APWU: Many members say FEHB, Medicare saves money in long run

The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017
A Positive Step Forward

APWU overtime penalty exclusion period02/07/2017On Feb. 7, a hearing was held before the full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756). The legislation, introduced on Jan. 31, is sponsored by the Oversight Committee’s Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) as well as Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA). H.R.756 is very similar, but an improved version, to the postal reform legislation passed out of the committee in May 2016.

The bill addresses two serious key issues of concern: the pre-funding mandate and increasing postage revenue. Judging by the criteria that this bill will move the Postal Service towards solid financial footing, and should not place any undue burden on active members and retirees, the APWU joins its sister postal unions in encouraging the adoption of H.R. 756.

“This legislation is a necessary step to solving the disastrous pre-funding mandate that is dragging down the Postal Service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal reform has been a great concern to postal workers, the four postal unions, the USPS, commercial mailers and the American people for a long time. We are encouraged by the bipartisan effort to fix the financial problems currently facing the USPS while preserving good union jobs and public postal services.”

Medicare Integration’

H.R. 756 addresses the pre-funding mandate through “Medicare integration” within the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB). It would enroll Medicare-eligible postal workers in Medicare Parts A, B and D. At this time, approximately 80 percent of Medicare-eligible postal workers and retirees are voluntarily enrolled into Medicare A and B. Many APWU members say that having a FEHB plan and Medicare saves them money in the long run. In addition to expanding Medicare’s role as a primary payer, FEHB plans would be given access to discounted prescription drugs through an Employer Group Waiver Plan with Medicare Part D.

The bill achieves the following goals of the union:

  • The program remains part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program;
  • Medicare integration is part of the comprehensive reform bill, not a stand-alone measure;
  • Enrollment in Medicare Part D results in no additional costs to employees and retirees;
  • The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act’s (PAEA) required payments to pre-fund future postal retiree health care will be virtually eliminated by Medicare integration because it will create a huge reduction in the current unfunded liability costs.

Whether or not they enrolled, postal employees have long subsidized Medicare, paying over $30 billion in Medicare taxes since 1983. Postal employees, retirees and the Postal Service can realize the benefit of those contributions through Medicare integration. The APWU believes, although not perfect, this bill provides a workable route to achieve a robust future for America’s Postal Service.

Postal Rate Increases

The bill restores and makes permanent half of the exigent rate increase (postal rate increase) which expired in April 2016. This would result in increased postal revenue of approximately $1 billion annually. The APWU firmly supports a responsible rate increase to adequately cover costs and support the postal network.

Legislation in House Committee

During the hearing, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando testified on behalf of the four postal unions (the APWU, with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and Nation Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, contributed with full input to the offered testimony).

“Since 2012, [the USPS] has not been able to make the payments [for the pre-funding mandate] at all – though the expenses associated with the missed payments have continued to be recognized, driving the misleading impression that the Postal Service is failing operationally,” Rolando said. “All four postal unions urge the Committee to adopt this legislation as quickly as possible. We pledge to work with all of you and our broad coalition of mailing industry partners to make this legislation a reality.”

Also under consideration by the Oversight Committee is a postal companion bill (H.R. 760), introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch, allowing the Postal Service to invest retiree health funds. Investing a portion of the tens of billions of dollars in the Postal Service Retirement Health Benefits Fund in a Thrift Savings Plan-like vehicle can help the fund keep pace with growing health care costs.

Within the next few weeks, H.R. 756 is expected to be “marked up in committee,” where the bill can be amended and advanced to the full House of Representatives. As the legislation continues to be revised and works its way through Congress, the APWU will stay engaged in the process with lawmakers and staff to improve the bill every step of the way. As Congressman Connolly remarked at today’s postal hearing, “Until a bill has passed and been sent to the president for signature, it’s always a work in progress.”

“In these uncertain times and contentious political climate, we are heartened by the bipartisan support behind responsible postal reform,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard.

The APWU continues discussions with congressional representatives on improvements to the bill. By doing so, we continue to keep the door open to possible allies and are growing bipartisan support for comprehensive postal reform. Stay informed about the progress of H.R. 756! Sign up for legislative updates and check the Legislative & Political Department’s webpage regularly.

22 thoughts on “APWU: Many members say FEHB, Medicare saves money in long run

  1. WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY FEHB (KAISER PERMANENTE) AND MEDICARE PREMIUMS ALSO? MEDICARE COVERS LESS AND COSTS ME MORE THAN FEHB (KAISER). ALL THE GOVERNMENT IS GOOD FOR IS LIE UPON LIE. OBAMASCARE WOULD HAVE BEEN A JOKE HAD IT NOT TURNED INTO SUCH A NIGHTMARE FIASCO. UNLESS YOU ARE HOSPITALIZED OBAMASCARE COVERS ZILCH. THE PREMIUMS AND OUT OF POCKET ARE ASTRONOMICAL. WAKE UP AMERICA. ALL THE GOVERNMENT CARES ABOUT IS A WAY TO TAKE MORE OF YOUR HARD EARNED DOLLARS AND LINE THEIR OWN POCKETS. THOSE GOVT OFFICIALS PUSHING THEIR LITTLE REFORMS AND BILLS ARE SUCH IDIOTS. THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLUE AS TO HOW WE ARE AFFECTED BY THEIR STUPID DECISIONS.

  2. Tie the postal rates to a percentage of Canadian rates… (90%???) and eliminate prefunding… Problem solved and then some!!!!!!!!!!! Quick… Easy… Uncomplicated… Effective!!!

  3. What happens if they eliminate or voucherize Medicare? A supplemental plan will be the least of your worries

  4. The Postal employees and annuitants must realize that Congress isn’t going to end the postal pre funding of health care. now to blame the unions alone is wrong! How did many of you vote? Many just love Trump and his union breakers. many complain about the APWU and the NALC. Some think that the Teamsters are just great, so honest. Some cry about the big federal debt,while the American tax payer gives Israel 3.8 billion military aid each year. Israel, the same “friend” that attacked the USS Liberty 8 June 1967 and killed 32 sailors. Look it up! The awful Federal deficit only counts when the funds are spent on social programs, not business wealthfare, or payments to foreign governments. Many hate the terrible unions. just wait till the unions are gone. It will be every man for themselves! Then whom are you going to blame when one is screwed over. Why your mother in law, she did it.

  5. Not only can I not believe the APWU is backing this crap, it has a certain SMELL to it. Where are these people who dimondstein claims say “in the long run” will save somebody money? This is the exact same thing trump is going to do with wall street, make sure THEY get money while the middle class gets screwed over. Now we have a union first discriminating against those who are not “35 and under” and now who wants to make sure those of retirement age are screwed over as well. I say it’s time to step up and show this administration WE will not be discriminated against in any shape or form. AGE discrimination is ILLEGAL even by a union.

  6. Union HBP’s are no longer necessary, lets negotiate for all active carriers to be put on medicare also, why wait til retirement. Oh, thats why, the unions are making to much$$$$$ off the HBP. Non-profit, my A##

  7. So the unions claim ” no giveback” If the union healthplan is relieved of being the primary payer on claims, and the usps saves $, then retirees should not have to pay even a dime toward hbp costs in retirement and the usps could simply pay for a medigap plan for each retiree and family member and also the medicare cost. I’m sure the cost of medicare and a medigap plan would be cheaper than the $15k contribution they now pay.

  8. And to think a very large number of retirees voted for the head of this team and now Dimondstein and Szerdey sell out the retirees. All they care about is new members/PSE and the dues money they bring, because we are going broke. Burrus and our union were the only ones against the postal reform that got us in this trouble, be assured Dimondstein you are no Bill Burrus.

    • William Burrus is the name used, and Unless our former President has bowed to the computer replacing his words we may have an imposter. So are you our former President? Surely he’d spell our V.P. name correctly. Further, speak of himself in the third person then the “our Union” statement clearly clouds the writers words, and intentions.

  9. We hear you but IT DOES NOT PERTAIN TO US. We are the UNION BOSSES and will have the choice to retain FEHB when we retire.
    Why doesn’t everyone get it. This is the best for all of you, not
    the best for us so we will stick with the FEHB when we retire along
    with Meagen Muffin and the executives at El-Enfante Place. Hope
    this clears it all up for everyone it is plain as day for us.

  10. how is pre -funding dragging down the post office…..they have defaulted on payments since 2009. what is dragging down the post office is the 110,000 postal mismanagers who make $75K and up (there is no reduced mismanagement pay schedule like new hire union workers-I thought said aforementioned wage concessions by the unions were going to save the po-guess not lol)………a-pee-u, letter carriers, female handlers unions always silent on this issue, even during contract talks……..never seen anything like this from real unions…..only company unions. (never confuse APWU with the IAM or Teamsters) what the unions are not telling you is that the medicare fund is being raped by all the millions and millions of criminal illegal invaders who Obammy allowed access too…….with millions more on the way……………good luck when it implodes. with the federal government 20 Trillion in debt it is not if, but only when. look out below! and so it goes.

  11. Being that all the Union Bosses believe that this is such a good move then it also PERTAINS to all of you as well as the workers? Why do I doubt it since the Executives at El Enfante Place also favor everyone going to Medicare from FEHB when they retire but it does not PERTAIN to ANY of them. Great how people representing you are all for managements big Idea (Which you will pay for) in retirement but they want no part of it.

  12. You are full of crap Dimondstein! Your views are NOT of the majority of your union!
    GO SELL OUT YOUR OWN FAMILY!

  13. Issue # 1 this is a one-sided deal that relieves the Postal Service of its fiduciary responsibility to its employees.
    so how are postal retirees benefiting will the postal service share some of this windfall by reducing other costs like life insurance why are the postal retirees treated differently from other federal retirees the postal service has the same means to cover costs as every other company you must increase prices of your products as well as balance employees benefits cuts not just push the entire burden on postal retirees.
    Issue # 2 who told the Postal Unions, Postal Service, Congress they speak for currently retired postal employees who are now federal retirees none of these entities have the right to bargain away current retiree benefits they can speak for their current membership but not retired workers who have no ties to the postal serves or postal unions.
    I can see an organization like AARP or a union who exclusively representing retired federal workers but it seem to be a conflict of interest here that is transferring cost from current postal employees to retired federal employees at their expense this needs to be heard by a federal judge its seem to be sanctioning a whole group of retiree individual rights.

  14. So what happens if Paul Ryan is successful in doing away with Medicare? then we are screwed after we retire.And will Chaffetz and the Republicans on the Oversight Committee vote for a bill pushed by Ryan that does away it?

    • If Republicans are successful in doing away with Medicare they will very very quickly become a minority party and the new majority will restore Medicare.

  15. What does Stakeholders or the American Catalog Mailers industry have to do with our promised retiree health benefits?
    Kickbacks or discounts goes unnoticed without the publics knowledge of this happening and we the employees know what is going on. Now the employees are also aware of being hoodwinked and bamboozled for caring about what is hurting our families and the retirees.

  16. Anyone of APWU members believing the saving of money in the long run idea, it still hurts retirees who never will recover the losses.
    If it will save, why then only Postal Retirees are affected and all Federal Retirees aren’t aligned.
    What about the promises made during our years of employment. It was stated” once retired you have no problems, we have the best healthcare in the industry”. Now we are told these changes should not hurt too much.

    • The APWU business agent stole my 2 years backpay. APWU saw the same document and did nothing. After showing to a fraud and forgery expert. It was confirmed. I then turned the evidence over to the Attorney Generals office and a Senator office. After years of harassment and retaliation. I continue to pray for justice. How many others were frauded.

  17. Wow, I expected the NALC and NAPS to go along with the Medicare Mandate but not the APWU!! Are you kidding me, with the statement that “many members say that having FEHB and Medicare saves them money” as their reason why they went along?? The fact is…WE WON’T BE IN FEHB ANYMORE AFTER THE REFORM!!! You IDIOTS, how can you compare and say that we’ll save money? No one knows what the new Postal plan will costs but given we’ll be in a separate “risk pool” it will DEFINITELY be more expensive!! And forget what you paid for drugs while in the FEHB plan because there will now be a huge deductible!! What a bunch of idiots, how soon we forget, not long ago we heard the promises of lower costs, more choices and the biggest lie of all…”YOU CAN KEEP YOUR OWN DOCTOR!” it’s only been about 5 years since the Obamacare (what a fiasco) and yet these NITWITS believe everything they hear ALL OVER AGAIN!!! President Dimondstein you need to reverse your endorsement and fight to get rid of the prefunding! 30 years of paying dues and this is what we get…..VERY DISAPPOINTED!!!! I thought the APWU would have more common sense than that…YOU REALLY SOLD US OUT!!!!

    • Please don’t be surprised they stole my 2 years backpay. Years of retaliation and harassment. A fraudulent document was given to me by a union business agent with a forged signature. It was confirmed by a fraud and forgery expert. How many more employees? It’s called stealing so no I am not surprised. I fighting everthing for my life literally. It’s all about justice.

  18. Can’t believe the APWU backs the House Bill. Must be change you can believe in. No, that was the last el-presidente

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