UPMA National President Edmond Carly addressing the Ohio UPMA annual convention
UPMA National President Edmond Carly addressing the Ohio UPMA annual convention

 Legislative news

you can find e-mail information for your representative at:

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

A message from Ted Gedeon                                               8/6/22

I have been involved with legislative issues for a while now and thought that I’ve seen just about everything but never in my wildest dreams have I believed that Congress would agree to pass 2 bills which would  benefit  Postal employees and retirees in one year. Now I admit, I am getting a little bit ahead of myself in assuming that HR-82, the Social Security Reform Act, will pass in this legislative year, but thanks to the efforts of many of you in gathering enough co-sponsors, it will be presented to the House floor for a vote in September with another vote following shortly to ratify it in the Senate. The bill has enough support in both the House and the Senate to pass without any issues. 

2022 will go down as a momentous year for us legislatively because of a Postal Reform Bill finally becoming law.  But with the addition of a repeal of WEP/GPO contained in HR-82, this year will become truly EPIC!! 

Both Postal Reform and the repeal of WEP/GPO have been on the top of our legislative agenda for years without any movement or support from our legislators in Washington DC, but our success this year proves the point that to succeed in politics you must be persistent and never give up the battle.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN A PART OF ADVOCATING FOR THESE ISSUES!!  It has truly been a long time in coming.

AND A BIG LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Dave Cook, UPMAR Legislative Chair
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Many of you have worked diligently to contact your representatives and encourage support of H. R. 82, and we have succeeded! Thank you! We have reached 290 sponsors; fantastic work by everyone. Just another example of how UPMA Members stick together until the mission is accomplished! Hopefully the bill will come to the floor. Now, we need to contact our Senators to sponsor S. 1302 Social Security Fairness Act. We already have 40 sponsors… our work has just begun, but we don’t give up! Thank you!

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POSTAL REFORM-FEHBP                                             5/23/2022

Postal Service Health Benefits Program

Under the Postal Service Reform Act, the Office of Personnel Management may now contract with carriers to offer health benefits as described, creating the Postal Service Health Benefits Program within the FEHBP.

In the contract year beginning January 2023, the program shall ‘‘to the greatest extent practicable” with respect to
each plan provided by a carrier in which the total enrollment includes 1,500 or more enrollees who are Postal Service employees or Postal Service annuitants, have a plan offered by that carrier with equivalent benefits and cost-sharing requirements. The exception is the director of OPM may exempt any comprehensive medical plan from this requirement and include plans offered by any other carrier determined appropriate by OPM.

Requirement of Medicare Enrollment for Certain Annuitants and Their Family Members

A Postal Service Medicare-covered annuitant may not enroll in a program plan unless the annuitant is entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

If a Postal Service annuitant who is entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A and required under the program to enroll in Medicare Part B has a family member who is an “eligible for Medicare individual,” that member of the family may not enroll under the program unless that member of the family is entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Exceptions

In general, the requirements as applicable shall not apply with respect to an individual in the following cases:

n Postal Service Annuitants—As of Jan. 1, 2025, the individual is a Postal Service annuitant who is not entitled both to benefits under Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

n Current Employees Aged 64 and Over—As of Jan. 1, 2025, the individual is a Postal Service employee and at least 64 years of age.

n Postal Service Medicare-Covered Annuitants and Family Members Living Abroad

n Postal Service Medicare-Covered Annuitants and Family Members Enrolled under VA Coverage (Veterans Affairs)

n Postal Service Medicare-Covered Annuitants and Family Members Eligible For IHS Health Services (Indian Health Service)

Medicare Special Enrollment Period. If a qualified individual is not enrolled under Part B, the individual may elect to be enrolled during a special enrollment period in a six-month period beginning on April 1, 2024. The coverage period will commence on Jan. 1, 2025.

Medicare Coordination. In general, OPM shall require each program plan to provide benefits for covered Medicare individuals pursuant to a coordination of benefits method approved by OPM.

Health Benefits Education Program. In general, the Education Program must begin no later than 18 months after enactment. The Joint Program uses OPM, the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Congress appropriated approximately $94 million to fund the Education Program.

For additional information, please contact Eagle Care at 512-859-5662 or info@eaglecarehealth.com.

WEP Windfall Elimination Provisions                                                      3/19/22      

NARFE, one of federal employees and retirees best friends, tracks bills in Congress that would affect you if they became law. In the March 2022 issue of their magazine, they’ve highlighted five of them that deal with a pair of issues that either are or will be of concern to you. 

Postal Service Reform Act of 2022     from NARFE news   3/19/2022

         Comparison of PSHB and FEHB
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 creates a new Postal Service Health Benefits (PSHB) program within the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program starting in January 2025. All postal employees and postal annuitants will be offered their earned health benefits through the PSHB program at that time.
The PSHB is designed to provide plans that mirror current FEHB plans but with different rates to reflect a separate, postal-only risk pool and cost savings accrued from increased Medicare integration.
Actuarial analysis of the new PSHB program found that it should lower average costs of coverage, and, therefore, plan premiums, for both PSHB and FEHB program plans, benefitting postal and nonpostal enrollees. As such, PSHB plans should provide the same coverage to postal employees and retirees, but with lower premiums.

         Open the following link for the complete text...

Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.docx
Microsoft Word document [19.5 KB]

POSTAL REFORM ACT PASSED! From David Cook

March 7, 2022: The Senate passed the Postal Reform Act 2021, S-1720 (H.R. 3076) by a vote of 79-19! The bill now goes to President Biden for this signature. For 15 years members of UPMA have worked to see this day. Thank you to all for your efforts and perseverance!

 

The following information gleaned from: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate  

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to reform the Postal Service, sending the bill to President Biden's desk. Senators voted 79-19 on the legislation, which makes financial and operational reforms to the U.S. Postal Service. The bill passed the House earlier this year. 

 The bill, which has been in the making for 15 years, would get rid of an existing requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits, which lawmakers had pinpointed as a significant financial burden for the agency. It would also establish transparency and delivery standards and require that mail be delivered six days a week. To read more,   https://thehill.com/homenews/senate

 

POSTAL REFORM BILL                                                       3/14/2022

   As most of you already know, the Postal Reform Bill passed the Senate last week and is waiting for the Presidents signature to become law. There have been several questions raised about the new Postal-only Health Plan and who will be covered by it.  It is my understanding that all working employees will be switched to the new plan unless they are 64 years old or older by the time the new plan takes effect in 2025. Those 64 or older  would have a choice to stay in the old FEHPB plans and NOT take Medicare Part B when they retire, or if they choose to take Part B, they will be placed into  the new Postal only plans.  

   Anyone already retired who has Part B will be switched to the new Postal Plan as well. Any retiree who has not taken Part B will remain in the current FEHPB plans. 

However anyone retired who is not participating in Part B will be given an opportunity to join Part B with no late penalty incurred, and they will be switched to the new Postal Plans. I hope this answers some of the questions that people have. I know it’s confusing…

Ted Gedeon

The Senate is in recess until March after tomorrow. We must have H.R. 82 passed.   (2/18/22)

You can call any member of the house using a number from this list: https://www.house.gov/representatives.

 

Check their office website at:  https://www.house.gov

There are other Bills on GPO and WEP but they don't have enough support to get this done!

 

Rodney Davis and Abigail Spanberger, original sponsors of HOUSE WEP/GPO REPEAL BILL, H.R. 82, are asking House Leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote now. We need to back up our sponsors, Davis and Spanberger, by bombarding the House decision-makers’ offices with demands for action.

·        You can call any Member of the House using a number from this easy list:  https://www.house.gov/representatives  

·        Or check their office website at:  https://www.house.gov for a contact page.

·        Call and/or email them a copy of the letter attached, which Rodney Davis and Abigail Spanberger sent to House Leaders. 

·        Call your Congressperson’s home office, too, and talk to their legislative aide. 

We need to reach out to the House leadership first. Make sure your own Member of Congress sees this same letter below. Thank you!

 

Click here for a copy of letter supporting Social Security Fairness Act. Use the letter to send to your representatives. 

POSTAL REFORM ACT PASSES HOUSE: 

from Dave Cook, UPMAR Legislative Chair

The 2021 Postal Reform Act (H.R. 3076) won sweeping bipartisan support, a notable victory for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have for more than 10 years sought to deliver the core elements of the bill for USPS. Congress last passed major postal reform in 2006, though the agency’s finances collapsed shortly thereafter and lawmakers have struggled to address the situation ever since. The new measure now heads to the Senate, where it already has broad bipartisan support and a vote is expected in short order.  To read more: https://www.govexec.com/management/2022/02/house-has-passed-postal-reform-reaching-new-milestone-decade-long-effort-reshape-usps/361734/

 

The Postal Reform Act of 2021 (HR 3076) has cleared its final hurdle in the House of Representatives and will soon be debated and cleared for a final vote on the House Floor.  The bill has been held up in two sub-committees, the House Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Both committees cleared the bill after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the bill would not have a negative impact on the Federal Budget. 

 

So where does the bill now stand? Because there is almost no organized opposition to the bill, it should be scheduled for a quick debate and vote on the entire House Floor. This should take no more that a couple weeks to happen. After that it will go to the Senate to be considered for passage as well. There are currently over 20 Republican sponsors for the bill in the Senate which makes it filibuster proof and it SHOULD pass the Senate floor without much controversy . But, politics being politics final passage is not a sure bet yet. We will know more as the bill proceeds through the House. Keep your fingers crossed….

 

This is great news because our Legislative Summit is scheduled to be held on February 13-16. By that time the bill should be in the Senate, and we will have an excellent opportunity to express our feelings to our Senators to get it passed while we're there. Im feeling very optimistic about the Bill FINALLY passing..  Because of the continuing issue with Covid 19, almost all of our meetings with our legislators will be again done via  ZOOM. I will send out the links to the meetings just before the Summit begins.

 

And speaking of the Summit, There is still time to register for the event. The Ohio Chapter of UPMA has authorized every member in good standing to receive compensation for their room, registration and travel expenses while attending the Summit. No expenses will be reimbursed without receipts. So if you are going to fly too DC, keep your receipt. If you drive, calculate your milage and also keep your turnpike tolls. If you are sharing a ride to DC, only the driver will be reimbursed for their expenses. Likewise if you share a room with another member, only one person may be compensated for the cost of the room. The cost of registering for the Summit is fully reimbursed. 

All information about the Summit including registration and room registration is on the National website:  unitedpma.org 

 

I hope to see you all there!

Ted Gedeon                                                                                                                                          01/20/2022

2022 legislative summit registration for[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [118.0 KB]

HR 82 Windfall Elimination Provision       5/3/21

We finally have a chance at repealing the  Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). We need everyone in the organization to put this on Facebook and SHARE, SHARE SHARE!

For Teachers, Postal Workers, State and County workers now is the time to tell your congressman to represent you and support the passage of HR 82.

Many will not know anything about the WEP until they get ready to retire and then it’s to late. The WEP in short says you can’t draw 100% of 2 Federal or State pensions. So the Federal Gov’t will reduce your Social Security by 2/3rd. Lets look at the math. You turn 65 and you receive a letter from Social Security that says you will draw $1200.00 a month. But oh, wait then they find out you worked for the Federal, State or County government and they will reduce that $1,200.00 to $396.00 and then you have to take Medicare out of that, a further reduction.

HR 82 will not eliminate the WEP, just refigure the penalty.

 

I’m an old retired Postmaster. I remember, I think it was Dale Goff NAPUS President 2007 that said “Let us do together what we cannot do alone”. Please show me that Postmasters still take care of their own and lets see this go viral.

 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/hr82/summary

 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/82?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+82%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1

Draft Copy of proposed Postal Reform
Draft postal reform feb 21.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [109.1 KB]

USPS FAIRNESS ACT INTRODUCEDinfo from www.unitedpma.org

The USPS Fairness Act (HR 695/S145) was introduced this week in the US House and US Senate. The bill repeals the requirement to prefund Postal Service health and retirement benefits as mandated under the PAEA of 2006. Last year, the House passed the USPS Fairness Act by a 309-106 vote. It never received a vote in the Senate. UPMA believes in repealing the prefunding requirement and continues to fight for reforms that will strengthen the USPS in the long term – while protecting Postmasters and Managers pay and benefits. All postal labor unions expressed their support for the change. To read more, www.unitedpma.org.

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Jordan Davenport

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