Friday, April 19, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, November 10, 2023

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, November 10, 2023

Get Registered for 2024 Legislative Day

2024 will be here before we know it, and with it, legislative session beginning on January 8. The RPEC/WEA-R Joint Legislative Day is set for January 22, 2024, and finally, registration is open!

The day-long event begins at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake where the Legislative Committee chairs from RPEC and WEA-R will lead a training on how to speak with your legislators about issues that are important to retirees. You and other constituents from your legislative district will review your meeting schedule and materials to devise a game plan over a working lunch. From there, you will bus to the Capitol to meet with your legislators and urge them to support our shared legislative priorities. Please note that there is no reception this year.

The registration period closes on January 3, 2024. For more information, visit https://rpecwa.org/2024-rpec-wea-retired-legislative-day/. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet face-to-face with your legislators and advocate with other public sector retirees to accomplish our goals.

Show Your Support for a PERS 1/TRS 1 COLA

We need your help! On Tuesday, November 14, the Select Committee on Pension Policy is holding a hearing on a proposal to provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees. It’s time to send a message that retired public workers deserve the benefits they were promised, including annual COLAs.

We need ALL RPEC members to register a PRO position on the Legislature’s website before 9:00 AM on Tuesday, November 14. Completing this task is quick and easy.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Click here to go to the Legislature’s website.
  2. You will be prompted to state your position. Click the drop-down menu to select “PRO”.
  3. Provide your first and last names, email address, organization, city, state, zip code, and phone number.
  4. Under “Organization”, spell out “Retired Public Employees Council of WA”.
  5. Click the box to indicate that you are not a robot.
  6. Click “Submit Registration”.

Thank you for supporting our advocacy and helping us ensure that all retired workers receive the benefits they earned through public service.

HCA-PEBB/RPEC 2023-2024 Open Enrollment Guide

PEBB Open Enrollment is open during from November 1-30, and RPEC has created an extensive online guide full of information regarding open enrollment and decisions you may be making regarding your healthcare plan. The guide’s primary feature is a three-part video series of a conversation with Tim Smolen, Program Manager of the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA). This webinar series has been developed to specifically help RPEC members who earn their healthcare benefits from PEBB. The page also includes a link to the video presentation by Ellen Wolfhagen from the Health Care Authority on the Medicare plans offered by PEBB. The content is organized to help you better understand your choices among PEBB plans. The HCA-PEBB/RPEC 2023-2024 Open Enrollment Guide can be found at https://rpecwa.org/health-insurance-open-enrollment-2023-2024/.

Medicare Open Enrollment

You’ve probably heard the news; Medicare open enrollment has begun.  This article contains information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that is relevant to people who are Medicare-eligible and do not obtain their health insurance through the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB).  Information about PEBB open enrollment can be found here.

When’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 – December 7.

What’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

How do people know if they need to change plans?

People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.

Where can people find Medicare plan information or compare plans?

1-800-MEDICARE or Medicare.gov.

Where can I get answers to my questions and unbiased advice?

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s State Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program provides unbiased advice and assistance to help people navigate Medicare.  Call them during business hours at 800-562-6900 or click here to contact SHIBA online. 

AFSCME Council 28 Policy Meeting RPEC Table and President Speech

On Saturday, November 4th, RPEC hosted a membership table from 9 AM to 11 AM at the AFSCME Council 28 Policy Meeting in SeaTac at the DoubleTree Hotel. Staffing the table was RPEC Membership Coordinator Jakob Canup and Chapter 12 member Paulette Thompson, who was very involved with the union during her time as an active employee.

RPEC was granted a boon for this event that gave RPEC President Clair Olivers time on the agenda to address all attendees on behalf of RPEC. If his speech could be summed up in a single statement, it would be a slogan that Clair trademarked during his speech: “I’d like to say we have your back, but really, we have your future.” The crowd of union advocates applauded Clair as he connected our purpose to the advocacy of AFSCME Council 28. The future for state employees is security, stability, and freedom in retirement, and RPEC is on the front lines working to protect that future.

RPEC is grateful for the opportunities it’s had to support its union siblings and looks forward to collectively securing a brighter future for public service employees and retirees. 

DRS Webinar for RPEC Members

On Friday, November 3rd, RPEC hosted a webinar on Zoom that was presented by Seth Miller, Retirement Readiness Director for the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS). Many members capitalized on the opportunity to hear directly from an expert at DRS about topics relevant to RPEC members and their pensions. If you missed the webinar, you can still watch it via the RPEC website: https://rpecwa.org/drs-seminar-for-rpec-members/

During the presentation, topics covered included a deep dive about Cost-of-Living Adjustments, the 4 survivor options, survivorship vs beneficiary, and the Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability for Plan 1.

RPEC continues to expand its access to critical resources that support current and potential members. If you would like a copy of the slide show that was used for the presentation, please email or call RPEC Membership Coordinator Jakob Canup at jakob.canup@rpecwa.org or (360) 352-8262 ext. 106.

Do you know any recent or soon-to-be public sector retirees? Tell them about the resources they can access by becoming a member of RPEC. We offer our very own Guide to Retirement along with additional retirement resources such as this DRS webinar.

Upcoming Events:

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

  • Nov. 10 – Council Office Closed, Veterans Day (observed)
  • Nov. 13 – Executive Board Meeting (9:00 am)
  • Nov. 14 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Nov. 20 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
  • Nov. 22 – 24 – Council Office Closed, Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 30 – End of PEBB Open Enrollment Period
  • Dec. 1 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Dec. 8 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Dec. 12 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Dec. 13 – Health Care is a Human Right Meeting (5:00 pm)
  • Dec. 14 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)

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