RPEC Weekly Newsflash, October 6, 2023
Get ready for PEBB Open Enrollment, November 1-30
In preparation for PEBB Open Enrollment during the month of November, 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 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/.
HCA/RPEC Open Enrollment Webinar (PEBB)
HCA, in concert with RPEC, will hold a PEBB Open Enrollment informational webinar on Friday, October 20th, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. via Zoom. To attend this event, please register through Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModeqrqz4vHNJ9r2gp2eRHH4un5b6h7mhq. After you register, Zoom will send you a confirmation email with a meeting link. RPEC will resend the meeting link one day prior to the event as a reminder.
Registration for 2024 Legislative Day Opens November 1
2024 will be here before we know it, and with it, the legislative session begins on January 8. The RPEC/WEA-R Joint Legislative Day is set for January 22, 2024!
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.
Registration opens on November 1, 2023, and closes on January 3, 2024. More information will be available soon on RPEC’s website, www.rpecwa.org. 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.
RPEC Lobbies Washington, D.C.
In odd years, the AFSCME Retirees Council holds its annual conference in Washington, D.C. and lobbies Congress as part of the program. The annual conference was held during the last week of September. This year’s delegation from RPEC to the AFSCME Retirees Council meeting consisted of President Clair Olivers, Secretary and Legislative Committee Chair Nancy Heley, and Associate Director Derek VanSpoor.
As we had an open day after our travel before the conference convened, we pre-scheduled several meetings at the offices of several members of our Congressional delegation to address Washington-specific issues. We met with healthcare staff of Rep. Schrier, Rep. Strickland, Rep. Newhouse, and Sen. Cantwell and discussed seeking an extension to federal prescription drug subsidies that are afforded to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and ask that they include government self-insured coordination of benefits plans. In Washington State, that plan is the Uniform Medical Plan Classic Medicare, available through the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). An extension of these subsidies would help to lower premium costs as prescription drug costs are the driving factor for the higher premiums.
DRS Hosting Seminar for RPEC Members
One of the perks of being a member of RPEC is the diversified partnerships and affiliations the organization has with other entities and organizations. These connections allow us to offer a variety of news, training, and support for our members. An upcoming opportunity for RPEC members is an upcoming seminar hosted by the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) in which they will address a variety of topics that are most relevant to current and soon-to-be retirees. DRS manages and administers pensions for our members in PERS, PSERS, SERS, and TRS.
Please join us on November 3rd @ 1:00 PM for an opportunity to hear directly from the experts about topics relevant to you and your pension. There will be a brief presentation given by an Administrator from DRS followed by a Q & A session. Whether you’re a new retiree, soon-to-be-retired, or have been retired for some time, there will be relevant and valuable information for you.
Register in advance for this meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrcumgqDkjEtSTFcGFh1SE3Ur15LsLERpK. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby Virtual Fall Conference
Next week is your last chance to register for the Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby (Senior Lobby) Fall Conference. The virtual event, which will be held on October 19 from 9 AM to 4 PM, is an important gathering of senior advocacy organizations and policy experts. The event will focus on issues such as long-term care staffing, senior demographics, the state budget, broadband access and help identify Senior Lobby’s priorities for the 2024 legislative session.
RPEC Executive Director Laurie Weidner and Government Affairs Coordinator Emmett Mills will represent the RPEC Office at the event. RPEC members are also invited to attend to represent their chapters (at your chapter’s expense). The registration fee is $40.00 per attendee. The registration deadline is Thursday, October 12. Please contact your RPEC chapter president if you are interested in attending on your chapter’s behalf.
RPEC has a long and close relationship with Senior Lobby and is a sponsor of the Fall Conference. Senior Lobby President Walt Bowen, Secretary Nancy Heley, and executive board member Jeff Paulsen are all RPEC members, as are many others who regularly attend Senior Lobby meetings. Senior Lobby and RPEC were both founded by Norm Schutt, who stepped down from the position of Executive Director of the Washington Federation of State Employees in the 1970s to focus on politically empowering seniors across the state.
To register, please follow these steps:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: Name, RPEC Chapter ____, email address, and whether you are paying the $40 registration fee by credit card or check.
- To pay by credit card, click the link: https://waseniorlobby.org/pay/
- Click on the Pay button, enter the Donation amount of $40, click donate with debit or credit card, enter your credit card information, and submit.
- To pay by check, make check payable to: Senior Citizens Foundation, and mail to: Senior Citizens’ Foundation, 1501 S. Capitol Way, Ste. 103, Olympia, WA 98501-2200
More information about the event can be found here: https://waseniorlobby.org/invittion-to-2023-virtual-fall-conference-on-thursday-oct-19-2023/
Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.
- Oct. 12 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
- Oct. 17 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)
- Oct. 19 – Senior Lobby Fall Conference (9:00 am)
- Oct. 20 – Get Ready for Open Enrollment! HCA Webinar (10:00 am)
- Oct. 26 – Membership Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
- Oct. 26 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
- Nov. 1 – 2024 Legislative Day Registration Opens
- Nov. 3 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
- Nov. 9 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
- Nov. 10 – Council Office Closed, Veterans Day (observed)