Sunday, February 25, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, February 9, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, February 9, 2024

Give Your Feedback About the Proposed New UMP Classic Medicare Pharmacy Benefit for 2025 – Registration is Open Now for HCA’s Town Halls

Are you covered under Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) Classic Medicare through the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB)? Or, are you interested in possibly switching to that plan? As noted in last week’s NewsFlash, the Health Care Authority (HCA) is exploring a potential new option that could significantly reduce monthly premiums for this plan by changing the plan’s current pharmaceutical benefit to an employer-managed Plan D pharmacy benefit. The medical portion of UMP Classic Medicare would remain unchanged if the new pharmaceutical benefit is adopted by the PEB Board this spring.

HCA is seeking retiree input on the potential new pharmacy benefit. The agency is hosting three virtual town halls and one in-person town hall this month ONLY. Register today to provide your input.

Details about the potential new pharmacy benefit and instructions on how to sign up for a town hall meeting is available at Retiree engagement | Washington State Health Care Authority. The link under the header “Join the conversation” will take you to the webinar recording and how to sign up for town halls. All participants have been asked to watch the webinar before attending a town hall meeting. The webinar provides detailed information about the potential new pharmaceutical benefit.

If you cannot attend one of the town hall meetings this month, here are some other ways you can offer feedback. All feedback must be received on or before March 8th.

Health Care Authority PEBB UMP Medicare Feedback
P.O. Box 42684
Olympia, WA 98504

It is important to note that no decision has been rendered yet. The PEB Board directed HCA to seek input from stakeholders about this potential new configuration. Stakeholder feedback will be shared at the PEB Board’s April meeting.

COLA Bill and Month of Death Bills Continue to Advance Through the Legislative Process

This last week, H.B. 1985 (one time cost of living adjustment in 2024 for PERS/TRS 1 retirees) received a unanimous House vote. The bill has been advanced to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for consideration. We thank all RPEC members, as well as the members of the Select Committee on Pension Policy, who sit on the House Appropriations Committee, for ensuring this bill remained a priority for House legislators. We especially thank RPEC’s definitive legislative champion, Rep. Mari Leavitt, for her efforts with the Rules Committee, to ensure the bill received a timely full House vote.

The House Appropriations Committee declined action on HB 2013 (month of death bill). HB 2481, filed on January 25th (state pays the month-of-death health insurance premiums for retirees who receive their insurance through PEBB) is awaiting a full House floor vote and remains in the Rules Committee.

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Join the AFSCME Retirees Letter Campaign to Repeal GPO and WEP

We paid into Social Security throughout our working years. We earned those benefits just like everyone else. But for decades, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) have cut Social Security benefits for millions of public-service retirees and spouses.

AFSCME Retirees has been advocating for repealing GPO and WEP for years. Many of you have signed petitions and contacted your legislators to push for it, so we all get the full Social Security benefits we earned.

Now, a bill to repeal GPO and WEP has more than 300 co-sponsors in Congress. Together, we can get it across the finish line.

Join our Week of Action today. Sign a letter to your senators today and urge them to repeal GPO and WEP!

RPEC Bill Tracker 2-9-2024

Want to stay up to date on the progress of bills that impact your retirement security? Check out RPEC’s bill tracker. It’s updated every Friday and includes important information on the most important bills of this legislative session. The tracker allows you to stay up to date on our bills and our work to influence their progress. Click here to view the bill tracker.

Have questions about any of the bills that RPEC is paying attention to? Please join us on Fridays at 2:00 PM for RPEC’s weekly Legislative Update Zoom call. Each session includes an update on the progress of RPEC’s priorities and an opportunity for members to ask questions. All members are welcome to participate. Here is the meeting login information:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89045365250?pwd=cHYvbU80d08xTXRLTmpOZGF1VW53QT09

Meeting ID: 890 4536 5250
Passcode: 320296
Dial in: (253) 215-8782

Chapter Nominations & Elections

From the New Year moving into Spring, legislative session is at the forefront of our minds, as legislative advocacy is at the core of RPEC’s purpose. Another crucial piece of RPEC is the chapter structure that supports mobilization and organization of members statewide. This structure can only be upheld by the officers of chapters.

The chapter structure depends on its leaders to keep the chapter functioning. To maintain this structure, new leaders will be needed to take the place of those that step away. There are many seasoned leaders amongst RPEC’s membership that have valuable insight and expertise and would be thrilled to support incoming chapter leaders.

Chapter nominations and elections are approaching, so now is the time to express interest in serving in a leadership capacity for your chapter. Talk to your chapter president for more information about nominations and elections, what each officer role entails, and the ample resources available to new chapter leaders.

Retiree Election Manual: http://rpecwa.org/wp-content/uploads/AFSCME-Retiree-Election-Manual.pdf

Retiree Officer Manual: http://rpecwa.org/wp-content/uploads/AFSCME-Retiree-Officers-Manual.pdf 

Get More Involved with RPEC

All RPEC members are welcome and encouraged to attend our standing committee, workgroup, and Executive Board meetings. While guests cannot vote on or make motions, observing these member-led meetings is a great way for you to gain insights and updates year-round on what the organization is doing both internally and legislatively. You may even find yourself interested in serving!

At the November Executive Board meeting, following the 2024 RPEC Convention, the Board will vote to appoint committee and workgroup members that have been nominated by the RPEC President. If you are interested in becoming more involved and serving in the future, please let us know!

Visit our calendar on www.rpecwa.org for additional information and Zoom meeting links.

Upcoming Events:

Please refer to our calendar page for more information for each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.

  • Feb. 13 – PEBB UMP Classic Medicare Town Hall (10:00 am, virtual)
  • Feb. 15 – PEBB UMP Classic Medicare Town Hall (2:00 pm, virtual)
  • Feb. 16 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Feb. 19 – Council Office closed, Presidents’ Day
  • Feb. 22 – PEBB UMP Classic Medicare Town Hall (2:00 pm, virtual)
  • Feb. 22 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Feb. 23 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Feb. 26 – Executive Board Meeting (9:00 am)
  • Feb. 29 – PEBB UMP Classic Medicare Town Hall, in-person in Olympia (10:00 am)
  • Mar. 1 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Mar. 7 – Sine Die (end of Legislative Session)
  • Mar. 8 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Mar. 14 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Mar. 15 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)

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