadership and service within the organization for at least 15 years. It recognizes the member’s involvement and responsibilities at the local and international level, the member’s ability to advise, counsel, and mentor other WiNUP members, and for contributions made to other organizations.
Velda Otey, retired AEP vice president and chief information officer, was named the 2015 OAK Award recipient. The award honors a member who exhibits exceptional leadership and service within WiNUP for at least 10 years. It recognizes the member’s involvement, responsibilities and leadership at the international as well as the chapter levels.
Janet Hewitt, operations and performance transformation team project manager, received this year’s Power Award. This award honors a WiNUP member who has supported the objectives of the organization locally and internationally for at least two years and not more than five years. It recognizes up and coming members’ efforts and contributions to the organization, contributions made to the industry and contributions to other professional organizations as well as professional accomplishments.
Chapter Achievement Awards(Recognizes outstanding chapter involvement)
- Chapter with 11-25 members – Indiana Chapter
- Chapter with 25+ members – Ohio Chapter
Chapter Newsletter Awards
(Based on content and newsletter design)
- First Place – Indiana Chapter
- Second Place – Ohio Chapter
- Third Place – Virginia Chapter
The organization’s International Board of Directors voted to rename The Chapter Newsletter Award. It will now be known as The Linda Johnson Newsletter Award in honor of Johnson, who recently passed away. The name change recognizes Johnson’s years of dedication and contributions to the WiNUP organization and will become effective in 2016.
Conference Recognition Award
The West Virginia Chapter received the annual Conference Recognition Award for hosting this year’s event.
In addition to the prestigious awards, a number of members received WiNUP service anniversary certificates for memberships in five-year increments and beyond.
Conference Chair Hewitt and the Conference Committee began planning the event nearly two years ago. Proceeds from a variety of silent auction items, a 50/50 raffle and T-shirt sales were earmarked for the American Heart Association and netted the non-profit organization $3,400.
Founded as the Electrical Women’s Roundtable in New York in 1923, WiNUP currently has more than 465 members in 18 U.S. chapters. Many of the opportunities are offered to members through the annual conference, which is supported in part by AEP.
(Story by Allison Barker)
The Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging recently honored Kentucky Power Company with the 2015 Corporate Partnership Award.
The award recognizes outstanding contributions of organizations that have enhanced the quality of life of older persons in the Southeast region. Greg Pauley, Kentucky Power president and chief operating officer, accepted the award during the organization’s annual meeting in Savannah, Ga.
|Kentucky Power President and COO Greg Pauley (left) accepts an award on behalf of the company for its volunteer work with senior citizens.|
Kentucky Power was selected for its work with the Kentucky River Area Development District (KRADD) and its annual Senior Day Games.The company has served as the primary corporate sponsor of the event since it began in 2002. Over the years, Kentucky Power and its employees have not only donated money to the event, but also countless volunteer hours.
“Senior Day is great opportunity for us to support the community and the growing senior population we serve,” said Greg Pauley. “It is inspiring to see these athletes — some of whom are well into their 80s — come out and compete. Some of our employees tell us that they look forward to participating in this event every year. We are humbled by this award and appreciate the recognition.”
The annual Senior Day event attracts about 350 participants every year. KRADD, an economic and community development organization, organizes the event to highlight the vitality, athleticism, talents and mental acuity of area athletes aged 50 and above. This is done through a variety of athletic events and contests, ranging from card games and darts to basketball free throws and track events.
KRADD supports many aging programs in Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Wolfe counties, many of which overlap with Kentucky Power’s service territory.
Stacie Noble with KRADD said, “We couldn’t do Senior Day without Kentucky Power’s support. We appreciate all they do.”
AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees and retirees. All employees and retirees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is from Glen Williams, project manager at AEP Headquarters in Columbus.
Where I was and how I got there:
|Glen Williams prior to changing to a healthier lifestyle.|
I have always “worked out,” lifting weights and in the past I ran 5Ks, 10Ks and even a few half marathons. I was mostly focused on bulking up as I was a high school and college football official and umpire, so I took a pounding working in the middle of the field. I generally weighed around 275 pounds, but even at 6’4” tall, that is still overweight.
After 20 years of officiating baseball, softball and football, I decided it was time to retire from officiating in 2013, as it had taken a toll on my body, primarily my knees, and it was time to pursue some other interests. I continued working out. I had worked up to a maximum bench press of 365 pounds and was shooting for 380-to-400 pounds. I had essentially stopped running because of bad knees, thus I did very little cardio. On May 7, 2013, I was doing a typical bench press routine during my lunch hour at the YMCA up the street from 1RP and due to some freak circumstances, I suffered a complete break of the humerus bone on my left arm about 1-1/2 inches above my left elbow.
The subsequent surgery left me with two stainless steel rods and 22 screws in my left arm. The healing and physical therapy took nearly eight months, and I quit working out during most of that period. My weight ballooned to 305 pounds and by the New Year, I was as big as I had ever been.
My turning point:
At the start of 2014, I noticed I wasn’t sleeping as well as I always had. I would wake up some days with a headache in the back of my head, which was unusual for me — I never had headaches before. I no longer had the high level of energy I aways had, and even my mood had changed. I went from the high speed, low drag, positive person to someone I didn’t recognize. It was Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and I woke up for the third or fourth day in a row with a headache. I did not feel right at all. Once I got to work, I went to see the nurse and she weighed me — 305 pounds — and took my blood pressure — 146/105. The nurse wanted to send me to the doctor right away, but I resisted and told her I would schedule an appointment with my family doctor, which I did. I also vowed that day I would change my lifestyle.
When I went to my doctor a week later, all the red flags were there — elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and overweight. She told me I was a risk for a stroke or heart attack, and a high risk for diabetes. These were things I didn’t expect to hear. My doctor wanted to put me on medications including blood pressure and cholesterol medications. I resisted and asked if I could try diet and exercise, and I assured her that I would stick with it and we would schedule follow-ups over the next couple of months. She agreed.
It helped a lot that Ash Wednesday was the next day. As a Catholic, it has always been my practice to give up something for Lent. I was determined that I would give up “JUNK” — all types of junk! If it wasn’t healthy and good for me, I wasn’t putting it in my body. I also vowed to work out every day of the week, including cardio, not building bulk. My grandfather told me two very simple things about losing weight when I was a teenager — “Eat right and exercise. It’s that simple, boy.”
Some things I did:
- Downloaded two apps for my iPhone, My Fitness Pal and RunKeeper. My Fitness Pal helps you log all food eaten and exercise done each day. You set your target weight and date to achieve, and the app tracks your progress. RunKeeper logs your cardio events regardless of the activity.
- I resumed working out at lunch every day. I took the stairs instead of the elevator. I walked every evening, starting out with one mile and progressing to five miles. I quit sitting around wasting time watching TV and got moving. Eventually I began to run again.
- I cut out all sweets, high sodium foods and high carbohydrate foods during Lent — cookies, cakes, candy, pies, ice cream (my biggest weakness), donuts and soda pop; also potato chips and other foods high in sodium, along with breads, all of it — no cheating.
|Glen Williams now runs, takes the stairs and eats healthier foods.|
By the end of Lent, I had lost 30 pounds. By October, I had met my goal of 252 pounds, and reset my goal to 235 pounds, which I reached by January 2014. I now weigh between 225 and 220 pounds, and my new goal is 215 pounds. I have lost 80 pounds to date and have gone from a size 42 to 34 waist. I haven’t been in size 32 clothing since I was in seventh grade. I can tie my shoes without losing my breath. I can fit comfortably in a coach seat on an airplane. There are so many simple joys that I have experienced by not being overweight anymore.
My blood pressure is now 120/70 and my cholesterol is under 200. I am 50 years young and I am in the best physical shape of my life. I can do 400 pushups a day, 200 situps, and I have run 5Ks, 10Ks, and plan to run a half-marathon soon. And energy, baby, I got energy to burn!
Staying on track:
I have a partner who supports me and encourages me 100 percent. She trains with me when she can, constantly encourages me, and drives me. Also, I need a challenge or a goal — something on the horizon that I am continually striving toward. I have found there are plenty of opportunities out there if you look for them.
My diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, light proteins like turkey sausage, egg beaters and seafood; whole grain breads and pastas; light yogurt is my sweet treat. Lifestyle change is a constant effort. I continue to take the steps at work and some days, I make myself “earn” breakfast — I take the elevator from my floor to the lobby, get my oatmeal with raisins and honey, and climb back up 24 flights of stairs. When I go to the store, I park at the back of the parking lot because those extra steps add up.
Pay it forward:
The biggest factor in my weight loss is that I had to do it for myself. I couldn’t do it for someone else. I had to want it and to desire it. I truly believe you have to do it for yourself first. The second thing is that it becomes a habit if you continue to do it. I travel a lot with my job, which can be lead to very bad habits, eating out all the time and not exercising. However, I have found that there are many healthy choices available and nearly every hotel has access to a gym. Believe me, it becomes addictive. You will not want to miss a workout and you realize how hard you have to work to get rid of the bad stuff you put in your body.
So like my grandfather once told me, “There ain’t no secret to it — eat right and exercise. Now get out there and hoe the garden!” I will never forget that advice. It really works!
Do you have a wellness journey you’d like to share? Your story can be about weight loss, overcoming an illness, maintaining good health habits or some other health-related topic. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retirees over the age of 65 and under the age of 65 will receive their Annual Enrollment materials packet in the mail soon. As in previous years, medical benefits information will be sent just prior to the start of Annual Enrollment (October 29 through November 19).
Complete details on the new consumer-directed health plans for pre-65 retirees can be found now at the AEP HealthHUB website.
For 20 years, Joan and Lee Kelvington, retired Ohio Power T&D director, sponsored the annual Oglebay Park mini-vacation contest, providing AEP employees and retirees the opportunity to spend a weekend at the popular resort near Wheeling, W.Va. Winners came from far and near and enjoyed the getaway all because of the Kelvington’s generosity.
Wilbur “Lee” Kelvington, 85, of Wheeling, passed away October 7 in Wheeling Hospital.
“Joan and I have many fond memories of Oglebay,” said Kelvington in announcing the contest one year. “Sponsoring the mini-vacation for our AEP family is an awesome experience, and we look forward to meeting the lucky winner each year.”
A private funeral service was held at the Altmeyer Funeral Home in Elm Grove Oct. 9 for friends and family of Lee, including Joan and their son, Rick. He is also survived by family members, Alan and Brenda Duvall, Diana Duvall, and Scot Duvall.
Lee was born in the Elm Grove area to Vern and Mary Katherine Kelvington on November 26, 1929, during the start of the “Great Depression.” He went to Triadelphia High School, and graduated from Riverside College before entering the Air Force in 1950.
After the Korean War, he went on to earn a masters of electrical engineering degree, knowledge he put to good use in the 52 years he worked for AEP. He started out as a meter reader and went on to manage the department. In the 1970’s, he moved to the AEP headquarters in Canton, Ohio, and worked as the T&D director until his retirement.
In 2016, AEP is offering the choice of three consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) to pre-65 retirees and employees. In consumer-directed health plans, it is vital to understand how prescriptions are handled, and how health spending accounts can be used to help pay for your medical expenses.
WHAT ABOUT PRESCRIPTIONS?
Key feature of 2016 medical plans: understanding your prescription costs
It is important to take the time to review the medications you are currently taking and plan for the anticipated out-of-pocket cost in 2016.
Read here for a detailed cost explanation of how your pharmacy benefits will work and what will feel different to you.
Express Scripts (ESI) will continue to be the vendor for AEP’s prescription drug coverage in 2016. ESI is a large pharmacy benefit manager that negotiates costs for prescriptions with drug manufacturers. ESI also works closely with national chain pharmacies as well as individual pharmacies to make sure AEP members get a discount on prescription medications.
Knowing the costs of your prescriptions will be important to you under a CDHP because none of the new medical plans will provide for a flat-dollar co-pay for drugs.
Instead, you may be responsible for either the full discounted cost of the drug, a percentage of that cost, or no cost, depending on where you stand in terms of the plan’s annual deductible and/or out-of-pocket maximum. Current members may use the Price Your Medication tool provided by ESI’s website today. Current and prospective members should call ESI’s patient care advocates at 1-800-841-3045.
WHAT ABOUT HEALTH SPENDING ACCOUNTS?
Please contact HealthEquity, AEP’s vendor partner, if you have HSA questions:
Health spending accounts such as Health Reimbursement Accounts, Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts may be used to pay your medical expenses.
The Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is set up and funded by AEP. Only AEP can fund this account, and it is only available for participants in the HRA Plan.
The Health Savings Account (HSA) is like a 401(k) retirement account, but it is for medical expenses. You can only have an HSA if you enroll in the HSA Plus or the HSA Basic plans next year.
The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is funded by you through pre-tax payroll deductions. It is available to participants in all three plans but there are restrictions depending on the plan you choose.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
Learn more about health spending accounts in this FAQ:
We encourage you to visit the AEP HealthHUB (http://www.aephealthhub.com) for more detailed information on all of your medical plan options and tools available. The AEP HealthHUB is an external site with no password required so that spouses and pre-65 retirees can access; AEP Now access is not required for the site.
The quickest way to receive answers for any specific questions is to contact our subject area experts and vendor partners directly.
Anthem – Medical Plan questions: Phone: 1-877-585-9572; website: www.anthem.com.
Express Scripts – Prescription Drugs: Phone: 1-800-841-3045; website: www.express-scripts.com.
HealthEquity – HSA questions: Phone: 1-877-713-7712; website: www.healthequity.com.
|Former Kammer Plant employees (from left) Mark Huffman, Jim Smith and Bill Costello. Huffman is retired; Smith and Costello transferred to Mitchell Plant.|
(Story by Tom Holliday)
The recent retirement of 23 generating units at nine AEP power plants marked the end of an era for the company and for many of the men and women who spent their careers working at one or more of the “disposition” generating units.
Thanks to the efforts of the Generation leadership team working in close cooperation with AEP’s Human Resources professionals, the retirements translated into new opportunities for more than 260 power plant workers affected by the plant closings. Many employees expressed an interest learning the outcome of Generation’s efforts to assist those workers. Dan Lee, senior vice president – Fossil & Hydro Generation, recently shared the details during a Generation employee webcast.
The plant and unit closings were part of AEP’s overall plan for complying with the Mercury Air Toxics Standards for existing power plants, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011. “We started working on plans to minimize the impact on our workers in early 2012,” said Lee. “As soon as we knew we would be retiring those units, we started trying to find ways to provide opportunities for our employees to find other positions either within Generation or other areas of the company.”
The goal of the Generation Disposition Staffing Program was to estimate the attrition that the plants remaining in service would experience over time, and identify the level of staffing that would be needed in 2015 when the retirements would occur.
“During 2013 and 2014, we were able to post nearly 250 positions for future vacancies at the plants that would continue operating in 2015 and beyond,” said Leslie Rittenhouse, HR Generation & Energy Supply manager. As a result, 133 employees were identified for a future position, while they continued to work at their retiring unit.
That allowed the disposition units to maintain a measure of employment stability during the transition years. At the same time it would provide the employees who accepted new assignments with some assurance about their employment future once their current plant or unit was officially retired.
|Glen Lyn Plant employees posed for a group photo at an appreciation luncheon in May.|
For Brent Murray, plant system owner-principal, a move from Tanners Creek Plant to Rockport was a very positive experience. “Everyone has treated me like family and gone out of their way to make me feel at home,” he said. “I was really concerned and had several sleepless nights about starting over after 27 years at one location and how I would be accepted . Those fears were put to rest my very first day on the job.
“I am currently living here (near Rockport) during the week and going home on the weekends when I can because my youngest son is a senior in high school and is staying with my wife at our farm until he graduates,” Murray explained. “That has been the hardest part of my relocation because I miss them tremendously and have never been away for an extended period of time before. But I consider myself very fortunate that Rockport has given me an opportunity to finish my career with AEP. I count my blessings every day.”
Tim Hunt, now an FGD (Flue Gas Desulfurization) supervisor at Mountaineer, echoed Murray’s comment when talking about his move from the Kanawha River Plant. “My transition’s gone great. The people at Mountaineer have been great and I’ve not had any problems picking up my new work responsibilities,” he said. At Kanawha River, Hunt worked in operations and was used to working different shifts. In his new role, Hunt works the day shift Monday through Friday and says the change has been a good one.
“I’ll have 37 years of service with AEP in a while, and I was a little worried when they announced the staffing program because I wasn’t sure they’d want to go through so much trouble for someone in my situation,” Hunt explained. “I still want to work several more years and I’m tickled that I got an offer.” Hunt is enjoying the added benefit of a shorter work commute. His drive to Mountaineer is about 20 miles shorter than his drive to Kanawha River.
In addition to the employees who were placed through the formal staffing program, 135 affected employees transferred to other plants before the launch of the program, and to other business units within AEP. Employees from the retired units are now working not only in Generation, but in Distribution, Transmission, Human Resources, Generation Engineering Services and Cook Nuclear Plant.
Of the employees who received, or are scheduled to receive a severance package, more than 80 percent are retirement-eligible.
“No one wants to hear that their job is going away,” said Lee. “But I firmly believe the program went a long way to reduce the stress, anxiety and disruption that employees faced when they learned the units would have to be retired. In the final analysis, I think the program was a great success and helped us demonstrate how much we value and respect our employees.”
(Story by Zach Maiorana)
Since 1980, Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed campaign’s mission has been to provide food to central Ohio families in need.
When 1 in 6 Ohioans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, that mission is essential.
According to their website, last year the Foodbank distributed 54.6 million pounds of food to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters across 20 counties. Recipients of this contribution are able to use the donations to provide 130,066 meals every day to those who need them.
AEP’s contribution that year pulled together $168,673 to offer to Operation Feed. This year, the company pushed the bar even higher by raising $187,500. That’s 750,000 meals that the Foodbank is able to give because of AEP’s efforts.
AEP and the Foodbank have one major tie. Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services, also is a member of the Foodbank’s board of trustees.
On Sep. 9, Kirkpatrick, Business Process Analyst Beth Smail and Customer Design Supervisor Kristen Thompson presented the check to Joan Lloyd, director of Corporate Engagement for the Foodbank.
“AEP’s contribution helps us ensure that no one in our community faces hunger,” says Lloyd. “It helps our mission to see that folks in our community have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and other items that they otherwise might not be able to access.”
Over the years, the Foodbank’s purpose has become more refined, as they seek to offer more healthful food to those they help.
Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and bread are replacing processed goods, making healthier food choices available to food pantries’ inventories. In 2014, more than 24 million pounds of food was fresh produce.
“In our past year, we distributed 58 million pounds of food items to the communities in our footprint,” says Lloyd. “Nearly 50 percent of what we distribute is fresh, and that’s because more fresh food is available. Over 14 billion pounds of fresh food goes unharvested each year. We work to get that food to people who can’t get it elsewhere.”
AEP’s donation comes second among corporate sponsors, with only Nationwide providing a larger contribution.
“We’re proud of our partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank,” says Smail, who helped present the check. “Through the support of AEP employees every year, we’ve been able to make a significant impact in our communities that need help.”
|AEP employees and pre-65 retirees can PLUG In to Choose at the AEP HealthHUB website.|
AEP employees and pre-65 retirees can now PLUG IN to Choose at AEP HealthHUB (http://www.aephealthhub.com) with a lineup of tools and resources to help you choose the best medical plan option for you this fall.
At AEP HealthHUB, you can find PLUG IN to Choose resources, including:
- Detailed looks at how each plan works at various coverage levels, in an easy-to-understand graphical format.
- ALEX, an interactive virtual benefits expert, available 24/7, who can help you choose your 2016 medical plan based on your family situation, anticipated health care needs, and other factors.
- Annual Enrollment Guides, available on AEP HealthHUB in mid-October.
Go to AEP HealthHUB to find these and other resources to help you get ready to enroll. Annual Enrollment is October 29 through November 19.