OUR NEXT MEETING IS A DAYTIME MEETING ON TUESDAY FEB. 28th AT 11:00AM CLICK HERE FOR THE INFO.
We put out our official statement. That post showed up on our Lars website on Friday or Saturday. If you call Emblem, they will tell you that you don't have to pay a co-pay after January 12. But they are trying to encourage you to pay for all co-pays prior. We currently are suggesting you don't pay any co-pays, unless your provider requests that you pay them in order to be seen. Then pay the co-pay and keep the receipt. Understand that Emblem health is trying to overturn our preliminary injunction. It will require the first department, appellate court to hear that case.We currently have three court cases running. And will potentially have a fourth. Stay tuned for more updates, and please pass our fundraising website www.nycretirees.org. Encourage your members to make a donation monthly if they can. And sign up for our email newsletter on the same page.
The CITY COUNCIL did not Vote on the legislation that was introduced on 1/4/23 which would have forced us into a Medicare Advantage Plan. It is highly suggested we call each city council Rep and Thank them for not succumbing to the pressure of the Mayor-See the Info on the Act Now Page. -WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Will the Mayor forego a City Council Ruling and try and shove it down our throats? If he does there's another Lawsuit waiting for him in the wings.
MANY THANKS TO ALL OF OUR MEMBERS FOR THEIR E-MAILS, PHONE CALLS AND CITY COUNCIL OFFICE VISITS. WE PUT THE PRESSURE ON AND IT PAID OFF, BUT IT AIN'T OVER. IF NEED BE WE MAY CALL ON YOU AGAIN, BUT AT LEAST NOW WE ARE PROFICIENT IN THE "HOW TO". MANY THANKS GOES OUT TO MARIANNE PIZZITOLA FOR HER KNOWLEDGE ON THIS ISSUE, WITHOUT HER WE WOULD BE UNDER THE THUMB OF THE MAYOR AND PAYING HEAVILY FOR THE MAP.
BY RICHARD KHAVKINE OF "THE CHIEF"
Retired municipal workers will be deprived of choice if the City Council doesn’t sanction a change to the administrative code that allows the city to charge the retirees for a portion of their health care coverage, union leaders and Adams,
administration officials said Monday.
The retirees and their advocates, though, scoffed at the notion during an all-day hearing of the City Council’s Labor and Civil Service Committee, arguing that any scenario that bills retirees for health insurance would break a covenant established decades ago.
Council members, for their part, voiced skepticism about both the amendment and the city’s increasingly likely switch of retirees from a traditional Medicare program to a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan.
“We recognize that this presents an unbearable choice for retirees on fixed incomes and creates a disparate impact on low-income retirees,” Labor Committee Chair Carmen De La Rosa said at the hearing’s outset.
The legislation, which De La Rosa emphasized was not yet scheduled for a vote, would essentially allow the city to bill retirees the difference between a benchmark plan, likely administered by managed-care company Aetna, and any plan that costs more, in this case the retirees’ preferred supplemental plan, GHI Senior Care.
Administration officials have said the legislation, jointly drafted by the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella organization of public-sector unions, and the Office of Labor Relations and introduced at the behest of Mayor Eric Adams, would ensure that retirees keep Senior Care. Union and city officials contend the amendment would address a finding by a Manhattan Supreme Court justice who concluded last March that the city’s planned Medicare switch was not legal as constituted since it would require retirees who opted to keep Senior Care to pay for it, which would run against the city code. City officials have said the coverage would cost retirees an additional $191 month
and likely more in coming years.
Several union leaders, including Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, and Henry Garrido, the executive director of District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal employees union, are among those supporting the amendment.
“We have allowed fear of the unknown to truly become the perfect enemy of the good,” Garrido said at the hearing. “Amending the administrative code has always been
and will always remain about choice.”
Switching to private Medicare and allowing the city to charge for the supplemental plan “may not be popular but they are responsible actions,” said Garrido, whose union represents more than one-third of the 250,000 retirees who would be affected by the Medicare switch, which the city wants to implement in July.
The hearing followed findings last month by Martin Scheinman, the chairperson of a committee tasked with addressing the delivery of health care to municipal workers and retirees, that increased financial deficits attributable to some aspects of the traditional Medicare plan required the city to switch to the private Medicare plan.
Scheinman, who is also an arbitrator, gave the Council until Jan. 29 to amend the administrative code. If it failed to do so, Senior Care will,
“no longer be an offering,” he wrote.
But the president of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retiree, Marianne Pizzitola, has insisted that the Council is not bound by any of Scheinman’s conclusions, calling it an opinion and not an order. The Council, she said at the hearing, does not have to adhere to “the deadline that’s being forced down your throat,” adding that city officials had “misrepresented” Scheinman’s report.
As she and others have since the planned Medicare switch was first publicized in 2021 during the de Blasio administration, Pizzitola, a retired EMT, has argued that Medicare Advantage plans are vastly inferior to traditional Medicare. The switch and the proposed amendment, the retirees have also said, would renege on assurances
made to city workers decades ago.
“You have to remember too, that when we retired, we retired with a promise of something we would have,” Pizzitola said at the hearing.
She said that retired workers who made modest salaries when working and are now earning meager pensions cannot readily come up with an extra $200, as might the presidents of the unions pushing for the amendment.
“I don’t make a $100,000 pension and I shouldn’t be asked to do this for the sake of choice, because for me, for most of them, that’s not a choice,” she said, referring to the retirees.
True choice, she said, would come about as the result of exhaustive research on the part of city officials, which Pizzitola has claimed was not done. “The city has not done its due diligence,” she said. Among what she called “fiduciary failures,” OLR has failed to conduct exhaustive audits of enrollees.
“We’re labor,” she said. “We never believed in privatization of Medicare or health care.”
She chastised the proposed plan as merely an avenue for the union leaders to secure raises for their members. “I shouldn’t be in that position
because that’s treating me like cattle,” she said.
“There’s other ways to be able to do this rather than take away people’s health insurance under the guise of giving them choice.”
Assurances don’t suffice
City officials have said switching to the Aetna plan would save the city $600 million a year and $3 billion over the next five years, given a price guarantee from Aetna. It would allow the city to continue to offer premium-free coverage both to current workers and to city retirees, which the Office of Labor Relations’ Daniel Pollak said was increasingly rare as health insurance costs for municipalities and other public entities continue to rise. He said that about half of the nation’s public-sector retirees
were covered by Medicare Advantage plans.
Pollak, as administration and MLC officials have contended for months, said the Aetna plan would be equal to or better than the current traditional Medicare plan. Retiree organizations, though, have pushed back on those claims, saying that private providers’ profit motives outweigh consumers’ health concerns. Those apprehensions have been supported by proposals from federal health officials to establish new regulations that would address complaints from consumers, including that some plans could be improperly denying patients’ and doctors’ requests for care.
Claire Levitt, OLR’s deputy commissioner, sought to assuage those concerns during the hearing, saying that city officials are insisting that Aetna’s plan has built-in provisions to ensure superior quality of care. It also will include penalties should the provider not meet standards set by the city and the unions.
For instance, she said the plan would not require referrals to see a specialist. Levitt also said that pre-authorization would not be required for several procedures, including for MRIs, CAT scans and others. “Only about 1 percent of all claims will require prior authorization,” she said. Appeals processes on denials, Levitt said, would be addressed quickly and fairly, according to the working agreement
being carved out with the provider.
Levitt’s claims drew sustained laughter from the retirees assembled in the Council Chambers which in turn drew admonitions from De La Rosa against interruptions. About 200 retirees would address the plan during the hearing, which lasted nearly 11 hours.
Several Council members asked to see the city’s agreement with Aetna. Pollak, though, said the agreement’s provisional status made that scenario unlikely, despite Scheinman's direction that the city and the Municipal Labor Committee reach agreement with Aetna on the plan by Monday.
In any case, Pollak said, the city needs to move forward and find ways “to achieve these vital savings." If the amendment is not enacted, he said, Senior Care would be eliminated altogether, as Scheinman also cautioned. Summarizing a finding by Scheinman, Pollak said that failure to implement a Medicare Advantage plan would “inevitably result in co-premiums” for current city employees. “That is not the outcome
that the city or the MLC want,” he said.
Under questioning from Council Member Joann Ariola, Pizzitola said she would be willing to sit down with the MLC to discuss alternate funding streams. “We’ve come up with ideas, because you know what, our retirees are attorneys, former OLR, retired OCB,” she said, referring to the city’s Office of Collective Bargaining. “I mean, we ran this city.”<
SELECT MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON 1/4/23: (BILL 0874 WAS ENTERED ONTO THE CITY COUNCIL DOCKET)
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to health insurance coverage for city employees, city retirees, and their dependents
Sponsors: By Council Member De La Rosa (by request of the Mayor) Attachments: Int. No. 874, January 4, 2022 - Charter Meeting Agenda This Introduction was Referred to Comm by Council to the Committee
on Civil Service and Labor.
ALSO NOTE: THIS BILL IS THE REQUEST OF THE MAYOR, not many bills are requested by the Mayor. To me that is unfair influence, so we have to counter this and call everyday, send emails everyday, visit your City Council Rep. in person if you can.
After the meeting was concluded, a few of the council members got up to speak. I was watching it on NYC.GOV TV and wasn't sure of the names of those in attendance, but at least 4 of them were totally against it.
The final speaker, Charles Barron, a Democrat from Brooklyn (42nd District) made a speech about influence and power. He said in essence that no one can influence this body. The power rests with the people of New York City. "Power to The People" end quote.
Now it's up to us to FIGHT BACK. Start calling the members of the Civil Service and Labor Committee and also e-mailing them. All the information is on our ACT NOW PAGE
This Bill 0874 if passed will affect EVERYONE! "CITY EMPLOYEES, CITY RETIREES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS-THAT'S EVERYONE!!! So do it for yourself, do it for your Family, do it for the brothers and the sisters on the Job, just do it.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR ACT NOW PAGE FOR THE REST OF THE BATTLE PLANS. If the City changes 12-126, we will never
get from under the bus.
CLICK ON "FIND OUT MORE" FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON THE
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE DEBACLE
(ANOTHER VIDEO FROM MARIANNE TO ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN IT)
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
AND REMEMBER IN 2023-CALL, CALL, CALL MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL AT LEAST 3X A WEEK. IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE DRILL BY NOW THEN YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING ON THE MOON. GO TO OUR ACT NOW PAGE TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN MISSING...
BE PRO-ACTIVE IN 2023-GET INVOLVED!!!
I have made the case before: Mulgrew, Nespoli, Garrido, the whole MLC, Scheinman, Adams, and the City’s financial administration, starting with the OLR, plus the insurance companies – they are all working in concert. They are colluding. And they leave the evidence all over the place. TO READ A GREAT ARTICLE ON THE EXPLANATION OF THE MARTIN SCHEINMAN LETTER CLICK HERE-IT'S AN EYE OPENER!
There's been a letter being circulated by Arbitrator and Mediator, Martin Scheinman, Esq. I read it and hoped it was bullshit. Then Marianne Pizzitola rebuked it-HOORAY!
In his letter he sums it up at the end, "thus in my view, ending the Administrative Code, supported by the City and the MLC, is in the best interests of the in-service and retiree communities".
When I read this I inquired who the hell is this guy?, and where does he come off saying this.
The following is a letter from Marianne who speaks the truth:
>Martin Scheinman’s “Opinion and Award” is nothing more than his personal opinion; he doesn’t have the legal authority to “award” a victory to the City and MLC by overruling the courts’ decisions. And he certainly doesn’t have the power to end Senior Care. Killing retirees’ access to traditional Medicare and imposing a one-size-fits-all Medicare Advantage plan may be his recommendation, but the representation to the press that this is a “win” or a “ruling” is a desperate example of fake news.
Mr. Scheinman’s report is nothing more than bad theater: a combination of farce and tragedy – with lots of horror thrown in to keep people glued to their seats, waiting to see who will be gored next. Mr. Scheinman’s role as Arbitrator is limited to resolving disputes between the City and the MLC. Except here, there is no dispute: the City and the MLC have been trying for 18 months to force retirees into Medicare Advantage and charge them a penalty if they choose to remain in their current plan – which the courts have prohibited. So, instead of sitting down with retirees and together figuring out how to save on healthcare costs, the City and MLC are resorting
to this Kabuki theater:
Mr. Scheinman is making us do it!
Retirees have repeatedly offered to sit with the Mayor’s staff and go through the more than $300 million in actual savings that they have already identified. And three times the Mayor’s staff has agreed to meet, and then cancelled the meeting. The meeting this week was cancelled 15 minutes before it was to begin by OMB and then when we were finally able to convene, it was only a brief meeting to begin the conversation where we identified savings and waste in Labor Relation’s management of plan eligibility and hoped these conversations would continue. The proposed path by the City is NOT the only way to savings. Retirees have a proposed a Blue Ribbon Panel to identify additional healthcare savings, but the MLC has adamantly opposed an independent fact-finding investigation, probably because they don’t want anyone turning over rocks that would expose years of collusion and mismanagement, And retirees have identified a way for the City to tap federal funds – from the CMMI Innovation Fund – and yet silence from the City and MLC. What are they afraid of?
Mr. Scheinman’s report is so replete with misrepresentations, lawyerly weasel-words that shade the truth, and outright fantasy that we won’t rebut it here. But his conclusion: that the City Council must gut Administrative Law 12-126 in order to preserve health insurance choices would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. It is akin to the Army’s rationale during the Vietnam War that,
“We had to destroy this village in order to save it.”
We understand the lure of a purported $600 million in annual Federal funds. And no one is against finding legitimate healthcare savings. But doing it on the backs of senior citizens and disabled first responders is not just unfair, it is illegal. There are 50 years of promises, collective bargaining agreements, legislation, and past-practice that set a powerful precedent. If the City tries to kill Senior Care,
we will see them in Court.
But first, we urge the Mayor to do the right thing: sit with the retirees; understand where $300 million in annual savings can be found now; and how to tap Medicare’s Innovation Fund.<
President, NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees
>CLICK HERE TO WATCH A YOU TUBE VIDEO BY MARIANNE PIZZITOLA, RESPONDING TO THE BULLSHIT LETTER BY MARTIN SCHEINMAN AND ALSO RESPONDING TO THE THREE STOOGES' (MULGREW, GARRIDO & NESPOLI) PLAN TO RESCIND NYC RETIREE'S HEALTH PLAN<
ps: THE ARTICLE IN THE CHIEF IS ALSO BULLSHIT!
OH-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE A HAPPY NEW YEAR. REMEMBER DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ...
The Fire Department Pension fund has relocated from headquarters to its new location in Manhattan.
The address is 1 Battery Park Plaza, 9th Floor NY , NY 10004-1405
Phone number : 929 436 0099
Please see the attachment for further details.
(CLICK ON "FIND OUT MORE")
We are Retired NYC Firefighters of all ranks. We meet five times per year at two locations; 901 Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park and 3051 Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn, NY. Through our Newsletter and this website we hope to keep you informed about your pensions.
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our organization better for our members. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help
of supporters like you.
RETIRED MEMBER'S ASSOCIATION, INC
Fire Department, City of New York
ORGANIZED JANUARY 1ST, 1946
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
We offer two types of Membership.
Life Membership- one time payment of $250.00 gives you a gold RMA Membership Card and our periodic newsletters.
Annual Membership-Annual dues of $25.00 gives you 1 year of membership with associated Card, and one year of issued Newsletters.
Once you have decided on
the type of Membership you desire,
download the PDF Application above,
fill out and send with your check
made payable to the RMA
and send via US Mail to:
PO Box 1332
Baldwin, NY 11510
[Add Payment for the Lapel Pin(s) with your Dues Check]
(see Lapel Pin above-right)
Both Life and Annual Members will receive Critical Instant Updates as
long as New Member provides a credible E-mail Address.
Lapel Pin, pictured above available for sale: PRICE: $6.00 for one pin or two for $10.00