NARFE disappointed House Committee approved Postal Reform Bill forcing retirees into Medicare

NARFE Disappointed in Committee Action on USPS Reform Legislation

3/16/17 Alexandria, VA – The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) is deeply disappointed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 756, without addressing the serious concerns of 76,000 postal retirees who would be forced to enroll in Medicare under the bill.


NARFE President Richard G. Thissen issued the following statement:

“There are many solutions to the financial problems facing the U.S. Postal Service, all of which the Committee unfortunately has rejected in favor of balancing the books of the USPS on the backs of its retirees. In doing so, this legislation forces 76,000 current postal retirees who are satisfied with their current health insurance coverage to pay an additional $1,600 per year, or more, to receive coverage through Medicare.

“While the majority of federal and postal retirees choose Medicare when they turn age 65, those without it actively made the decision not to enroll. The reasons for doing are numerous and personal, and it was their choice. That choice should not be eliminated now because Congress is unwilling to make more politically difficult decisions.

“After finishing long careers with USPS, postal retirees should not be threatened with the loss of their health insurance entirely if they do not buy additional coverage through Medicare. This not only eliminates choice with regard to health insurance for postal retirees living on fixed incomes, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for all federal retirees. The committee is sending all retirees a very dangerous message with approval of this bill – we can, and will, change your retirement benefits, after you’ve retired and are living on fixed incomes, without regard to whether or not you can afford it.

“NARFE, as an organization representing postal retirees and as a customer of the Postal Service, is committed to supporting legislation that provides much needed reforms to USPS that allow for its long-term stability. However, we remain disappointed that the Committee failed to once again consider our simple, fair and reasonable alternative: maintain automatic enrollment of current postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short opt-out window of 60 or 90 days. Without this option, the bill breaks an unwritten promise regarding retiree health benefits and replaces the individual postal retiree’s choice of health insurance with a paternalistic requirement, at significant cost to the Medicare program.”


The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly five million current and future federal annuitants, spouses and survivors.

25 thoughts on “NARFE disappointed House Committee approved Postal Reform Bill forcing retirees into Medicare

  1. You can’t wait until this stupid bill becomes law. Then it would be a herculean effort to get it overturned. Action must be taken now not to force retirees to take Medicare B but be given the option as the law is now. Also, why would anyone think that being forced into a Postal Service only healthcare plan will be good for any employee or retiree. That would make for a smaller pool of applicants which will lead to higher costs and where is the guarantee that a Postal Only plan will allow you to see the same doctors, medical providers, and hospitals we have now. Unions backing this can’t see the future when all of you will become retirees and victims of this plan.

    • I believe you are correct, there are two huge threats in this bill. Forcing retirees to take Medicare Part B and D (EGWP) is the first, as this will add a huge cost burden on retirees and spouses who don’t want or need Medicare. The second is the unique “postal only” health plan risk pool which evidence suggests will be significantly more expensive and offer less health care plan choices than remaining in the much larger FEHBP risk pool. This will impact everyone (employees and retirees) in the postal health benefits risk pool. Why the unions are supporting this are a mystery, but as someone suggested they likely see the opportunity to make money from their own sponsored health plans. The best course of action is to reach out and tell your coworker or retiree friends that now is the time to contact their representative in congress and encourage them to oppose the bill unless the Section 101 (Postal Health Plan) is removed.

    • I for one have already contacted my congressman and
      all of the others in my area. The time for action is now.
      Please call or write to stop them from wrecking your
      retirement finances and health plan. It appears they
      want everyone to keep working until 80 due to fear
      of running out of money and future health premiums
      and costs for your retirement.

  2. I’ll be filling out my PS1187 form come july this year. I know my ten day window to submit the papers to stop dues with holding. After 25+ years I’ve had enough.

  3. It’s a money grab to eventually force retirees to drop their health coverage completely!
    They are suppose to phase it in gradually over the next 3 years so the $116.00 a month is just the start.
    Wait and see what happens as they raise it up over the next 3 years and force everyone to choose between having health insurance or eating.

  4. This Bill is very disappointing! What is even more disappointing is that the APWU is advocating that the Bill be passed. Their concern is for the Postal Service and not the retirees who will be impacted. After all many retirees end their membership with the union once they retire, and the APWU wants and needs NEW victims to step on. In truth, many are unaware of this Bill 756 and it’s counter part Bill 760 which will allow money paid into to retirement fund to be invested in the markets. Where is the solidarity of the unions? Where is the solidarity members? Does this Bill just impact Postal Workers or are all federal workers in there sight?

  5. Reagan couldn’t move anyone from Civil Service to FERS
    because a federal law can’t be changed once inacted.
    Isn’t this the same thing and can be challenged in court?

  6. If this bill is approved will my wife be required to join medicare ( she will be 70 this month) even though i am presently only 62?

  7. Also, I want no parts of being forced into taking one of the Postal only health care policies. I do not trust them to get anything right and why should I be forced into a plan I don’t want and away from a plan I already have and am satisfied with. Sounds a whole lot like Obamacare forcing people to buy insurance when they don’t want it or pay a penalty. NARFE must take these people to court to protect current retirees who were promised a choice of taking Medicare B when they turn 65 years of age.

  8. I could not agree more with NARFE’s position on this bill. My wife and I are both retired and under the age of 65. We do not want or need Medicare B when we turn 65. We spent around $400.00 on co pays in 2016 through the FEBHP , yet this legislation would force us to pay over $3200.00 additional to cover both of us for Medicare B. That is ridiculous! I am hoping that if this passes NARFE will sue the federal government on behalf of the postal retirees that are getting screwed. I retired with “supposed” guaranteed expectations of health care, % paid by the gov’t, and retiree income. This bill breaches that promise and is unaffordable to us.

  9. If you are waiting for Congress to do the right thing and end the Postal Service only pre funding, you have a long wait. Congress knows that they are wrong in what they did and wrong in fixing their political mistake! It is just so nice the way they can change the rules of the working game. The employee did what they were required to do all the years they worked. It matters not. Years after you completed your job, Congress comes along and changes the employees retirement benefits. Just look how Congress changed the ERISA in December 2015. Just goes to show it doesn’t pay to be honest and hard working. What does it get you? The shaft! I advise you to read “The Retirement Heist” by E. Schultz.

  10. I’m not surprised. Since when do republicans do anything to help the American people? I blame the jackasses that suffer from Reagan and Bush AMNESIA, voting for these creeps who turn around and shaft the very people who voted for them.Liars, all. Do they consider eliminating the taxpayer subsidies to the rich oil companies, in the billions of dollars? How about generating more revenues by closing the Cayman Island tax shelters for the banks and corporations? Oh no, we can’t touch that.We only touch the people’s benefits to make up for the lost revenues from the rich they protect.A disgrace.

    • This bill enjoys bi-partisan support on the Oversight Committee, including ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings. ALL 4 Nationals: NAPS, APWU, NPMHU, and NALC are on board. Why do you think that is? Because this bill forces ALL retirees, from this point forward, into a separate risk pool.

      What does that mean? We’re to be forced out of the FEHB we were promised, and nearly bankrupted ourselves over the last 10 years funding the PSRHBP for. Why? The plans under the separate risk pool funnel millions of our retiree healthcare dollars directly to ALL 4 nationals which will then be funneled to the Democrats…

      What has EITHER party done for us?!. If you think ANYONE in government is looking out for your best interests, YOU are the problem. The best the Obama White House could come up with to ‘save’ us was 5-day delivery… Get a clue.

  11. I’m with NARFE, this bill is employee and especially retiree unfriendly. Here are some issues to consider:

    The health care provision (Section 101) breaks the Federal Government’s commitment to employees by changing the terms of their retirement after they have retired.

    This health benefits change is based on USPS managements overriding desire to fix their financial problems by cutting costs even if it hurts employees and retirees. I guess there is no surprise with this. What is surprising is that Congress is going along with the request.

    Postal employees are federal employees (yes, the USPS is part of the Federal Government) and postal retirees are federal retirees. We should not be singled out and treated differently just because of the agency from which we retired.

    I believe the unions are going along for multiple reasons, but the most important is likely that they see a financial benefit for their sponsored health benefit plans.

    The 2006 PAEA requires OPM to recalculate USPS future retiree health care costs in 2017 (this year) and amortize payments over a 40-year period. USPS Quarter 1, 2017 Financials estimate the required annual payment (prepayment) will be $907 million in 2017 or nearly $4 billion less than it has been for each of the last 10 years. Normal health benefits (which the USPS has always paid) are also forecast to be slightly lower than in past years. Doing nothing or reducing any remaining prepayments is all that is needed. Not changing our health benefits.

    The health benefits change will not improve our health care benefit.

    The Postal Service will see little or no savings from the change in health benefits. This is driven by the fact that a “Postal Only” health benefits risk pool will be more expensive than remaining in the much larger FEHBP health benefits risk pool. This significant cost (about $700 million annually) was Identified by Walton Francis.

    What is being called savings is really not savings, but a transfer of costs to Medicare (about $800 million annually). It will require retirees forced to take Medicare to pay about $150 million annually in Medicare premiums for coverage they don’t want or need.

    Fixing FEHBP prescription drug costs (see Congressman Lynch H.R. 2175) would save the USPS and Federal Government far more than meddling with our health benefits as is proposed in H.R. 756.

    Read Postal Service Health Benefits and the FEHBP: The Urgent Case of Getting Reform Right by Walton J Francis.

    Read the Congressional Budget office report on H.R. 5714 (the similar bill from the last Congress) you will see that even though the legislation will save $2.2 billion over 10 years the health benefits program will cost the government $2.9 billion. Dropping the health benefits program improves the bills scoring.

    Your representative in Congress needs to hear your position on this legislation to help them make the right decision. Let them know your position. In my opinion as currently written with the health care provision this legislation should not be approved. We have and I believe should continue to have the same health benefits as every other federal employee. including the option of enrolling in Medicare but not being forced to enroll as a condition of keeping our earned health benefit.

    • Exactly! Although I believe NO USPS retirees should be forced into previously optional Medicare coverage. NARFE only concern here is current USPS retirees. As for PSRHBP prefunding, the ONLY correct way to ‘address’ it is to eliminate it. There is already enough there for every living retiree, and currently employed, future retiree…

      I’m retired military and eligible for ‘Tricare-for-life’ when 60. Along with my retiree FEHB benefits, I’ll be fine. Why the hell would I want to pay and extra $1600+/yr to make Medicare my primary for ‘benefits’ I won’t need?!.

      • Tricare for life requires Medicare Part B enrollment, but you pay nothing else and get complete (and excellent) medical and prescription drug coverage. Don’t forget to suspend your FEHBP coverage. By suspending you can reinstate FEHBP coverage if ever needed.

  12. Was advised to take a survivors benefit when I retired so my husband can continue our medical benefits should I pass away, that was 4 years ago, he is still employed, now I find out that that money that was deducted from my check was all for nothing? What the heck? All the planning for retirement and you can just change it when you feel like it!
    I’m living on a fixed income, I already lost 4 years of survivors benefit and now will have to pay a fortune for medical coverage! Get your act together!

  13. This shows the postal union bosses could care less about it’s retirees.Paul Ryan is going after Medicare once dust settles on Obamacare.What happens if the Repulselicans successfully do away with Medicare,then what?

  14. What they should have done was stop the prefunding totally and the postal service wouldnt be at a cross road. Postal service is the only gov agency required to prefund retirement!!!! Due to short fall in social security is why the prefunding started and took the profit from the postal service to fund social security.

Comments are closed.