Friday, April 19, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, November 3, 2023

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, November 3, 2023

Registration for 2024 RPEC/WEA-R Joint Legislative Day is Open!

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.

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

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?

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. 

RPEC Attends Rep. Mari Leavitt Fundraiser

On Monday, October 30, RPEC leaders attended a fundraiser for State Representative Mari Leavitt (D, University Place).  Since she was first elected to the Legislature in 2018, Rep. Leavitt has been a champion of retirees.  In the 2020 Legislative Session, she sponsored and passed a bill that provided PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees with the largest cost-of-living adjustment they had received in a decade.  Last year, she played a key role in preventing the Health Care Authority and the Public Employees Benefits Board from abruptly ending Uniform Medical Plan Classic Medicare by writing a letter that was signed by 28 of her legislative colleagues.  In recognition of her service to retirees, she received the 2020 RPEC Legislative Champion Award.

The fundraiser, which was held in Steilacoom, was attended by RPEC members Carol Dotlich, Laurel Lemke, and former State Senator Karen Fraser, along with Executive Director Laurie Weidner and Government Affairs Coordinator Emmett Mills.  Weidner climbed onto a step ladder to address the crowded gathering, emphasizing Rep. Leavitt’s responsiveness to the needs of her constituents, her proactive work ethic, and her service to retirees.

RPEC Executive Director Laurie Weidner speaks at fundraiser for State Rep. Mari Leavitt (right).

This September, the RPEC Political Action Campaign (PAC) endorsed Rep. Leavitt’s 2024 reelection campaign, making her the first legislative candidate to receive RPEC’s endorsement in next year’s election cycle.  The goal of the RPEC PAC is to support pro-retiree candidates for State Legislature and statewide office, regardless of their political affiliation.  When RPEC members support the RPEC PAC, they make it possible for candidates like Rep. Leavitt to win elections and make a difference in Olympia.  The easiest way for members to support leaders who fight to protect pensions and health insurance benefits is to sign up for a monthly contribution to the RPEC PAC.  If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact Emmett Mills at emmett.mills@rpecwa.org.  Support can also be provided by writing a check to “RPEC PAC” and mailing it to: RPEC, 906 Columbia Street SW, Ste. 501, Olympia, WA 98501

Upcoming Events:

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

  • Nov. 7 – Election Day
  • Nov. 9 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Nov. 10 – Council Office Closed, Veterans Day (observance)
  • 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)

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