NALC: All 4 postal unions approve of postal bill which includes forcing postal retirees into Medicare

rolando2/7/17 NALC President Fredric Rolando was among those called to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the recently introduced postal bill, The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756).

Rolando along with USPS Postmaster General Megan Brennan, Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Chairman Robert Taub, Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues Lori Rectanus and Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service’s Arthur Sackler.

Here is a portion of Rolando’s pre-written testimony:

The leadership of this committee reached bipartisan consensus on a concept for addressing the prefunding burden during the last Congress, which was included in a bill (H.R. 5714) adopted by the Committee but never presented to the full House of Representatives for a vote. It included reforms to the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) as it relates to
postal employees and Medicare coverage. These reforms, which are modeled on best practice in the private sector, would all but eliminate the Postal Service’s unfunded liability for future retiree health benefits. We are very pleased your new bill retains these reforms.

Under H.R. 756, FEHBP plans would segregate postal employees and postal annuitants into a separate risk pool and all postal annuitants would enroll in Medicare Parts A&B when they reach 65 years old. (At present, 80-90 percent of postal annuitants already voluntarily enroll in the two main parts of Medicare.) The proposal would also give FEHBP plans access to low-cost
prescription drugs and other benefits made possible by the Medicare Modernization Act. The savings would help reduce FEHBP premium costs — and prefunding costs. Indeed, about half the reduction in the Postal Service’s unfunded liability would come from prescription drug savings; the rest from maximizing the participation in Medicare Parts A and B.

This approach ensures that the Postal Service and its employees fully benefit from the $30 billion they have contributed in Medicare taxes since 1983 and adopts the standard practice of large private companies that provide retiree health insurance. This reform would effectively resolve the prefunding burden that undermines the health of the Postal Service while raising
Medicare spending by just one-tenth of one percent over the next 10 years

As the Committee prepares to mark up H.R. 756, we will suggest minor improvements to the language in two sections of the bill. With respect to integration with Medicare Part B, I am sure that is nobody’s intent to require any current Medicare-eligible annuitant to enroll in the program if neither the annuitant nor the Postal Service can benefit from doing so. A modest tweak in the language would address this rare circumstance. With regard to the proposed policy of providing all new addresses with curb-line or centralized delivery, we’d suggest giving the Postal Service the flexibility to make sensible exceptions to the policy if it is more efficient or financially beneficial to do so. Again a modest tweak in the language in Section 202 could accomplish this.

We urge the Committee to quickly schedule a mark up of H.R. 756, and then to vote for its approval.

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. Together, we can not only strengthen a great national institution to better serve the American people and its businesses, we can also show how it is possible to make our democracy work for the common good at a time of great partisan polarization

44 thoughts on “NALC: All 4 postal unions approve of postal bill which includes forcing postal retirees into Medicare

  1. Next year I will be 65 and have to sign up for medicare. My wife does qualify for medicare for a few years. Does this mean I have to still pay for the NALC family plan and on top of that a medicare premium. I will be retired. Someone enlighten me please.

    • While a strong skeptic on the effects of HR 756, I’ve read some incredibly misleading posts on whether or not to sign up for Medicare Part B. Except for a few nominal charges for ExpressScripts, with Medicare Part B and my (excellent) APWU High Option Self Plus One, I pay NOTHING out of pocket. And, believe me, I would have had to “sell my 8 grandkids and the farm” without it. It’s estimated that 80% of USPS retirees are enrolled inn Medicare part B. There certainly may be exceptions for not signing up for B. The poster who said they attended some kind of seminar on Medicare and now won’t sign up for B must have slept thru that part of instruction. Medicare becomes your primary, covering 80% and (at least my FEHB plan) your FEHB covers 20% AND the Medicare $166. deductible. Poster’s calculations on premium payments to “save” money are being penny wise and pound foolish. They will find out when as they age, health issues definitely increase. We pay just over $6K for Medicare Part B and our FEHBP per year. One (1) health event can exceed that. Believe me, I’m an “expert”!

  2. i am 65, still working as a carrier, i joined medicare part A for free, and when i retired at 66 i will joined medicare part B, about 134 a month,i will stop my nalc union fees about $ 26.00 every 2 weeks, and 10.00 monthly for COLPE ,so this will pay 1/2 of my medicare bill. Now let me tell you what happened to me when i turned 65 years old, my insurance with the USPS, blue cross/blue shield didn’t pay for my doctors office bill,they wanted proof that i didn’t have medicare , i was forced to signed for part a, and when i was at the social security office to sign, they recorded my conversation saying that i denied part B, because i am a full time employee why should i have to pay $ 134.00 to medicare NOW, i called blue X and asked them , IS IT A CRIME TO TURN 65.00?, anyway i sent proof of my enrollment to part A only, and the insurance said they will take care of the bill, but it will take a couple of months,,,,what happens its that medicare pays first, the wherever is left your insurance thru the USPS will pay, you will be covered 100 %, so after i retired i have 7 months grace period to sign for part B,if not, then you will be charged with penalties!

    • Amazon, like UPS, and Fed Ex use the alternative government business you call the USPS. By law (we are a civil service, like police and fire, though you don’t seem to want Amazon to take that over) we are mandated to deliver to every single address in the USA. Even when it is absolutely not cost effective, which is why the alternative government business you refer to have delivered 35-37% of all UPS & Fed Ex packages for a decade now as they will not as they are not mandated by law, and it is not cost effective. Your response shows that as in the bible, and also used as early as Abraham Lincoln & Mark Twain the phrase “Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
      Thanks for playing though, enjoy the nice parting gifts on your way out.

  3. Get rid of the whole alternative government department they call the US postal service …amazon will buy you out

  4. Mailhandlers again piggy back APWU. They follow APWU wherever they go so why don’t they merge? ITS ALL ABOUT GREED AND DOLLARS . APWU does all the work and the mailhandlers follow just like little kids. What a disgrace.

  5. And there’s your beloved unions folks. Not only do we get screwed on our contracts, we get screwed at every turn. Thanks Fred! Hope you get your 7% raise this year. No need to worry about us. We’ll be happy with our 1%. Whenever we get it

  6. This is what ISSA( R-Cal ) and Chaffetz ( R-UT ) wanted. A total sell out of the postal service by management and the spineless, lap dogs of the labor unions.

  7. 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.

    • This is Trump world. Think about who you voted for. If you did not, kudos and your comments make a lot of sense. If you did. Live with your decision. For the next 2 years Trump and the right wing control this country. Period.

  8. I recently attended EnlightnU Medicare seminar in late 2016 at 61 years old. I am close to retirement & belong to APWU Health Plan. I came away from that seminar thinking the the smartest option for wife & I was to just retain APWU Health Plan in retirement and activate Medicare Part A at 65, which would be free because we already paid for it over the years. I might like to retire abroad to stretch pension & SS check, but Medicare is mostly useless outside USA. The APWU HP might be a workable plan for living abroad. I’ve also read that Medicare is going broke – soon. I don’t understand the National union officers wanting to push annuitants into an integrated plan. I think the National union officers care about all of us, but they must not be attending sufficiently educational seminars on Medicare, because this is not good for postal annuitants due to Medicare eventually going broke & Medicare currently is only good in the USA. Most people who retire don’t choose to remain in the union as full dues paying members, & this robs them of a full effective voice within their national union now that H.R.756 is upon us. H.R.756 presents itself as being good for the union membership of today, but eventually every one gets old & retires. So an argument can be technically & legally made that the union took care of their active members, but all will eventually know that the retiree comes out with the short end of the stick in more ways than one, making the union look bad eventually. I oppose the proposed forced integration.

    • Not even sure until we read the small print if we will just be in Medicare A&B or be allowed to keep FEHB and Medicare A&B. Out of the country you are right it’s useless. In the USA my parents retired and bought Medicare B while retaining FEHB Anthem Blue Cross. If you don’t sign up for Medicare B immediately on retirement the premium is dramatically higher to add later. My parents (Mother especially) have incurred 2 complete knee replacements, Back fusion, and numerous pharmaceutical charges. By having FEHB and Med A&B the hundreds of thousands of dollars of surgeries have cost them zero. Medicare B picks up all copays, and fees not covered by FEHB. Monthly it’s costly but in the long run it’s been a life saver. But you have to take it right away. If they force us in and allow us to keep FEHB, they should roll back the increase of our percentage into FEHB, and if they do we will be fine. If they make us buy in and eliminate our ability to keep FEHB as well, then we will be totally screwed.

  9. This is a disgrace from the postal unions to its members that served with dignity throughout their career.
    Former employees to be shafted by their own unions of a earned option for staying in a federal plan for 5 consecutive years to gain access to these benefits.
    The Postal Service should be demanded of by the unions to fund the healthcare.
    Funding the FEHB is a law. Not a union vote.

  10. Medicare integration is not a new proposal, it’s been around for years. USPS made it their top priority in postal reform. NALC President Rolando takes credit for much of the language. Read the union websites for details..
    Folks, where were you last year when a group from California raised questions at the APWU retiree conference and the Convention?

    • Renaldo will vote for anything that keeps carriers with more mounted routes (while excessing out all hurt carriers to other crafts as opposed to keeping them in on mounted routes), as opposed to mandatory NDCBU boxes everywhere. Sheeple.

  11. Susie Wong, why not quit the Postal Service now. you can then work any where you desire without union thugs. I’m quite sure you will be able to receive 5% pay increases on your own. And your pal Trump will take care of you. Don’t forget Trump’s “alternative news”!

    • Doug, you’re not missing a thing. Approximately 75% of Federal annuitants (retirees) elect not to enroll in Medicare either because they don’t need it or because their physician of choice doesn’t accept Medicare. If this bill is passed you will be forced to enroll in Medicare Part B (and Part D) whether you like it or not. This will make Medicare your PRIMARY insurer. If your present doctor doesn’t accept Medicare then you will either have to find another doctor or pay for his fees completely out of pocket. Contact your elected representatives in Congress and voice your opposition to this bill (H.R. 756).

  12. I was just recently able to get Medicare, but turned down part B because it was going to cost 132.00 a month. Since it looked like it would really only cover my co-pays, it didn’t make economic sense. Am I missing something here?

    • Maybe a little, depends on your health and family history. Medicare B picks up all co-pays, including meds, surgeries, doc visits, etc….
      My mom had both knees replaced, her back fused, one hip replaced, and all her surgeries, and her and dads meds and visits to the doc cost them nothing. The bills, without Med B would have left them with Paying the maximum out of pocket required by the FEHB plan they had for every surgery. $6500 per surgery, not counting meds. So if your healthy cool. If you have bad luck, not so much.

  13. What happens to people who’s spouse’s haven’t reached 65? Do you pay for blue cross plus medicare A+ B? What are the cost compared to what they are now to us retiree’s?

    • These so called union leaders representing us are probably going to retire someday and find out that its very difficult living on a fixed income. Half the good dr’s in this country won’t even accept medicare. The unions promised 25 yrs. ago to fight for the crs retires to receive the full amount of social security they are entitled to. WHAT happened to that bill??? IT’s a shame these union leaders sell us out to make a name for themselves. I had to deal with the USELESS P.O. unions for 30 yrs in ct. Ask yourself why your unions wanted you to vote for Hillary?

    • Let’s try to fix what’s wrong. Without the union we may not have earned a decent pension. Check out “at will” employees.

  14. now you see why you only got 1% yearly raise’s the last 40 years…….these union thugs are in mismanagements pockets. the correct term for this is”company union” google it. if you remember, these tools were standing behind President George W Bush, grinning like a bunch of drunks, when Bush signed his reform legislation. once a thug, always a thug.
    now you know why I voted Trump…….I would rather work for UPS/FDX………hope he sells off this money loser to the highest bidder. FDX stock $188 a share…..UPS $105 a share…..USPS $0.00 if you get my drift!

  15. Once again the Unions sell out the members! Why do you think the work environment is so bad? You have been SOLD OUT!!!!!

  16. I hope that those representing the Unions go over this bill VERY carefully before agreeing to anything. Don’t let what happened in 2006 happen again. I am very ambivalent about any agreements considering what has happened in the past and thrown the Postal Service into such negative publicity and negative financial strain.

  17. So as a retiree that is a few years away from 65, how would my spouse be covered with me having to go to Medicare when he is younger than me? Not good for us retirees when we made choices about coverage prior to retiring.

  18. Wow, this was like going to trial without a defense lawyer!!! The prosecution had all their parties involved but the poor USPS retirees had no representation what-so-ever!! Kind of 1 sided don’t you think??? Who voted for Rolando anyway?? I guess this committee didn’t want any cross examination of the criminals involved!!!

    • I proudly support President Fred Rolando. Fred is a leader with the vision to look to the entire picture, and to seek what is in the best interest of the city letter carriers that he represents.
      I cannot imagine how successful a leader could be if he attempted to only take a position that would be supported by 100% of the people he represented.
      Retired letter carriers DID have representation, as NALC is the exclusive bargaining agent for city letter carriers, and President Rolando was there representing us.

  19. I’m retired csrs an can I lose my letter carrier health benefits, if I do can I switch another health benefit plan. The letter carrier plan covers part D,as you already know, would you enroll in Medicare. Part B, $137/ month does the carrier plan cover part B benefits? I know that. That I must reach the catosaphic limitis about $6,000, I wasn’t eligible for free part A???

    • People don’t understand that this is your health benefit becoming your secondary plan when Medicare Part B is your primary, once you turn 65. Yeah, you have to pay a premium, whatever Medicare doesn’t pay, your health benefit would pick up. That includes the catostrophic limits. My husband has been under Medicare Part B and NALC for 5 years, and after multiple hospital stays and surgeries, we have not paid a dime. Every EOB comes back “patient liability” 0! Do some research, people. My dad had medicare and a supplemental outside plan through AARP. He had thousands of bills for hospitals, therapy stays and prescriptions. His supplement picked up whatever Medicare didn’t pay. Don’t think about that $110 premium every month because you are healthy NOW! When I turn 65, I will gladly pay the extra insurance to have two insurances and piece of mind.

      • Yep, you nailed it. If you’re going to have surgeries, hospitalizations, and many scripts, you will have no medical bills, and most scripts carry $0 co-pay. The Medicare premium pays for itself, and then some.


  21. I guess I’ll take a wait and see attitude on this.I’m 83 not on medicare and have NALCHBP,and part A of Medicare.There will always be welfare which by the way I was eligible for in the 60’s.Looks like a step back!

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