Director of Retiree's Report
Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers
As I write this article the impeachment of Donald Trump is entering its final phases and more than likely acquittal in the US Senate unless 17 Republicans can join Democrats in convicting him for inciting the insurrection of January 6th. We have had to relive the terrible moments of that day in a tremendous amount of video evidence. It shows that words do have consequences and it is hard to walk back your words when they lead to the actions of a seditious mob. It makes one wonder what would have happened if the insurrectionists had made physical contact with some of our legislators. People died that day, and it was sad for all of us to witness this assault on our democracy. I pray that something like this never happens again in the seat of our country.
Pandemic Postal Service
It has been an incredible year for those working under stifling conditions of quarantine amongst our coworkers and resultant massive overtime along with never-before-seen package volumes. The money is great, but I am sure most would rather have their “normal” life back. My thinking is that our patrons have gotten used to ordering online and package volumes will never retreat to pre-COVID-19 levels. Perhaps it is time to bring back parcel post routes and carriers. Christmas employment of recent retirees was a disaster and at a time when they surely could have used the help the Postal Service once again failed in their holiday planning. I always shake my head when I say it has taken us over 200 years to make it a finely tuned machine!!
Call your legislators and ask them for support for HR 695 to end the prefunding of retiree health care that has been most of the red ink for multiple years. Andy Levin (MI-9th) is a cosponsor as well as John Moolenaar (MI-4th), Dan Kildee (MI-5th), Fred Upton (MI-6th), Haley Stevens (MI-11th), Debbie Dingell (MI-12th), Rashida Taib (MI-13th), and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14th). My representative Lisa McClain (MI-10th) has yet to cosponsor and we have setup a meeting with her during her March district visit to educate her of our concerns. Cosponsors and Fact Sheets can be found at nalc.org if you want talking points when you make the call. Absent this prefunding mandate the USPS would have MADE $4 billion in profit since 2013!!! Make that point in your phone calls.
Healthcare at 65
This question has come up quite often in discussions with retirees approaching Medicare age. Some speak of dropping their federal health plan since Medicare will be their health insurance at 65. The major point to con-sider is if you do cancel your coverage you can NEVER come back to any federal health plan. The other concern is that Medicare covers 80% of the hospital bill (Medicare A) and Medicare B covers 80% of all professional fees separate from the hospital charges. Who then covers the other 20%? A $100,000 hospital bill with 80% coverage still leaves a $20,000 balance and that is typically covered by all federal health plans for the remainder of the balance. My NALC health plan along with my Medicare A & B means that all my bills are covered at 100%. My only out of pocket is for prescriptions with excellent plan coverage on those as well. The Medicare B premium for 2021 is $148.50 per month and there is a 10% penalty for each year you delay signup beyond 65. You can “suspend” your federal health plan coverage if you are a veteran qualifying for Tri Care or if your financial status means you are eligible for Medicaid or move into a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO). When you suspend your plan, you do have the ability to come back into a federal health plan.
-- Mike Sheridan
Director of Retiree's