RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, November 17, 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 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.
Time is running out to change your PEBB healthcare plan, November 1-30
The PEBB Open Enrollment period will end on November 30th. If you want to make a change to your healthcare plan, don’t delay! You must submit the necessary forms by the end of November, or you will remain enrolled in your current healthcare plan. To help RPEC members navigate PEBB’s complicated healthcare landscape, the Council developed the Guide to Open Enrollment with relevant links and information. Highlights include links to webinars, produced by RPEC and the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), which outline the differences among the plans, as well as an informative, comprehensive webinar hosted by HCA. 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.
SCPP Endorses PERS/TRS 1 COLA for 2024, Other Pension Enhancement
On Tuesday, November 14, the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP) endorsed two proposals to enhance pensions for retired public employees. Both proposals will be introduced as bills during the 2024 Legislative Session, which begins in January.
PERS/TRS 1 COLA
The SCPP endorsed a proposal to provide PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees with a one-time 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) not to exceed $125 per month. If enacted by the Legislature, the COLA will occur in July 2024. When the legislature repealed the Uniform COLA in 2011, PERS/TRS 1 became the only state-managed pension plans to not receive annual automatic COLAs. Since then, RPEC has played a major role in passing one-time COLAs in 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023. The $125 per month maximum benefit that the SCPP selected for 2024 is double the maximum benefit attached to the COLAs passed in 2018 and 2020. If passed by the Legislature, the 2024 COLA will be the largest COLA received by PERS/TRS 1 retirees since 2010. It will provide short term relief as the SCPP prepares to recommend an automatic ongoing COLA proposal to the Legislature in the 2024 interim.
PSARA Webinar – Dec. 4
The Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) is one of RPEC’s many partner organizations that shares our legislative priorities, including protecting and expanding Medicare and preventing its privatization. PSARA is hosting a webinar on December 4th from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm featuring Dr. Claudia Fegan, an internal medicine physician, Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Health in Chicago, and Immediate Past President of the Health & Medicine Policy Research in Illinois, an organization committed to building health equity in the health care system. Dr. Fegan will discuss how racial disparities in health care outcomes and access to health care services for Medicare beneficiaries can be impacted by Medicare Advantage.
To register for the webinar, visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_giZWkes_RL6mSz71YzU6Xw
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RPEC PAC Needs Your Support
How will you be celebrating Giving Tuesday? While it might not be as well known as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving is celebrated as Giving Tuesday around the world. It’s a day to consider giving to a cause that makes the world a better place. And for RPEC members, it’s a day to consider contributing to the RPEC Political Action Committee (PAC).
2024 is a huge election year in our state, with open races for Governor, Attorney General, and Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Additionally, most of the State Legislature is up for election. You can be sure that the corporations getting rich on Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be spending big money on big-business candidates. In 2022, Amazon spent over $427,000 on statewide, legislative, and local elections here in Washington. As we work in Olympia to try to pass pro-retiree legislation, we are working with legislators who are funded by big business. To accomplish our goals legislative goals, we must be able to exert the same sort of influence. Legislators need to know that we will be there for them when they put retirees ahead of huge corporations.
That’s why we have the RPEC PAC, the most powerful pro-retiree political action committee in the state. Our goal is to elect candidates to statewide and state legislative office who are committed to protecting our retirement security. We need to have resources to support leaders who stand with us and defeat politicians who want to gut pensions and health insurance benefits.
By Tuesday, November 28, please consider giving your support to the RPEC PAC. The RPEC Today! newsletter you recently received by mail has a form on the back page that will enable you to make a monthly contribution to the RPEC PAC. Contributions of any size help us stand up for retirees who dedicated their lives to public service. If you would prefer to make a one-time contribution, please consider mailing a check made out to “RPEC PAC”. Our address is 906 Columbia St SW Ste. 501, Olympia, WA 98501. If you have any questions about contributing to the PAC, please contact email@example.com or call (360) 352-8262. Thank you for your support.
Council Office Holiday Closure
The Council Office will be closed for Thanksgiving from November 22nd-24th. We will respond to calls and emails received during that time when we return on November 27th.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.
- 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. 4 – PSARA Webinar (5:00 pm)
- Dec. 8 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
- Dec. 11 – Executive Board 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)
- Dec. 18 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)