Joint Statement from the Office of Labor Relations, the Alliance and the Municipal Labor Committee Regarding 2022 Health Benefits Program for City Retirees
In July, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion announced an agreement with the Municipal Labor Committee to implement the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan, a custom program for City retirees. Two companies that were not selected following the fair and competitive procurement process have filed lawsuits challenging the award of the contract to the Alliance. Those lawsuits were dismissed by the Court on October 21, 2021.
A group of City retirees also filed a lawsuit challenging the City’s decision to implement the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan. In that case, the Judge has requested a revised implementation plan and has extended the date for retirees to decide whether they want to opt-out of the plan. The judge has put the plan on hold until that issue is resolved. This, of course, affects when the plan can be implemented. We recently learned that the judge is not expected to decide these issues any earlier than the second week of December. A new date for implementation will be announced after a decision by the Court.
Our priority right now is to keep our retirees informed of these updates so that they know how this process will affect their health benefits in 2022. Our goal is to ensure as little disruption as possible as we work to provide high quality healthcare to our retirees and their dependents.
In that spirit, below please find a few key points about what we know now and how it impacts our retirees:
· Until there is a Court decision, no retirees will be moved into the new Medicare Advantage plan. Retirees will remain in the plan they were in for 2021 unless they utilized the once in a lifetime option to change plans or transferred plans during the annual transfer period. Retirees do not have to take any action at this time.
· The EmblemHealth / Empire BlueCross BlueShield Senior Care plan will remain premium-free until the new Medicare Advantage plan is implemented.
· Once the Court announces an implementation date, we will notify retirees of the period of time they will have to opt out of the Medicare Advantage plan. As soon as we have an approved implementation date from the Court, we will advise retirees. The most current information we have will be posted on the OLR website at www.1nyc.gov/site/olr/index.page and the Alliance website at https://nyc-ma-plus.empireblue.com/.
We will continue to keep our retirees updated on any developments.
For additional information, you can call the special Alliance call center at 1-833-325-1190, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hello everyone!!! Good news!!
The judge continued the stay. The only people that need to do anything by the November 30 deadline, is anyone who wishes to go into another plan other than GHI senior care or MAPP. (Ie: aetna, HIP empire, etc) You should use the generic opt out form found on the website ( www.nycretirees.org ) or OLR site or call the 833 Hotline.
Make sure you document day, time, persons name and reference number when doing so.
Stay tuned. The attorneys may meet Friday and court resumes December 8.
Marianne Pizzitola, President NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees
Notice of Special Contract Public Hearing and Draft Contract for the Provision of Health Benefits Services in the form of
Medicare Advantage Plan
Special Contract Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, at 10:00 A.M. The Public Hearing will be held
via Conference Call.
Call-in #: 1-646-992-2010
ACCESS CODE: 2349 580 0023
A proposed contract between the City of New York acting through Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations – Employee Benefits Program on behalf of the Labor Management Health Insurance Policy Committee for the New York City Health Benefits Program and Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. doing business as Empire BlueCross BlueShield Retiree Solutions, 120 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204, in strategic alliance with EmblemHealth Plan, Inc., for the provision of health benefits services in the form of a Medicare Advantage plan under Medicare Part C for the Medicare eligible retirees and dependents of the City of New York who are eligible for the City’s Health Benefits Program, Citywide. The proposed contract is in the amount of approximately $23,000,000.00. The contract term shall be from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026 with two one-year renewal options.
E-PIN #: 0021N002
The proposed contractor has been selected by Negotiated Acquisition Method, pursuant to Section 3-04 (b)(2) of the
Procurement Policy Board Rules.
In order to access the Public Hearing and testify, please call 1-646-992-2010, ACCESS CODE: 2349 580 0023 no later than 9:55 A.M. If you need further accommodations, please let us know at least five business days in advance of the Public Hearing via e-mail at DisabilityAffairs@mocs.nyc.gov or via phone at 1-212-298-0734.
Please click the below link to obtain a draft copy of the proposed contract between the City of New York acting through Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations – Employee Benefits Program on behalf of the Labor Management Health Insurance Policy Committee for the New York City Health Benefits Program and Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. doing business as Empire BlueCross BlueShield Retiree Solutions, 120 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204, in strategic alliance with EmblemHealth Plan, Inc., for the provision of health benefits services in the form of a Medicare Advantage plan under Medicare Part C for the Medicare eligible retirees and dependents of the City of New York who are eligible for the City’s Health Benefits Program.
published in the City Record
on October 27, 2021
A state Supreme Court judge Thursday indefinitely halted a proposed cost-cutting change in city government retirees’ health care after former municipal workers filed suit seeking to stop the move.
In a four-page order, Judge Lyle Frank called the rollout of the switch “irrational, and thus arbitrary and capricious” — and ordered the city to maintain the retirees’ current health care plans.
The suit was filed by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, a group formed in opposition to the move to a privately administered Medicare Advantage plan. Steve Cohen, the lawyer representing the retiree organization, celebrated the injunction.
“This is terrific for retirees,” he told New York Focus and THE CITY. “Thank goodness they’re not being rushed and being forced into an irrational decision.”
Frank tentatively prohibited the city and the new insurer — a partnership between EmblemHealth and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield known as the Retiree Health Alliance — from enforcing a planned Oct. 31 deadline for retirees to opt out of the plan.
The judge’s order does not, however, scrap the plan: Frank wrote that he “does not intend to disturb” the city’s choice to team
with the Alliance.
The planned switch is the result of a 2014 agreement between de Blasio and the Municipal Labor Committee, a group of unions that represent city employees and retirees. The unions committed to $1.3 billion in annual health care savings in exchange for pay raises for members.
The switch to the Alliance will move retirees from their current arrangement of traditional government-administered Medicare plus a supplemental insurance program into a privately run system known as Medicare Advantage.
City officials contend moving retirees’ health care to Medicare Advantage plans managed by private insurers will save over $600 million annually, while preserving equally good care.
But many retirees are skeptical of that promise of equally good care, noting that for the first time, for example, retired city workers will have to obtain prior authorization from their insurer for a host of procedures and equipment, instead of getting coverage automatically.
Some retirees worry that could leave them on the hook for huge sums, if the Alliance decides that their treatments aren’t covered.
“I could be bankrupt from the other plan if they don’t take everything,” retired NYCHA employee Lainie Kitt told New York Focus and THE CITY earlier this week.
Retirees who elect to keep the existing supplemental care program must pay $191 per adult covered.
A separate suit filed by insurance giant Aetna, claiming that the process of awarding the contract to the Alliance violated city procurement law and that the Alliance misrepresented its qualifications during the bidding process was rejected.
In response to the Organization of Public Service Retirees’ suit, the city had argued that it had done sufficient work to publicize the plan, and that the Halloween deadline should remain in place.
A spokesperson for the New York City Law Department expressed disappointment with Frank’s injunction.
“While we are gratified that the court upheld the contract award which is an essential step towards implementing the program, we are disappointed that the court stayed its implementation. We are reviewing the decision and the city’s options for moving forward. We are confident that the program will ultimately be implemented in the best interest of City retirees,” the spokesperson said.
The injunction doesn’t scrap the plan entirely, Frank emphasized, but rather delays it until more public information is available surrounding the plan. The judge noted that which doctors will accept the plan
is still unknown.
In an online survey conducted by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, 317 out of 880 respondents said that at least some of their health care providers were not aware of the Alliance’s plan and couldn’t say whether they would accept it.
Writing that “There is little clarity as to which health care providers will be accepting this new Medicare Advantage Plan,” Frank found that retirees are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if forced to decide whether to remain in the plan on the basis of incomplete information.
Some retirees hope that the injunction will give them time to continue mobilizing against the switch. “It’s an opportunity to inform people and build the opposition,” said Len Rodberg, a retired CUNY professor
who opposes the change.
Frank ordered the city to submit a plan for “curing the deficiencies”
his ruling highlighted.
The Department of Law spokesperson said that discussions on when and how the city will submit such a plan are ongoing. A spokesperson for the Alliance did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
In the meantime, Cohen said that his group will “continue looking and monitoring what’s going on, and be ready to respond
if anybody appeals.”
Several major municipal unions, including DC37, UFT, Local 237, and the PBA, did not immediately respond to requests
for comment on Frank’s ruling.
Not sure if your doctor is part of the
New Medicare Advantage Plus Plan?
Well now you can find out, click on the 'FIND OUT MORE' tab
and follow this procedure:
HIGHLIGHT THE "GUESTS BOX", then scroll down to:
SELECT TYPE OF CARE-use the scroll bar\/
Click on MEDICAL
NEXT SELECT YOUR STATE-use scroll bar\/
Click on "NEW YORK"
NEXT SELECT TYPE OF PLAN-use scroll bar\/
Click on "MEDICARE"
NEXT SELECT NETWORK-use scroll bar\/
Click on NYC MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLUS
Once you attain the page, insert
CITY or COUNTY or ZIP CODE of your Doctor, then put in
your doctor's First and Last Name, then hit the SPACE BAR,
NOT the ENTER BAR.*
Once the name appears, click on it, and see if "IN NETWORK" shows up under the doctor's name. If you see that then he or she is in the MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLUS Plan.
*If the name doesn't appear, you should contact your Doctor to ask him if he/she will be in the Network at a future date.*
We were unable to provide a link to our own RMA Meeting Presentation of the Medicare Advantage Plan Plus but we do have a link from the Sgt.'s Benevolent Association which is identical to our meeting on 9/30/21. Kim Parker is the keynote speaker in the You Tube Link. We thank her again for showing up at our RMA Meeting and giving us an informative presentation.
CLICK ON THE "FIND OUT MORE" BUTTON BELOW...
Our first daytime meeting was a tremendous success. Close to 200 members showed up for it. Representatives from the UFA and the UFOA spoke as well as Health Care Professionals. Many Thanks to Mike O'Keeffe for his Projection Prowess. We are in the process of providing a Video Link for all to watch, in the meantime click on the "FIND OUT MORE" Button below for some pictures and info. See you in November for our next meeting on 11/30/21 in Brooklyn...
COVID-19 Vaccine and Flu Vaccine
OPEN TO ALL Active and retired employees - Including all adult family members (age 18 or older).
For those already vaccinated we offer the COVID-19 Moderna Vaccine BOOSTERS (third shot at half dose) if it has been at least 6-months from 2nd dose.
Eligibility for booster includes:
Mixing and matching: You can receive Moderna Booster 6 months after Pfizer or 2 months after J&J Janssen. If you have the option, sticking with the original vaccine type is preferred.
FDNY still offers Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for adults not yet vaccinated in need of 1st and 2nd dose.
FDNY can give you the Flu vaccine on the same day as the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the flu vaccination is critical as it is possible to be infected with COVID-19 and flu, simultaneously or sequentially – leading to potentially life-threatening illness.
Please call 718-999-2683 Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm for an appointment at 9 Metrotech Center, Fort Totten or Randall's Island.
You can also call any of our WTC Satellites Mon-Fri 8am to 3:30pm for an appointment at:
Additional information on COVID-19 or Flu vaccination
The following Bills must be acted upon immediately in order to protect our current vested health care coverage. You MUST do your part to insure passage of A05108 and S05184.
As vaccines become more widely available, it's important to keep taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you,
here's what you should know:
Visit CDC.gov for additional trustworthy information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Medicare Team
The Secure Act increased the required minimum distribution (RMD) age from 70 1/2 to 72, marking the first change to the RMD age since first becoming law in 1986. The age increase will only apply to anyone born on or after July 1, 1949. Now that some taxpayers will be able to defer distributions from retirement accounts until age 72, should they? It turns out, tax-deferred growth isn’t always a no-brainer.
First, as a practical matter, many retirees can’t actually afford to hold off on using their retirement savings until they’re 72. Even for those who can wait until they reach RMD age, it might not make sense to. The ‘right’ withdrawal strategy will depend on multiple factors, which change over time along with the laws, tax code, and the individual’s personal financial situation.
Here are some of the important considerations to discuss with your financial and tax advisor as you draft a retirement income strategy.
Especially for investors who have already retired, tax planning can really pay off. If you’ve already retired and don’t need income from retirement accounts before age 72, you could be living off funds from a taxable brokerage account and perhaps Social Security, too. Depending on your finances, this could land you in some of the lowest tax brackets.
In 2020, married couples filing jointly are in the 12% marginal tax bracket until $80,250 of taxable income before progressing into the 22% rate on the next dollar of income. For couples with less than $80,000 in taxable income, they may pay no tax at all on long-term capital gains!
In this type of situation, it could be advantageous for taxpayers to consider accelerating the realization of income to ensure they’re able to take full advantage of a favorable tax bracket. With some planning, you could calculate how much to take from tax-deferred accounts to stay under the next marginal tax bracket increase (or whatever metric makes sense for your tax and financial situation).
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")
(REIMBURSEMENTS COMMENCED MONDAY MARCH 23rd, 2021, EITHER THRU A CHECK IN THE US MAIL OR THRU A DIRECT DEPOSIT INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.)
TO WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT THE REIMBURSEMENT,
APRIL 2021 UPDATE:
Medicare Part B Reimbursements
Medicare Differential Payments were sent out by the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) on or about Monday, March 22, 2021. These differential payments are only applicable to members on Medicare prior to 2016 who did not receive the full amount that they were entitled to.
The actual reimbursements for Medicare Part B will be sent to members in mid-April. If you have direct deposit for your pension check, it will be direct deposited. If you receive paper pension checks, you will be mailed a check.
Please refrain from contacting the NYC Office of Labor Relations until after you receive your Medicare Part B Reimbursements in mid-April.
Medicare Part B Reimbursements Incorrect Amounts
Retirees who believe they received the incorrect amount on their Reimbursement should submit the differential form along with the Social Security 1099s for the year(s) you feel you were shortchanged, using the Leapfile Website.
Leapfile Website (Select IRMAA/Differential, then upload the FORM and 1099s):
If you did NOT receive a Medicare Part B Reimbursement from the NYC Office of Labor Relations, it is probably because you have not yet submitted the Medicare Part B Reimbursement Application (along with a COPY of your Medicare Card). Alternatively, if you are not currently enrolled with the NYC Health Benefits / Medical Plan, you would not be eligible for the Part B Reimbursement.
If you have already uploaded the necessary Medicare Reimbursement Forms to OLR using the Leapfile Website, and/or if you have any follow up questions with the NYC Office of Labor Relations regarding your Medicare Part D Reimbursement, you can email email@example.com.
To all Retirees,
The following notice is to inform retirees on Medicare that your 2019 Standard Part B reimbursement from OLR (Office of Labor Relations) may not have been for the full amount you and/or spouse paid. This applies ONLY to those who were enrolled in Medicare PRIOR TO 2016. If you enrolled in Medicare in 2016 or later, the reimbursement amount
should have been accurate.
If affected, you will be required to fill out a Medicare Differential Form found in a link with this e mail. The reimbursement is scheduled for some time in the 1st quarter of 2021. Follow the instructions and return with the supporting paperwork stated in Section III of the form.
***SEE LINK FOR FORM BELOW ***
ALSO those recipients and/or spouse who are subject to IRMAA and were enrolled in Medicare prior to 2016 may not have received the full reimbursement for their standard Part B. IRMAA recipients do not need to file for the differential as long as they have submitted the IRMAA reimbursement form. When the IRMAA reimbursement is paid, (October 2020) the differential for the Standard Part B will be included. The form for IRMAA reimbursement is in the link below.
Note that if you had not filed for IRMAA reimbursement in the past but had paid IRMAA you can submit for 2018 and 2017 using the form below.
*** CONTINUE TO LINK BELOW ***
An explanation has been provided by OLR regarding this issue: As Part B premiums have increased, the amount of the increase has, at times, been more than what the social security COLA increase provided to some recipients. Had the full increase of the Part B premium been applied to all, a social security recipient could have had a net reduction in their monthly benefit.
Because of Medicare's "hold harmless” provision, the monthly increase to an individual's Part B premium could vary in order to avoid a reduction in that person's monthly Social Security benefit. This results in variable amounts being paid for Part B premiums that are specifically unique to each individual. The increase in Part B premiums could vary from $1 to $318 per person. Since, the City has no way of verifying what each person pays for their Medicare Part B premium, documentation of what an individual actually paid in Part B premiums is needed.
Medicare Part B reimbursements were issued for the calendar year 2019 for Medicare-eligible retirees and
Medicare-eligible dependents in April 2020.
Any retirees who were Medicare eligible on or after calendar year 2016 are eligible for $134.00 per month
(12 months= $1,608 per each eligible person).
They receive this amount automatically.
Any retirees who were Medicare eligible prior to the calendar year 2016 must complete the Medicare Part B differential Form (see below link) and provide SSA-1099 for the calendar year 2019. Those retirees who submit this form may receive an additional amount up to $300 under the Medicare Part B differential.
This payment will be issued in Spring 2021
IT MUST BE SENT ELECTRONICALLY FOR
US MAIL IS NOT BEING ACCEPTED AT THIS TIME.
Due to the pandemic OLR’s offices were closed on March 17, 2020. Correspondence arriving after March 11 was not processed. Please review the following if you were impacted by this. You will have to resubmit forms and documentation electronically if you filed forms by U.S. Mail for the following: 2019 Medicare Part B Differential, or 2019 Medicare IRMAA reimbursement, or Initial Enrollment for you or spouse in the Part B reimbursement plan Please visit the OLR website for instructions, step-by-step video and the needed forms to complete this task. OLR home page: healthbenefitshome (nyc.gov) Medicare Part B reimbursement information forms and links to submit via e mail. health-retiree-medb-irmaa (nyc.gov) Submitting instructions health-retiree-leapfile-instructions (nyc.gov) If you are submitting paperwork for future reimbursements such as 2020 Part B differential (Form will be available in April 2020) , IRMAA 2020, (Form not yet available) or initial Part B reimbursement enrollment, (Form is available on line) it is recommended to continue with the electronic filing unless instructed differently. Please monitor the OLR homepage for guidance.
On July 29, 2019, the President signed into law The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF Permanent Authorization Act extends the VCF’s claim filing deadline from December 18, 2020, to October 1, 2090, and appropriates such funds as may be necessary to pay all approved claims. The VCF recognizes that claimants will have many questions about) the impact of the legislation on their claims. The VCF is committed to processing claims without interruption and issuing full payments to those who received a reduced award. Additional details about the VCF Permanent Authorization Act can be found here.
Please check this website frequently for updates.
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 three types of Membership.
Life Membership- one time payment of $150.00 gives you a gold RMA Membership Card and our periodic newsletters. This is for new members.
EFFECTIVE 1/1/22 LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP DUES WILL BE $250.00
Life Membership-for existing members with a minimum total of
10 consecutive paid dues years. One time payment of $75.00 gives you a Gold RMA Membership Card and our periodic newsletters.
Annual Membership-Annual dues of $15.00 gives you 1 year of membership with associated Card, and one year of issued Newsletters.
EFFECTIVE 1/1/22 ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES WILL BE $25.00
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
Attn: Jim Hayhurst