Healthcare Reform Timeline
In March 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform into law. Click the link above (Acrobat reader required) for a timeline provided by the Kaiser Foundation for implementation of its key provisions.
Mandatory Portability Guidelines
A provision in the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 included extended portability of service credit to certain employees who were affected by the divestiture of the Bell System, this provision is known as the Mandatory Portability Agreement (MPA).
The Mandatory Portability Agreement provides for recognition of prior service credit for certain employees who change employment between MPA Interchange Companies and meet specific requirements. If you are eligible, do not assume the company will notify you - you will need to be proactive. Click the link above for a description of the requirements.
Changes in pension check withholdings
Around the 2nd quarter of the year you probably had a little increase in your pension check due to lowered tax withholdings as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; i.e., stimulus money.
Since there is no change in tax obligations, congress created the Making Work Pay tax credit ($400 for single; $800 for married) to offset the reduced withholdings.
Problem is, if you are retired and do not work, you are not eligible for the tax credit, thus you would likely owe more taxes next April to offset those reduced withholdings.
Once the glitch was discovered, the IRS issued an optional adjustment procedure and Fidelity readjusted (increased) the withholdings in pension checks, to hopefully rectify the end of the year tax obligation.
What happens to retiree benefits if you are rehired by AT&T:
Per the AT&T
Medical Plan (See Appendix B: Eligibility Exceptions - Page 10 of 12)
a retiree who is classified
as a bargained employee upon rehire - "You are eligible to continue your
retiree benefits under this Program until you become eligible for Active
bargained medical benefits".
Once eligible for active bargained medical benefits, the terms of the
applicable bargained plan apply. The active benefits will trump ANY retiree
benefits, including any life insurance you may be enrolled in.
If you rehired as a management employee, you will remain covered by retiree benefits. That is described at the bottom of page 17 in the
AT&T Medical Plan. The chart on that page says "if your rehire date is
on or after Jan. 1, 2007, then your medical benefits are not affected by
your rehire. The benefits for you and your Eligible Dependents continue
to be governed by the rules applicable to similarly situated Retired
Employees, based on your original retirement date. You do not need to
re-enroll yourself or your Eligible Dependents upon rehire. (There is
an exception noted on that page for Medicare-eligible employees that
provides a bit of additional info that related to contributions).
ETHEX Corporation Initiated Nationwide Voluntary Recalls of Specific Lots of Five Generic Products Due to the Potential for Oversized Tablets
ETHEX Corporation announced on Nov. 7 that it voluntarily recalled specific lots of five generic /non-branded products (Propafenone HCl, Isosorbide Mononitrate, Morphine sulfate Extended and Immediate Release, and Dextroamphetamine Sulfate) that it markets. These lots have been recalled as a precaution, due to the possibility that they may contain oversized tablets containing more than the intended levels of the active drug ingredient, which could result in patients receiving as much as about twice the expected dosage of these drugs. For more details, go to http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/ethex11_08.html.
Bills for underpayments of benefits threatening to void coverage:
Retirees with outstanding balances for healthcare (due to the problems earlier this year with pension check deductions) are receiving a monthly bill from AT&T advising them that their benefits will be terminated if the balance is not paid in full by a specific date. The company has extended the deadline for these balances until March 31, 2008. Those affected should have received a letter to that effect.
Potential Exposure of Personal Identifying Information:
Some retirees have reported receiving a letter from AT&T advising them that due to the theft of a laptop computer containing benefit plan data, their personal information (including social security number) may be compromised. AT&T has confirmed this report. They are offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for the individuals affected.
The free credit offer requires a promotion code, which is unique for each individual. If you are unable to access your US mail, call (800) 429-9697 to see if your data was on the stolen PC.
Do not assume that all members of the family have been impacted. However, if the participant provides SSNs to the call center listed on the letter from Dorothy Attwood (800-429-9697), and the last name and address are the same as the participant, the call center can validate whether those SSNs are impacted. Please note that minors cannot be covered by credit protection.
AT&T-Medical Part B Quarterly Reimbursements:
For inquiries regarding the "AT&T-Medical Part B Quarterly
Reimbursements" benefit, you will have to dial 1-877-722-0020 (AT&T
Pension Service Center representatives- not Statestreet). After you
hear the greeting message press pound key five times (they do not have an option in the telephone
greeting menu for the Part B Medical Reimbursement benefit).
For identification purpose, they will ask you for your Health Plan pin
number, if you do not have one, they will ask you for the last four
digits of your social security number, birth date, date of retirement,
telephone number and your home address.
If you want to receive your future quarterly payments via direct
deposit directly from Statestreet to your bank account, you need to
provide to the service representative: your bank name, bank address,
routing number and the account number (these numbers are printed in
the bottom line, left side of your checks).
Regarding the $3.00 loss (difference from $138.00 paid by Accordia
versus the new amount $135.00 paid by Statestreet) they just told me
that the benefit was changed effective 1-1-2007.
We’ve had reports of double billing for health benefits for the month of December. Many have been credited for the deduction the following month. There have also been cases of people carrying group life insurance who have been paying higher rates because they were classified as smokers. Check your benefits payments, and ask questions!
There is a number for United Healthcare (800-334-2400) that you can call to get coverage validated and you should to be able to create a temp ID card online at www.myuhc.com. There is also a "transition of care" form available from UHC for those receiving treatment for an exitsting condition.
Contact Met Life to verify and/or change beneficiary designations on Basic Life before the end of the year by phone at 1-800-434-7876 or fax: 1-315-792-5886. They will pass on all such info to the new company handling it in 2007 even if they don't get info by the end of December.
Upon receiving my October retirement check, I noticed that it was $125.00 less! I contact A&T Benefits and learned that once you turn 60 (my birthday is in November) your supplemental life insurance increases. This will happen again as we hit age milestones. I would suggest that we all take a look at what we are paying for this supplemental life insurance and check out other groups. You can probably get better rates for the same amount of coverage. I did and was pleasantly surprised.
AT&T Wireless Offer (from the AT&T retiree website):
The AT&T Wireless discount (19%) is available on regular Consumer wireless rate plans from AT&T. For more information on new wireless rate plans, upgrading existing plans and applying a discount to an existing plan, you can go to your nearest AT&T Wireless Store. You must show proof of AT&T retiree status by either showing a pension stub or W2. Please refer to FAN code number 18463 when you are at the store.
If you currently have the 19% discount or 18463 FAN attached to your account and have account issues, call 800-331-0500 or 611 from your wireless phone.
You are eligible for a max of $20 per month for long distance charges if you had
telephone concession before retirement. Mail a copy of your detailed monthly bill showing the elegible
Wells Fargo TPA
For customer service, call 1-888-251-0645
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time .
P.O. Box 11296
Charleston, W.Va 25339-1296.
How to chop hundreds of dollars off your medical bills:
My Medical Control is a new company that reviews medical bills and negotiates a lower rate with the supplier where possible. If they are successful, they charge a service fee of 35 percent of the savings - if not, there is no fee. The minimum charge they will investigate is $250.
Update of Dental Correction:
AT&T noticed an error on the charge for Dental services and will be notifying everyone with a letter.
The letter will tell the participant that their Enrollment Worksheet had an incorrect dental contribution for their 2007 coverage. There will be a separate letter sent to those with dental coverage level of individual +1 and those that have a coverage level of individual +2 or more. The contributions are as follows (and will be in the letter):
Individual +1 coverage = $19.00 per month for dental coverage
Individual +2 or more = $39.00 per month for dental coverage
The impacted participants will also receive a confirmation statement that will show all their coverages and their monthly contributions for their 2007 benefit elections.