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The future is now...Get behind the wheel of UPMA

UPMA Retired- The Backbone of the UPMA

Business meeting Agenda,                          at the 2024 Ohio Chapter convention.

2024 RETIREES MEETING AGENDA

Call to order
Invocation Deb Justice
Pledge of Allegiance- Sara Kreitzer
Secretary report - Minutes of last meeting
Treasurers report- Tracy Gebhart
President’s report
Scholarships
National candidates
Vice President’s report
National Veterans project
Unfinished Business
By Law changes
Election of Oficers
New Business

Guest Speaker- Charley Peters- Retiree National President

UPDATE ON SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD (SEP): from President Charley

   Here's an update on the PSHB Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B. The SEP is for those who were eligible for Medicare Part A, but chose not to enroll in Medicare Part B when they were first eligible. To be eligible for the SEP, you must be an Annuitant and have been eligible for Medicare Part A and not enrolled in Part B as of 1/1/2024. If you become eligible for Medicare Part A after 1/1/2024 (normally 65 years old), you are not eligible for the SEP. That date has already passed. Covered family members are subject to the same rules as the Primary insured. You have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty, 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday and 3 months after the month of your birthday (total of 7 months). 

   If you retire after the age of 65, your Individual Enrollment period begins on your retirement date, and you will have 8 months to choose Medicare Part B without penalty. If you fall into the category of being required to take Medicare Part B and you miss your Individual Enrollment period, you will be subject to a Medicare Part B Penalty, and you could also lose your PSHB coverage because you are required to have Medicare Part B to keep your PSHB coverage. If you are currently retired by 12/31/2024, you are not required to choose Part B. If you are 64 years of age or older and still employed, you will not be required to enroll in Medicare Part B when you retire and eligible for Medicare. If you are under 64 years of age and still employed, you will be required to take Medicare Part B when you retire and eligible for Medicare.

    For more information on the Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B, and answers to some of your questions, such as: What to do if you believe you are eligible to participate in the PSHB SEP and do not receive a notification letter by mail in March. This site also has sidebar Resources for other information on PSHB. https://www.keepingposted.org/pshb-sep.htm

MEDICARE PART D PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN IN A NUTSHELL:

from Retired President Charley Peters

               Blue Cross Blue Shield sent out introduction letters early on. I received mine dated October 18, 2023, explaining this new drug benefit, FEP Medicare Prescription Drug Program (MPDP), and how to opt out. It is for FEP members enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or B. You will keep your current FEP medical plan coverage (no changes to your medical coverage). Part D gives access to additional covered prescription drugs in tiers 3 and 4, which could mean lower out of pocket cost for higher cost drugs. You don't pay a separate premium; the new MPDP is included in your FEP premium. With this you have access to Tier 1 Generic drugs, Tier 2 Preferred brand name drugs, plus Tier 3 Non-preferred brand name drugs, and Tier 4 Specialty drugs. The traditional BC/BS drug coverage was for Tier 1 and 2 only. The new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (MPDP) also added a maximum $3,250 out of pocket that is not in the traditional Rx coverage.

               You are automatically enrolled unless you opt out. You can opt out anytime if you find it is not working for you. If you opt out, you will revert back to your traditional BC/BS prescription drug coverage, but you will have to wait until the next Open Season if you want to get back in. BC/BS worked with Medicare and OPM to offer this Medicare Part D Prescription Plan, but you are not paying the Part D Premium separately, it is just an additional benefit of your BC/BS FEP Plan. You have to get your prescriptions at an in-network retail pharmacy or FEP Mail Service Pharmacy. There are more than 65,000 in-network or preferred retail pharmacies.

               As stated, there is no additional cost for the new plan, UNLESS your individual income is more than $103,000 or $206,000 as a couple, and you are already paying an income related Medicare Part B premium. Like Medicare Part B, you will pay an additional Income Related surcharge for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This surcharge goes up as your income increases but if you crunch numbers, you could find that your Part D coverage savings might offset the additional surcharge. If you are not making $103,000 or more, then you don't have to worry about that.

               Remember: If you give it a try and then decide to opt out, you can do that anytime during 2024, or you can contact BC/BS or Medicare now and opt out. For a full description of benefits in your Basic Option Evidence of Coverage, go to fepblue.org/medicarerx or call 1-888-338-7737. You can use their Prescription Drug Cost tool at fepblue.org/rx to see what your drug costs at local pharmacies and via the FEP Mail Service Pharmacy or you can call 1-888-338-7737..

               On a personal note, I recently received in the mail a 2024 FEP Medicare Prescription Drug Program Basic Option Member Kit. I will wait and see if my Prescription Drug costs increase or decrease with the Medicare approved drug plan payments.

               It is important to note that many insurance carriers in the FEHB Plan have already implemented the Medicare Advantage Plan. GEHA automatically enrolled their members in a Medicare Advantage program, and they had to also choose to opt out. Some of the Union Insurance programs did similar.  BCBS is just implementing the Plan in 2024. These are changes made by the Health Insurance Providers and approved by OPM.

MEDICARE OR NOT:                                                             10/21/23

Being a postal employee has numerous perks and benefits with one of the most significant ones being your FEHB (health insurance). But as people approach age 65, Medicare comes into the picture and presents numerous decisions to make concerning health benefits. Here is a link that addresses Medicare and FEHB for all federal employees:  Do You Really Need Medicare and FEHB as a Federal Employee? (be sure to scroll to top) Medicare Part A is free, paid for through payroll deductions when you worked. For Medicare Part B, you pay a premium. The chart in the above link is outdated; the 2024 Medicare Part B premiums are attached. (Thanks Bill Tierney). 

 

MEDICARE COST TO INCREASE: Bill Tierney                               10/13/23

The standard monthly premium for traditional Medicare Part B coverage, which encompasses physician care, outpatient services and medical equipment, will be $174.70 in 2024, up from $164.90 this year. Medicare enrollees may see higher premiums based on their income. For more information: https://www.axios.com/2023/10/13/medicare-premiums-set-to-rise-in-2024 or https://www.myfederalretirement.com/.

MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENTS: Linda Carter                                     10/21/23

Many insurance providers under the FEHB program give annual reimbursements to help offset the cost of Medicare Part B; I can only speak personally about BCBS because that is what I have. For those who have BCBS BASIC (less expensive premiums), the reimbursement in 2023 is $800. The reimbursement is not available for BCBS STANDARD (the most expensive premium, and what most of us had during career and until eligible for Medicare Part B). Once enrolled in Medicare Part B, it is not necessary to carry the additional coverage in BCBS Standard as Medicare Part B becomes your primary insurance, and BCBS is secondary. You are encouraged to talk to your Federal BCBS representative, who will (in most cases) advised you to switch to Basic. Open Season November 14 – December 12, 2023. 

HOW TO GET THE REIMBURSEMENT: from Linda Carter                 10/21/23

Basic Option members who have Medicare Part A and Part B can get up to $800 with a Medicare Reimbursement Account. All you have to do is provide proof that you pay Medicare Part B premiums.  If your premium is deducted from your Social Security, you should use the Social Security Cost of Living statement received annually, usually in November for the following year. Each eligible active or retired member on a contract with Medicare Part A and Part B, including covered spouses, can get their own $800 reimbursement. Here is the information, along with the links to apply for reimbursements: https://www.fepblue.org/our-plans/medicare/medicare-reimbursement.  If this is your first request for reimbursement, you must register first. Pay close attention to how to determine your four-digit ID Code on page 2 of the attachment. If you are already registered, it takes less than 5-minutes to apply for the reimbursement. Let me know if I can help: Linda Carter 919-323-6595. 

Ohio UPMA Retired fall meeting  Oct. 2023

Our fall meeting always begins with a chance to meet and mingle. We play Euchre and Bingo. Just look at the smiles on your fellow retirees. If you've never attended, please consider joining next year. It is a wonderful chance to renew friendships and catch up on our busy retired lives.

Our Meeting

Of course, we do hold an official meeting of the OhioUPMA Retired, The usual reports are given along with an update from President LouStuckey. Our guest speaker this year was Allen Perry. Allen is an Federal Employee Benefit Specialist . He spoke to us about the upcoming changes to our Postal Service Health Benefits. 

Our OhioUPMA Retired Officers

President Lou Stuckey 

Treasurer Tracie Gebhart

 

We were provided with the treasurers report and minutes from the convention meeting, (your retirees meet twice a year, at our state convention and this fall meeting).

Allen Perry

This year's guest speaker

Allen is an Federal Employee Benefit Specialist with "MyFedBenefits"

 

Allen spoke to the membership about upcoming changes to our Postal Service Health Benefits. They go into effect in 2025. He advises us all to pay attention to upcoming information.

 

Allen addresses the membership

  

He provided quite a bit of information regarding social security, Medicare and the changes coming to health benefits.

 

Allen Perry

513-201-8679

myfedbenefitshelp.com

Did we mention PIE ?

The great turnout for the fall meeting is of course, the food. Served family style. Plenty of good  chicken beef and sides. If you go home hungry it is your own fault. 

   And these pies...delicious...and several are presented as door prizes.

Hello everyone,                                                                               9/28/23

I just found out today that Bill Landman's wife passed away on Aug 28.  I apologize for the late notice and feel bad for not knowing at the time.  If anyone would like to send a card, his address is 552 Landman Rd, Waverly OH 45690-9548.  Bill served as our chaplain for a number of years.  And for those of you who are planning to attend our luncheon next Wed you will get a chance to talk with Bill there as he is planning to attend.  The link for Shirley Landman is below.

Hope to see you in Plain City!
Sara

Click on this Link to the Federal Retirement Newsletter:

 

https://www.myfederalretirement.com/ira-contirbutions-secure-act/

 

webmaster:

Victoria Filippidis

VCanby14@gmail.com

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UPMA Ohio Chapter

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