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For Active and Retired Federal Employees

RETIREMENT LIFE

NOVEMBER 2012, Volume 88, Number 11

LEGISLATIVE REPORT 8 12

2012 NARFE Presidential Candidate Questionnaire

14 16

Federal Pay Freeze Extended

17 18 20

Lame-Duck Session’s Productivity Tied to Results of Elections

Registration Opens for 2013 NARFE Legislative Training Conference

COLUMNS 6 Message From the National President

NARFE Legislation Tracker

22 Managing Money 24 Live Well 26 Civil Service Career

Civics 101: Feedback for Accountability

53 Report From the

Training Conference Registration Form

Coach Regions

COVER STORY 36

Cover design by Jim Richards

Weighing Health Care Options. In the second part of our Open Season series, we report on premium rates and other changes in federal health insurance plans for 2013.

SPECIAL SECTION 54 2012 NARFE National Convention

NARFE Resources

DEPARTMENTS 28 53 62 66

Questions & Answers NARFE News

NARFE-PAC Coupon . . . . . . . .19 MembershipApplication . . . . . .51 DuesWithholding Application . .52 Alzheimer’s Coupon . . . . . . . . .62 NARFE Member Perks . . . . . . .64

Out & About For the Record: TSP Investments, COLA Chart ‘Like’ us on Facebook (NARFE National Headquarters)

visit us online at www.narfe.org

Follow us on Twitter (@narfehq)

NATIONAL OFFICERS

Here’s How to Contact NARFE ...

JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN, President; natpres@narfe.org PAUL H. CAREW, Vice President; natvp@narfe.org ELAINE C. HUGHES, Secretary; natsec@narfe.org RICHARD G. THISSEN, Treasurer; nattreas@narfe.org

If you want to: • Join NARFE Call (toll-free):

800-627-3394 or 800-456-8410 Or go to: www.narfe.org

If you want to: • Change your address • Check your membership status • Find out dues owed • Provide a death notification Call (toll-free):

800-456-8410 Email:

memberrecords@narfe.org If you want to: • Add your email address to your record (to receive GEMS email messages, the Legislative Hotline and NARFE NewsWatch): Call (toll-free):

800-456-8410 Email:

memberrecords@narfe.org

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS REGION I Arthur Pike (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) Tel: 207-764-4468 Email: artpike1937@aol.com REGION II Evelyn Kirby (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) Tel: 410-604-1141 Email: ekirby@atlanticbb.net REGION III Donald Stewart (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Virgin Islands) Tel: 305-442-6388 Email: dejs33149@aol.com REGION IV Paul E. Johnson (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) Tel: 812-306-5137 Email: pejohnson@tds.net REGION V Carol R. Ek (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) Tel: 620-241-1131 Email: ek617@att.net

REGION VI Jerome S. Smith (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) Tel: 903-534-5849 Email: retiredjer@aol.com REGION VII Frank Impinna (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) Tel: 303-482-1747 Email: impinna@gmail.com REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) Tel: 707-644-7565 Email: hlz17@aol.com REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) Tel: 360-692-9741 Email: lannyjean@comcast.net REGION X William F. Martin (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) Tel: 540-872-3345 Email: narfe2065@hughes.net

E-mail: memberrecords@narfeorg

If you want to:

• Hear the Legislative Hotline Call (toll-free):

877-217-8234 If you want to: • Get materials to recruit members: Call (toll-free):

800-627-3394 Email:

rr@narfe.org

For any other NARFE matter: Call NARFE Headquarters

703-838-7760 Email: hq@narfe.org Fax:703-838-7785 Write: NARFE 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria,VA 22314

NARFE MAGAZINE Volume 88,Number 11 Editor, Margaret M. Carter Assistant Editor, Donna J. St. John Editorial Administrator, Toni Vallario Graphic Designer, Beth Bedard Contributing Designers, Charlene Gridley, Jim Richards Editorial Board: Joseph A. Beaudoin, Paul H. Carew, Elaine C. Hughes, Richard G. Thissen Editorial Office: NARFE, Attn: NARFE magazine, 606 North Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914; Phone: 703-838-7760; Fax: 703-838-7781; Email: rl@narfe.org Advertising Sales: Warren Berger, Media People Inc., 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 725, New York, NY 10168; 212-779-7172, ext. 223; Email: wberger@mediapeople.com

NARFE for the Visually Impaired On the Telephone: This publication can be heard on the telephone by persons who have trouble seeing or reading the print edition. For more information, contact the National Federation of the Blind NFB-NEWSLINE® service at 866-504-7300 or go to www.nfbnewsline.org. On Tape: Issues of NARFE magazine are also available on cassette through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. To find out about availability in your area, call 800-424-8567 and ask for the Reference Section. The Association, since July 1970, has been classified by the IRS as a tax exempt labor organization [not a union]; however, dues and gifts or contributions to the Association are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.

NARFE (ISSN 1948-4453) is published monthly by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), 606 N. Washington St.,Alexandria,VA 22314. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria,VA, and additional mailing offices. Members: Annual dues includes subscription. Non-member subscription rate $45. Postmaster: Send address change to: NARFE Attn:Member Records,NARFE 606 N.Washington St.,Alexandria,VA 22314.To ensure prompt delivery,members should also forward changes of address without delay. Because of the volume involved, NARFE cannot acknowledge nor be responsible for unsolicited pictures and manuscripts, although every reasonable precaution is taken. All submissions become the property of NARFE. Copyright © 2012, NARFE. Advertisements in the magazine are not endorsements of products and/or services by NARFE, unless officially stated in the ad. We shall accept advertising on the same basis as other reputable publications: that is, we shall not knowingly permit a dishonest advertisement to appear in NARFE, but at the same time we will not undertake to guarantee the reliability of our advertisers.

4

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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A Day to Honor Feds?

A

s we approach Election Day, I hope that all of you will take advantage of your right to vote – a right that thousands of Americans fought to guarantee. The decision on which candidate or party to support is, of course, yours to make. The only suggestion that I have is that you know the issues or platform associated with the candidates. Then support candidates who will best serve our country and will best represent you. To help in reaching your decisions, the October issue of NARFE magazine included the special congressional scorecard, compiling voting records of members of Congress on issues of importance to NARFE members. The current issue of the magazine includes NARFE’s presidential questionnaire and responses from the candidates (p. 8). In November, we also observe Veterans Day – a day fittingly set aside to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice in wartime and in peacetime. It is important that we thank them for their service on November 11 and throughout the year. What we don’t have is a day to honor those who also have served their country through their civilian service in the federal government. Millions of dedicated Americans have faithfully worked for the federal government since 1789, when the employment of civilians by the federal government began. The work of federal employees touches everyone – from forecasting weather, caring for our wounded service members and veterans, conducting re-

search on diseases and finding cures, processing federal benefits, inspecting our food and delivering our mail. Government employees provide the services necessary to keep our country operating, and to keep us safe and secure. All of them, as well as federal retirees, have served our country faithfully in the performance of their duties. Yet, instead of recognizing and thanking them, some groups and politicians are attempting to discredit their service. These efforts feed into public misconceptions about federal employees being overpaid compared with private-sector workers and having overly generous retirement packages. In response, NARFE will continue to lead efforts to set the record straight on the invaluable contributions of federal employees and also to ensure that they receive the benefits they have earned. Government employees and retirees should be proud of their service to our nation. Perhaps one day they will be recognized by having a special day set aside to honor them. In addition to the presidential questionnaire in this issue, please also take a look at our annual special section on the Federal Benefits Open Season, with 2013 plan rates and a series of helpful questions and answers. And be sure to read the wrap-up of events at NARFE’s successful 32nd Biennial National Convention, held in Reno-Sparks, NV, at the end of August. We also have just published the newest edition of NARFE’s popular Questions & Answers book, containing more than 200 questions and answers on the benefits of federal employees, retirees and their survivors. See the ad on p. 33 of this issue.

NARFE WILL continue to lead the effort to set the record straight on the invaluable contributions of federal employees.

Joseph A. Beaudoin natpres@narfe.org

6

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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LEGISLATIVE REPORT

2012 NARFE Presidential Obama Responds; Questionnaire Romney Declines

N

ARFE National President Joseph A. Beaudoin sent

To Participate

candidate questionnaires to President Barack

Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney on July 11, requesting they answer identical question-

naires “to get your views on key issues affecting federal employees and

annuitants.” NARFE does not endorse presidential candidates. The sole purpose of this questionnaire is to better inform NARFE members. President Obama responded on September 19; Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a message on September 5, stating the campaign “has decided not to participate.” Following are the issues, questions and President Obama’s responses to the 2012 NARFE Presidential Candidate Survey.

PAY & RETIREMENT BENEFITS Issue: Federal employee pay has been frozen for the past two years, while the cost of living has continued to rise. In February 2012, President Obama proposed a 0.5 percent increase to federal pay scales for 2013. Later that month, the House passed a bill that would extend the pay freeze through 2013. Additionally, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, proposed extending the current pay freeze another three years. In March, the House approved this plan by passing H. Con.

8

Res. 112, which assumed $368 billion worth of savings from the federal workforce.

NARFE QUESTION: Generally, do you believe federal employees are compensated appropriately? If not, what would you do as president to alter federal employee pay? Notably, would you support extending the current freeze of federal employee pay scales? What legislative changes would you propose to alter federal employee compensation? Issue: On February 17, 2012, Congress passed H.R. 3630, which will increase the amount deducted as retirement contributions from the pay of newly hired federal employees by 2.3 percent of salary, starting in 2013. In May 2012, the House passed separate legislation that would increase the amount deducted from pay for retirement contributions by 5 percent of salary for current and future employees. The president’s budget for fiscal year

■ President Obama is the 44th

president, but the United States has only had 43 presidents. Grover Cleveland did not serve two consecutive terms and is counted as both our 22nd and 24th president. ■ Despite running unopposed in

the 1820 election, James Monroe was not elected unanimously in the electoral college. William Plumer, a delegate from New Hampshire, voted for John Quincy Adams. Folk legend arose that Plumer voted against Monroe because he wanted George Washington to be the only president elected unanimously. However, in his speech announcing his vote, Plumer never mentioned Washington and said that Monroe was incompetent.

LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE Toll-free! (24 Hours): 877-217-8234 Legislative Action Center: www.narfe.org NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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Legislative Report 2013 proposed increasing the amount deducted from pay for retirement contributions by 1.2 percent of salary for current and future federal employees.

President Obama

NARFE QUESTION: Would you support a proposal that would increase retirement contributions from federal employees without providing any enhanced benefit? Issue: In December 2011, the House of Representatives passed a bill, an earlier version of H.R. 3630, that would reduce annual retirement annuities for future employees by 41 percent by changing the formula for calculating those annuities.

NARFE QUESTION: Would you support a proposal that would lower or eliminate retirement annuities paid to federal employees, now or in the future? President Obama’s Response: Every day, millions of hard-working federal workers go to work to contribute something to their communities and their nation. We need to honor and respect their service. Faced with historic budget deficits, we need to make difficult decisions, including some we would prefer not to make, to stabilize the national debt. I have laid out a balanced plan that draws on contributions from all corners of the budget. And next year, my budget provides a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal workers and increases over three years employee contributions toward retirement plans. In contrast, Governor Romney believes that federal workers are overpaid by 30 to 40 percent including benefits, according to Government Executive magazine. He says his reforms would save nearly $50 billion a year. I believe this approach would be dangerously misguided.

COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS Issue: Currently, cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to Social Security benefits and military and federal retirement annuities are determined by the CPI-W, which measures the change in prices paid by “urban wage earners and clerical workers.” Some have proposed using a different measure, such as the CPI-E, an experimental consumer price index designed to measure price changes experienced by Americans age 62 and older, which would likely result in higher COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries and military and federal annuitants. Conversely, the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission proposed using a new method for calculating COLAs to Social Security benefits and, presumably, military and federal retirement annuities as well, switching from the current CPI-W to

10

the Chained-CPI-U. This would result in significantly lower Social Security benefits, military retirement annuities and federal Governor Romney retirement annuities over time, decreased by as much as 4 percent in 10 years, compounding to greater amounts beyond that time.

NARFE QUESTION: Would you support any changes to the manner in which cost-of-living adjustments for federal annuities are calculated? President Obama’s Response: Cost-of-living adjustments are necessary to allow seniors to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Seniors received a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment for federal benefits in 2012, and my budget projects another COLA in 2013, and it does not propose any changes in the calculation of these adjustments in future years.

HEALTH BENEFITS Issue: The Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission proposed indexing to inflation the federal government’s share of health premiums for federal employees and annuitants. Currently, federal employees and retirees pay about 30 percent of the cost of their health premiums, while the federal government pays 70 percent of the cost, similar to privatesector employers. Because health care costs significantly outpace inflation, the proposal would lead to a continually increasing percentage of health insurance premiums being paid for by federal employees and retirees, and, therefore, continually increasing heath care costs for those individuals and their families.

NARFE QUESTION: Would you support a proposal that would alter the government’s share of health insurance premiums for federal employees and retirees by shifting costs to those enrollees? Issue: In March 2012, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, introduced legislation that would eliminate Medicare by shifting seniors into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). This would undermine the affordability of health care for seniors. It would also dramatically increase the cost of FEHBP premiums for those already enrolled in the program by flooding the risk pool with individuals more likely to consume more health care.

NARFE QUESTION: Would you support a proposal that would allow individuals outside the federal community to enroll in the FEHBP? Issue: Rising health care premiums are a consistent concern for NARFE members. NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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Legislative Report NARFE QUESTION: As president, what executive acts would you take to reduce the cost of FEHBP insurance premiums? What legislative proposals would you support that could affect the cost of FEHBP premiums? President Obama’s Response: The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program delivers a range of affordable, quality choices to federal workers. Its success made it one of the models for Obamacare, which will establish similar state exchanges as part of a plan to make sure that everyone has access to affordable insurance. These exchanges will operate independently of the FEHBP. Obamacare also includes reforms that will bring down health care costs and insurance premiums for everyone, including federal employees. It promotes efforts to pay hospitals and doctors based upon the quality of their care and their success in keeping patients healthy, not for the volume of procedures they perform. Over the past three years, health care costs have grown at their lowest rates in 50 years, and insurance premium increases in 2011 were at historic lows. When Obamacare is fully implemented, experts estimate it will have lowered health insurance premiums by $2,000 per family.

JOBS Issue: There have been a number of legislative proposals

to reduce the size of the federal workforce through attrition. Notably, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan proposed reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next three years (in addition to extending the current pay freeze another three years). In March 2012, the House approved this plan by passing H. Con. Res. 112, which assumed $368 billion worth of savings from the federal workforce.

NARFE QUESTION: Do you believe reducing the size of the federal workforce through attrition will be good for America’s economic recovery, considering the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of middle-class American jobs? NARFE QUESTION: Under existing proposals to reduce the size of the federal workforce through arbitrary attrition, more than 100,000 jobs related to the Departments of Defense,Veterans Affairs and Justice would be eliminated. Are you concerned that these proposals would weaken America’s security? President Obama’s Response: My balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit requires that we all do our part to eliminate wasteful spending and streamline government. Rather than blindly cutting our federal workforce, my administration has taken great strides to cut waste, get the most from taxpayer dollars, and reform how the government works so the American people get the best service possible. ■

Lame-Duck Session’s Productivity Tied to Results of Elections

T

he House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to reconvene after the November 6 election with at least 62 representatives and 13 senators who had either announced their retirement, run for other offices or planned to leave office of their own free will. These numbers do not take into account the number of sitting members who may have lost in the November 2012 elections. After a congressional election, those members of Congress who did not win re-election are described as “lame ducks.” When Congress meets in a post-election session, which includes those lame-duck members, this session also is referred to as a lame-duck session of Congress. It is far from clear how productive this extended session will be. Much may depend on the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections. If former Governor Mitt Romney is elected to succeed President Barack Obama, and

12

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ It is unclear whether a lame-duck session of

Congress will address tough fiscal issues. ■ Much may depend on the election outcome. ■ Issues pending include whether to raise the debt

limit, extend tax cuts and payment rates for Medicare providers, and deal with sequestration. Congress remains with either a split or Republican majority, leaders may decide to put everything off until the seating of the new 113th Congress and swearing in of President Romney in January 2013. Should President Obama prevail in his re-election bid, notwithstanding the makeup of the new Congress, there is a slight chance that congressional leaders and the president may decide to forge ahead with action on tough issues alNOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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It works… ďƵƚĚŽŶ͛ƚƚĂŬĞŽƵƌǁŽƌĚĨŽƌŝƚ͘ tŚLJƉĂLJƚŚŽƵƐĂŶĚƐƚŽŵĂŬĞĞǀĞƌLJƚŚŝŶŐ ƐŽƵŶĚ ůŽƵĚĞƌ ǁŚĞŶ Ăůů LJŽƵ ƌĞĂůůLJ ŶĞĞĚ ŝƐWĞƌƐŽŶĂů^ŽƵŶĚŵƉůŝĮĐĂƟŽŶ͍tĞ͛ƌĞ ƐŽƐƵƌĞLJŽƵ͛ůůďĞĂďƐŽůƵƚĞůLJƚŚƌŝůůĞĚǁŝƚŚ ƚŚĞ ƋƵĂůŝƚLJ ĂŶĚ ĞīĞĐƟǀĞŶĞƐƐ ŽĨ LJŽƵƌ ^KhEts͕ƚŚĂƚǁĞĂƌĞŽīĞƌŝŶŐŝƚƚŽ the public at a LOW ŝŶƚƌŽĚƵĐƚŽƌLJ ƉƌŝĐĞ ǁŝƚŚŽƵƌĞdžĐůƵƐŝǀĞŝŶͲŚŽŵĞ ŽīĞƌ͘/Ĩ͕ĨŽƌ ĂŶLJƌĞĂƐŽŶ͕LJŽƵĂƌĞŶŽƚĂŵĂnjĞĚďLJŚŽǁ ƚŚŝƐ ƉƌŽĚƵĐƚ ŝŵƉƌŽǀĞƐ LJŽƵƌ ůŝĨĞ͕ ƐŝŵƉůLJ ƌĞƚƵƌŶŝƚĨŽƌĂƌĞĨƵŶĚǁŝƚŚŝŶϯϬĚĂLJƐ͘

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Legislative Report ready facing the nation. Among those issues: annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion; a $16 trillion public debt and a needed increase in the debt limit; an extension of the farm bill, along with funding for crop price supports and nutrition benefits; an extension of payment rates for providers of Medicare services; and expiration of the 2001 Bush tax cuts. Congress and the president also will have to deal with the question of what to do about the scheduled sequestration process, enacted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Under that process, more than $100 billion in across-theboard cuts in defense and annually funded domestic programs will happen automatically. Those cuts include everything from the full financing of Pentagon operations to Head Start, senior nutrition programs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Customs officers, and medical research at

Postal Reform Outlook

P

ostal reform legislation was not acted upon before Congress broke for the November elections. Many in Congress concede that if any reforms are enacted during the lame-duck session, they are not likely to include the major overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service called for by some lawmakers.

the National Institutes of Health. With the now-defunct Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the congressional supercommittee) unable to reach an agreement on $1.2 trillion in federal-deficit reduction over 10 years, sequestration goes into effect on January 2, 2013, unless Congress achieves the savings targets, or otherwise delays or defuses the sequestration process. Will a lame-duck Congress tackle the budget dilemma with a “big budget deal” during the lame-duck session? There are many in Washington who are skeptical of that ever happening. But, in a lame-duck session after the November 6 elections, the makings of a big budget deal may begin to form. Of course, Congress and the president may just decide to “kick the can” down the road by postponing the ax of sequestration, at least until the expiration of the Continuing Resolution on March 27, 2013 (see story below). All along the way, NARFE members must be vigilant in educating lawmakers, both returning and those who are new, to the merits of a system that provides fair and equitable pay, benefits, and retirement for federal employees and retirees. At these critical times in the course of the history of our nation, the need for the best and the brightest in service to our country has never been more important.

By Alan Lopatin, Legislative Counsel

Federal Pay Freeze Extended

C

ongress has extended the two-year federal employee pay freeze until March 28, 2013. The payfreeze extension was part of the six-month Continuing Resolution passed by the House and Senate, and signed by President Obama in September. The Continuing Resolution (H.J. Res. 117) will fund the operations of all federal agencies and programs through March 27, 2013, with funding levels roughly what they were in the fiscal year that ended September 30. As a result, final funding decisions for fiscal year 2013 will be left to the newly elected 113th Congress. Although President Obama had recommended a pay increase of 0.5 percent for federal workers, he informed legislators in an August 21 memo that he was extending the two-year federal employee pay freeze until Congress was able to pass successfully the fiscal year 2013 spending bills. The decision to delay a raise until spending bills are passed came as a blow to federal employees, who have been looking forward to the modest 0.5 percent pay raise that the president

14

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ An extension of the two-year federal pay freeze

until March 28, 2013, was included in the Continuing Resolution passed by Congress in September. ■ President Obama, whose budget included a 0.5 percent pay increase for feds, had told Congress in August that he was extending the freeze until Congress acts on fiscal year 2013 spending bills. proposed in his budget to Congress. In response, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said: “On behalf of the nation’s federal workers, we are disappointed that the pay freeze on federal salaries will extend beyond two years. It is not right that federal employees like a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center are punished because President Obama and Congress delayed an important decision about national spending.”

By Jessica Klement, Communications and Legislative Representative NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

ult LY r va ON ou in 27 10

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This set made history To celebrate the bicentennial of America, the U.S. Mint struck this special three-piece proof set honoring these three American presidents—and our 200th birthday. To capture the bicentennial spirit, the coins in the set are dual–dated 1776–1976. This set was so popular over 4 million were sold. Unlike the regular circulating coins of the day, these coins are struck in 40% precious silver. It’s the first commemorative U.S. Mint Proof Set ever. It’s also the first proof set to feature all dual-dated coins. And finally, it’s the first U.S. Proof Set to include a Silver Dollar.

Americans love proof coins from the U.S. Mint. Each coin is struck twice from specially prepared dies and has deeply-mirrored surfaces and superb frosty images. And you know you’ve got a real piece of American history when you hold this set—the red white and blue holder is spectacular!

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Legislative Report

Registration Opens for 2013 Legislative Training Conference

R

egistration is now open for the 2013 NARFE Legislative Training Conference, March 9-12, 2013, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, VA. Members can register online at www.narfe.org or use the registration form on the opposite page. The biennial conference will educate NARFE members on the issues facing the federal community, NARFE’s Legislative Program and the overall political process in Washington. The weekend is designed to help NARFE members become first-class advocates and return home to train fellow members to become advocates themselves.

CONFERENCE CONTENT The conference will include plenary sessions with guest speakers and break-out training sessions. On the final day of the conference, Tuesday, March 12, a rally will take place on Capitol Hill, followed by meetings with members of Congress. NARFE will provide training to prepare participants for these meetings. New in 2013, NARFE’s Legislative Department staff will help schedule meetings with members of Congress and their staff for conference participants.

SAVE THE DATE:

Call Congress Day, Nov.15

M

ark your calendar! NARFE is asking all members to call their congressional delegation (one representative, two senators) on Thursday, November 15. The post-election session of Congress will meet in the face of the “fiscal cliff” and could take up muchdelayed issues, including the postal overhaul, expiring tax provisions, Medicare reimbursements to providers and sequestration (across-the-board spending cuts). More information, including a detailed script, will be provided via email through the Legislative Hotline and the Association’s email system, GEMS. The Hotline is available on a toll-free number, 877-217-8234. The tollfree number for the Capitol switchboard is 866-2200044. To ensure you receive NARFE’s legislative emails, please sign up for the NARFE Rapid Response Team at www.narfe.org/legislation.

16

All NARFE members are welcome to attend, but chapter and federation leaders and legislative activists who have never attended before are particularly urged to participate. Federation 10 Percent Funds should be used to defray some or all of the costs of aspiring and potential leaders. One person per congressional district would be ideal.

AGENDA, ROOMS AND RATES The conference will begin with late afternoon registration and a buffet dinner (full dinner) on Saturday, March 9. Registration also will be offered early Sunday morning. The conference registration fee is $175. This fee includes materials, three full breakfasts, two full lunches, one full dinner and transportation to and from the Capitol on Tuesday. The Legislative Training Conference room rate at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel will be $169, plus 10.25 percent state and local occupancy tax, for a total of $186.32 per day for both single-room and double-room occupancy. Located in the Crystal City section of Arlington, VA, on Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1), the Renaissance has a restaurant, a coffee bar and in-room dining. Additional restaurants are located within walking distance. The Crystal City Metrorail station (Blue and Yellow lines) is a 10-minute walk away. Complimentary shuttle service also is available to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Please note: The hotel is adjacent to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. It is 30 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport and 36 miles from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.

REGISTRATION AND DEADLINES The deadline for registration and for hotel room reservations is February 5, 2013. NARFE members who plan to attend the conference should: • Register for the conference with NARFE by filling out and mailing in the registration form on the opposite page, or register online at www.narfe.org; and • Make a room reservation by contacting the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel by calling 800-228-9290 or 703-413-1300. NARFE members should be sure to specify that their room is part of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association’s Legislative Training Conference at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View. ■ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

2013 Legislative Training Conference March 9-12, 2013 Registration must be returned by February 5, 2013

REGISTRATION FORM Please write legibly

Name:

J Mr.

J Mrs.

J Miss

_______________________________

J Ms.

Membership #_____________________________

________________________

Last

___________________________

First

Middle

Name as you would like it on badge: __________________________________________________________ Federation or chapter officer title for your badge (choose only one title — Examples: President, Ohio Federation; or NARFE-PAC Chair, Chapter 192/Raleigh, NC): ___________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ Home address: ____________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________ Cell phone: _________________________________ Phone number:_______________________________ Email address: ______________________________ Notify in case of emergency: ________________________________________________________________ Name

Phone number

Address: _________________________________________________________________________________

$175 registration fee is not refundable. Please complete registration form and return with check made payable to NARFE, or charge to your credit card. Mail to: NARFE Conference, Budget & Finance 606 North Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

J Charge to my credit card $____________ J MasterCard

J Visa

J Discover

J AMEX

Card # ____________________________________________ Exp. Date ________ / _______ (mm)

(yy)

Name on card (print) ________________________________ Signature ________________________ Date ____________

For Internal Planning Purposes Only:

For Internal Planning of March 12 on Capitol Hill:

Are you planning on attending the Saturday night dinner? J Yes J No

Would you like NARFE to schedule a meeting with your member of the House of Representatives or his/her staff? J Yes J No (NARFE will work with federation presidents to schedule meetings with senators.)

Are you planning on attending the breakfasts on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday? J Yes J No Conference meals and events are for registered attendees. Registered attendees may bring guests to NARFE-provided meals for a separate $175 fee. Will you have a guest? J Yes J No

Do you plan to ride the NARFE-provided bus to Capitol Hill on March 12? J Yes J No

Name of guest(s) _______________________________

Do you plan to return to the hotel from Capitol Hill on the bus later that afternoon? J Yes J No

Is this your first NARFE Legislative Training Conference? J Yes J No

What time do you plan to leave Capitol Hill? _________

Are you an J active or a J retired federal employee?

The NARFE LEGISLATION TRACKER is your monthly guide to the legislation that NARFE is keeping an eye on. Check back each issue for updates.

NARFE LegislationTracker ISSUE

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

What Bill Would Do

H.R. 3813: Securing Annuities for Requires federal employees to pay RETIREMENT 1.5% more toward their retirement, CONTRIBUTIONS/ Federal Employees Act / Rep. requires new federal employees to Dennis A. Ross, R-FL CALCULATION contribute 4% to their retirement, bases retirement calculations on the highest five years of service instead of the current high three, and eliminates the FERS Annuity Supplement

FEDERAL PAY FREEZE

PHASED RETIREMENT

Approved by Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 2/7/2012 (Likely to be considered by full House)

H.Con Res. 112: Establishing the Requires federal employees to pay 5% more toward their retirement Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2013 / Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI

Passed by House 3/23/2012 Failed in Senate 5/16/2012

H.R. 5652: Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act / Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI

Requires federal employees to pay 5% more toward their retirement

Passed by House 5/10/2012

H.R. 3835: To Extend the Pay Limitation for Members of Congress and Federal Employees / Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-WI

Extends the federal pay freeze for one more year (until Dec. 31, 2013)

Passed by House 2/1/2012 (Likely to be part of deficitreduction talks)

H.J. Res. 117: Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013

Extends the federal pay freeze until March 28, 2013

Signed into law 9/28/12*

H.R. 4363: Federal Employee Phased Retirement Act / Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA

Allows federal employees to phase into retirement by working part time and collecting an annuity

S. 1813: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century / Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA

Allows federal employees to phase into retirement by working part time and collecting an annuity

Passed as part of highway bill and student loan interest rate extension compromise Signed into law (P.L. 112-141) 7/6/2012

CHANGES TO THE S. 1789: 21st Century Postal Service Act / Sen. Joseph I. FEDERAL Lieberman, I-CT EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION ACT (FECA) H.R. 2465 : Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act / Rep. John Kline, R-MN

18

Latest Congressional Action/s

Passed by Senate 4/25/2012 Reduces benefits by 25% at retirement age for federal workers disabled by a work-related injury or illness; eliminates 8.33% augmented compensation for dependents Streamlines claims process, ensures injured workers receive adequate compensation, improves program efficiency and modernizes benefits

Passed by House 11/29/2011 * Bold indicates new status from last issue

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

NARFE LegislationTracker ISSUE

What Bill Would Do

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

Latest Congressional Action/s

WORKFORCE REDUCTIONS

Various bills (H.R. 235, H.R. 408/S. 178, H.R. 657, S. 1476, H.R. 2114, H.R. 3029/ S. 1611, H.R. 3662/S. 2065)

Decreases the size of the federal workforce by various percentages (usually 5-15%)

Referred to various committees (Likely to be part of deficitreduction talks)

REPEAL OF GPO AND WEP

H.R. 1332: Social Security Fairness Act / Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-CA

Repeals the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Referred to Subcommittee on Social Security 4/7/2011

S. 2010: Social Security Fairness Act / Sen. John Kerry, D-MA

POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

POSTAL REFORM

H.R. 4152 Hatch Act Modernization Act / Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-MD

Referred to Committee on Finance 12/16/2011 (Unlikely to be considered) Referred to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 3/7/2012

S. 2170 Hatch Act Modernization Act / Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-HI

Eliminates the prohibition against state and local employees seeking partisan elective federal office and revises penalties for Hatch Act violations to allow penalties other than termination of employment

H.R. 2309 Postal Reform Act of 2011 / Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA

Imposes receivership; cuts small post offices, delivery days and service

Passed by Oversight and Govt. Reform Com. 1/17/12

S. 1789 21st Century Postal Service Act/ Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-CT

Reduces funding requirements, allows Passed by Senate 4/25/12 business practice changes, cuts (Likely to be considered before workers’ comp for federal employees the end of the year)

NARFE-PAC Contribution Form I would like to make a monthly credit card contribution to NARFE-PAC of:

 $10/month  $25/month

Monthly contributions qualify you to receive a NARFE-PAC Sustainer lapel pin and the red, white and blue NARFE umbrella.

 Other: ________/month (minimum of $10) -orI would like to make a one-time contribution of:  $100 (qualifies for Gold 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin and NARFE umbrella)  $50 (qualifies for Silver 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin)  $20 (qualifies for Basic 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin, pictured here)  Other: ________

 I do not want to receive any gifts for my contribution marked above. Only members of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association may contribute to NARFE-PAC. NARFE will neither favor nor disadvantage anyone based on the amount of a contribution, or the failure to make a voluntary contribution to this nonpartisan political action fund. NARFE-PAC contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

Approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee 6/27/2012

Payment Information Name: _____________________________________________ Member ID# (if available): ___________________________ Address: ___________________________________________ __________________________________________________

 Check or money order enclosed -or-

 Credit Card (below; required for monthly contribution)

Card Type:  MasterCard  Visa  Discover  AMEX Card #: ____________________________________________ Expiration Date: ____ / ____ Name on Card: _____________________________________ Signature:__________________________________________ Date: __________________ Please send check, money order or credit card information to: Attn: Budget & Finance / NARFE / 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

19

Legislative Report CIVICS 101:

THE INFORMED CITIZEN

Feedback for Accountability

N

ARFE’s current legislative competition, “Advocacy in Action,” is generating grass-roots action in House and Senate races all across the country. However, if federation, chapter and individual outreach to candidates goes unreported, we will never know of your good work or be able to hold candidates accountable for campaign promises! To avoid unnoticed and, therefore, unheralded contact with congressional candidates, be sure to report any outreach to incumbents, their challengers, and open-seat candidates to chapter and federation officers. These leaders will ensure your highvalue advocacy is counted.

MAXIMUM VALUE Email has made it incredibly easy and free to send information and opinions to elected officials. Members of Congress are now receiving thousands of pieces per day. NARFE members, for instance, have generated some 528,000 advocacy messages using our Legislative Action Center since January 1, 2011. Representatives and senators pay attention to advocacy efforts based on a hierarchy of effort. Our “Advocacy in Action” competition recognizes that fact, and awards points based on it. Therefore, we are awarding the most points to advocacy at the other extreme from email, face-to-face interaction. (See the September 2012 issue of NARFE magazine for more information on how points are awarded.) In the remaining days before Election Day, November 6, meet your candidates in the flesh. Attend any public event. Volunteer in the final push for the candidate of your choice. Distinguish NARFE by meeting candidates face-to-face (wear NARFE logo attire, if possible), and be sure NARFE leaders know about your action.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Members’ feedback is a vital part of NARFE’s ■ ■ ■ ■

“Advocacy in Action” competition. Face-to-face meetings trump all other advocacy. Virginia and Kentucky report success stories. Debate Commission offers template. Legislative Action Center module collects feedback.

FORUMS IN KENTUCKY’S 4TH DISTRICT Northern Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District is an open seat, due to the retirement of Rep. Geoff Davis, R. Paul Johnson, past national legislative chair, arranged for the candidates of both major parties to speak to a multichapter meeting. A joint appearance by both candidates to minimize member travel was proposed. However, the candidates appeared separately – Democrat Bill Adkins on August 14 and Republican Tom Massie on September 6. Each candidate was provided with the NARFE congressional questionnaire. The lunch meetings were well attended by members from four chapters. While only one candidate completed the questionnaire, both NARFE members and the candidates are better informed because of these meetings.

ORGANIZING CANDIDATE FORUMS Candidate debates, like forums, are an effective way to inform and involve citizens in the political process. When conducted well, debates or forums bring the sponsors just the kind of publicity NARFE needs. “A Guide to Hosting Your Own Debates,” produced by the Commission on Presidential Debates (www.debates.org or 202-872-1020), states that there’s no single right way to proceed, but the commission checklist includes 19 key items.

VIRGINIA SUCCESS STORY NARFE’s Virginia Federation of Chapters (VFC) Area I Vice President Pat Taylor is organizing multichapter candidate debates in the Tidewater area. Taylor is partnering with local media and an area university to provide publicity and a venue, respectively. At our deadline, the VFC, in conjunction with the Daily Press in Newport News and Christopher Newport University, had scheduled an October 9 debate for candidates in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District: Rep. Rob Wittman, R, and the challenger, Adam Cook, D.

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YOUR FEEDBACK IS VITAL If you participated in any “Meet Your Candidates Month” outreach to House or Senate candidates, be sure to report it to chapter and federation officers, and to the Legislative Department. NARFE’s Legislative Action Center has a module for this reporting at www.capwiz.com/narfe/lrm/feedback.tt. To send a report as an email, use leg@narfe.org. If phoning is best, call 703-838-7760, ext. 201.

By Christopher Farrell, Legislative Representative NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

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Managing Money

The Biweekly Mortgage Rip-Off By Mark A. Keen, CFP®

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y wife and I recently purchased a new home for our growing family. Shortly after we closed on our loan, we began receiving solicitations for a variety of services and products – some beneficial and some not so much. Several of these offers were for what, in my opinion, is one of the biggest rip-offs going – the biweekly mortgage payment plan. If you’ve recently refinanced or bought a home yourself, you’ve undoubtedly received these biweekly plan offers as well. While I simply usher the offers into the shredder without much consideration, I have received several calls from clients asking what they’re all about. And because so many people are taking advantage of the record low mortgage rates and refinancing, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article and explain why the biweekly payment plan is a waste of money. Although the companies offering the biweekly plan change, the pitch remains the same: “Sign up for our biweekly payment plan, and you’ll build equity faster, save thousands of dollars in interest expense and pay off your loan quicker.” I’m not making this up. A real and actual offer received by one of my clients explicitly stated that he would effectively reduce his current mortgage interest rate from 3.875 percent to 3.36 percent, save approximately $22,556.18 of his mortgage interest obligation and pay off his home approximately 3.9 years early. And he could receive all of these benefits for simply agreeing to allow this company to deduct one-half his regular monthly principal and interest payment from his

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bank account every two weeks. Oh, and by paying an up-front fee of $295, plus an additional $1.50 every time the company debits his bank account. While most of the benefits proclaimed in this biweekly payment plan offer can be true, it’s not the biweekly payment plan itself that makes them so. For example, your credit score won’t increase just because some company is

principal and interest payment is $1,025.39, so the biweekly payment would be $512.70. Under the terms of his traditional mortgage, he would make 12 monthly payments of $1,025.39, for a total of $12,304.68 each year. With the biweekly payment plan, he would make 26 $512.70 payments, for a total of $13,330.20 each year. Now here’s the kicker: Biweekly

THERE’S NO reason to pay for a biweekly mortgage payment service because you can get the same benefits by making an extra principal and interest payment each year. debiting your bank account every two weeks. Your credit score may increase, but it is because you’re paying your mortgage on time each and every month. What a brilliant concept. Similarly, while you can reduce your interest cost and life of the mortgage, it’s not biweekly bank account deductions working the magic. Rather, it’s the fact that you’re making additional payments on your mortgage – specifically, one extra principal and interest payment each year. Let me explain. A biweekly payment plan simply divides your normal monthly principal and interest payment by two and then requires that payment be made once every two weeks. Because there are 52 weeks in a year, you will be making 26 payments of one-half your normal monthly payment. For example, my client’s normal

payment plans do not alter the terms of your existing mortgage or its monthly accrual schedule. In other words, your biweekly payments aren’t actually getting credited to your mortgage biweekly. Huh? No. Instead, the company servicing the biweekly payment plan makes one payment each month to your mortgage company “when due” (exact language in my client’s offer). In fact, his offer states that half of the monthly payment amount (referring to his normal monthly payment) will be applied to the principal balance twice per year. In other words, the extra money is collected and held with the biweekly payment company until it equals one-half of a normal payment before it gets credited to his mortgage. So, my client would, in effect, be paying the company $1,309 ($295 upfront, plus 26 NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

years of $1.50 biweekly transaction charges) for the privilege of providing them with short-term loans. There’s no reason to pay someone for this service because anyone with a mortgage can get the same benefits by simply applying the equivalent of one extra principal and interest payment to his or her principal loan balance each year. For example, if my client simply added an extra $85 (his monthly payment of $1,025.39 divided by 12) to his payment each month, he would cut his mortgage by the same 3.9 years and save $22,824.04 in interest expense. You may have noticed that this is approximately $268 more in interest savings than the biweekly payment plan would have provided. This is because the extra payment is being applied to the principal each month

rather than only twice per year. Furthermore, many banks now permit you to schedule biweekly mortgage payments free of charge on their websites. And other banks offer free biweekly mortgage payments to customers who pay from a bank account held with that bank. The bottom line: It almost never makes sense to pay a company for processing biweekly mortgage payments.

Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is president and owner of Bennett Financial Advisors, 3600 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax,VA, and an investment adviser representative and registered principal of The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Securities and advisory services are offered through SFA. Email: mkeen@tributaryadvisors.com.

‘Like’ Us On

FACEBOOK! Do you want to receive the latest legislative updates and other breaking news from NARFE Headquarters? Go to the “NARFE National Headquarters” page on Facebook and click “Like” to begin receiving the latest posts on your news feed. NARFE Headquarters’ Facebook page does not accept Friend requests.We just need you to Like us! You can also link to our Facebook page from the NARFE website. On the left side of the Main Home Page, click “ Find Us on Facebook.”

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LiveWell

Can Probiotics HelpYou? By Marilyn S. Radke, M.D.

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he term probiotics literally means “for life.” Probiotics are bacteria or yeast considered to be beneficial to your health. Probiotics were introduced by Élie Metchnikoff, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1908. In The Prolongation of Life: Optimistic Studies, Metchnikoff proposed that eating microorganisms could benefit the health of certain individuals. Bacteria are microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye and exist almost everywhere, including in the human body. Although many bacteria are harmful “germs,” some help the body to function properly. The lower digestive tract of a healthy person contains many different types of bacteria. Most probiotics are bacteria similar to the beneficial bacteria found naturally in a healthy human intestine. Sometimes called “good bacteria,” probiotics are available to consumers in edible products, such as dietary supplements and yogurts, and in other products, such as suppositories and creams. In the United States, probiotics are available as dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets and powders, and in dairy foods, including yogurts with live active cultures. Probiotics may reduce the number of harmful microorganisms in the intestine, produce substances that de-

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stroy or suppress the growth of microorganisms (anti-microbial compounds), and stimulate the body’s immune response. Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus are two broad groups of probiotics commonly used in the United States. There are many specific types of bacteria in each of these two groups, and health benefits associated with one type may not hold true for others. Effects of probiotics also may vary from person to person. Additional microorganisms used as probiotics in research studies to reduce the risk of, prevent or treat disease include streptococcus; enterococcus and bacillus (groups of bacteria); and Saccharomyces, a group of yeasts. Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus have been studied for their potential use in preventing and managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic disorder that interferes with the normal function of the colon. Probiotics have been associated with a decrease in abdominal pain, bloating and gas in some patients with IBS. There is some evidence that probiotics may help to prevent upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold. Probiotic products are used for the following health problems: • Infectious diarrhea; • Diarrhea associated with using an-

tibiotics; • Irritable bowel syndrome; • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease); • Gingivitis (gum inflammation); • Periodontitis (gum infection); and • Prevention of tooth decay. Strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotics for most health conditions is lacking, and the safety and usefulness of probiotics for specific conditions has not been proved. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any health claims for probiotics. Depending on its intended use, the FDA may regulate a probiotic product as a dietary supplement, food ingredient or drug. Dietary supplement labels may claim that a product affects structure or function of the body, but they cannot claim that the product reduces the risk of disease

ALTHOUGH MANY bacteria are harmful “germs,” some help the body to function properly.

To Learn More

F

or more information, write to the National Center for Complementary andAlternative Medicine Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 7923, Gaithersburg,MD 20898;or call 888644-6226 (TTY: 866-464-3615); or visit the website at www.nccam. nih.gov.

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Technology Breakthrough

Marilyn S. Radke, M.D., is board certified in preventive medicine and practices in Atlanta, GA. NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

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without prior FDA approval. Drug products must be proved safe and effective for their intended use through testing in people before they receive FDA approval. Apparently, most people can use probiotics without suffering negative side effects or with only mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas. However, information is lacking about the safety of probiotics, their long-term use and their use in critically ill patients. The risk of adverse effects, such as serious infections, may be greater in people who have underlying health conditions. The quality of probiotic products also varies. Some products may contain smaller numbers of live microorganisms than expected, and some products may contain bacterial strains other than those listed as ingredients. Like any form of complementary medicine, probiotics should not be used in place of conventional medical care or to delay seeking care if you have symptoms. Persons who have a serious underlying health condition should be closely monitored for potential negative side effects while taking probiotics. Ask your doctor before using a probiotic dietary supplement to treat symptoms of a health condition. Probiotics differ from prebiotics, which are nondigestible substances that stimulate the growth and activity of potentially beneficial microorganisms. Synbiotics are products that combine probiotics and prebiotics. If you are thinking about using a probiotic product, seek out reliable sources of information and learn as much as you can by talking to your doctor.

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Civil Service Career Coach

Keeping Up With Technology By Dale S. Brown

D

o you struggle to get the computer to do what you want it to do? Do you want to work faster by improving your ability to use technology? Are you worried because your office is rolling out new software and you’re afraid that you might have difficulty mastering it? You probably are a “digital immigrant,” someone who was not raised with computers, unlike younger people. It’s like learning another language. You may have to think about each step consciously and give yourself extra time to learn. So what is the best way to improve your skills and master new tools? To find out, the Civil Service Career Coach asked Karol Taylor, founder and owner of Taylor Your Career, a federal career management service; and Mark Gorkin, The Stress Doc ™. Taylor emphasizes the importance of learning to use technology. “If you don’t learn it, you won’t be given work,” she explains. And technical skills will help you if you want to volunteer or get a new job after retirement.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AGENCY RESOURCES Most federal agencies provide technology training, especially when new systems are rolled out. Look for these classes on your agency Intranet. “If classroom training is offered, take it,” urges Taylor. “Be attentive. Don’t try to be in two places at once. Don’t leave for work during the break; your work will wait. When you get back (to your job), start using the skills that

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you learned. Use the book that they gave you. Look up the terms that you learned and follow the directions.” Online classes also are offered by most agencies and can be found on your Intranet. You can take them right at your desk either during the

him and walk him through key operations. Taylor also found a tech-savvy co-worker who played a similar role. Maybe you can find someone who can be available to assist while you are in the process of learning something new. Your co-workers, especially “digital

THE STRUGGLE to learn new technology is worthwhile. You will work more efficiently,and have skills that can enrich your job experience and your future. working day, during breaks and sometimes at home. If you have trouble on the job, Taylor recommends calling the help desk. Classes also are available in the community. Try public libraries, adult education centers, community colleges, nonprofit organizations and retail stores that sell computers. Other resources recommended by Taylor include: • One-Stop Career Centers often have free classes in technology. Go to www.servicelocator.org. • Goodwill Community Foundation offers online workshops. Go to www.gcflearnfree.org. • Microsoft offers online videos. Go to www.microsoft.com.

ASK OTHERS FOR HELP Mark Gorkin, who is a well-known trainer for the federal workforce, found a way to learn technology. He hired a computer consultant to sit with

natives” (young people who have grown up in the digital universe), are often overlooked as a source of help. Taylor advises employees to develop working relationships across the generations. You could volunteer for special projects that require you to work with them. “Young people are willing to share their technical skills with older people who are willing to learn,” Taylor explains. She suggests reaching out and asking questions, even if it feels humbling. First, attempt to solve the problem on your own. Then say something, such as; “I’ve tried xx and I’ve tried xx. I can’t figure out how to make this work. Do you have any ideas? Can you think of something I haven’t done and may have overlooked?” Then follow his or her suggestions. “It’s a role reversal,” she explains. “You expect to be a wise sage. But with technology, the younger worker is often more knowledgeable.” NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Co N nt o ra ct Dale S. Brown, nationally recognized for her contributions during her 25 years in the civil service, is the author of five books, including one co-authored with Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? Email: civilservice coach@yahoo.com.

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The rate plans are simple too. Why pay for minutes you’ll never use? There are a variety of affordable plans. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding yourself stuck with no minutes– that’s the problem with prepaid phones. Since there is no contract to sign, you are not locked in for years at a time and Basic 19 Basic 14 100 DoubleTime Monthly Minutes 50 won’t be subject to early 200 $19.99 Monthly Rate $14.99 termination fees. The 24/7 Operator Assistance 24/7 U.S.–based customer FREE 911 Access FREE service is knowledgeable No add’l charge Long Distance Calls No add’l charge and helpful and the Available in Silver FREE Voice Dial FREE (shown) and Red. phone gets service YES Nationwide Coverage YES 30 days Friendly Return Policy 30 days virtually anywhere Introducing More minute plans available. in the continental Ask your Jitterbug expert for details DoubleTime! U.S. Above all, you’ll get one-touch access to a friendly, and helpful GreatCall operator. Double your They can look up numbers, and even dial them for you! They are monthly minutes always there to help you when you need them. for life 1

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Young people who know technology may have gained experience with digital immigrants through helping their parents. Gorkin refers to these young people as “Gentors™”, younger employees who help members of a more senior generation improve their technoliteracy and comfort level. Whether you decide to ask people for help, get formal training or tough it out on your own, the struggle to learn technology is worthwhile. You will work more efficiently, and have skills that can enrich your job experience and your future.

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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: DoubleTime offer valid on Basic 19 Plan and applies to new GreatCall customers only. Offer ends 1/1/13. Offer valid until plan is changed or cancelled. All GreatCall phones require a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service are not available everywhere. You will not be able to make 9-1-1 calls when cellular service is not available. Rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. No roaming or long distance charges for domestic calls within the U.S. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’s 24-hour U.S. Based Customer Service. However, for calls to an Operator in which a service is completed, minutes will be deducted from your monthly balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator, plus an additional 5 minutes. 1 We will refund the full price of the GreatCall phone if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will apply for each minute over 30 minutes. The activation fee and shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug and GreatCall are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2012 Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. Copyright ©2012 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright ©2011 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Questions & Answers NOTE: The following Questions & Answers were compiled by Federal Benefits Service Department staff. These are real questions received by the Department, based on the members’ personal circumstances. The answers are not universal and may include information that is relevant to the correspondent’s particular situation. NARFE does not provide legal advice or assistance, does not provide financial planning advice or assistance, and does not provide tax advice or assistance. For legal, financial planning or tax advice/assistance, NARFE recommends that members contact an attorney, financial planner or certified public accountant/tax adviser.

RETIREES DEDUCTING PREMIUMS QUESTION: I am a retired federal employee and have my health insurance benefits from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.My part of the premiums comes out of my annuity. My concern is what happens if my premiums go up in 2013, and there isn’t enough of the annuity to pay for them. I will be glad to pay for this out of my personal checking account, if need be. Please advise as to what has to be done so I do not let this lapse and have no health insurance. Response: If your health benefits premiums for 2013 rise to a point where your annuity is no longer sufficient to cover the premium deduction, a situation called “negative net,” you should first look at 2013 health plan options for one that has premiums low enough for them to be deducted from your annuity.

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In the meantime, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will have identified your record as “negative net,” and will contact you by mail and give you options. One of these options is to pay your premium directly to OPM. This is called “direct premium remittance.” If you elect this option, your health benefits enrollment will be sent to the National Finance Center in New Orleans, LA, which will send to you either a coupon book or an authorization form to have your premiums directly debited from your bank account each month. If you do nothing, and never respond to OPM’s letter, OPM will automatically enroll you in a less expensive option of your current plan that your annuity will cover, if there is one. If there is no less expensive option, and you do not select another plan and do not respond to OPM, your health benefits will be terminated. As a retiree, if your health benefits are terminated, you will not be able to enroll in the federal program again.

OPM offsets your annuity, OPM will not offset it again when you start receiving your survivor benefit from your spouse. You will receive the full benefit that your spouse elected.

TAX-FREE CONTRIBUTIONS QUESTION:I read a question and answer in NARFE NewsWatch about the exclusion of contributions to the Civil Service Retirement Fund.I retired in 1996, and my 1099-R does not show the tax-free amount and never has. I have checked with fellow retirees who retired after me,and the amount appears on their 1099-Rs.Did the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) start this after June 1996? If so,when? Response: We don’t know when OPM started recording this information on the 1099-R. Note that OPM does not show the tax amount on everyone’s 1099-R. For instance, survivors, people who retired on disability retirement and those with court orders apportioning their annuities don’t have the taxable amount shown on their 1099-R forms. You will have to check with OPM about your specific situation. Contact OPM at 888767-6738. OPM’s hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET. The best time to reach OPM is between 6:30-7:30 p.m. or at 7:30 a.m. OPM’s mailing address is Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017.

QA &

TWO BENEFITS

QUESTION: My husband and I are retired federal employees. He is under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), and I am under the CSRS Offset. My husband elected a full survivor benefit for me when he retired. Should he predecease me, is there any prohibition on my collecting a survivor benefit because I am receiving my own CSRS retirement benefit? Response: You will receive your full CSRS Offset benefit as well as your full CSRS survivor benefit. You may already know that your CSRS Offset annuity from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be offset to account for your CSRS Offset years of service. Once

MEDICARE PART B QUESTION: I retired on disability under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). After a few years, I was awarded disability by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). If I marry,could I elect a surNOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Š2012 Media Services S-9388 OF25623R-1

We live in an area which is known for very cold winters. Our facility is nearly 7000 square feet in area. When we began to utilize the first unit we were amazed to see how even the heat was for the entire living room area. We ordered a second and a third unit which now warms the entire home. Much to our surprise we are saving over $250 a month and had the lowest expense for heating we have ever experienced here. I would heartily recommend your products to anybody who is interested in really nice, even heat in their home and also interested in saving on their utility expenses. Dennis Crystal, Troy, MT (Retired Airline Pilot)

Enclosed you will find printouts of our electric bill and gas/heating/cooking bills for 2007 - 2008. Our gas company, AmeriGas, stated that more money was saved than would show up because of the cost going up. We would turn the gas on early in the morning and turn it down to 60 degrees; We would use the EdenPURE ÂŽ heaters from then on and they provided such warmth and cozy heat. Many of our friends have informed me recently that they are going to purchase these heaters for their homes this winter. Gloria D. Smith, Boydton, VA (Retired Elementary Principal)

EdenPURE ranked #1 ÂŽ

Save $192 - biggest savings ever Richard Karn, North Canton, Ohio  8;<D D5F :6996<;@ <3 :2? 60.;@ .?2 @.C6;4 <; A526? 52.A6;4 /699@ D6A5 A52 12;$(%I $<?A. /92 ;3?.?21 2.A2?@

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Never be cold again

How it works:

CUTAWAY VIEW

Heats floor to the same temperature as ceiling.

3. The soft heat â&#x20AC;&#x153;ridesâ&#x20AC;? the humidity in the room and provides even, moist, soft heat ceiling to floor and wall to wall without reducing oxygen and humidity.

1. Electricity ignites powerful SYLVANIA infrared lamp. 2. The quartz infrared lamp gently warms the patented copper heating chambers.

SYLVANIA is a registered trademark of OSRAM SYLVANIA Inc. used under license. Richard Karn is a paid spokesperson for EdenPUREÂŽ.

As Al Borland on Home Improvement I was the man with all the answers. However, as Richard Karn I still look for money saving and efficient heating in my home. I have an EdenPUREÂŽ Infrared Portable Heater in my California home and like millions of others found it to be a super-safe, reliable source of portable heat all year long. New, More Efficient Models '52 2;46;22?@ .A 12;$(%I 96@A2;21 A< A526? :6996<;@ <3 0B@ A<:2?@ .;1 @<:25<D :.;.421 A< 6:=?<C2 A52  =<?A./92 52.A2? 6; "<?A5 :2?60. '5?<B45 <91 3.@56<;21 :2?60.; 6;42;B6AF A52 ;2D 12;$(% I 96;2 6@ :<?2 2336062;A A< @.C2 F<B 2C2; :<?2 :<;2F

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All of the testimonials are by actual EdenPUREÂŽ customers who volunteered their stories, and were given another EdenPUREÂŽ heater as thanks for their participation. Average homeowners save 10% to 25%.

RICHARD KARNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SAVINGS COUPON

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Questions & Answers NARFE SERVICE OFFICERS are available to answer questions and to assist in helping with a variety of benefit matters. Check your chapter newsletter for the name and phone number of your service officer. Call NARFE toll-free at

800-456-8410 for the nearest service officer. NARFE Service Centers are also available in some areas. Use the Service Center listings on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. vivor benefit for my spouse on my CSRS retirement, even though it is suspended due to my current election to receive OWCP benefits, which would allow her to continue to be eligible for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage? Response: We don’t know of any prohibition to electing survivor benefits for a spouse acquired after retirement when your annuity has been suspended while you receive OWCP benefits. Certainly, if you were married at the time of your retirement and elected not to provide survivor benefits, then you would not be allowed to elect them later. The following information on marriage after retirement is posted on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website: Providing a Survivor Benefit If You Get Married After Retirement: If you get married after retirement, you can elect a reduced annuity to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse. You must make this election within two years of the date of your marriage. Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS): You can elect any portion of your annuity as the base for the survivor benefit payable in the event of your death. The survivor benefit will be 55 percent of the base elected. Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS): You can elect either: • A full survivor benefit (50 percent of your unreduced annual basic benefit); or • A partial survivor benefit (25 percent of your unreduced annual basic benefit). If you remarry the same person to

30

whom you were married at retirement, you cannot elect a survivor annuity greater than the one you elected at retirement. There will be two reductions in your annuity if you elect to provide the survivor benefit: One: The regular reduction to provide the survivor benefit, which depends on the amount you elect for the survivor annuity. This reduction is computed as follows: Under FERS: • 10 percent of your basic annuity for full survivor benefit. • 5 percent of your basic annuity for partial survivor benefit. Under CSRS: • 2.5 percent of the first $3,600 of your basic annuity, and 10 percent of the remainder of your basic annuity, up to the amount you have chosen as the base for the survivor benefit. Two: A permanent actuarial reduction equal to the difference between the new annuity rate with the survivor benefit and the old one without the survivor benefit since your retirement, plus 6 percent interest. The actuarial reduction continues even if the marriage ends. To provide a survivor benefit for a spouse married after retirement, write to OPM at Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 160170045, and include a copy of your marriage certificate showing the date of the marriage and the name of your spouse. OPM will send you information about the cost of the benefit and NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

ask you to confirm your election.

ACTIVE EMPLOYEES CSRS OFFSET QUESTION: My human resources counselor told me that I was under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset but couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t explain exactly what that means.Can you help? Response: The CSRS Offset is a provision of the retirement law affecting those first hired under the CSRS in federal positions on or after January 1, 1984, or those who were rehired by the federal government after January 1, 1984, and who had been separated from federal service for more than a year before they were rehired. If you are a CSRS Offset employee, you paid into both the CSRS and Social Security during your offset period of federal employment. When you retire, your annuity will be calculated as a CSRS retiree; but when you become eligible for Social Security at age 62, your annuity will be reduced. The reduction will be the lesser of 1) your full Social Security benefit minus the Social Security benefit earned during your offset years; or 2) your total years of service under the CSRS Offset divided by 40, and the result multiplied by your total Social Security benefit.

MEDICARE PART B QUESTION: I plan to retire in December from the Internal Revenue Service at age 65. While I have read a lot about Medicare,I am still uncertain about signing up for Medicare Part B. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) (Basic), and it seems to me that it would be redundant to sign up for Part B. Are there expenses that I would incur by not signing up for Part B? Response: NARFE views the decision as one involving an individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

31

Questions & Answers

Give AFVW ASpin An active community for those 60 or better. Southern California’s HUB for places to go and things to do – all less than 2 hours from AFVW. PLUS… • Beautiful year-round weather • Freedom from housework,home maintenance, and property taxes • Camaraderie of friends

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1-800-729-2999 www.afvw.com AIR FORCE VILLAGE WEST, INC. 17050 ARNOLD DR. RIVERSIDE, CA 92518 A tax exempt, not-for-profit, public benefit corporation CA RCFE License #330907913 • License #25-0000-347 • Certificate No. 165

32

health and general finances. If an individual’s health is generally good, and he or she uses his or her current health insurance for routine visits and tests, there may be no reason to spend another $1,200 a year on duplicate health insurance coverage when the individual first becomes eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B. If the individual later needs the additional coverage, then that individual could enroll during the annual enrollment period. Specific to your question, there are some savings for those retirees enrolled in one of the fee-for-service plans, such as BC/BS, because co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles are waived for Part B enrollees. But if the retiree doesn’t use his or her plan much anyway, the retiree may not gain much financially. Those retirees in a health maintenance organization (HMO) usually have low co-pays, so they won’t see much advantage in that area. But on the other hand, retirees enrolled in an HMO could find Part B advantageous if they need to go outside the plan’s providers for a specialist or if they travel a lot. Note: There is a late enrollment penalty. If you wait until after the initial enrollment period to sign up for Medicare Part B, the standard monthly premium is increased by 10 percent for every 12 months that you were eligible for enrollment but were not enrolled.

MEDICARE PARTS A & B QUESTION: My wife and I will soon be age 65. We are both still working for the federal government and are under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). We have health insurance coverage under Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS).I spoke with our benefits staff who recommend that we sign up for Medicare Part A, but indicate that we are still working so that will designate BC/BS as our primary insurer. The staff also suggested that we

not sign up for Medicare Part B until we retire. At that point,we can decide whether we want it. If we sign up for Medicare Part B then, we were told that there would be no back premiums owed. Does this advice seem sound? Response: The advice you received sounds good to us. You should certainly sign up for Part A because it is free. As for Part B, which covers medical and doctor’s bills, unless you have a major medical condition for which you pay a lot out of pocket, there is no need to start paying another premium for coverage that, for the most part, duplicates the coverage you have under your BC/BS plan. For more information, go to the NARFE website, sign in and click on “Departments” and then “Federal Benefits.”

To obtain an answer to a federal benefits question, call 703-838-7760 and ask for the Federal Benefits Service Department; send your question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Federal Benefits; or submit it by email to retbenefits@narfe.org.

Correction

O

ur response to a question posed in the September issue was in error. In the Q&A titled“Redeposits,” p. 43, in the final paragraph, we should have said: For civilian service performed prior to October 1, 1982, the interest rate will be locked in at 3 percent. Service performed on or after October 1,1982,through 1984 also will be subject to a 3 percent interest rate.Service performed after 1984 is subject to the variable interest rates that went into effect in 1985 and typically change every year. NARFE regrets the error.

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

We’ve got the

Answers! The 4th Edition of NARFE’s Questions & Answers book is available now. It’s all here: Answers to your questions about general retirement issues and topics such as: • Annuity Computations • Court-Ordered Benefits • Disability Benefits/Compensation • Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance • FERS Annuity Supplement • Health Benefits • Long-Term Care • Medicare • Re-Employment • Social Security • Survivor Benefits • Taxes • Thrift Savings Plan • And more …

Only $10

All taken from the pages of NARFE magazine. And all written expressly for federal annuitants and employees. Plus a Bonus Section containing reprints of key articles from NARFE magazine!

Order your copy of the new Questions & Answers today! Clip and mail to: NARFE Q&A Book, 606 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Name __________________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________________ City __________________________________________State ______ZIP ___________ Member ID# (As it appears on NARFE magazine label) ________________________

❏ Charge to my credit card

❏ MasterCard

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Number of Books

____ x $10 = __________ (includes shipping & handling)

Tax (if applicable) = _______ Virginia residents must add 5% tax (50 cents per copy)

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MAIL ORDER ONLY—NO PHONE ORDERS PLEASE—make checks payable to NARFE

SWITCH AND SAVE ON HEAR COST EX AMPLE : PHONAK S SMART III ( RETAIL PRICE $4,050 PER PAIR )

2,190 MemberPlus Price/Pair

$

2,190 FEP Benefit (up to $2,500 )

$

§

Appointments Must Be Scheduled Through TruHearing. MemberPlus Membership fee waived *Three visits for fitting, programming or adjustment of the hearing aids are included. Price shown does not include discounted comprehensive hearing exam of $75 (which is covered by the Service Benefit Plan; the Insured may need to submit for reimbursement), or applicable state and local taxes. Service Benefit Plan members get the TruHearing MemberPlus membership fee waived through December 15, 2013. Regular yearly cost for the TruHearing MemberPlus membership is $108. Must be a Service Benefit Plan member to access TruHearing MemberPlus discounted pricing.

§ The Service Benefit Plan will pay up to $1,250 per ear in a 36-month period, up to a maximum of $2,500 per pair purchased (2012 benefit).The BCBS FEP Blue365® Discount Program offers access to savings on items that you may purchase directly from independent vendors, which may be different from items that are covered under your Service Benefit Plan policy or any other applicable federal healthcare program. For hearing aids, acupuncture, chiropractic and vision services, you must exhaust your Service Benefit Plan benefits first. To find out what is covered under your policy, contact the Service Benefit Plan. The products and services described herein are neither offered

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

TO BLUE GREEN ING AIDS. 0

$

10

$ $10 shipping & handling

/PAIR*

First, become a Service Benefit Plan member. Then, to take advantage of these savings enroll in TruHearing’s MemberPlus program for free online at TruHearing.com/enroll and use group number HP2R-A365. Then call (877) 360-2432 M-F, 8am - 8pm Central to schedule your hearing appointment. TruHearing is an independent company providing discounts on hearing aids.

(a $108 value) through 12/31/2013. nor guaranteed under any local Blue company’s contract with the Medicare program. In addition, they are not subject to the Medicare appeal process. Any disputes regarding these products and services are not subject to the Service Benefit Plan’s Disputed Claims process. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) may receive payments from Blue365 vendors. Neither the Service Benefit Plan, BCBSA, nor any local Blue company recommends, endorses, warrants or guarantees any specific Blue365 vendor or item. The Service Benefit Plan reserves the right to change, modify, or terminate any items and vendors made available through Blue365, at any time.

PEN SEASON REPORT 2013 FEHBP Rates

T

he October issue of NARFE magazine provided preliminary information about this year’s Federal Benefits Open Season. The December issue will contain an analysis of plan changes.

The 2012 Federal Benefits Open Season will begin Monday, November 12, and end Monday, December 10. Some of the frequently asked questions about the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and Open Season are answered in this article.

2013 Monthly Premiums – Fee-For-Service Plan Option

Code

Total Premium

Gov’t Pays

You Pay

Enrollee Increase/ Decrease

APWU High self High family Consumer-Driven self Consumer-Driven family

471 472 474 475

$ 530.88 1,200.40 378.32 851.09

$398.16 900.30 283.74 638.32

$132.72 300.10 94.58 212.77

$ 5.10 11.54 5.35 12.05

104 105 111 112

599.63 1,354.36 511.98 1,198.82

413.49 920.73 383.99 899.12

186.14 433.63 127.99 299.70

.72 3.59 6.11 14.28

401 402

496.43 1,223.17

372.32 917.38

124.11 305.79

.62 -1.55

311 312 314 315 341 342

611.00 1,389.59 389.44 885.65 419.84 958.95

413.49 920.73 292.08 664.24 314.88 719.21

197.51 468.86 97.36 221.41 104.96 239.74

12.48 30.48 4.64 10.55 5.00 11.42

454 455 481 482 414 415

622.81 1,425.32 537.62 1,218.19 373.62 890.76

413.49 920.73 403.22 913.64 280.22 668.07

209.32 504.59 134.40 304.55 93.40 222.69

.58 3.59 18.83 42.69 7.63 18.20

321 322

574.15 1,246.77

413.49 920.73

160.66 326.04

-1.12 -1.56

441 442 444 445

661.68 1,558.25 526.85 1,203.26

413.49 920.73 395.14 902.45

248.19 637.52 131.71 300.81

-11.03 -22.97 .00 -4.69

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard self Standard family Basic self Basic family

Foreign Serv.Ben.Plan High self High family

GEHA High self High family Standard self Standard family HDHP self HDHP family

Mail Handlers Standard self Standard family HDHP self HDHP family Value Plan Standard self Value Plan Standard family

NALC High self High family

SAMBA High self High family Standard self Standard family

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The tables on pages 36 and 37 provide lists of six open-to-all, fee-forservice (FFS) plans and the Foreign Service Benefit plan, as well as the largest participating health maintenance organizations (HMOs), the monthly cost of each plan, and the cost increase/decrease when compared to 2012 premiums. If your HMO plan does not appear in the listing, it simply means that it is not one of the largest HMO plans as stratified by the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) plan assignment codes. It does not mean that your HMO plan is a bad plan. In addition, the tables provide the threedigit code for each plan. (When enrolling in a plan, be sure to use the proper code.) Rates listed are applicable to all retirees and survivors. Postal employees pay a different rate than other federal employees. Please note: Retirees pay premiums on a monthly basis; employees pay on a biweekly basis. Members with Internet access can go to OPM’s website, www.opm.gov/insure, for a complete listing of premiums for all plans. The maximum 2013 monthly government contribution will be $413.49 for self-only coverage and $920.73 for family coverage. (See story on p. 38 for NARFE’s reaction to OPM’s announcement of 2013 FEHBP premium rates.)

PLAN CHANGES New Plans OPM added five new HMO plans to the FEHBP for 2013: 1. Anthem Blue Cross Select HMO of California (S. CA), Code B3; 2. Calvo’s SelectCare in Guam, N. Mariana Islands, Palau, Code B4; 3. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois (Chicago area), Code A2; NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

4. Humana Health of Ohio (parts of OH, IN, KY), Code A6. 5. Aetna Whole Health (TX, VA, WI), Codes F7, E5, D9. New/Changed Service Areas Three health plans added new service areas with new enrollment codes for 2013: • Aetna Open Access in the state of Washington, Code C3; • Sanford Health Plan in N. Dakota, Code C9; • FirstCare in Texas, Code CZ. Aetna Health Fund CDHP has made the following changes: • Aetna HealthFund CDHP, Code 22, will reduce to five service areas; • New Aetna HealthFund CDHP, Code F5, will have a new Value Plan option in specific counties in AL, AR, FL, LA, TN, VA, WV, DC, GA, MD and NC; • New Aetna HealthFund CDHP, Code G5, will have a new Value Plan option in specific counties in KS, MI, MO, NV, NM, SD, UT, WA and CO; • New Aetna HealthFund CDHP, Code EP, will have a new Value Plan option in specific counties in MA, NY, CT, DE, ME, NH, NJ, RI and VT; • New Aetna HealthFund CDHP, Code H4, will have a new Value Plan option in specific counties in ID, IL, MN, MS, KY, MT, ND, OR, IA, NE, PA and WY. New Options UnitedHealthcare of CA will offer a Standard option, Codes CY4, CY5. CareFirst BlueChoice (DC, MD, VA) will offer an HDHP, Codes B61, B62. Kaiser Foundation HP of NW (WA and OR) will offer a Basic option, Codes B51, B52. SelectHealth Plan (ID and UT) will offer a Standard option, Codes SF4, SF5. Independent Health Assoc. (NY) will offer a Standard option, Codes C54, C55. NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

Service Area Reductions • Aetna Open Access is terminating Code IK (Chicago and North Indiana area); • HealthAmerica PA is terminating Codes SW and YW (Central PA); and • M.D. IPA is terminating the Central

Virginia and Richmond areas. Plan Termination There is only one health plan that will not participate in the FEHBP after December 31, 2012: HMO Health Ohio (Codes L41, L42). Enrollment in the terminating plan is 917.

2013 Monthly Premiums – Largest HMOs* State

Plan Option

MD, DC, VA

M.D. IPA

CA

Kaiser Foundation N. California High self 591 729.99 High family 592 1,742.56 Standard self 594 613.45 Standard family 595 1,435.48

413.49 920.73 413.49 920.73

316.50 821.83 199.96 514.75

57.06 139.63 48.01 115.22

Kaiser Foundation Mid-Atlantic High self E31 566.30 High family E32 1,302.49 Standard self E34 377.82 Standard family E35 868.96

413.49 920.73 283.37 651.72

152.81 381.76 94.45 217.24

4.81 13.41 4.76 10.95

Kaiser Foundation S. California High self 621 518.20 High family 622 1,197.69 Standard self 624 332.06 Standard family 625 767.50

388.65 898.27 249.05 575.63

129.55 299.42 83.01 191.87

3.47 8.03 2.25 5.22

DC

CA

High self High family

DC, MD, VA

Aetna Open Access

HI

HMSA

MT

Total Premium

Gov’t Pays

You Pay

JP1 JP2

$ 580.45 $413.49 $166.96 1,338.52 920.73 417.79

Enrollee Increase/ Decrease $ 1.17 5.19

JN1 JN2 JN4 JN5

849.55 1,902.90 535.15 1,217.02

413.49 920.73 401.36 912.77

436.06 982.17 133.79 304.25

98.10 221.45 9.33 12.97

871 872

459.68 1,023.23

344.76 767.42

114.92 255.81

-3.55 -7.91

Washington Group Health Cooperative High self 541 655.50 413.49 High family 542 1,409.37 920.73 Standard self 544 421.50 316.13 Standard family 545 951.62 713.72

242.01 488.64 105.37 237.90

45.02 97.54 9.78 22.11

Montana Aetna Health Fund HDHP self 224 415.03 HDHP family 225 908.87

103.76 227.22

9.64 21.09

High self High family Basic self Basic family High self High family

WA

Code

311.27 681.65

*Based on information provided by the Office of Personnel Management. If your plan is not listed, it simply means that your plan is not one of the largest.

37

PEN SEASON REPORT NARFE: ‘Any Increase Is a Decrease’

W

hile NARFE commended the Office of Personnel Management for its efforts “to keep the rise in health insurance premiums to a minimum in 2013, ” it also said that, in light of the continuing federal pay freeze and an anticipated cost-of-living adjustment of just over 1 percent,“any increase is a decrease.” In a statement September 20, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said: “While the 3.4 percent increase is reasonable and in line with the private sector, any increase means a decrease in take-home pay for federal employees, who will be facing an extension of the current two-year pay freeze at the same time the premium increases will go into effect. “In this economy, we should be working to put more money into the hands of all Americans, not less. Contrary to what many across the country might think, our nation’s retired and active federal workers, who pay 30 percent of their health care premiums, are already contributing their fair share. A premium increase, combined with a pay freeze, will be another hardship for struggling families.”

According to OPM, plans that leave the FEHBP are making business decisions based on enrollment, market penetration and overall margin/ profitability. Federal enrollees in the terminating plan need to select new coverage for 2013 during this Open Season. HMO enrollees should review their plan’s 2013 brochure to see if they still live or work in their plan’s service area.

INFORMATION Active Employees. Federal agencies will provide current employees with Open Season information and sources

for more information. Employees who do not receive Open Season information by November 12 should contact their personnel or administrative office. Annuitants and Survivor Annuitants. The federal retirement systems will provide Open Season information to all eligible annuitants, survivor annuitants and former spouse annuitants. For most retirees and survivors, OPM is their retirement system administrator. (OPM manages the Civil Service Retirement System [CSRS] and the Federal Employees Retirement System [FERS].) Annuitants, survivor annuitants and former spouse annuitants who do not

receive Open Season notices by November 12 should contact OPM. Your plan will not automatically send you a copy of its 2013 brochure; you must request one or download one from the OPM website. Annuitants and survivor annuitants paying FEHBP premiums directly to the National Finance Center will receive Open Season material from that agency. Federal Compensation. Those whose FEHBP enrollment is handled by the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs will receive Open Season material from that agency. Effective Date of Changes. All Open Season changes for retirees and survivor annuitants are effective January 1, 2013, and premium changes are reflected in February 1, 2013, annuity payments. Open Season changes for federal employees are effective at the beginning of the first pay period after January 1, 2013. Annuitants who join or change HMOs must use the new HMO’s doctors, facilities, etc., beginning January 1. If verified enrollment is required, the change notice from OPM should suffice. Annuitants with follow-up questions should call 888-767-6738. Annuitants in the Washington, DC, area should call 202-606-0500.

Federal Benefits Service Department

Health Benefits Questions & Answers 1.Which is the best plan? There is no one good answer to that question. People have different health care needs and look for different things in a health benefits plan. A plan can be best for one person but not for another. Statistically, most annuitants have chosen Blue

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Cross/Blue Shield, Standard, followed by GEHA and Mail Handlers Benefit Plan.

2. How should I go about choosing a plan? Review your health care needs for the past year or two and consider the kinds of care you think you may

need during the next year. If you or a family member have been using a lot of hospital inpatient care, and you think you will continue to use that kind of care, choose a plan that has excellent hospital inpatient coverage. These include health maintenance orNOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Better health starts with better choices. Healthy living requires healthy choices. Choose the health plan that gives you options–GEHA. Standard Option is anything but standard, offering great coverage with low premiums and copays. High Option offers comprehensive benefits to those who want greater coverage for hospitalization and brand name prescriptions. Learn more at geha.com.

(877) 549-GEHA • geha.com Connect with us on social media:

/GEHAhealth This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc. Before making a final decision, please read the GEHA federal brochure, RI 71-006. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the federal brochure. © 2012 Government Employees Health Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

PEN SEASON REPORT

ganization (HMO) plans and any feefor-service (FFS) plans with good preferred provider arrangements with hospitals. If you think you need better coverage for outpatient doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests or prescriptions, choose an HMO or an FFS plan that has good preferred provider agreements with a wide variety of doctors and labs. Before you change to another plan, obtain and review the brochure for that plan, and check on the availability of preferred providers.

3. Are there waiting periods for benefits, limitations or exclusions on preexisting conditions? FEHBP plans

cannot (by law) impose waiting periods, exclusions or limits on benefits because of a pre-existing condition. There is no medical underwriting in the FEHBP.

4. Is it possible to make a serious mistake in choosing a plan? All FEHBP plans are good. All cover hospital and physician care, prescriptions, outpatient diagnostic lab tests, treatment of mental illness, home health care, routine mammograms for women over 35, routine prostate cancer tests for men over 40 and smoking cessation programs. Some also cover special benefits like acupuncture and dental care. In addition, many HMOs provide more comprehensive

Live Webcasts and More From OPM

T

he Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will host three live webcasts to give employees and retirees an opportunity to learn more about the federal health benefits programs. The webcasts will begin with a PowerPoint presentation and will be followed by a question and answer session. Employees and annuitants can email questions to a panel of experts.Visit www.opm. gov/insure/openseason to view the webcasts on their scheduled dates. Webcast Live Date Time • Introduction to Open Season November 6 1:30 p.m. EST • Federal Employees Dental November 13 1:30 p.m. EST and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) • Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS)* November 15 1:30 p.m. EST *For active federal employees only

Additional information on Open Season is available from OPM: • On the Web: www.opm.gov/insure/openseason. • On Facebook: www.facebook.com/fedbenefits (Get Open Season updates and discuss federal insurance options with other federal employees, retirees and their family members about federal insurance options). •ViaTwitter: http://twitter.com/insurefeds (Get the latest updates on Open Season by subscribing to the Federal Benefits Twitter account). OPM also offers information about retirement and the health benefits programs at: • www.opm.gov/insure/fastfacts/thinkfehb.pdf (FEHBP and Retirement). • www.opm.gov/insure/fastfacts/thinkfedvip.pdf (FEDVIP and Retirement).

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preventive care (see question 6). Generally, you can make a serious mistake only if you enroll in: a costly plan or option when you don’t need one (most of you don’t); a plan that doesn’t cover a special benefit when you need it; self-only coverage when you need family coverage, or vice versa; or, if you live outside the continental United States and Puerto Rico, and enroll in a plan that does not offer “overseas” benefits.

5.Which benefit is the most important? For those not enrolled in Medicare Part B, the Catastrophic Protection Benefit is very important. It puts a dollar limit on the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket in terms of co-payments and coinsurance for the expenses that the plan covers. Considering the Catastrophic Protection Benefits for a two-option plan, it is not possible generally to recover enough in additional high-option benefits to offset the much higher premiums. However, you should carefully compare the options, especially prescription drug coverage.

6. Should I consider an HMO? Yes. HMOs are available to most employees and annuitants, and offer a good alternative to FFS plans. HMOs cover hospital and physician care and prescriptions, but they stress preventive care, covering routine physicals, immunizations and well-baby care. Many HMOs offer more comprehensive coverage (including dental) at lower premiums than FFS plans. HMO plans tend to be offered more frequently in urban areas and less frequently or not at all in rural areas. 7. Are there disadvantages with HMOs? For most care, enrollees must NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

PEN SEASON REPORT use doctors and hospitals that are approved by the HMO or with which the HMO has working agreements. Most HMOs require that an enrollee’s care be coordinated by a primary care physician. Compared to FFS plans, enrollee access to specialists is more limited under an HMO plan. HMOs generally limit benefits outside of their full service areas to emergency services only. Sometimes, HMO plans that participate in the FEHBP are harder to find in rural areas. Doctors’ contracts with

HMO plans do not necessarily run from January 1 through December 31, which means that a plan doctor may leave the plan during the FEHBP contract year.

8. How can HMOs offer such good coverage at reasonable cost? The very tight control measures mentioned in question 7 enable HMOs to control their costs and premiums. FFS plans have different kinds of controls, the most notable of which is preferred provider or-

ganization (PPO) networks.

9. What kinds of changes can an annuitant make during this Open Season? Annuitants can change plans, options, type of enrollment (self-only or family) or any combination of those changes. Annuitants can, for example, change from Plan A’s High option, self-only coverage, to Plan B’s Standard option, family coverage. If an annuitant has suspended his or her FEHBP coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage

Important Reminders for Retirees

H

ere are some important reminders and tips for annuitants on the upcoming 2012 Open Season. • Open Season Notification. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will send annuitants notification by mail or electronically if you have provided OPM with your email address. Both notices will provide details on the Open Season and guidance on how to obtain information and materials. • Plan Participation. Make sure your current plan will participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for 2013. This is especially important if you are currently enrolled in a health maintenance organization plan. • Staying Put. After reading your current plan’s brochure – particularly the changes and premiums for 2013 – if you decide to continue your current coverage, you do not have to do anything. Your enrollment in your current plan will continue into 2013, and the new premiums will be deducted from your February 1, 2013, monthly annuity payment. • Low Annuity. If your monthly annuity is not enough to cover your plan’s 2013 premiums, you must either change to a less costly option or change to a plan that you can afford. You also may pay your monthly premiums directly to OPM, if you want to stay with your current plan but your monthly annuity is not sufficient to withhold the premium amount. • Research Preferred Providers. Fee for service (FFS) plans use preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and doctors to help contain program costs and keep premiums at a reasonable rate. Usually, you will save a lot on

42

out-of-pocket costs if you use your plan’s preferred hospitals or doctors. However, PPO arrangements are business contracts that are not always renewed. PPO arrangements can be made and also can be discontinued from one year to the next. In addition, there may not be PPO arrangements in all parts of the country. If you are enrolled in an FFS plan or thinking of enrolling in one, you should check with the hospitals and doctors you use and ask them if they are a PPO in your plan. You also can review your plan’s PPO directory to see if your doctor or hospital is a PPO for your plan. • Ask Questions. Be careful to confirm information in your plan’s brochure by speaking with a plan representative. Do not assume anything. For example, plans may describe benefits in terms of “annual” or “annually.” This would seem to mean “each year,” when, in fact, the plan may mean that a year must have elapsed before the plan will cover you again. • ID Cards.New plan identification cards showing your enrollment are sent out by the health plan, not by OPM. If you do not change to another plan or option during Open Season, you don’t necessarily get a new ID card from the plan. • Medicare Enrollees. Make sure that you read your plan brochure’s sections titled “When you have Medicare” and “Coordinating benefits with other coverage.” • Age 65 and Not Enrolled in Medicare. FFS plans include a section in their brochures titled “When you are age 65 or over and do not have Medicare.” This section details how, by law, the plan must use Medicare’s approved amounts on which to base its payments. ■ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Did you know that the APWU Health Plan will work with Medicare to ensure your claims are processed and paid accordingly? With the APWU Health Plan’s High Option there is no extra paper work for you to fill out. Many retirees prefer the APWU Health Plan because of its affordable premium and excellent coverage. You’ve earned the freedom to do what you want and enjoy life to its fullest. The APWU Health Plan’s High Option features a low deductible, low copays, and a comprehensive prescription drug plan. • NEW 100% coverage for Shingles Vaccine after the age of 60 • With Medicare A and B: • APWU Health Plan will waive deductible and coinsurance • You are free to choose any doctor you wish without accruing out-of-networks costs • • • • •

Automatic claims submission to Medicare for the High Option No denials for a pre-existing condition Cancer Centers of Excellence paid at 95% Excellent Pharmacy Benefits with both retail and mail order options $1500 towards hearing aids

For more information please visit: www.apwuhp.com or call: (800) 222-2798

PEN SEASON REPORT plan, TRICARE, TRICARE For Life, CHAMPVA or Medicaid, or is a Peace Corps volunteer, he or she may revoke the suspension by re-enrolling in the FEHBP. (Always check with the “losing” plan to see if there are any dis-enrollment procedures to follow.)

10. Can I change plans, options or type of enrollment (self-only or family) at times other than Open Season? Yes. There are events that permit one or more of these changes, such as a change in marital status or moving outside the service area of the HMO in which you are enrolled. See question 17 for more information.

11. What is a preferred provider organization (PPO)? A PPO consists of agreements between a health benefits plan and hospitals, doctors, laboratories and other medical care providers. Under the agreements, the preferred providers agree to provide services to the plan’s enrollees and covered family members at a lower cost. Health plan contracts with PPOs do not necessarily run through the course of the FEHBP contract year. This means that an organization that was a PPO on January 1 and has a PPO agreement that expires during the course of the year would go into renegotiation with the health plan. If the negotiations are successful, the medical provider continues its PPO status with the plan. If the negotiations are not successful, the PPO relationship is broken, and plan beneficiaries must seek other PPOs for medical services.

12. What are the advantages of preferred provider programs? They help keep the plan’s benefit payments and your premiums down.

13.What are the advantages of using

44

a mail order (also referred to as home delivery) prescription drug service? Mail order prescription services enable plans to provide prescription drugs at lower (wholesale) prices, resulting in savings to both the plans and you. Mail order services also have extra quality controls that generally aren’t available through local retail pharmacies. Also, the mail order service controls when a prescription should be refilled, based on your doctor’s written prescription.

14. Should annuitants enroll in Medicare when they become eligible? In many cases, the answer is “yes.” The combination of a low-cost, standard option, FFS FEHBP plan and Medicare Parts A and B provides excellent total coverage of medical services. However, be sure to check both options concerning prescription drugs, where there may be significant differences. The consideration in these cases is the cost of Medicare Part B coverage, for which each eligible individual must decide whether to enroll (there is no family coverage under Medicare). Although many FFS plans waive their deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments (except for prescription drugs) for enrollees covered by Part B, the question is whether a person would save money by signing up for Medicare Part B and have very limited out-ofpocket costs, or would a person save money by not signing up for Part B and paying his or her deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments. This decision is one that will be dictated by the individual circumstances of the FEHBP enrollee and covered family members. If you are enrolled in an HMO that covers most of your medical care with only small co-payments (such as $20 per doctor’s visit) and if you plan to remain in an HMO indefinitely, there probably would be little advantage in

enrolling in Part B. Medicare Part B would not add enough to your total package of benefits to justify paying the higher premium. HMO enrollees who travel extensively in the United States may want to sign up for Part B, since it would allow them to get nonemergency medical services outside of the HMO’s service area. Or, an HMO enrollee might want to have Part B so that he or she could go “out of network” to consult specialists without a referral from the primary care physician. Note that these flexibilities do not exist for people who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. In those cases, Medicare Part B can only be used with the Medicare Advantage plan. However, if you change to an FFS plan at some future date, Part B would be helpful. You could enroll in it during a Part B open enrollment period (January through March of each year). While it would cost you more, the savings that you realize by not paying the Part B premium would likely offset any premium surcharge you would have to pay. The premium surcharge is 10 percent of the monthly Part B premium for each 12-month period that you could have been enrolled in Medicare Part B but were not. This surcharge is permanent and is recalculated every time the Medicare Part B premium increases. More and more people are becoming concerned about the number of HMO plans that are leaving the FEHBP or have left over the past few years. If you are retired and live in an area where there is only one FEHBP HMO, you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part B as a hedge against the future. Or you may want to consider switching to an FFS plan at age 65 and enrolling in Medicare Part B when you are first eligible. This will enable you to avoid the Medicare Part B late enrollment surcharge in the future. NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

THE METLIFE FEDERAL DENTAL PLAN

OPEN SEASON RUNS NOVEMBER 12 – DECEMBER 10, 2012

FACE THE FUTURE

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Guarantees apply to certain insurance and annuity products (not securities, variable or investment advisory products) and are subject to product terms, exclusions and limitations and the insurer’s claims-paying ability and financial strength. Like most group accident and health insurance policies, MetLife dental insurance policies contain certain exclusions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Add MetLife Federal Dental contact info to your smartphone’s address book by scanning this QR code.

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PEN SEASON REPORT Also, no one can predict where he or she will live in the future. Accordingly, HMO enrollees may also want to consider signing up for Medicare Part B as a further hedge against future events. An HMO enrollee who lives in a large metropolitan area with many HMO choices may have to move to a more rural area where HMO choices are limited or do not exist to care for a family member. Or the HMO enrollee may become ill and have to move to a more rural area to be cared for by family members. In such cases, Medicare Part B can act as a hedge against the future for an HMO enrollee who has to sign up for an FFS plan because of the lack of an HMO.

15. How do I apply for Medicare Part B? If you are not receiving Social Security payments, you should call 800-7721213 three months before the month in which you reach age 65 and request an appointment with your local Social Security office to file an application for Medicare. If you are receiving Social Security payments, Social Security will automatically send you a Medicare card enrolling you in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. If you decide that you do not want Part B, you must contact Social Security. If you don’t want Part B, return the card to the office that sent it to you and be sure to indicate on the card that you wish to cancel Part B. Depending on when you retired from federal service (1983 or later), or if you have 10 years of Social Security work coverage, or if you paid Medicare taxes for 10 years, or if you are married to a person who is eligible for Medicare, you could qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A for hospitalization. Of course, all Medicare Part B enrollees have to pay a premium for Part B coverage. At press time, Medicare had not officially announced the premiums for Part B, but we expect them to go up.

46

16. How do I obtain FEHBP coverage for my grandchild who lives with me and is financially dependent on me? Grandchildren, per se, are not eligible dependents under your FEHBP enrollment. However, if the grandchild lives with you in a parent-child relationship, is financially dependent on you, and you have a reasonable expectation of raising the grandchild into adulthood, a grandchild can be considered your foster child and can be covered under your FEHBP family enrollment. To have a grandchild covered as a foster child, contact the OPM Retirement Benefits Branch, 1900 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20415-3532.

17. Who do annuitants contact at OPM about changing their FEHBP enrollment? For Open Season changes, call the Open Season Express number provided in your FEHBP Open Season notice, log on to Open Season Online at the Internet address provided in your Open Season notice or contact the Open Season Processing Center at the address provided in your Open Season notice. The Open Season notice will be mailed to annuitants in early November. Those receiving information by email from OPM will receive their notice at about the same time. For information about changes or to make changes at other times of the year, annuitants should call 888-7676738 or write to the OPM Retirement Benefits Branch, 1900 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20415-3532. Annuitants in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area must call 202-606-0500.

benefits under Medicare. You do not need to sign up for Medicare Part D or even consider a Part D plan unless you have high out-of-pocket drug costs after your FEHBP plan pays. OPM has issued a statement in your FEHBP plan brochure telling you that your FEHBP prescription drug benefit is at least as good as or superior to Medicare’s. If you decide to sign up later for Medicare Part D, the brochure certification of your prescription drug coverage will excuse you from any Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty.

19. What is an HDHP/HSA? HDHP stands for high-deductible health plan. Anyone who is enrolled in an HDHP may be eligible for a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). HDHP monthly premiums may be lower than traditional FFS or HMO plans. However, such coverage may not be appropriate for retirees or those with higher annual medical costs. HSAs and HRAs allow HDHP enrollees to set money aside to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. An HDHP enrollee is encouraged to be prudent about his or her health care treatment and expenditures.

20. How will an HDHP/HSA or an HRA help the FEHBP member? An

18. If I have my FEHBP health plan coverage, do I need to sign up for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan benefits as well? Your prescription drug benefits

HDHP/HSA or HRA provides insurance coverage and catastrophic coverage in a tax-advantaged way to help save for future medical expenses. It provides greater flexibility and discretion over how to use your health care dollars. However, if you or a member of your family get very sick, you will have to pay your health plan’s deductible and your coinsurance, which could be as much as $10,000 in out-ofpocket expenses in a calendar year.

under the FEHBP are at least as good as or better than the prescription drug

Federal Benefits Service Department NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Better health starts with better choices. Make oral care a vital part of your everyday health. With a $12,000 maximum benefit in our High Option plan, and no deductible or network limitation, a plan from GEHA Connection Dental Federal® makes ongoing dental care a healthy choice, too.

(877) 590-GEHA (4342) • gehadental.com © 2012 Government Employees Health Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

PEN SEASON REPORT

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program(FEDVIP) This information was provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

T

he Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is a supplemental dental and vision program authorized by the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004. It is separate and different from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). OPM has contracted with 10 insurance carriers to provide comprehensive coverage under the program. There are seven dental plans: Aetna Life Insurance Company; Humana/CompBenefits; Government Employees Health Association, Inc. (GEHA); Group Health, Inc. (GHI); MetLife, Inc.; Triple-S, Inc.; and United Concordia Companies, Inc. There are three vision plans: FEP BlueVision (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), UnitedHealthcare Vision Plan and Vision Service Plan (VSP).

DENTAL INSURANCE Dental plans will provide a comprehensive range of services, including the following: • Class A (Basic) services, which include oral examinations, prophylaxis, diagnostic evaluations, sealants and Xrays. • Class B (Intermediate) services, which include restorative procedures such as fillings, prefabricated stainless steel crowns, periodontal scaling, tooth

48

extractions and denture adjustments. • Class C (Major) services, which include endodontic services such as root canals, periodontal services such as gingivectomy, major restorative services such as crowns, oral surgery, bridges and prosthodontic services such as complete dentures. • Class D (Orthodontic) services with up to a 24-month waiting period. Please review the dental plans’ benefits material for detailed information on the benefits covered, costsharing requirements and provider directories.

VISION INSURANCE Vision plans will provide comprehensive eye examinations and coverage for lenses, frames and contact lenses (in lieu of eyeglasses). Other benefits such as discounts on LASIK surgery may also be available. There are no deductibles or waiting periods. Please review the vision plans’ benefits material for detailed information

on the benefits covered, cost-sharing requirements and provider directories.

Who is eligible to enroll in FEDVIP? Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees eligible for FEHBP coverage (whether or not enrolled) and annuitants (regardless of FEHBP status) are eligible to enroll in a dental plan and/or a vision plan.

What enrollment options are available? These options are available: • Self-only. This option covers only the enrolled employee or annuitant; • Self-plus-one. This option covers the enrolled employee or annuitant plus one eligible family member specified by the enrollee; and • Self-and-family. This option covers the enrolled employee or annuitant and all eligible family members.

Which of my family members are eligible? Eligible family members include your spouse, unmarried dependent

Key FEDVIP Facts • FEDVIP is separate and different from the FEHBP. • Coordination of benefits with the FEHBP plan, if enrolled in an FEHBP plan, is a requirement under the FEDVIP law. The FEDVIP plan is secondary to the FEHBP plan. • Premiums for the nationwide dental plans and one regional dental plan are based on home ZIP codes. This is called a rating region. Vision plans do not have rating regions. • There is no 31-day extension of coverage, Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC), spouse equity coverage or right to convert to an individual policy (conversion policy).

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

children under age 22, and unmarried dependent children age 22 or over incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 22. Please note: The Affordable Care Act does not mandate coverage under dental and vision plans for dependents up to age 26. Under FEDVIP, the age limit for coverage of dependents is age 22.

How can I find out about the plans that are available? The Open Season notice that OPM will mail you includes information on FEDVIP. You can also find a comparison of the plans available and their premiums on the OPM website at www.opm.gov/insure/ dentalvision. This site will be available before Open Season begins. This site

also provides links to each plan’s website, where you can view information about benefits and preferred providers.

What are the premiums? The premiums will vary by plan and by enrollment type (self, self-plus-one, or self-and-family). Premiums for the nationwide dental plans and one regional dental plan are based on home ZIP codes. There is no government contribution to the premiums. If you are an active employee, your premiums will be taken from your salary on a pretax basis when your salary is sufficient to make the premium withholding. If you are an annuitant, premiums will be withheld from your monthly annuity check when your annuity is

sufficient. Based on the Internal Revenue Service Code, pretax premiums are not available to annuitants. For information on each plan’s specific premiums, go to www.opm.gov/insure/ dentalvision.

Rating areas. For most dental plans, there are five rating areas for each carrier. Please note that the rating areas for each carrier are not the same for all plans. Please see the specific plan brochure or call the plan’s customer service number to determine your specific region and premium. When can I enroll? Eligible employees and annuitants can enroll, cancel or change enrollment in a dental and/or vision plan during this Open Season —

FEDVIP— The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees, retirees, and survivor annuitants: You and your eligible family members may not have the dental or vision coverage you need!! Take advantage of the 2012 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 12–December 10) to gain coverage and peace of mind.

Visit www.BENEFEDS.com/OS2012 to: f check eligibility requirements f research FEDVIP plans and rates f find answers to frequently asked questions f enroll!

Or call 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337) TTY 1-877-889-5680

BENEFEDS is the fast, secure, and only way to enroll in FEDVIP.

Federal Employees Dental And Vision Insurance Program

BEN09006 (0812) BEN09006 _NARFE_ad.indd 1 |

NARFE

NOVEMBER 2012

8/29/2012 1:24:59 PM

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PEN SEASON REPORT November 12 to December 10, 2012. You can enroll, cancel or change your enrollment during subsequent annual Open Seasons or because of a qualifying life event. New employees will have 60 days from their first eligibility date to enroll.

How do I enroll? Employees and an-

using the Health Benefits Election form (SF 2809) or through an agency self-service system, such as Employee Express, MyPay or Employee Personal page. However, those sites may provide a link to www.BENEFEDS.com.

When will coverage be effective? Coverage for those who enroll during this year’s Federal Benefits Open Season (November 12-December 10, 2012) will be effective January 1, 2013.

nuitants can enroll on the Internet at www.BENEFEDS.com. BENEFEDS is a secure enrollment website sponsored by OPM where you enter your name, personal information such as address If I am currently enrolled in an FEHBP and Social Security number, the plan, will I be required to enroll in a agency you work for (or retirement dental or vision plan offered by my plan that pays your annuity), and the FEHBP carrier? No. Your FEHBP plan dental and/or vision plan you select. is separate from the dental and vision For those without access to insurance program. You may enroll in a computer, call 877-888-FEDS (877any dental or vision plan. 888-3337); TTY: 877-889-5680. UHC3454 FedNARFEad_Layout 1 8/14/12 2:57 PM Page 1 You cannot enroll in a FEDVIP plan My FEHBP plan covers some dental

and vision services. If I enroll in a FEDVIP plan, will that replace my FEHBP coverage? No. Any coverage provided under your FEHBP plan remains as your primary coverage. FEDVIP coverage would pay secondary to that coverage.

How does this coverage work with my FEHBP plan’s dental or vision coverage? Some FEHBP plans already cover some dental and vision services. Coverage provided under your FEHBP plan remains as your primary coverage. When you enroll in a dental and/ or vision plan using the website www.BENEFEDS.com, you will be asked to provide information on your FEHBP plan so that your plans can coordinate benefits. Providing your FEHBP information may reduce your out-of-pocket costs. ■

Affordable Progressives Are Here. The average retail price for progressive lenses, such as deluxe and platinum, is $440.00. However, if you’re enrolled in a High Option Plan from UnitedHealthcare Vision, these same lenses will cost only a $65.00 copay! Whatever your individual or family need is we have an industry-leading vision plan for you. FEDVIP Open Season: November 12 -December 10

2013

www.myuhcvision.com/fedvip 1-866-249-1999

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®

UnitedHealthcare Vision® coverage provided by Spectera, Inc. ©Spectera, Inc.

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Active and Retired Federal Employees ...

Learn about our ELECTRO NIC MEMBERSHIP at

JOIN NARFE TODAY! The only organization dedicated solely to protecting and preserving the benefits of all federal workers and retirees, NARFE informs you of any developments and proposals that affect your compensation, retirement and health benefits, AND provides clear answers to your benefit questions.

Who Should Join?

eNARFE.org

Three Easy Ways To Join 1. 2. 3.

N A R F E M E M B E R S H I P A P P L I C AT I O N

Apt./Unit ________________________________________

I am a (check all that apply)  Active Federal Employee  Active Federal Employee Spouse  Annuitant  Annuitant Spouse  Survivor Annuitant  Please enroll my spouse for an additional $45. Spouse’s Full Name __________________________

City _______________________ State _____ ZIP ________

Spouse’s Date of Birth ______/______/ __________

 YES. I want to join NARFE. Please start my individual one-year membership for the first-year dues of $45.  Mr.  Mrs.  Miss  Ms. Full Name ________________________________________ Street Address ____________________________________

Phone (__________) _______________________________ Email____________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / _______________ dd

mm

yyyy

dd

mm

yyyy

NARFE respects the privacy of our members. Personal information is used to provide content and relevant communications to our members, and will not be sold or rented to third parties without your express permission.

CALCULATE YOUR DUES CHAPTER AFFILIATION $45.00 x ___________ = ______________ First-Year Dues # Joining Total Dues (First-year dues include national and chapter dues.) PAYMENT OPTIONS  Check, Money Order or Bill Pay (Payable to NARFE)  Bill me (NARFE membership will start when payment is received.)  Charge my:  MasterCard  VISA  Discover  American Express

(If known, otherwise NARFE will enroll you in the chapter closest to your ZIP code.) Enroll me in Chapter # ______ ______ ______ ______ MAY WE THANK SOMEONE? If applicable, please provide the name, membership and chapter number of the member who introduced you to NARFE: Recruiter’s Name __________________________________

Card No. _____________________________________

Recruiter’s Membership ID __________________________

Expiration Date _________ /_________

Recruiter’s Chapter Number _________________________

mm

yyyy

Name on Card _________________________________ Signature _____________________________________ Date _________________________________________

MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

www.narfe.org

800-627-3394

rr@narfe.org

NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program What is dues withholding? It is a dues-payment method that gives NARFE members (retirees) the option of having their annual NARFE membership dues deducted from their annuities on a monthly basis. How does it work? One-twelfth of your total dues is automatically deducted from your monthly annuity. Your monthly deduction is determined by the following formula: (National dues ÷ 12) + (Chapter dues ÷ 12) = Total Monthly Deduction

Advantages • Save 15% off your annual membership dues! • Sign up your spouse and double your savings! • You’ll never get another dues reminder from us! • Your monthly payment is affordable and convenient! • You may cancel your dues at any time! Application process It takes 60-90 days to process your application. Once the process is complete, you will receive a special membership card distinguishing you as a NARFE dues-withholding member.

To learn more about dues withholding, call 800-627-3394. Retirees, spouses of retirees and annuitant survivors are eligible for dues withholding.

NARFE Dues Withholding Application for Retirees  YES. I want to enroll in NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program (Annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) Social Security Number (9-digit number)

Civil Service Annuity Number

C S

(Include prefix, CSA or CSF) (Include any applicable suffix)

 Mr.  Mrs.  Miss  Ms. Full Name _______________________________________

NARFE MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

Street Address ___________________________________

NARFE Membership ID ____________________________________

Apt./Unit________________________________________

NARFE Chapter Number____________________________________

City _________________________ State _____ ZIP _____

 YES. I Also Authorize My (NARFE Member) Spouse’s Dues To Be

Phone (__________) ______________________________

Withheld From My Annuity. (Additional annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) If YES, enter spouse’s information below.

Email ___________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / ____________________ dd

mm

Spouse’s Name ___________________________________________ Spouse’s Membership ID ___________________________________

yyyy

AUTHORIZATION (Withholding will begin in 60-90 days). No payment should be forwarded with application. I authorize the United States Office of Personnel Management to make appropriate deductions from my annuity payments, not to exceed the amount certified by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association as the amount of dues for which I am annually obligated, in accordance with elections I make below, and to pay the deducted sum to the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). This authorization shall also apply to any and all dues changes certified by NARFE membership in accordance with elections I make below: Please allow 60-90 days for processing. I understand that this authorization shall be valid until NARFE receives and processes my written notice of cancellation in accordance with its agreement with the Office of Personnel Management and that any disputes regarding this authorization shall be a matter between NARFE and myself. I hold the Office of Personnel Management harmless for any erroneous allotment deduction made pursuant to this authorization. ___________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________

Signature of Annuitant or Survivor-Annuitant

Date

Dues payments and gifts or contributions to NARFE are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. MAIL THIS FORM TO: NARFE, ATTN: Member Records, 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 www.narfe.org 800-627-3394 rr@narfe.org Do not send money with this form

DW-2 (08/12)

NARFE News Photo Calendar Is a Winner

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he 2013 NARFE Photo Contest Calendar should be in the hands of all NARFE members by now. The 2013 Calendar features photos by these talented NARFE amateur photographers: Alan D. Rathsam, Chapter 1271, San Diego, CA; Joseph J. Perkowski, Chapter 740, Richboro, PA; Shirley Beene, Chapter 55, Tucson, AZ; Arthur L. Seamans, Chapter 515, Lewiston, ID; Robert F. Bartlett, Chapter 1312, Jacksonville, NC; Carol L. Moyer, Chapter 251, Riva, MD; Sharon McFadden, Chapter 1797, Gettysburg, PA; Mike Letke, Chapter 192, Cary, NC; Allan Warner, Chapter 163,

Tacoma, WA; James M. Hamilton, Chapter 241, Colorado Springs, CO; Enid DeFina, Chapter 131, Vancouver, WA; Susan S. Poulin, Chapter 356, Manassas, VA; Barbara Milczynski, Chapter 2179, Sterling Heights, MI; Michael Kochmanski, Chapter 45, Clovis, CA. The calendar is one of NARFE’s most popular fundraising gifts. Please consider sending a voluntary contribution to help NARFE work for you. NARFE is accepting contest submissions for the 2014 calendar. Photos must be 8” x 10” or 8 1/2” x 11” horizontal format, and each entry must

have your name, address, chapter number and phone number or email address on the back. (No pets or children, please.) Photos become the property of NARFE and will not be returned. Send them (postal mail only) to NARFE Photo Contest, Office of the Treasurer, 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Deadline is February 15, 2013. ■

Report From the Regions Convention ‘Lunch and Learns’ a Bonus By William F. Martin Region X Regional Vice President narfe2065@hughes.net

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he 2012 NARFE Biennial National Convention in Reno-Sparks, NV, at the end of August is now history. The only thing that could have made it better would have been more attendees. Those who did not attend missed the intense discussion and passage of NARFE’s revised National Bylaws and Standing Rules, which will guide us in future years. They also missed the resounding support for eNARFE chapters, which meet the needs of NARFE members NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

who choose to communicate electronically and prefer not to attend, or are unable to attend, traditional-type chapter meetings. While I personally prefer the camaraderie of chapter meetings, I understand that many do not. The echapter is ideal for them and allows NARFE to continue adding members to its roster – members who probably would not otherwise have joined NARFE. In addition to these two important decisions, an exciting addition to this year’s convention was the introduction of something new to NARFE conventions. Not only were we able to participate in the business sessions during the day and enjoy the after-hours events offered in Reno-Sparks, we also were fortunate to be able to attend training sessions, dubbed “Lunch and Learns.” The sessions were well attended and highly praised, and all were vitally important to NARFE mem-

bers. Four sessions covered media advocacy, communicating in volunteer organizations, motivating volunteers and direct marketing. One of the presenters, Martha Nall, is a current federal employee and a 10-year NARFE member. Her session focused on communicating in volunteer organizations. Nall has worked for the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service for 38 years and is an extension professor in program and staff development. Two additional training sessions covered the Online Activities Module (OAM), which provides membership information on demand through NARFE’s website, and service officer training. The success of this new initiative ensures that there will be training offered at future conventions. This should be an added incentive for members to attend NARFE’s next National Convention in 2014 and a bonus for those who do. ■

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NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future

32nd National Convention

HIGH STAKES Delegates Make Play for

PROGRESS Convention-goers enjoyed good weather and good company in Sparks, NV. The host city, adjacent to Reno, is in a high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. In the foreground, left to right, Morris Sammons, NARFE-PAC coordinator for Chapter 380 in DeKalb County, GA; Arlette Thomas, Florida FEAA coordinator; and Kenneth Thomas, president of the Florida Federation. All Convention photos by Digiman Studio

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ore than 1,000 delegates, alternates and guests converged on

John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, NV, August 26-30 for NARFE’s 32nd Biennial National Convention. At the end of the five days, they had achieved the big payoff they were betting on: They had adopted a Legislative Program for the 113th Congress; re-elected National Officers for new two-year terms to continue the jobs they had begun in 2010; and approved a major revision to NARFE’s Bylaws, to help propel the Association forward. National Officers put all their cards on the table, discussing in detail what they are doing to reverse the Association’s membership decline, including creating electronic chapters, and reporting on efforts to put the Association on a firmer financial footing.

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Among the big winners at the Convention were the five “Lunch and Learn” sessions and the service officer training, indicating that Convention delegates are as eager to use the meeting as an opportunity to gain new skills as they are to participate in the business of governing the Association. ■ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Convention coverage by Margaret M. Carter and Donna J. St. John

National Officers Re-elected by Acclamation; Regional VPs Voted In

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acing no competition, NARFE’s four current National Officers were re-elected by acclamation. Returning for new two-year terms at NARFE Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, are: National President Joseph A. Beaudoin of Winchester, VA; National Vice President Paul H. Carew of Arlington, VA; National Secretary Elaine C. Hughes of Asheville, NC; and National Treasurer Richard G. Thissen of Lake Ozark, MO.

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS Also re-elected for new two-year terms without contest were the fol-

lowing regional vice presidents (RVPs): Region V, Carol R. Ek, of McPherson, KS; Region VI, Jerome S. Smith of Tyler, TX; Region VIII, Helen L. Zajac of Vallejo, CA; Region IX, Lanny G. Ross of Bremerton, WA; and Region X, William F. Martin of Bumpass, VA. Elected RVPs without contest for the first time were: Region I, Arthur G. Pike of Mapleton, ME (elected to succeed Augie Stratoti, who did not seek another term); and Region VIII, Frank Impinna of

Highlands Ranch, CO (elected to succeed Betty Lucero-Turner, who did not seek re-election). Finally, elected by electronic ballot in contested elections were: Region II, Evelyn Kirby of Chester, MD, who defeated incumbent Ronald P. Bowers of Timonium, MD, and challenger Barry P. Grier of St. Leonard, MD; Region III, incumbent Donald Stewart of Coral Gables, FL, who withstood a challenge from Mary Pierson of Gulfport, MS; and Region IV, incumbent Paul E. Johnson of Wadesville, IN, who held off a challenge from Edward J. Konys of Enon, OH. ■

A full house! More than 1,000 delegates, alternates and guests attended the National Convention at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, NV. Here, delegates listen to keynote speaker John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management. The classroom-style seating afforded attendees the opportunity to conveniently take notes. On their last day, delegates passed a resolution calling for the seating arrangement to be used in future National Conventions.

NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

55

NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future

32nd National Convention

Berry: ‘Ability to Recruit Depends On How Well WeTreat Our Retirees’

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n his keynote address, John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), gave a progress report on several of his agency’s initiatives, including reducing the backlog of retirement cases. Berry said OPM started the year with a backlog of 61,000 retirement claims and has whittled that down to less than 40,000, thanks to the efforts that OPM and NARFE have made together. He credited NARFE with giving the agency a number of “brilliant” ideas that OPM implemented immediately, including freeing highly trained claims adjudicators from responding to phone inquiries, using mandatory overtime, bringing back retired claims personnel and creating an online tracking system for retirees to view the progress of their claims. His goal, he said, is to process claims within 60 days by next July. “We are ahead of schedule in making that promise come through,” he said. He praised the work of NARFE’s Legislative Department in helping to enact the phased retirement option, re-

cently signed into law, which allows federal employees to work part time and collect a partial annuity. Employees who go into the program must spend some of their time mentoring other employees. Berry said he hopes to issue regulations before John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, praises NARFE for collaboration, reports on progress on retirement backlog. January, when like an alumni association that will many employees choose to retire. help our existing federal workforce get Berry said he had been tasked by stronger and better?” President Obama to build and mainOn the subject of recruiting, Berry tain the best and most talented worksaid OPM has improved the federal force for the American people. “We government’s “woefully out of date” must never forget that our ability to job application, moved to a résumécontinue to recruit a talented workbased system, eliminated KSA (knowlforce depends on how well we treat edge/skills/abilities) essay questions our retirees,” Berry said. and improved response time. It also He asked NARFE members to help has initiated a program to make it him determine what federal retirees easier for students and recent graduneed and want from their former emates to join the federal family. ■ ployer. “How can we treat you more

‘LUNCH AND LEARNS’ Provide Food for Thought

Multitasking at “Lunch and Learn”

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The five “Lunch and Learn” sessions proved to be a Convention high point. Topics included the new Online Activities Module, where officers can get up-to-date information, and four membership topics: • Communicating as it applies to volunteer organizations • How to market NARFE to prospective members • Motivation: How does this relate to NARFE? • Direct marketing super hints revealed. PowerPoint presentations of the four membership sessions are available online at www.narfe.org (log in and click on the 2012 Convention logo). Videos (DVDs) of all five sessions are also available. To order, go to www.narfe.org/videos. ■

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

Convention Overwhelmingly OKs Revision of Bylaws,Standing Rules

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n electronic voting, the Convention approved a resolution revising the Association’s Bylaws and Standing Rules. The vote on adopting the revision was 4,061 (78.29 percent) to 1,126 (21.71 percent), easily exceeding the two-thirds needed to amend the Bylaws. The resolution largely was the product of a 10-member committee established pursuant to a resolution adopted at the 2010 National Convention. It puts the Bylaws in conformance with District of Columbia statutes governing nonprofit corporations. NARFE is incorporated in the District of Columbia, where it was founded in 1921. The Bylaws Revision Committee’s document was amended only slightly by the Convention at its first business

session of the week. After more than two hours of debate, during which delegates had worked through only the first page of the 18-page document, Immediate Past National President Margaret L. Baptiste said delegates were “nitpicking it to death” and asked them to vote on it as presented. Immediately thereafter, delegates voted to stop debate, which sent the document to electronic ballot the next day. The revised Bylaws are available on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Log in, then click on “Headquarters” under Resource Library on the left. Before the next National Convention in 2014, NARFE chapters and federations can propose amendments to the newly revised Bylaws. ■

A delegate keys in her vote using touchscreen technology. Delegates cast electronic ballots on the question of revising the NARFE Bylaws and Standing Rules and in three contested regional vice presidential races.

Delegates Endorse eNARFE Chapters

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lectronic chapters got an endorsement when delegates overwhelmingly defeated a resolution that would have disenfranchised eNARFE chapters and transferred their members to traditional chapters based on the ZIP codes

Delegates signal their position on measures on the floor by raising their voting cards.

NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

of their residences. The Convention’s Membership Committee had recommended the resolution for rejection. Debate focused on whether electronic chapters are a new membership category or are “legitimate” chapters. National Vice President Paul H. Carew said that the two existing eNARFE chapters (Chapter 2363, the national eNARFE chapter; and Chapter 2364, the Florida eNARFE chapter) followed all the rules and regulations for forming a chapter. The only difference is that the members of these chapters choose to communicate by email, blogs and other electronic means, and elect not to attend

Robert Davidson, president of Chapter 455 in Palomar, CA, participates in floor debate. Red lights on microphones positioned throughout the hall enable them to be easily seen from the podium.

a traditional chapter meeting. Delegates adopted two resolutions regarding a monthly chapter bestpractices column and an article about the idea of a new-member sponsorship program in NARFE magazine. ■

57

NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future

32nd National Convention

S

NARFE National Officers, left to right: President Joseph A. Beaudoin, Secretary Elaine C. Hughes, Vice President Paul H. Carew and Treasurer Richard G. Thissen.

tate of the Association Reports

NATIONAL PRESIDENT National President Joseph A. Beaudoin reiterated his strong support for electronic chapters. Beaudoin said it was clear to the National Officers that they had to create a new tactic to attract younger, newly retired federal employees, as well as those who are still working. He pointed out that NARFE’s two eNARFE chapters have shown phenomenal growth. Since March 2011, the national electronic chapter has grown to more than 4,000 members, while the Florida chapter has grown to some 200 members. Beaudoin also saluted members for their contributions of time and money to NARFE’s “Protect America’s Heartbeat” advocacy campaign. At the conclusion of all four officers’ reports, he summed up by saying: “Membership continues to struggle, but we believe we have reached bottom and are on our way back up. Our finances are sounder than they have been in a number of years.”

NATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT National Vice President Paul H. Carew also said he is a solid supporter of the eNARFE chapter concept and emphasized that eNARFE chapters are not designed to harm traditional chap-

58

ters, but provide an option for active employees and recent retirees who prefer to get their information online. Carew also said that it has long been his conviction that NARFE Headquarters needed to improve the quality and timeliness of information provided to federations and chapters. To that end, two committees were created, working in concert with NARFE’s Information Technology (IT) Department: the NARFE Information Technology Advisory Committee and the Configuration Advisory Board. He outlined the progress that has been made by the IT Department, including the Online Activities Module, or OAM. He also urged delegates to take the time to navigate NARFE’s newly redesigned website, not just to obtain reports and publications, but also to stay abreast of NARFE news and issues affecting the federal community.

NATIONAL SECRETARY When she took office in 2010, National Secretary Elaine C. Hughes said her strategy was to be “aggressive and proactive” in addressing NARFE’s 30year membership decline, a strategy that she said has not changed. To slow, stop and, finally, reverse the decline, NARFE needed to break from

the recruitment and retention status quo and put best practices and more resources to the task. In 2011, NARFE introduced new membership marketing strategies and hired Marketing General Inc., a consulting firm specializing in association marketing. It put in place an extensive 2012 marketing plan and will put a 2013 plan in place soon. Hughes thanked members of two membership committees, one devoted to recruitment and the other to retention, for helping to set the stage for the creation of the marketing plans.

NATIONAL TREASURER National Treasurer Richard G. Thissen said he is having success in “maintaining a secure financial structure in NARFE.” On the revenue side, Thissen thanked delegates for their generosity in supporting the PAH campaign and sending donations for notepads and notecards. With regard to expenses, he said NARFE’s operating losses have been reduced by almost 50 percent. Costsaving measures included a new fundraising contract and renegotiating the contract for printing NARFE magazine. NARFE also implemented a pay and hiring freeze, he said. ■ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

New Alzheimer’s Goal: $11MILLION With the Association’s goal of raising $10 million in 2012 within reach, the Convention overwhelmingly approved a new goal of $11 million in 2014. As of August 31, NARFE has raised $9,905,437. The Virginia Federation was honored with an award for raising the most money in the past fiscal year ($85,555). Rounding out the top five federations are Illinois, California, North Carolina and Kansas. The award

for highest per-capita giving went to the Illinois Federation ($7.57). N.W. Chicago Area Chapter 852 was the top chapter in the nation, raising $24,285. The NARFE-Alzheimer’s National Committee met at the Convention and approved three new research projects totalling $579,413, bringing the total number of NARFE-funded research projects to 56 since the program began in 1985. ■

NARFE Praised as Alzheimer’s ‘Leader’

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raising NARFE for what the Association has helped accomplish in the world of Alzheimer’s research, Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, said: “You have heard that, since 1985, you have raised just short of $10 million and are extending that. But what I want you to realize is,” Johns told deleHarry Johns, Alzheimer’s gates, “in the world Association president and CEO of Alzheimer’s research, you are leaders of what has occurred in research over that time period.” Reporting on the latest in Alzheimer’s research, Johns said the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first compound that, while not approved for diagnosis, is approved for ruling out Alzheimer’s. He also told delegates about an important finding on the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. A clinical trial on a potential drug failed to meet its endpoints; but when scientists looked at NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

two separate parts of the trial, they saw for the first time ever what the scientists call a signal – actual improvement for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s. Johns said that the information will go into an extension of that clinical trial and, in about a year, scientists will have an indication if that drug will work in the early stages of the disease.

A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE In remarks both humorous and touching, Manny Najera, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010 at age 75, told delegates about his early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and described what it is like to have the disease.

Najera retired from the U.S. Customs Service and is a member of NARFE Chapter 1473 in El Paso, TX. He currently serves on the Alzheimer’s Association’s Early Stage Advisory Group. He said that his wife, Maggie, first noticed a change in his behavior when he became forgetful and easily aggravated. You can really love your sport or team, said Najera, but “when you start forgetting who your team is and who the players are, and what the statistics are, you need to take a look.” Najera advised that diagnosis is key. “You may not have Alzheimer’s, but do get a diagnosis, and the sooner, the better.” ■ The Convention exhibit hall featured more than two dozen booths for vendors and candidates for office. Here, NARFE Premier Federal Credit Union personnel talk to convention-goers.

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NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future

32nd National Convention

Legislative Outlook:

Tax, Spending Issues Ahead

N

ARFE Legislative Director Julie Tagen advised delegates on what lies ahead in Congress. The lame-duck session of Congress will start on November 13, break for Thanksgiving and then probably go through December 20. Congress needs to determine what to do with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and the payroll tax holiday, other tax issues and sequestration – automatic across-the-board spending cuts. Some believe that Congress will again “kick the can” and wait until next year. A lot depends on the elections, she said. Tagen reported on accomplishments over the last year, including phased retirement and other efforts: 100 inperson meetings on Capitol Hill; 25 letters to Congress from NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin expressing NARFE views; testimony four times before Con-

gress; NARFE on Twitter; and more than 200 news articles reaching more than 200 million through the “Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign. “NARFE has become the go-to source on issues,” said Tagen, and the Association is reacting quickly with creative ways to make news. Through the PAH campaign: More than 500,000 emails were sent to elected officials; 66,000 members sent hand-written letters; and 30,000 phone calls were made to Congress and the White House.

ADVOCACY IN ACTION Tagen also announced the first winner of the “Advocacy in Action” competition, which is designed to encourage and reward grass-roots efforts. Adjusting for size of federation, the firstplace winner, for activity from January through June, is the Kansas Federation.

At the opening ceremonies, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin, left, gave special recognition to Mike Causey, former “Federal Diary” columnist for The Washington Post and current senior correspondent for Federal News Radio. Causey was the keynoter at NARFE’s first NARFE-PAC breakfast. The breakfast drew a crowd of 220 NARFE activists.

The runner-up is Delaware, followed by South Dakota, Idaho and Iowa. The winning federation receives a free registration to the NARFE Legislative Training Conference, March 9-12, 2013. Tagen said more than 26,000 NARFE members have contributed approximately $930,000 to NARFE-PAC, with $600,000 distributed to 116 candidates to date. ■

113th Congress Legislative Program Approved

D

elegates adopted a Legislative Program for the 113th Congress (2013-2014). The Association’s legislative priorities for the 113th Congress are to: • Protect, promote and enhance the integrity and affordability of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). NARFE also will oppose increasing FEHBP participants’ premiums by capping the government’s contribution. • Support adequate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for federal retirement annuities and Social Security.

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NARFE opposes changing the current formula used to calculate COLAs from the CPI-W to the chained CPI-U. NARFE supports changing the standard for determining the COLA from the CPI-W to the CPI-E, which takes into account the rising health care costs of seniors. • Oppose reductions to federal retirement annuities or increases in employee retirement contributions without a corresponding benefit increase. • Support annual pay adjustments to close the pay gap between privateand public-sector workers, and oppose any efforts to extend the two-year fed-

eral pay freeze. • Oppose arbitrary reductions in the federal workforce without a strategic plan to manage the workload. In addition to NARFE’s ongoing legislative objectives, NARFE members added postal issues to the Association’s policy agenda. Specifically, Convention delegates approved three postal-themed resolutions, allowing NARFE to advocate for maintaining six-day mail delivery, keeping small post offices open and giving the U.S. Postal Service fiscal relief from current FEHBP pre-funding requirements. ■ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

It’s on to ORLANDO in 2014, And a return to RENO in 2016 NARFE’s 33rd Biennial National Convention will be August 24-28, 2014, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL. Lanny G. Ross, chair of the 2016 Convention Site Selection Committee, informed delegates that the National Executive Board selected the Grand Sierra Hotel in Reno, NV, for the 2016 National Convention (August 28-September 1). Ross said his committee looked at 31 criteria when evaluating convention venues, including room rate, availability of meeting space and distance from the airport. ■

NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin, left, presents a membership recruitment award to Thomas McKinney of Chapter 2104 in Atlanta, GA. NARFE presented 13 awards to members who had recruited more than 25 members in the two years since the last NARFE National Convention.

FEEA,FLTCIP Updates

A

s is customary, the NARFE Convention featured updates from the heads of the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) and Long Term Care Partners. Steve Bauer, FEEA executive di-

| NOVEMBER 22012 ROC2098NARFEhalfAds.indd NARFE

rector, reported that NARFE has distributed $1,117,373 in disaster relief grants and scholarships since 1995. FEEA administers these two NARFE programs. Paul Forte, chief executive officer of Long Term Care Partners, reported that

the 10-year-old Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program now has 270,000 enrollees, making it the largest private long-term care program in the country. It has had 10,000 claims, has 3,000 active claimants and is paying out more than $6 million a month. ■

61

2/22/11 1:26:11 PM

Out & AW bout ith the Chapters

Visit our online photo gallery at

www.narfe.org. Sign in and click on NARFE Publications.

THREE CANDIDATES. North Carolina Area 1 chapters hosted candidates for two congressional seats at a recent picnic. From left: Mark Meadows, Republican candidate in the 11th District; Patsy Keever, Democratic candidate in the 10th District; Theron Rumsey, president of Chapter 156 in Asheville; Joyce Armstrong, president of Chapter 214 in Hendersonville; and Hayden Rogers, Democratic candidate in the 11th District.

INCUMBENT MEETING. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ, spoke at the August meeting of Chapter 424 in Dover. From left: Ed Gabel, president of Chapter 424; Frelinghuysen; Jerry Rubin, legislative chairman; Val Morgan, 2nd vp; and Al Gonsiska, executive board member.

RUNNING IN NEW DISTRICT. Five chapters in Ohio’s new 10th Congressional District met with the Republican candidate for that seat and current 3rd District Rep. Michael R. Turner. From left: James Mills, president of Chapter 2217; Pat Drake, president of Chapter 610; Michael Webb, president of Chapter 1927; Turner; Joyce Huitt, vice president of Chapter 610; Ray Hines, past president of Chapter 2238; Marilyn Schaub, Ohio Federation Southwest District vp; and Bruce Conner, president of Chapter 2163.

To submit a photo: Email it to rl@narfe.org or send it by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Out & About. NARFE members contributed for Alzheimer’s research:

SUPPORT ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH

$10 Million Fund

$9,905,437* *Total as of August 31, 2012 100% of all contributed funds go to Alzheimer’s research. If you have any questions, write to: National Committee Chairman Jane Rodgers, P.O. Box 234 Wadesville, IN 47638-0234 Email: ajrodgers@tds.net

Enclosed is my NARFE-Alzheimer’s contribution: $ ___________. Every cent that is contributed is used for research. Please circle:

Mr.

Mrs.

NARFE-Alzheimer’s Research and mail to: Alzheimer’s Association 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor Chicago, IL 60601-7633

62

Ms.

Address _____________________________________________________________ City _______________________________ State _________ ZIP ______________ Chapter number _______________________ Credit Card Information: ❑ Visa

Your charitable contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Write your chapter number on check; make it payable to:

Miss

Name _______________________________________________________________

❑ MasterCard

❑ Discover

❑ AMEX

Card Number: __________________________________________________________ Expiration Date:________(mm)/_________(yy) 3-Digit Security Code: _________ Name on Card: (print) ___________________________________________________ Signature:_________________________________________ Date: _______________ NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

1௘2௘5௘:௘(௘*௘,௘$௘1&58,6(/,1(

Hawaii Cruise & Tour 12 Days

Travel with other NARFE members departing March 1, 2013

from

$2098*

Start in Honolulu, Hawaii and exciting Waikiki Beach for one night. The following day board NCL’s Pride of America which offers FreeStyle cruising for the start of your Hawaii Cruise Experience. Sail upon the big, blue, beautiful Pacific to ports in Kahului, Maui (2-days), offering beautiful sea vistas, breathtaking waterfalls and golden beaches; Hilo, the flower capital of Hawaii, and Kona, Hawaii, known for its many island coffee plantations. Continue to Nawiliwili, Kauai, nicknamed the ‘Garden Island’ with glorious stretches of palm-fringed beaches and cruise the Na Pali Coast which is featured in many movies. Disembark in Honolulu, Oahu and enjoy a city tour including the State Capitol and Iolani Palace, Punchbowl Crater, Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Spend a final three days and nights at your leisure in Waikiki.

Romantic Rhine River Cruise Including Dutch Windmills & Germany’s Highlights

14 Days

Join other NARFE members departing April 10 or September 4, 2013

from

$2098*

Start in Berlin, Germany for a four-day tour including east and west Berlin; Checkpoint Charlie; Potsdam; Dresden; Weimar and Düsseldorf. You’ll tour the Rococo Castle (Sansoucci), drive the German Autobahn, and visit many historic sites. Then board the 4-Star TUI Allegra for your cruise of the Rhine’s highlights including Rotterdam; Amsterdam; Nijmegen; Düsseldorf; Cologne; Bonn; the Lorelei passage to Rüdesheim and Frankfurt. Your tour will continue for two more days and nights visiting Heidelberg and Munich, with included sightseeing, before flying home from Munich. Your “brand new” ship the TUI Allegra, constructed in 2011, offers a state-of-the-art, experience! Price includes (very limited) outside Porthole. *Add $250 per person for French Balcony. Plus $300 for September 4 departure date and will embark/disembark in Frankfurt and visit ports in alternate pattern.

Springtime in Italy Tour 11 Days

Travel with other NARFE members departing May 2, 2013

from

$1798*

Fly into the historic city of Rome starting YMT’s new Classic Italy Tour. The next two days you will spend sightseeing this Eternal City including the Colosseum, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, The Vatican City and Sistine Chapel. Travel North and ride up to the ancient town of Orvieto followed by Montecatini Terme, Florence and Pisa where you will see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Continue East to Ravenna, the city of mosaics and the amazing city of Venice, with a sightseeing tour where you will see the Grand Canal. You will then head to Verona, best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake and Lake Maggiore, with an included scenic lake cruise. Your journey concludes in Milan, with highlights including the Piazza del Duomo and La Scala Opera House. *Includes nine breakfasts and six dinners.

Canadian Rockies Tour

Plus . . . Vancouver, Victoria & Seattle

Also includes “Rocky Mountaineer” Rail Trip & Olympic National Park

14 Days

Join other NARFE members departing July 19, 2013

from

$2058*

Start in Seattle; after a morning city tour, take a scenic drive to Spokane and visit The Grand Coulee Dam and Dry Falls. Drive through Coeur d’Alene and Flathead Lake as you head east to “The Big Sky Country” of Montana. Visit sister parks: Glacier National Park, U.S.A. and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Your tour in the heart of the Canadian Rockies will include Banff (two nights), Banff National Park, Glacier fed Peyto Lake and Lake Louise, a “snow coach” ride onto Athabasca glacier, Jasper and Jasper National Park (one night). Continue your drive along the Icefields Parkway and visit Yoho National Park, cross the Continental Divide, and traverse the Canadian Rockies’ western slope through Golden, Revelstoke, and the Lake Okanagan region. In Whistler, board the Rocky Mountaineer train for Vancouver and travel through breathtaking scenery of waterfalls and mountains unavailable by other travel modes. Next, a ferry trip to Vancouver Island with a night in the capital, Victoria, British Columbia. The following morning take another ferry to Port Angeles; tour Olympic National Park and end back in Seattle!

DENALI NATIONAL PARK

Alaska Tour & Cruise 12 Days

Travel with other NARFE members departing July 23, 2013

from

$2198*

Fly to Anchorage to start your land tour of the “best of Alaska’s interior!” Tour includes the Iditarod Headquarters; Talkeetna (made famous in the TV show Northern Exposure); Scenic drive to Denali; Denali National Park and Preserve; city tour of Anchorage; and the scenic drive to Seward. Board your state-of-theart ship the 5-STAR Celebrity Millennium for your seven-day Alaska cruise from Seward, through the Gulf of Alaska, to Hubbard Glacier (the largest tidewater glacier in North America); located on the edge of Mendenhall Glacier, the state capital of Juneau; Skagway (where the gold rush began); uniquely Alaskan, Icy Strait Point; and the fishing village of Ketchikan. You’ll disembark in Vancouver and take the picturesque drive to Seattle for one-night, then fly home.

*Price per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare is extra.

For reservations & details call 7 days a week:

1-800-736-7300

NARFE Perks NARFE Perks are designed to provide NARFE members with a quality option in their search for commonly used products and services. NARFE makes no guarantee on any products and services listed below and encourages its members to shop and compare before making a decision on any financial matter.

MOVING SERVICES

INSURANCE

HEARING BENEFITS

NARFE INSURANCE SERVICES NARFE MEMBER HOMEBENEFITS 1-800-666-9203 http://narfe.myhomebenefits.com • Earn thousands in cash-back rewards when you buy or sell a home* • Shop competitive mortgage rates, receive discounts on closing costs, plus take advantage of your VA Loan Benefits • Receive preferred pricing on interstate moving services with the nation’s most trusted moving company – Allied Van Lines! *State restrictions apply. Call or visit website for details.

BEKINSVAN LINES 1-800-456-6832 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CT) narfe@bekins.com All NARFE members will receive discounted pricing for all interstate shipments. Discount will apply to packing and moving services and valuation protection. All intrastate shipments, locals and international moves will be competitive in cost based on your geographical location. Mention you are a NARFE member and transportation agreement #00930.

VACATION RENTALS

Government Employees Travel Opportunities® Offers government employees, retirees and their families 7-Night Stays for ONLY $349 on accommodations worldwide. Book online at www.getravelop.com/narfe and save on your next vacation stay.

64

1-800-233-5764 Designed and administered by Marsh U.S. Consumer, a service of Seabury & Smith, Inc., exclusively for NARFE members: Senior Whole Life, Term Life, Medicare Supplements, Hospital Income Plan, Short Term Recovery Insurance, Pet Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Cancer Care, Enhanced Dental Insurance and Long Term Care. Go to www.narfeinsurance.com for more information on these programs.

GEICO:1-800-368-2734 NARFE members with good driving records may be eligible for quality automobile insurance from GEICO. Ask about the NARFE discount available to members in many states. Call today for your free, no-obligation rate quote. Be sure to mention that you’re a NARFE member! • Discount amount varies in some states • Discount not available in all states or in all GEICO companies • One group discount applicable per policy.

Two discount programs to choose from: ValueAdd® or MemberPlus®. Similar to a warehouse membership, MemberPlus saves hundreds more for a $108 yearly membership.

MemberPlus also includes: • 45-day, money-back guarantee on membership fee and all purchases • 48 batteries, 3-year warranty, and onetime loss and damage for 3 years (small manufacturer deductible applies) on each purchased hearing aid • Guest membership for up to four extended family members (siblings, parents, etc.) for only $79 each • Combine with an existing health plan hearing benefit to maximize savings Visit TruHearingMemberPlus.com for more information, or call 877-360-2442 Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. East Coast Time

EDUCATION

EMERGENCY SERVICES SINCE 1974 1-800-423-3226 Medical Air Services Association has been the industry leader in prepaid emergency assistance services for more than 30 years. NARFE members have experienced MASA’s “peace of mind” services since 2001. Now NARFE members are entitled to even more: air ambulance transportation, helicopter transportation, ground ambulance, vehicle return, mortal remains transport, and much more! Call MASA Today. It Could Save Your Life!

Want to earn your associate’s degree before you transfer to a four-year school? Ivy Bridge College offers a variety of degree programs that will help put you on the right track. No matter which program you choose, an education with Ivy Bridge will provide you with a solid foundation for a rewarding future. NARFE members and their families can enjoy an exclusive 5 percent savings on tuition at Ivy Bridge, a unique online institution that provides a highly supported pathway to a bachelor’s degree. To learn more, call 877-615-9246 or visit http://ivybridge.tiffin.edu/narfe.

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

HOTELS

CAR RENTALS

CREDIT UNION

CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL With 6,000 hotels in the United States and throughout the world, Choice Hotels® offers something for everyone. Join the Choice Privileges® rewards program and earn points with every qualifying stay toward free nights, Airline Rewards, gift cards and more. As a NARFE member, receive 20% off your next stay at participating hotels when you use Special Rate ID 00801967. This offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations required. To book, visit choicehotels.com or call 800-258-2847.

ALAMO Drive Happy® with Alamo® where NARFE members receive year-round discounts. Call 1-800-462-5266 and reference Contract ID 262544.

NATIONAL You Drive A Hard Bargain. Receive up to 20% off rentals at National Car Rental. To make a reservation call National Car Rental at 1-800-CAR-RENT® and reference Contract ID 5282909.

NARFE’s OFFICIAL CREDIT UNION As a member of NARFE, you have the privilege of joining NARFE Premier Federal Credit Union, which has been serving members since 1935. We offer extensive services at competitive rates to members nationwide. Your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. For more information, call 800-3281500, e-mail jparish@narfepremierfcu. org or visit us at NARFEpremierfcu.org.

CREDIT CARD AVIS:1-800-331-1441

WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP As a member of NARFE, you will receive up to 20% off the “Best Available Rate” at participating locations when you travel. Call and give agent your special discount ID number, 8000002694, at time of booking to receive discount. Whether you are looking for an upscale hotel, an all-inclusive resort or something more cost-effective, we have the right hotel for you... and at the right price. So start saving now. Call our special memberbenefits hotline 1-877-670-7088 and reserve your room today at one of these fine hotels: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Days Inn®, Ramada Worldwide®, Super 8®, Wingate By Wyndham®, Baymont Inns and Suites®, Hawthorn Suites® By Wyndham, Microtel Inns and Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® and Knights Inn®.

NARFE | NOVEMBER 2012

The employees/owners of Avis offer guaranteed low rates and quality services to members of NARFE. Mention ID# A991900.

HEALTH SCREENING

LIFE LINE SCREENING Life Line Screening, America’s leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will conduct the following screenings using state-of-the-art ultrasound technology in your neighborhood: 1. Stroke/Carotid Artery 2. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm 3. Atrial Fibrillation 4. Peripheral Arterial Disease. You will receive a confidential written report within 21 days. Life Line Screening and NARFE encourage you to share these test results with your doctor. All four screenings cost just $135. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-324-9906 and give the operator code number: BKHN075 or visit www.lifelinescreening. com/NARFE. Coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

Bank of America now offers the officially approved credit card program for NARFE, featuring the Platinum Plus® MasterCard® with WorldPoints. This is the only credit card that helps support NARFE every time you use it to make a purchase–at no additional cost to you. Call toll-free 1-866-438-6262 Use NARFE’s full name, not NARFE.

NARFE MERCHANDISE NARFE GENERAL STORE

Order Official NARFE name badges, customizable NARFE logo products and plaques. www.narfegeneralstore.com Call toll-free 855-99NARFE (855-996-2733)

65

For the Record The chart below tracks the CPI-W, the monthly inflation change, and the cumulative percentage gain for the next CSRS and Social Security COLA. CPI-W October 2011 November December January 2012 February March April May June July August September

223.043 222.813 222.166 223.216 224.317 226.304 227.012 226.600 226.036 225.568 227.056

MONTHLY % CHANGE % CHANGE FROM 223.2 -0.29 -0.10 -0.29 +0.5 +0.5 +0.89 +0.31 -0.18 -0.24 -0.20 +0.7

European News Buoys Stocks ByTracey Ray

T

he month of September started out slowly until the European Central Bank announced it would spend an unlimited amount of money to buy the bonds of struggling governments. By supporting bond prices, these purchases will keep interest rates lower than they otherwise would have been, making it less expensive for the weak countries to fund their operations. The news sparked a global stock market rally, and all of the Thrift Savings Plan equity funds rose approximately 2 percent that day. Stocks drifted higher for the rest of the month until weak economic data out of the United States led to the biggest weekly decline in the C Fund since June.

Tracey Ray is chief investment officer of the Thrift Savings Plan. 66

-0.09 -0.19 -0.48 -0.01 +0.49 +1.38 +1.69 +1.51 +1.26 +1.04 +1.71

Inflation Rises in August

T

he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.7 percent in August. To calculate the 2013 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2012 will be averaged for a thirdquarter determinant, which will be compared with the 2011 thirdquarter base of 223.233. The August index of 227.056 is up 1.71 percent from the base. Benefits awarded under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) to individuals suffering work-related injuries or illnesses are adjusted according to each calendar year’s percentage change in the CPI-W. August’s index is 2.20 percent higher than the December 2011 base index of 222.166. ■

Thrift Savings Plan Investments* Month G Fund 0.14% 2011 October November 0.14% December 0.15% 2012 January 0.13% February 0.12% March 0.14% April 0.15% May 0.14% June 0.11% July 0.12% August 0.11% September 0.10% Last 12 Months 1.56%

F Fund 0.11% 0.01% 1.01% 0.88% 0.05% (0.61%) 1.12% 0.91% 0.05% 1.38% 0.07% 0.15% 5.24%

C Fund 10.93% (0.21%) 1.04% 4.50% 4.34% 3.30% (0.62%) (5.99%) 4.13% 1.40% 2.25% 2.57% 30.34%

S Fund 14.09% (0.51%) (0.04%) 7.59% 3.99% 2.30% (0.71%) (6.91%) 3.25% (0.62%) 3.57% 2.51% 30.75%

Month L Income October 2.31% 2011 November 0.02% December 0.20% 2012 January 1.18% February 0.98% March 0.54% April 0.01% May (1.38%) June 1.04% July 0.37% August 0.63% September 0.62% Last 12 Months 6.67%

L 2020 6.18% (0.34%) 0.11% 3.03% 2.53% 1.23% (0.38%) (4.20%) 2.72% 0.63% 1.57% 1.52% 15.22%

L 2030 7.68% (0.49%) 0.09% 3.77% 3.10% 1.49% (0.52%) (5.23%) 3.32% 0.71% 1.94% 1.87% 18.64%

L 2040 8.83% (0.62%) 0.07% 4.34% 3.54% 1.68% (0.63%) (6.00%) 3.77% 0.75% 2.23% 2.12% 21.21%

I Fund 9.48% (2.46%) (2.03%) 5.36% 5.14% 0.13% (1.87%) (11.40%) 7.08% 0.56% 3.29% 2.96% 15.52% L 2050 9.92% (0.78%) (0.01%) 4.87% 3.99% 1.86% (0.78%) (6.85%) 4.27% 0.78% 2.51% 2.38% 23.48%

*This chart is provided as a service to NARFE members who enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan while employed by the federal government. Retirees are not eligible for enrollment. These returns are net of the effect of accrued administrative expenses and investment expenses/costs. Percentages in ( ) are negative. Source: tsp.gov.

NOVEMBER 2012 | NARFE

F

va G RE lue IF E d T at $3 5

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each

Super plush polyester/cotton brushed fleece, features an easy on and off full zip front, handsome collar, banded bottom, two handy chest pockets, and two side pockets. Machine wash and dry. All Sizes, Same Low Price! Order Today!

Pant Sizes: S(30-32) M(34-36) L(38-40) XL(42-44) *Big Men ($3 more per pair): 2XL(46-48) 3XL(50-52) 4XL(54-56) Inseams: XS(25-26) S(27-28) M(29-30) L(31-32) [XL(33-34) inseam available in S, M, L, XL waists only]

On-Line Quick Order:

7W2–Ø1PØE –Ø1P61

6J GREY HEATHER ROYAL 1Ø BLACK Ø1 Ø7 CHARCOAL Ø3 NAVY

PANTS WHAT WHAT HOW WAIST? INSEAM? MANY?

Imported

Shirt Sizes: S(34-36) M(38-40) L(42-44) XL(46-48) 2XL(50-52) 3XL(54-56) 4XL(58-60)

On-Line Quick Order: SHIRTS

EB Ø2 Ø3 6J

HOW 7W2–15A61 WHAT SIZE? MANY?

WINE TAN NAVY GREY

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November 2012 NARFE Magazine