Sen. Butterworth Notifies District of Informational Meetings to Address Changes to the State Health Benefit Plan for Retirees

ATLANTA (August 27, 2009) – State Senator Jim Butterworth (R-Clarkesville) is notifying his district of informational meetings regarding the changes to the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) for retirees. These changes are in response to the current fiscal crisis facing Georgia. They are an effort to reduce costs and liability, saving the state $2.4billion, while still providing efficient and quality health care.

“I know that benefits are very important to Georgia citizens, particularly retirees; so it is important to stay informed about the changes made to your coverage,” said Butterworth. “I encourage anyone affected by these issues to attend the informational meetings and learn as much as possible so as to make informed decisions regarding your health care coverage.”

Effective on Jan. 1, 2010, retirees (age 65 and older) will be required to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan (MAP). These plans are offered by SHBP to ensure that recipients receive the approximately 75% subsidy the state contributes to member premiums. MAPs are plans approved by Medicare that will lower state liability without decreasing service. A mail-order pharmacy will be available to members, though not mandatory under the MAP plan. The mail-order pharmacy is only required to be an option to members, but participation is not required of the retiree. Previously, Georgia had been one of only three states that did not offer this service.

To learn more please visit one of the 188 informational meetings happening throughout the state. Clarkesville will host three meetings on Wednesday, Sep. 2 at 8:30 A.M., 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. The meetings will be held at the North Georgia Technical College’s Clegg Auditorium located at 1500 Highway, 197 North, Clarkesville, GA 30523.

Gainesville will also host 3 informational meetings. They will be Thursday, Sep. 3 at 8:30 A.M., 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. The meeting will be located at the Georgia Mountain Center located at 301 Main St SW, Gainesville, GA 30501.

For more information on the SHBP Medicare Advantage options, go to

Sen. Jim Butterworth represents the 50th Senate District which includes Towns, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties along with a portion of White County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5257 or by email at

August 27, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Katie Wright, Communications Associate