Page 1

For Active and Retired Federal Employees


OCTOBER 2010, Volume 86, Number 10


Trustees Project Medicare Part A Savings


Congress Votes to Extend Increased Medicaid Funding to States

Cover illustration by Barrie Maguire

A House Leader Suggests ‘High-Five’ to Replace ‘High-Three’ in Retirement Calculation

COLUMNS 6 Message From the National President

18 Managing Money


Vying for Power at Midterm: Two political experts look back at historical trends as they look ahead to November’s congressional elections.

20 Live Well 57 From the Secretary’s Desk

58 Report From the Regions


DEPARTMENTS 38 Questions & Answers 59 Out & About 62 For the Record: COLA Chart,TSP Investments

29 How They Voted: 111th Congress Scorecard

48 Open Season Preview

NARFE Resources NARFE-PAC Coupon . . . . . . . .10 MembershipApplication . . . . . .35 Alzheimer’s Coupon . . . . . . . . .59 NARFE Member Perks . . . . . . .60

visit us online at

NATIONAL OFFICERS MARGARET L. BAPTISTE, President Editor Margaret M. Carter Assistant Editor Donna J. St. John Graphic Designer Beth Bedard Contributing Designers Charlene Gridley Jim Richards Editorial Board: Margaret L. Baptiste Joseph A. Beaudoin Nathaniel L. Brown Richard C. Ostergren Editorial Office NARFE, Attn: NARFE magazine 606 North Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Phone: 703-838-7760 Fax: 703-838-7781 E-mail: Advertising Sales Warren Berger Media People Inc. 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 725 New York, NY 10168 212-779-7172, ext. 223 E-mail: National Headquarters NARFE Telephones Open 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday Telephone: 703-838-7760 Fax: 703-838-7785 E-mail: Toll-free phone numbers (specific use only) Member Records: 800-456-8410 Recruitment & Retention: 800-627-3394 Legislative Hotline: 877-217-8234 Web site: 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 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-NEWSLINEÂŽ service at 866-504-7300 or go to www.nfb 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.



REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS REGION I Augie Stratoti (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) 16 Birch Hill Drive Nashua, NH 03063-2537 Tel: 603-889-1073 Fax: 603-882-8144 E-mail: REGION II Charles W. Saylor (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) 205 E. Joppa Road, Apt. 1509 Towson, MD 21286-3225 Tel: 410-938-8783 E-mail: REGION III Robert S. Harrell (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Virgin Islands) 25112 Kingston Drive Athens, AL 35613-7382 Tel, Fax: 256-232-2013 E-mail: REGION IV Paul E. Johnson (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) P.O. Box 234, 7183 Main St. Wadesville, IN 47638-0234 Tel: 812-306-5137 Fax: 812-673-4989 E-mail: REGION V Richard G. Thissen (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) P. O. Box 485 Lake Ozark, MO 65049-0485 Tel: 573-365-5679 Fax: 573-964-5074 E-mail:

REGION VI Jerry D. Hatfield (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) 231 Inwood Road Texarkana, TX 75501-9082 Tel, Fax: 903-832-1120 E-mail: REGION VII Martha E. Leiker (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) 945 W. 96th Ave. Denver, CO 80260-5489 Tel: 303-430-4794 Fax: 720-540-3007 E-mail: REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) 106 Cottonwood Drive Vallejo, CA 94591-5659 Tel: 707-644-7565 Fax: 707-644-5019 E-mail: REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) 7450 Illahee Road, NE Bremerton, WA 98311-9431 Tel: 360-692-9741 Fax: 360-662-0384 E-mail: REGION X Paul H. Carew (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) 637 Fearrington Post Pittsboro, NC 27312-8507 Tel: 919-545-0297 Fax: 919-545-0227 E-mail:

Volume 86, Number 10. 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 $33.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. Contents of this magazine are copyrighted Š 2010. 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.


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A Message From the National President

Thanks for the Memories–Part2


t is a well-known fact that math is not my best subject, but even I can add this. I wrote one column a year for four years when I was a regional vice president, one column a month for four years when I was National Vice President and one column a month for four years as your National President. So that means that this column – my final one in NARFE magazine – is my 100th. It has been a pleasure to think up topics each month and start a dialogue with you. As a result, I have been delighted to hear from so many NARFE members – some who agreed and some who disagreed – but that is what makes us great. Last month, I wrote about our outstanding members. This month, I want to focus on our magnificent staff. We hear from members when they believe that we have done something wrong at Headquarters. But I believe that, more than 99.9 percent of the time, we get it right: We get materials to you on time, provide you with information and answer your e-mails in a timely manner, and represent you well on Capitol Hill. What I should do at this point is name everyone in the building, as they are all so dedicated to working for you, but space doesn’t permit. We have a fantastic Legislative Department, and I have been privileged to work with both Judy Park and Dan Adcock, as well as their assistants, who do a great job. Our Retirement Benefits Service Department, currently headed by David Snell, works very hard responding to queries and compiling the fantastic “Qs & As” section of the magazine. Speaking of the magazine, Margaret Carter and two assistants do an amazing job in getting the magazine out, full of information that every member should read as soon as it arrives in the mail. We have unsung heroes working in our Budget and Finance Department, under director Tayo Coker Polson; in our Recruitment & Retention Department; and in our Member Records Department, under Membership Systems Management Director Ken Doyle. And how can I talk about membership without mentioning Kathy Thigpen in Federation and Chapter Services. When I first became National Vice President and went to federation conventions, members would ask me if I had been lucky enough to meet her – hard not to when we are a closely knit group of 60 people working for you.

The Information Technology Department led by Fred Hamidzada is bringing us into the 21st century and keeping our Web site up to the minute. Gwen Strike runs our excellent print shop and, with her assistants, saves NARFE considerable money with the work they do. Our Director of Operations Wil Speer does a wonderful job with his department to keep things running smoothly, ably assisted by Tim Pembroke and our mailroom, maintenance and reception staffs. Juliet Harding does a great job with the National Convention. And Linda Parsons, our director of human resources, has always been available to fill in wherever she is needed. Working with National Secretary Nat Brown and National Treasurer Dick Ostergren, as well as with Bill Austin and then Joe Beaudoin as National Vice Presidents has been a pleasure. I’ve also enjoyed working with a group of wonderful regional vice presidents. I like to think that, in the eight years I have been privileged to work for you at Headquarters, I have become friends with many of our staff. But let me single out two. I will always remember the wonderful Thanksgiving dinners I spent with Public Relations Director Chuck Timanus and his wife, Terri, and their family. And Membership Director John Clements and his wife, Liz, have become good friends. And, finally, a word of appreciation to the one person to whom it is going to be extremely hard to say goodbye, my truly terrific assistant, Toni Vallario. I once told her that she knew so much about NARFE and did such a great job that she could be president. But she assured me that I could keep my job. Apart from all her office talents, anyone who loves crosswords and thinks Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice is fantastic is tops in my book. I wish the incoming officers and members of the National Executive Board well. I hope they have as great an experience as I have had. Working for NARFE has been one of the high points of a life I could never have imagined when I first came to this country, and I thank you all.

WORKING for NARFE has been one of the high points of a life I could never have imagined.


Margaret L. Baptiste


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Trustees Project Medicare Challenges Part A Savings Ahead for


he new health care reform law has boosted Medicare’s

financial fortunes, lengthening the life of its Part A hos-

Social Security

pital trust fund by more than a decade, according to

■ A growing number of states

the annual reports of trustees of the Medicare and So-

cial Security programs. The $575 billion in Medicare spending reductions contained in the health care reform law would increase the life of the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund from 2017, projected last year, to 2029, the trustees said. The trustees also outlined challenges facing Social Security and projected no cost-of-living adjustment for 2011 (payable in 2012). The trustees released their reports, which outline both short- and longterm financial health of Medicare and Social Security, the two largest federal entitlement programs, on August 5.

MEDICARE SAVINGS Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the other program trustees indicated that the savings estimated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) are dependent on her department implementing provisions “effectively and on time.” They said they were concerned about the possibility that some of the savings could evaporate, since they depend on improved productivity by providers, such as hospitals, to meet the lower Medicare reimburse-


ment rates that are envisioned in the health care reform law. That will require substantial changes in how the health care system operates. Part A is funded through workers’ payroll taxes. About $233 billion of the Medicare savings in the health care law are associated with productivity gains. This means prices paid for health care services by Medicare will grow about 1.1 percent per year more slowly than the increase in prices providers must pay to purchase the goods and services they use to provide health care services. For such productivity gains to be successful in the long run, providers will need to make substantial changes in efficiency. For Medicare Parts B and D, which provide doctors’ services and prescription drugs, financing depends on enrollees’ premiums, cost-sharing and monies from the general revenues of the federal government. The report assumes that Medicare will cut spending

have early voting outside of the absentee voting process. To find out about early voting options available in your state, visit the League of Women Voters electionWeb site at or contact your local board of elections. ■ If you need to change your

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Legislative Report STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Trustees of the Medicare and Social Security

programs issued their annual reports on the financial health of the large entitlement programs. ■ The Medicare Part A fund is now expected to last until 2029,up from the 2017 projected last year. This is due,in part,to savings expected as part of the new health care reform law. ■ The two combined Social Security trust funds are still projected to be exhausted in 2037. ■ No COLA increase was predicted for 2011 (payable 2012),but this is only a projection. for physicians by 30 percent over the next three years, as required by law. In the past, Congress has intervened to prevent such reductions. That intervention, if continued, would add hundreds of billions of dollars to Part B spending. The trustees said a so-called “trigger” point will be reached in fiscal 2010 (October 1, 2009-September 31, 2010), when general revenues from the federal government will account for more than 45 percent of Medicare’s outlays. For the fifth consecutive year, they also issued a funding warning, directing the White House to propose remedial legislation. Under the new health reform law, HHS is to study ways to bring Medicare costs under control through reductions in payments and incentives for efficiencies from service providers. Sebelius said HHS would convene a panel of experts to report on cost-control measures. Critics fault the trustees for counting the savings for reducing Medicare’s expenditures at the same time the administration is counting these savings as paying for the ex-

pansion of health care entitlements to more Americans in the recent reform law. Medicare’s Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, in an addendum to the report, voiced concerns about whether the savings will actually materialize.

SOCIAL SECURITY CHALLENGE Trustees for the Social Security program projected the combined Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance trust funds will be exhausted in 2037, the same as projected in the trustees’ 2009 report. However, the poor economic situation continues to lower current tax revenues going to the program in 2010. From 2012 through 2014, revenues are expected to exceed costs before permanently falling below program costs beginning in 2015, a year earlier than estimated in the trustees’ 2009 report. An additional $5.4 trillion in presentvalue dollars is needed to pay for all of the Social Security program’s scheduled benefits for the next 75 years. “We expect that the annual gap between Social Security tax receipts and benefit expenditures will begin to grow rapidly beginning in 2015,” said Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, a trustee. Social Security trust fund earnings are expected to cover the gap for a few years. But, ultimately, trust fund assets must be tapped if current projections hold, and new policies are not adopted, she said. The trustees also see no inflation in 2011 and, therefore, no increase in the Consumer Price Index or the granting of a cost-of-living increase for beneficiaries in 2012. Currently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts a tiny increase in prices. It will issue a revised forecast in January.

I support NARFE•PAC, the Retiree’s Fund for the Future Enclosed is my NARFE-PAC contribution: $ Federal law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 in a calendar year.

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Legislative Report

A House Leader Suggests ‘High-Five’ To Replace ‘High-Three’ Calculation


or several months, a House leader has encouraged visitors to his Web site to vote on five specific proposals to cut federal spending. Eric I. Cantor, R-VA, the House Minority Whip, hosts the site at In July, a proposal to cut federal civilian retirement annuities by basing them on the highest five years of salary – instead of the highest three years – was ranked as the second most popular reduction option on his Web site. At press time, the “high-five” proposal was no longer on the site. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this plan is estimated to result in future Civil Service Retirement System retirees, on average, receiving $1,424 less annually in 2010 and $7,148 less over five years. Future Federal Employees Retirement System retirees would receive $462 less in 2010 and $2,322 less over five years. A proposal made in May to deny federal workers a modest 1.4-percent pay raise in 2011 continues to be promoted as part of the “You Cut” campaign (http://republican In May and June, NARFE helped to defeat four attempts to freeze federal employees’ pay. At press time, legislators supporting the pay freeze vowed to offer the proposal as an amendment to other must-pass legislation. However, no at-

Sign Up for Hotline


he fastest way to receive the most up-to-date information on the high-five proposal and other important legislative issues is through the NARFE Legislative Hotline. To receive the Hotline automatically by e-mail: • Call 800-456-8410 and ask that your e-mail address be added to your membership record or send the same request to;or • Change your own record by visiting the membership section of the NARFEWeb site at In addition, the Hotline is available toll-free at 877217-8234 and is posted to the NARFE Home Page every week that Congress is in session.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ U.S.Rep.Eric I.Cantor,the House MinorityWhip,is

encouraging visitors to hisWeb site to vote on five proposals to cut federal spending. ■ In July,the second most popular proposal was to cut federal retirement annuities by basing them on the highest five years of salary,instead of the current three years. ■ NARFE opposes any attempt to enact this proposal. ■ Learn about any other threats by signing up to get the weekly NARFE Legislative Hotline by e-mail. tempt had been made to add the high-five proposal to such legislation. NARFE has opposed – and will continue to oppose – any attempt to add these proposals as amendments to legislation being considered by Congress. NARFE President Margaret L. Baptiste said, “Some lawmakers are exploiting our fiscal and political situation by unfairly attacking the federal government’s most valuable asset – its workers and retirees. NARFE members cannot sit on the sidelines while politicians use our earned compensation and ‘bureaucrats’ as an easy ‘whipping boy.’ In fact, we need to be especially vigilant as the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform considers which spending cuts it will recommend to Congress.” In the past, when word spread that lawmakers were contemplating a high-five plan, some federal workers considered retiring before the proposal could become law. At least for now, the high-five option is just a proposal, and no federal employee should make a decision regarding his or her retirement based on the suggestion by some members of Congress that the federal civilian retirement formula should be changed. NARFE members will be alerted if and when Congress seriously considers any retirement or health benefit reductions. To keep informed on this and other potential threats to your benefits, see the sidebar at left on how to get NARFE’s Legislative Hotline.

By Dan Adcock,Legislative Director



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Legislative Report

Congress Votes to Extend Increased Medicaid Funding to States


ongress has approved extending increases in federal funding for state Medicaid programs. Medicaid is the only government program that provides comprehensive, long-term care services to severely disabled Americans. Depending on the level of per capita income in a state, the federal government contributes between 50 and 76 percent of the cost of Medicaid, with the higher cost-sharing amounts going to the lower income states, using a formula known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). In 2009, the economic stimulus bill prevented possible reductions in the federal match as a result of the recession and increased the amount sent to states by 6.2 percent, with a larger increase for states with significant unemployment. These provisions were originally scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. In a letter to all 100 senators before their August 5 vote, NARFE President Margaret L. Baptiste wrote: “The extension of the federal Medicaid matching rate will provide relief to millions of Americans and provide a brief respite to state budgets nationwide.” The bill provides $16.1 billion in Medicaid funds through June 30, 2011, or the end of the 2010 fiscal year for many states. As most states’ fiscal years begin on July 1, the lack of an extension would have come in the middle of most states’ budget cycles. Also included in the bill extending the FMAP increases is an additional $10 billion in funding for public school teachers and other public employees. Economists have projected that as many as 900,000 public- and private-sector jobs could be affected by state budget cuts, including cuts in health care providers and hospitals. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 29 states had already incorporated the expected additional Medicaid funds into their fiscal year 2010 budgets. While some states established contingency plans in case the FMAP extension did not pass, many did not. Because the majority of states must balance their budgets, the loss of millions of dollars in midcycle would result in governors and state legislators having to re-examine their budgets in the middle of the fiscal year. With a sudden need to cut millions of dollars, many feared that governors and


STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Congress has approved,and the president has

signed,a bill that extends increases in federal funding to states for Medicaid programs through June 2011. ■ Medicaid is the only government program that provides comprehensive,long-term care services to severely disabled Americans. ■ NARFE supported the action,saying it will provide relief to millions of Americans and a brief respite to state budgets. state legislators would reduce benefits, trim provider payment rates or increase cost-sharing within Medicaid. Currently, Medicaid provides the only option available to people who require long-term services but do not have the means or insurance to pay for it. To qualify for Medicaid, participants have to spend down to the poverty level to reach income requirements. Medicaid also provides limited home and community-based services. The extension of benefits is paid for in the legislation. The original proposal would have extended the additional funding at its current rate for the six-month period. In an effort to gain additional support and lower the cost, the extension, as passed, will phase out funding over the sixmonth period. For the first quarter of 2011 (January through March), states will receive a 3.2-percent increase from prestimulus formulas. The second quarter will provide states with a 1.2-percent increase. With the funding now law, some states that relied on the full extension will have to adjust their budgets but not as drastically as if there had been no further funding at the end of 2010. With regard to Medicaid, NARFE’s Legislative Program for the 111th Congress (2009-2010) states, “NARFE supports … adequate state and federal contributions to Medicaid to finance current and future program needs . . . .” The Senate approved the bill just before departing Washington for the August congressional recess. The House, which had already adjourned for the month-long recess, returned to Washington on August 10 for final passage of the measure. President Obama signed it into law on August 11.

By Sarah Holstine,Legislative Specialist OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

Direct from Locked Vaults to U.S. Citizens!

Original U.S. Gov’t Morgan Silver Dollars

Of all the coins ever struck by the U.S. Gov’t, none have so captured our imaginations the way Morgans have. Perhaps it’s because Morgan Silver Dollars are so much a part of our heritage – that striking image of Lady Liberty has been with us since 1878, a time when America was only 38 states big, and much of our country was raw frontier. Morgan gleaming silver dollars saw us through two World Wars. They fueled periods of wealth and helped us survive the struggle of the Great Depression. Of course, they gained even more notoriety in the casinos of the Old West and then again, in the casinos of the new Las Vegas. Most of all, they are a constant symbol of America. So, I invite you to sample some of these magnificent Morgan Silver Dollars. Enjoy them. Protect them. Celebrate them. What better way to hold your history, our history, America’s history in the palm of your hand! Sincerely,

Angela Marie (Bay) Buchanan 37th Treasurer of the United States of America Co-Director, NCM Board of Advisors

National Collector’s Mint announces a special limited release of 3,244 Morgan Silver Dollars 89132 years old at $19.90 each. Several prominent national dealers charge from $10 to $30 MORE for a comparable Morgan S i l ve r D o l l a r. T h e s e Morgans are among the last surviving originals still in existence, and each coin is

guaranteed to be in mostly Brilliant Uncirculated to Fine condition. Due to volatile fluctuations in the precious metals market, price can be guaranteed @ $19.90 each for one week only! MARKET CONDITIONS The last time silver hit $50 an ounce, China was a poor, underdeveloped


INVESTMENT Increasing prices of precious metals make every Morgan Silver Dollar more valuable. But


Jan. 2003 – June 2010




US$ per ounce



$4.78 Jan 09

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Hello, I’m Angela Marie Buchanan. You might know me as Bay Buchanan. I was appointed by Ronald Reagan to be the 37th Treasurer of the United States… maybe you’ve seen my signature on some of the bills in your wallet. So, you can understand why our nation’s coins are vitally important to me. That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to announce this release of Morgan Silver Dollars by National Collector’s Mint.

nation. Now, the Chinese are rich and using three times as much silver! Will this drive the price of silver back to $50 or even higher? One thing is certain – increased demand and reduced supply have seen silver prices rise to over $20 per ounce – that’s triple in the last five years, and a 40% increase in the last year alone! As a result, demand for silver coins rose an astounding 63%, but you can get these Morgans for the same price we charged five years ago, just $19.90 each!

Jan 03


Silver Dollar identifies his masterwork. And, of course, Morgan Silver Dollars have not been minted for 89 years and are no longer in circulation. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and a limit of 100 coins per customer will be strictly adhered to. Timely mail orders will be accepted if directed to: National Collector’s Mint, Dept. 6371, 8 Slater St., Port Chester, NY 10573. THIS OFFER MAY BE WITHDRAWN AT ANY TIME WITHOUT N OT I C E AT T H E SOLE DISCRETION OF NCM.

You may order one Morgan for $19.90 plus $4 s, h & ins., 3 for $66.70 ppd., 5 for $109 ppd., 10 for $212 ppd., 20 for $417 ppd., 50 for $1025 ppd., 100 for acquiring your own private $2025 ppd. 30-Day Money cache of Morgan Silver Back Guarantee. Dollars is a long term investment in so much National Collector’s Mint, more... in history... in Inc. is an independent, American heritage... in the private corporation not splendid rendering of Miss affiliated with, endorsed, or Liberty’s profile by designer licensed by the U.S. governGeorge T. Morgan, whose ment or the U.S. Mint. “M” mark on every Morgan Offer not valid in CT and MT.

1-800-799-MINT ASK FOR EXT. 6371 © 2010 NCM, Inc. AB-B89

Managing Money

Equity-Indexed Annuities By Mark A. Keen, CFP®


quity-indexed annuities are a type of fixed annuity, but they are different from other fixed annuities because of the way they credit an annuity’s value. Rather than crediting interest based on a specified fixed rate, equity-indexed annuities offer the opportunity to receive interest credits associated with annual changes in stock and bond indices without the risk (i.e., losing money) of directly participating in stock, bond or equity investments. Equity-indexed annuities provide a guaranteed minimum interest rate in the event the linked index consistently performs poorly, resulting in no interest credits to the annuity. While the basic concept is simple, the variety of features and terms makes them anything but that. Let’s look at some of the most common features. For starters, there are several different approaches to measuring the amount of change, if any, in the index (which determines how much interest you receive), often called the indexing method or interest-crediting strategy. Two of the more common methods are annual point-to-point and monthly point-to-point. Annual point-to-point credits the interest based on the entire percentage change for the year in the selected index. For example, if the index’s percentage change were 10 percent, the interest credited to the equity-indexed annuity contract value would be 10 percent, subject to any applicable participation rate, cap rate or spread (discussed in greater detail later). With the monthly point-to-point, the amount of interest credited is based on


the sum of the 12 monthly percentage changes (positive and negative) in the index. Positive returns are subject to a monthly cap rate (1.5 to 2 percent is common), while negative returns have no downside limit. As a result, negative monthly changes may cause the index credit for this strategy to be zero for the contract year, even if the overall annual index change is positive. As previously mentioned, the amount of interest ultimately credited to the equity-indexed annuity will likely be subject to either a participation rate, cap rate, spread or combination. A participation rate decides how much of the increase in the index will be used to calculate the indexlinked interest. For example, if the calculated change in the index were 10 percent, and the participation rate were 70 percent, the interest credited would be 7 percent. A cap rate puts an upper limit (or cap) on the index-linked interest rate. In the above example, if the equity-indexed annuity had a cap rate of 6 percent, the interest credited would have been capped at 6 percent, not 7 percent. Besides choosing your index-crediting strategy, you’ll have to choose which index you want to link to. Some insurance companies may offer only one option, such as the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500, but other companies may offer many more. Many companies also offer a pre-

mium bonus version, which provides a bonus on the amount you invest in the contract. For example, a company offering a 10-percent bonus would credit your contract value $10,000 with a $100,000 investment. Bear in mind that equity-indexed annuities that have premium bonuses will likely have lower cap rates and/or participation rates than their non-bonus annuity counterparts. It’s possible that, over time, if the linked index performs well, the non-bonus annuity with the higher cap rate could be worth more. Another optional benefit is a living benefit, commonly called the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB). For an additional cost (ranging from 0.40 to 0.50 percent and up), you can elect a GMWB that provides guaranteed income for life based on what’s referred to as the guaranteed withdrawal base and the guaranteed annual withdrawal rate. One attractive feature of the living benefit is the annual credits to the withdrawal base in the years that no withdrawals are taken. For example, for a period of time, say, for the first 10 years of the policy, a company may offer a 7-percent annual credit to the withdrawal base in the years no withdrawals are taken. Note: The withdrawal base is not the contract value, and it is only relevant when you take withdrawals at the guaranteed annual withdrawal rate. If you want to cash out, you would receive the contract value, less any applicable surrender charge.

THE EQUITYINDEXED ANUITY is another arrow in your quiver and may help you achieve your goals.


For example, let’s assume that a 60year-old puts $100,000 in an equity-indexed annuity and elected the living benefit, with 7 percent annual credits. We’ll also assume that he or she didn’t start withdrawals until the 11th year, and the interest credits to the contract value based on the linked index averaged 5 percent per year. At the end of the 10th year, the contract value would be worth $162,889, and the withdrawal base would be worth $196,715. In the 11th year, when the then 70-year-old wants to begin taking withdrawals, the amount of the guaranteed income will be based on the guaranteed withdrawal rate (6 percent is common for a 70-yearold) and the withdrawal base. In this example, the guaranteed lifetime income would be $11,803 per year. The withdrawals come from the contract value,

which would continue to receive interest credits based on the linked index. Any contract value left when the owner dies would pass to the beneficiaries. Terms and benefits will vary widely from company to company, so it’s important to compare multiple companies to find one that best fits your circumstances and objectives. It’s also important to pay attention to the surrender period and charge applied if you cash out of the contract before the surrender period is up. Be careful: Some companies have surrender periods stretching out 17 to 20 years and surrender charges starting as high as 20 percent in the early years of the contract. With that said, most reputable insurance companies offer a more reasonable six- to 10year surrender period. As with other insurance products,

the guarantees in equity-indexed annuities are only as good as the company backing them. It’s critical to consider only financially strong, highly rated companies. There is no silver bullet for retirees seeking income or growth with safety. However, the equity-indexed annuity is another arrow in your quiver and, when implemented within a sound investment strategy, may help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is president and owner of Bennett Financial Advisors in Fairfax,VA, and an investment adviser representative and registered representative of The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Securities and advisory services are offered through SFA. E-mail:

Personal Bests Eleanor Isaacson,

Yours and Ours

Champion Ballroom Dancer and Willow Valley Resident

At Willow Valley, we believe in personal bests. That’s why we offer so many opportunities to achieve them. Our personal best? Helping you stay healthy and vibrant through Lifecare, a comprehensive approach to long-term care at no additional cost. Visit our Web site to read Eleanor’s story and to learn about Lifecare.

1-800-770-5445 | Lancaster, PA 1-800-770-5445 NARFE | OCTOBER 2010 19

Live Well

A Dry Eye in the House? By Marilyn S. Radke, M.D.


ry eye syndrome occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are abnormal and evaporate too quickly. If the surface of the eye becomes inflamed and goes untreated, the condition can lead to pain, ulcers or scars on the cornea (the transparent membrane covering the front part of the eyeball) and vision loss. While the syndrome rarely causes permanent vision loss, it can make reading or computer use difficult and a dry environment, such as the air inside an airplane, more uncomfortable. The lacrimal glands are located in the eyelids and constantly produce tears to moisten the surface of the eye, wash away dust and debris, and protect the eye from infections. Dry eye can result when the lacrimal glands produce insufficient tears, or a disease process alters the normal makeup of tears. There are two types of dry eye syndrome: Aqueous tear-deficient: The lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery part of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface. Evaporative: The meibomian glands located in the eyelids become inflamed and fail to produce the oily part of tears that maintains the tears and slows evaporation. Dry eye is associated with: • Inflammation of the eye’s surface, lacrimal and meibomian glands, or


conjunctiva (the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye); • Conditions that cause abnormal tears; • Increased eye surface, as when the eyes protrude due to thyroid disease; and • Cosmetic surgery if the eyelids are opened too widely.

• Diseases of the glands of the eyelids; • Premature menopause; • Hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone; • LASIK surgery to correct vision (symptoms generally last three to six months but may last longer); • Burns from chemicals, radiation or

THERAPY FOR dry eye depends on the cause and could involve stopping or limiting contact lens wear, or switching lens type. Symptoms include: • Burning or stinging of the eye; • Sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye; • Excess tearing after very dry eye periods; • Stringy discharge from the eye; • Pain and redness of the eye; • Blurred vision; • Heavy eyelids; • Inability to cry; • Uncomfortable contact lenses; • Decreased tolerance for sustained visual attention (reading, computer work); and • Eye fatigue. Risk factors are: • Age (50 years and older); • Female gender; • Medications – antihistamines, decongestants, tranquilizers, antidepressants, and medicines for high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease; • Skin diseases on or around the eyelids;

heat that scar the conjunctiva; • Allergies; • Lack of blinking – as from staring at computer or video screens; • Excessive or insufficient dosages of vitamins; • Homeopathic remedies; • Loss of sensation in the cornea from long-term contact lens wear; • Immune system disorders – Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; • Chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva from disease, infection, chemical fumes and tobacco smoke, or drafts

To Learn More


or more information, write to the National Eye Institute Information Office,31 Center Drive MSC 2510,Bethesda,MD 20892-2510;or call 301-496-5248; or visit the Web site at



Marilyn S. Radke, M.D., is board certified in preventive medicine and practices in Atlanta, GA. NARFE | OCTOBER 2010

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from air conditioning or heating; and • Exposure keratitis (the eyelids do not close completely during sleep). Therapy for dry eye depends on the cause and involves symptom relief, as follows: • Treatment of underlying conditions (Sjögren’s syndrome, lacrimal and meibomian gland dysfunction); • Switching from a medication that causes the dry eye side effect; • Stopping or limiting contact lens wear, or switching lens type; • Anti-inflammatory medications (cyclosporine, corticosteroid eye drops); • Painless, lacrimal plugs (or punctal plugs) to block the drainage holes at the inner corners of the eyelids where tears drain from the eye into the nose; • Simple surgery (punctal cautery) to close the drainage holes for tears permanently; and • Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) from supplements or dietary sources (salmon, tuna) to decrease irritation. Over-the-counter artificial tears, gels, gel inserts and ointments may provide temporary relief. Avoid products with preservatives, if used more than four times a day, or chemicals that constrict blood vessels. Wear glasses that fit close to the face or have side shields, or wraparound sunglasses, to slow tear evaporation. Use a humidifier to add moisture, and an air cleaner to filter dust and particles from indoor air, as needed. Rest your eyes and apply lubricating eye drops during long periods of computer or video use. If you have symptoms of dry eye syndrome, consult your doctor to avoid permanent damage and keep your eyes healthy.

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VYING FOR at Midterm

Two political experts use history to analyze Novemberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s congressional elections

n o t n i l C r o n a g a e ? Will R 0 1 0 2 r o f l e d o M e be th By Norman J. Ornstein

On election eve 2008, Democrats were euphoric, and Republicans were shell-shocked and depressed. But even in the euphoria that surrounded Barack Obama’s historic election – and even with a raft of pundits predicting the end of the Republican Party as we knew it – savvy Democrats were bracing for the jolt likely to hit their party and their president two years hence, with those same shellshocked Republicans the beneficiaries. American midterm elections have a metronomic quality to them; almost invariably, the president’s party loses seats. As a rule, the bigger the gain in seats in the presidential election, the greater the vulnerability to big losses the next time – more seats won from the other party that become less hospitable territory without the excitement and momentum of the presidential race. In the case of 2010, Democrats’ earlier successes created a double whammy: The public desire for change had crystallized in 2006, George W. Bush’s second midterm, and Republicans suffered losses big enough in both houses of Congress to lose the majorities they had held for a dozen years. But in 2008, with change sentiment exploding, they suffered a second consecutive big loss – the first time since the early 1930s that a party had lost more than 20 seats in the House in two consecutive elections. Three in a row would be utterly unprecedented. So the question political historians were asking among themselves as Obama’s Inaugural approached was not, “Would Democrats lose seats in November 2010?” It was, “Would the Illustration by Barrie Maguire

losses be more like those suffered by Ronald Reagan’s Republicans in his first midterm in 1982, or more like those of Bill Clinton’s Democrats in 1994?”

TWO PRESIDENTS, TWO OUTCOMES Reagan and his congressional allies had won a sweeping landslide victory in 1980, gaining a robust 33 seats in the House to reach the GOP high since the early 1950s, while their double-digit gain in the Senate gave Republicans their first majority in more than a quarter century. But facing a sagging economy in 1982, with 10.8 percent unemployment as the midterms approached, the Republicans lost back 26 seats, the bulk of their 1980 House gain. However, they actually eked out a one-seat gain in the Senate to leave Reagan very much in the game. Clinton, on the other hand, got barely over 43 percent of the popular vote in 1992, and his congressional Democrats actually lost seats in the House, although still leaving them with sizable majorities in both bodies. But the perception that a single party in charge in Washington had led not to unified ac-

tion but partisan bickering and gridlock – fueled by the failure for eight months after his Inaugural to get Clinton’s signature economic plan through Congress and then the spectacular flameout of the Clinton health reform initiative — brought a huge backlash in the 1994 midterm. The political problem for Clinton’s Democrats was self-inflicted. Republicans voted uniformly against Clinton’s initiatives, starting with the economic plan; but Democrats, despite having enough members in both houses to get things done on their own, could not keep their party together on key votes. They lost 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate, and, with that, they lost their majorities, not to regain them for a dozen years.

COMPARISONS On the surface, Obama’s election looked a lot more like Reagan’s than Clinton’s. Moreover, unlike Clinton, Obama started his legislative policy march swiftly with a victory on his economic recovery plan, a massive stimulus to jumpstart an exceedingly sick economy. But signs of trouble were


there in that initial victory. Despite his party’s landslide, an economy teetering at the abyss of depression and deflation, and a new president with a 70-percent approval rating, Obama could not get a single Republican in the House to vote for his stimulus package barely more than three weeks into his presidency – Clinton era déjà vu all over again – and had to wheel and deal strenuously to get three Republican votes in the Senate. Ominously, however, he needed all three because the remaining Republicans vowed to filibuster the emergency stimulus, signaling that the year ahead was destined for regular partisan division and the need for 60 votes, rather than 50, for almost everything brought up in the Senate. At the same time, the continuing sluggishness in the economy, along with intractable unemployment numbers hovering near 10 percent (with actual unemployment, including those no longer even looking for work, closer to 17 percent) brought a simmering public anger and a blossoming populist backlash. The backlash had actually started in the fall of 2008, before the presidential election, with the major Bush administration effort at triage to save a desperately ill economy, the TARP program. Even though it was supported by both presidential candidates and both parties’ congressional leaders, TARP initially failed and then barely made it through Congress, generating major public anger. To voters, Washington was using workers’ tax dollars to bail out the fat cats who had caused the housing collapse that sank the economy and devastated the safety net most Americans thought they had in their houses. Then, adding insult to injury, they watched the same miscreants take multimillion dollar bonuses instead of being tarred and feathered, and


ridden out of town on a rail. When the Obama administration began with a massive stimulus opposed bitterly by the other party, promising swift economic recovery that did not happen, and followed that with a bailout of the automobile industry (whose CEOs had distinguished themselves earlier by each flying a private jet to Washington to beg for $16 billion in taxpayer money), the populist reaction hit Democrats hard. Voters did not distinguish between the Bush-led TARP effort and the Obama stimulus or auto bailout; it was all Washington elites taking care of other elites at the expense of the rest of us. At the same time, the perennial problem of response to a faltering economy bit Obama and the Democrats. In a downturn, most people commendably cut back on spending and try to save more in case things get worse. Government’s appropriate response is the opposite – spend like drunken sailors and cut taxes to stimulate growth. Convincing voters that this counterintuitive response is in fact the right thing to do is always hard, but much harder when voters have gone from skepticism about Washington’s actions to outright cynicism. Those actions were, in turn, followed by months of partisan rancor, uniform GOP opposition in Congress and on conservative cable TV, talk radio and blogs to every element of the Obama agenda, and a dramatic increase in filibusters, even on routine and consensus matters in the Senate – part of a Republican strategy to eat up as much precious floor time as possible to put a serious crimp in the Democrats’ agenda. If all that Sturm und Drang had been accompanied by 3- or 4-percent economic growth and unemployment dropping toward 8 percent, Democrats would be looking toward November 2010 as

Reagan midterm redux – perhaps a loss of somewhere near the 20 House seats they picked up in 2008 and a wash in the Senate. Instead, Democrats have been quietly fearful of a midterm much closer to Clinton’s 1994 nightmare.

DIFFERENCES To be sure, 2009 and 2010 have had two characteristics dramatically different from 1993-94. One is the absence of scandal and White House turmoil, something that hit the Clinton White House from the beginning, with the travel office controversy and gays in the military, followed by Whitewater and other controversies that sidetracked the president and his staff at critical times early in Clinton’s tenure. The second is dramatic legislative success, made all the more striking by the intransigent minority opposition, the closest we have seen to a parliamentary minority party in our lifetimes. But Obama’s Democrats, unlike Clinton’s, were able to maintain an impressive discipline, enough to pass the most wide-ranging and consequential set of agenda items, at least, since the Great Society 89th Congress of Lyndon Johnson’s time. To no avail politically. The extended, bitter process of legislating – despite landmark achievements, from health reform to Wall Street reform, to credit card reform to a stimulus package that included one of the largest tax cuts in history, and major advances in areas like health information technology, enhancement of a smart grid, expansion of alternative energy development and sizable moves toward the universal availability of broadband – left a bad taste in voters’ mouths. Activist liberal Democrats, unhappy with the president’s stand on Afghanistan and surveillance to thwart terrorists, his failure to close GuanOCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

If the 111th Congress was one of the most productive in our lifetimes, the 112th is likely to be one of the most gridlocked. tanamo or to erase “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and his willingness to compromise on things like a public option on health insurance, became disillusioned and depressed. Activist conservative Republicans and the activist populist conservatives who call themselves Tea Party adherents became angrier and angrier. Independents, including many who switched from GOP to independent self-identification in reaction against the Bush presidency and the Tom DeLay-dominated congressional Republicans, became increasingly disaffected. And nearly all voters’ views of Congress tanked, leaving the First Branch of Government with an 11-percent approval rating just 100 days out from the November elections.

NO SURE THING Even so, Democratic loss of control in either house of Congress is far from a sure thing. In 1994, there were 48 retirements in the House, and Democrats lost 21 of the open seats that resulted. In 2010, there are only 40 retirements – but only 18 of them are Democrats, meaning fewer opportunities for GOP pickups in the most vulnerable spots, without well-financed and well-known incumbents running. Republicans have a sizable money edge in those open seats; but Democratic incumbents, unlike many in 1994, know there is a major risk of an electoral tsunami against them and have girded for that possibility for more than a year, raising money and building their local organizations. In some House and Senate seats, establishment Republican candidates able to appeal to moderate voters were upended by Tea Party activists with more controversial views and less campaign experience, making vulnerable NARFE | OCTOBER 2010

Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid less vulnerable. In a few other cases, Tea Party activists have gotten on the ballot as third-party alternatives, splitting conservative voters and enhancing Democrats’ prospects. Still, these micro-factors have to be balanced off against the stiff headwind faced by Democrats in a very tough year; if they could hold their losses to 30 in the House and five or six in the Senate, Democrats would be ebullient. With at least 70 House seats and a dozen Senate seats now held by Democrats in play, those losses could be much higher, leading to the loss of the majority in the House and a paper-thin margin in the Senate (along with a tiny chance of a GOP majority in the Senate). Events in the final weeks of a campaign can make the difference between a loss of 30 seats in the House and of 40 – and that is the difference between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Speaker John A. Boehner. Either way, there is a sobering reality ahead. Big Republican gains in Congress, after the disastrous position Republicans were in after the 2008 elections, will convince GOP leaders and rank-and-filers that the approach they used in the 111th Congress worked like a charm – and to double-down on it to move to win the whole enchilada in 2012. That approach was to join forces to vote “no” on nearly every major or minor Obama initiative, to slow down or disable those that still managed to get the votes to pass, and to “slow-walk” a large share of Obama executive and judicial nominees awaiting confirmation in the Senate.

GRIDLOCK AHEAD If the 111th Congress was one of the most productive in our lifetimes, the

112th is likely to be one of the most gridlocked. Democrats in the House will move collectively to the left, as many of the most vulnerable in a bad election cycle are members of the Blue Dog centrist coalition, but enough Blue Dogs will be left that the Democrats on the left will not be able to pass legislation without them, leading to major internal headaches for them. Republicans in the House will move even more to the right, with the departure of moderates like Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware and the infusion of many new members supported by or recruited through the Tea Party movement. The Senate will have a narrower party majority, with Democrats having less ability to attain the 60 votes necessary to overcome filibusters. For Barack Obama, the challenge will be to alter his modus operandi, from one focused around passing major legislation to one focused on the use of executive power via executive orders and regulations. There will be a major burden placed both on presidential executive appointees and on top career federal executives. Expect a lot of resistance from Congress and a lot of litigation over the limits of executive power – and a major role for the Roberts Supreme Court. The last two years have been tumultuous in our economics and our politics. Fasten your seatbelts; the ride is likely to be even rockier in the two years ahead.

Norman J. Ornstein is a political scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. He spoke at the 2009 NARFE Legislative Training Conference. 25

e h t d n a y Histor y t r a P r e w o P f o t u O

By Thomas M. Davis III

As the November elections approach, it is clear that the Republican Party will make major gains in both houses of Congress. While many pundits are quick to point the finger at the White House or congressional party leaders for any failure, I believe it is important to underscore the “out-of-power” party’s gains in a broader, more historical context. Rep. Chris Van Hollen Jr., the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman who led them to their 2008 gains, warned early on that 2010 was likely to be a difficult year, regardless of how the administration performed.

HISTORICAL OFF-YEAR TRENDS In all but three cycles over the last 160 years, the party occupying the White House has lost House seats in midterm elections. In 40 off-year elections, only three have witnessed House seat gains by the president’s party. This trend occurs for many reasons. First, it is common that, when a president is swept into office (and displaces the other party), his victory provides “coattails” to congressional candidates, providing a margin of victory to ticket mates who otherwise would not have been elected. Two years later, without the president’s coattails, those House members cannot hold their seats. This factor is certainly at work in 2010. In 2008, President Barack Obama provided a wave of surge voters who


dominated urban areas, majorityminority areas and college towns. Many of these voters were first-time voters inspired by the “change” theme of his campaign. While these voters were out voting for Obama, they also cast votes for the rest of the Democratic ticket, electing many Democrats who otherwise would have lost. This year, with Obama not on the ballot, these voters are less likely to cast ballots, and the Democrats elected in 2008 must face a different pool of voters. As an example, exit polls in the Virginia governor’s race in 2009 showed that a majority of the 2009 voters had cast a McCain ballot in 2008. So, even though Obama had carried the state by 230,000 votes the year before, many of his voters stayed home in 2009. Republicans, discouraged in 2008, were aroused in 2009 and will be aroused in 2010. This coattail loss also puts Democrats in marginal districts in a dilemma. If they support Obama’s agenda, they risk alienating swing voters who are currently unhappy with the direction of the country; but if they oppose the president, it makes it more difficult to

engage and turn out the surge voters who made their elections possible in the first place.

PRESIDENTIAL POPULARITY As the table on page 27 shows, in addition to the coattail effect, a president’s popularity has a major impact over midterm congressional losses for a president’s party. The more popular the president, the less likely voters are to take it out on his party in the midterm elections. The more popular the president, the fewer the losses. Note that high unemployment and low popularity for a president have traditionally put his party in jeopardy at the midterm. I also would note that a heavy midterm loss does not translate into a defeat for a president’s re-election two years later. Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Truman all went through midterm thrashings only to be reelected two years thereafter. The Reagan example is illustrative. Heavy unemployment, low favorable ratings and a big midterm loss in 1982 gave way to “Morning in America” and a 49state sweep in 1984. OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

ONE-PARTY CONTROL Recent history has shown that when one party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress, midterm losses tend to be exaggerated. The reason for this is that voters who are unhappy tend to focus their blame on the party holding the levers of power. The last two midterms when one party controlled both executive and legislative branches was in 2006 and 1994. In both cycles, the “out” party took control of both houses of Congress, defying many prognosticators. In fact, in 1994 and 2006, no incumbent member of the minority party lost his or her reelection bid for the House, Senate and governorship! The voter anger was focused on the majority party. In essence, angry voters wanting to cast a protest vote are unlikely to vote for the ruling party. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. In 1978, majority Democrats sustained only modest losses. Although the Democrats lost eight Senate seats, they picked up five GOP-held seats, for a net loss of three. Their 18-vote loss in House races was modest, considering the wide margins they held at the time and the disproportionate number of swing districts still held by 1974 “WaterNARFE | OCTOBER 2010

gate babies.” Perhaps the Republican complicity in working with President Jimmy Carter on such issues as the Panama Canal led to voter confusion over whom to punish at the polls so that a veritable bipartisan spanking was administered. In this cycle, Democrats have majorities in both houses of Congress. One might argue that they don’t have “control” of the Senate, only that they preside over the Senate. But the voters are unlikely to vent their frustrations by voting out Republicans. In fact, the established norm over the last 60 years has been for voters to divide government between the parties. Nearly three-quarters of the time, voters have divided government. The chart on page 28 shows 36 years of divided control and 22 years of one party.

OPEN SEATS One difference between this year and the congressional landslides of 1994 and 2006 is that, in each of those Congress-changing elections, the opposition party witnessed many more majority-held open seats than are available this year. When one party has a disproportionate number of retirees, it often

Year 1998 2002 1986 1962 1990 1970 1978 1994 2010 1966 1982 2006 1974


Midterm Approval Clinton 65% Bush II 63 Reagan 63 Kennedy 61 Bush I 58 Nixon 58 Carter 49 Clinton 46 OBAMA (July) 46 Johnson 44 Reagan 42 Bush II 38 Nixon 24

signals that its members face a tough re-election, so they elect to retire instead (similar to rats abandoning a ship). Forty seats is a significant hurdle. The 1994 landslide was a 52-seat Republican gain, and 2006 was a 30-seat Democratic gain. Both years witnessed widespread discontent with the party in power, with open seats making a huge difference and offering huge opportunities for “out” party gains. In both cases, the incumbent party saw significantly more retirement than the challengers and capitalized on it. Perhaps a party that faces voter antipathy finds it harder to hold its members in office than a party that is on the upswing, and retirements in a small way mirror momentum, with this caveat: Challenging parties feeling the wind at their back often see House members vacate the House for Senate or governorship races. In fact, the three Democratic pickups of Republican-held seats in 1994 were in such seats: Doyle in Pennsylvania (Santorum ran for Senate); Baldacci in Maine (Snowe ran for Senate); and Kennedy in Rhode Island (Machtley ran for governor). This year offers the Republicans

Unemployment 4.6 5.7 7.0 5.3 5.9 5.5 5.9 5.8 9.5 3.7 10.4 4.4 6.0

House Senate +6 +7 -5 -4 -8 -12 -18 -54 ? -45 -26 -30 -48

0 +2 -8 +2 -1 +1 -3 -8 ? -4 +1 -6 -4


some hope of pickups in Democratic retirees’ seats, but not on the level of 1994 (where 33 Democratic retirements led to 22 GOP pickups). With more GOP seats up, the difference with 2006 and 1994 is stark, although the chance for a five- to 10-seat pickup among open seats is real.

THE HOUSE Democratic gains in 2006 (30 seats) and 2008 (21 seats) have produced heavy Democratic majorities in the House. Neatly translated: Democrats have more seats up in swing districts than do Republicans. To rectify this, Democrats are far better prepared for this off-year than 1994. Democrats in 1994 were ill-prepared for the Republican wave that ousted them from House control for the first time in 40 years. In this cycle, Democratic incumbents possess strong fundraising advantages across the board, as does the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, their campaign arm. Money matters in politics as do campaigns, and the Democratic fundraising advantage will help dull

YEARS 1952-55 1955-61 1961-69 1969-77 1977-81 1981-93 1993-95 1995-2003 2003-2007 2007-2009 2009-2011

CONTROL Republican Divided Democratic Divided Democratic Divided Democratic Divided Republican Divided Democratic

Note: Jim Jeffords’ switch from Republican to Independent gave control of the Senate to the Democrats in 2001.


other disadvantages. Put another way: Democrats see a huge wave coming at them, and they have responded by building a high wall. Republicans also have seen a wave building and have used the more favorable atmosphere to recruit their strongest group of challengers in a generation. To some extent, this has been a mixed blessing, as some strong Republican challengers with proven vote-getting records have had difficult primaries. They have had to use scarce campaign money to win, or have been upset by more unconventional and untested (read Tea Party) candidates. Republicans have a further burden that they did not have in 1994, bad branding. In 1994, Republicans had recovered from Watergate and had not held a majority in the House in 40 years. Today’s Republicans were just fired by the voters in 2006 (Congress) and 2008 (presidency), and their voter brand is even worse than the Democrats’. Being out of power arguably makes them the avenue of protest for a distempered electorate, but some voters may feel a reluctance to re-hire them so soon. Thus, the Republican argument for the midterm is not, “Put us back in charge.” It’s more like, “Help Balance Power.” In other words, “put a check” on Obama rather than give him a “blank check.” It all makes for great political theatre, but the outcome will have real government consequences.

THE SENATE The Senate battle has the same dynamic as the House, with one caveat. Only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election; and, with a number of Deep Blue safe Democratic seats, the GOP must defend open seats in Missouri,

Kansas, New Hampshire, Idaho, Ohio and Kentucky, and pick up nine Democratic-held seats. Nevertheless, Senate hopefuls in recent years have found it more difficult to entrench themselves and personalize their seats than House members, and the Republicans have as many seats up as Democrats. Democrats are defending open seats they were not elected to in Delaware, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Indiana and Connecticut. Republicans need a net gain of 10 seats to retake the Senate. This is a high bar, although, historically, Republicans have never recaptured the House without retaking the Senate. The challenge for Republicans to take control (i.e., preside) is to run the tables on the seats in play. This is a tall order but not unprecedented. The Democrats swept the close ones to win control in 1986 and 2006. The Republicans did the same in 1980 and 1994. The Democrats, being the party in power, are likely to be subject to events no one can control over the next month – from oil spills, national disasters and international crises to a turn in the economy. Campaign outcomes often hinge on events in the closing weeks of the campaign. But one thing is certain: History will be made, and NARFE members from both parties will be watching and ready to work with the victors.

Thomas M. Davis III is director of federal government relations at Deloitte Consulting in Washington, DC. He represented Virginia’s 11th district in the House of Representatives from 1995-2008 and served two terms as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

Legislative Report CIVICS 101:



How They Voted: 111th Congress


THREE SENATE, FIVE HOUSE VOTES With a month of regular session and likely several weeks of “lame duck” session remaining, there have been 229 recorded floor votes in the Senate and 518 in the House. These votes are the most important and most predictive behavior of legislators. From votes cast during the first 19 months of the 111th Congress, we have selected three Senate and five House votes. Unfortunately, none of the votes are on precisely the same issue. However, both chambers conducted votes on a federal pay freeze, and both voted on an issue related to a year without a cost-of-living allowance (COLA). These votes are part of this compilation.

RECENT AND HISTORICAL SUMMARIES The percent “correct” column near the middle summarizes the three Senate or five House votes cast during 20092010; the percent “correct” at the right includes all key votes cast from 1981 through 2008. Please use both the itemized recent votes and the historical summary to evaluate your own representative and two senators. As in the 2008 edition, this analysis is posted for NARFE members on our Web site in a “portable document format” or pdf.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER Although you are urged to detach and keep these pages, our Legislative Action Center harnesses the power of the Internet to provide a single site for votes, cosponsorships, congressional staff and offices, and other information for every member of Congress. Start at dbq/officials/ and insert your ZIP code (may need nine-digit version) to produce a display of your congressional delegation and their key votes of the last eight years. Make copies for your chapter’s meeting and give a copy to your legislators or their staff. (Your local librarian also will be able to show this content displayed at NARFE | OCTOBER 2010

HIGH STAKES ELECTION After two years of unified government – one party “controlling” both chambers of Congress and the White House – voters will determine if there should be a change. The November election could narrow the margins in Congress, or party control could change. Forty representatives are not seeking re-election. Twenty-nine are retiring (marked “R”) or were defeated (marked “D”) in primaries; 10 are running for the Senate (marked “S”); and one is running for governor (marked “G”). Twenty-three senators (marked with just an *) are seeking a new term. Fourteen senators (marked with an * and an “R,” a “D” or a “G”) are departing. Senators with terms expiring in 2012 are marked “’12,” and those with terms expiring in 2014 are marked “’14.”

RESPECTED SOURCE Keeping track of the vote on one bill or one lawmaker can be done using public information. The House ( and Senate ( make individual roll call votes available within hours of the vote. But, to produce this compendium, NARFE uses Congressional Quarterly, the highly respected print and electronic publisher. Our contract with allows NARFE to select the key votes and preferred position, and CQ’s software and database produce the “pluses” and “minuses” you see displayed on the next several pages. NARFE counts the historical “right” and “wrong” votes and “% +.” Any errors are solely the fault of the author.

DISCLAIMER: INFO NOT ENDORSEMENT The voting analysis is for information and empowerment only. It is not to be interpreted as a NARFE endorsement of any legislator or the targeting of any for defeat. The sole intent of this project is to provide NARFE members and potential members with the vital empirical information of how current members of Congress voted on legislation of concern to the federal community. This issue, like any that names members of Congress, has been provided to each representative and senator. NARFE members should provide a copy to any candidate, incumbent or challenger with whom they meet during this campaign or the next.

By Christopher Farrell,Legislative Representative



ctober of an election year means our biennial compilation of key Senate and House votes. This is the 15th edition since 1982, the third using this centerfold location allowing for easy removal for regular reference. While formatting changes have occurred, the intent is constant — to inform NARFE members, members of Congress and their staffs.

Key NARFE Votes


SENATE VOTES 111TH CONGRESS 2010 SENATE VOTE #36, MARCH 3, 2010 Tax Extenders – Social Security Payments (HR 4213) Sen. Bernard Sanders’, I-VT, motion to waive the Budget Act and budget resolutions with respect to Sen. Judd Gregg’s, RNH, point of order against the Sanders amendment number 3353. The Sanders amendment would provide for a $250 payment to qualified Social Security recipients and a $250 refundable tax credit to public-sector retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security. Note: A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate is required to waive the Budget Act. Motion rejected 47-50. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See May 2010 NARFE, “Senate Rejects $250 Senior Payment,” p. 14.)

2010 SENATE VOTE #169, MAY 27, 2010 Supplemental Appropriations – Rescissions and Federal Salary Freeze (HR 4899) Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s, D-HI, motion to table (kill) Sen. Tom Coburn’s, R-OK, amendment number 4231 that would provide several offsets for the cost of the bill, including provisions that would freeze salaries of federal civilian employees and rescind 5 percent of the fiscal 2010 budget authority for programs other than those in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Motion agreed to 53-45.

HOUSE VOTES 111TH CONGRESS 2009 HOUSE VOTE #191, APRIL 2, 2009 Fiscal 2010 Budget Resolution -- Republican Substitute (H Con Res 85) Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-WI, substitute amendment that would set total outlays at $2.73 trillion in fiscal 2010 and freeze funding levels in all areas except defense and veterans' programs. It would assume an extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the top 1 percent of U.S. households, provide for reconciliation legislation to reduce mandatory spending by $1.38 trillion over 10 years, including a $10.263 billion reduction in federal civilian retirement or health benefits. Rejected in Committee of the Whole 137-293. A “nay” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See June 2009 NARFE, “House Defeats Attempt to Cut Feds’ Benefits,” pp. 8-10.)

2009 HOUSE VOTE #310, JUNE 4, 2009 Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave -- Passage (HR 626) Passage of the bill that would grant federal employees paid leave for up to four weeks to care for newborn or newly adopted children. Employees could use accrued annual or sick leave for parental leave. It would clarify that employees would not be required to use annual or sick leave first before paid parental leave is available. The bill would give the director of the Office of Personnel Management the authority


A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See August 2010 NARFE, “Fed Pay Freeze Attempts Defeated,” p. 12.)

2010 SENATE VOTE #179, JUNE 9, 2010 Tax Extensions – Federal Employees Health Benefits (HR 4213) Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin’s, D-MD, motion to waive the Budget Act and budget resolutions with respect to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch’s, R-UT, point of order against the Cardin amendment number 4304. The Cardin amendment would expedite a provision of the 2010 health care overhaul law to increase, to 26, the age for coverage of dependents under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Note: A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate is required to waive the Budget Act. Motion rejected 57-42. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See August 2010 NARFE, “Senate Rejects Extending FEHBP Coverage Early to Dependent Children Up to Age 26,” p. 10.) NARFE’s National Convention-established Legislative Program states: NARFE supports legislation to provide that children of federal civilian and military employees and retirees be permitted to remain under government-sponsored medical insurance plans until age 25 or the age generally allowed by larger medical insurers.

to increase the amount of paid parental leave available to federal employees to eight weeks if the director deems it necessary. It would extend paid family leave benefits to employees of Congress, the Government Accountability Office and the Library of Congress. Passed 258-154. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See August 2009 NARFE, “House Passes Paid Parental Leave,” p. 18.)

2009 HOUSE VOTE #737, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 Medicare Premium Adjustment -- Passage (HR 3631) Rep. Frank Pallone’s, D-NJ, motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill that would adjust 2010 Medicare premiums to equal 2009 premiums, paid for by a reduction of the same amount to Medicare Improvement Fund expenditures for fiscal year 2014. Note: A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (283 in this case) is required for passage under suspension of the rules. Motion agreed to 406-18. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See November 2009 NARFE, “House: No Medicare Hike for Fed Retirees,” pp. 8-10.)

2010 HOUSE VOTE #251 MAY, 6, 2010 Telework for Federal Employees -- Passage ( HR 1722) Rep. Stephen F. Lynch’s, D-MA, motion to suspend the Continued on p. 36 OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

State-by-State Record of Performance on Key NARFE Votes Votes: + Voted for the NARFE-preferred position – Voted against the NARFE-preferred position x Did not vote Members of Congress: Representatives’ names in black Senators’ names in blue 1 Not yet elected when vote taken S Speaker of the House,rarely votes

111th Congress 191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179


# +

# –

% +




11 4 5 18

73 22


1 Bonner (R) 2 Bright (D) 3 Rogers (R) 4 Aderholt (R) 5 D Griffith (R) 6 Bachus (R) 7 D Davis (D) * Shelby (R) ’14 Sessions (R)

– + + – + – +

– + + – + – +

+ + + + + + + – –

x + – – – – x – –

– – – – – – x – –

25 80 60 20 60 20 100 0 0

AL Young (R) – ’14 Begich (D) * Murkowski (R)

+ + –

– + –

+ + –

40 100 0

+ + – + + – + + – –

+ – – + + – + + – –

– – + + – – + – – –

7 24 23 15 0 100 15 33 31 3 13 19


30 25





80 25 20 100 80 0 100 80 0 0

0 3 32 5 0 15 5 19 3

15 0 25 11 3 91 0 100 19 0 0 100 0 100 16 54 16 19


1 Kirkpatrick (D)+ 2 Franks (R) x 3 R Shadegg (R) – 4 Pastor (D) + 5 Mitchell (D) + 6 Flake (R) – 7 Grijalva (D) + 8 Giffords (D) + * McCain (R) ’12 Kyl (R)

+ – – + + – + +


1 R Berry (D) 2 R Snyder (D) 3 S Boozman (R) 4 Ross (D) * Lincoln (D) ’14 Pryor (D)

+ + – +

+ + – +

+ + + + + +

+ + – + – +

+ + – + + +

100 100 20 100 67 100

21 2 91 23 0 100 3 16 16 19 0 100 11 0 100 7 0 100

Thompson (D) + Herger (R) – Lungren (R) – McClintock (R) – Matsui (D) + Woolsey (D) + Miller (D) + Pelosi (D) S Lee (D) + Garamendi (D) I McNerney (D) + Speier (D) + Stark (D) + Eshoo (D) + Honda (D) + Lofgren (D) +

+ – – – + + + S + I + + + + + +

+ + + – + + + S + I + x + + + +

+ – – – + + + S + + + + + + + +

+ – – – + + + S + + + + + + + +

100 20 20 0 100 100 100

20 1 11 37 2 6

95 23 25

8 26 56 43 22

0 1 4 1 0

100 96 93 98 100

5 2 56 29 17 26

0 0 5 1 0 1

100 100 92 97 100 96


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16


111th Congress


100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

VOTE NUMBER: House Senate


191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

17 Farr (D) + 18 Cardoza (D) + 19 RRadanovich (R) – 20 Costa (D) x 21 Nunes (R) – 22 McCarthy (R) – 23 Capps (D) + 24 Gallegly (R) – 25 McKeon (R) – 26 Dreier (R) – 27 Sherman (D) + 28 Berman (D) + 29 Schiff (D) + 30 Waxman (D) + 31 Becerra (D) + 32 Chu (D) I 33 RWatson (D) + 34 Roybal-Allard (D)+ 35 Waters (D) + 36 Harman (D) + 37 Richardson (D) + 38 Napolitano (D) + 39 Sanchez, Linda (D) + 40 Royce (R) – 41 Lewis (R) – 42 Miller (R) x 43 Baca (D) + 44 Calvert (R) – 45 Bono Mack (R) – 46 Rohrabacher (R) – 47 Sanchez, Loretta (D) + 48 Campbell (R) – 49 Issa (R) – – 50 Bilbray (R) 51 Filner (D) + 52 Hunter (R) – 53 Davis (D) + ’12 Feinstein (D) * Boxer (D)


# +

# –

% +

+ + – + – – + – – – + + + + + I + + x + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + – + – – + – – – + + + + + + + + + + + x

+ + – + – – + – – – + + + + + x + + + + + +

100 100 20 100 20 20 100 20 20 20 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

28 12 6 8 5 1 22 20 5 15 21 51 17 59 30

1 97 2 86 26 19 0 100 9 36 4 20 0 100 26 43 27 16 44 25 2 91 2 96 1 94 1 98 1 97

17 30 33 15 4 20

0 1 1 2 0 0

x – – – x – – –

+ + + + + + + +

+ – – – + – – –

+ – – – + – – –

100 20 20 25 100 20 20 20

15 1 23 4 19 9 8 8

0 100 30 3 31 43 17 19 0 100 21 30 13 38 33 20

+ – – – + – +

+ + + + + + + – +

+ x – + + – + + +

+ – – – + – + + +

100 25 20 40 100 20 100 67 100

21 2 91 0 6 0 17 36 32 2 3 40 31 0 100

+ + + + – – +

+ + + + – + +

x + + + – – +

x + + + – – +

100 100 100 100 0 20 100

100 97 97 88 100 100

19 20 25

0 6 1

100 77 96














1 2 3 4 5 6 7

DeGette (D) + Polis (D) + Salazar, J (D) + Markey (D) + Lamborn (R) – Coffman (R) – Perlmutter (D) +



VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

AL At-large representative R Member not running for re-election,retiring G Running for governor S Representative running for Senate * Senator whose term is expiring D Member defeated in primary ’12 Term expires in 2012 ’14 Term expires in 2014

111th Congress VOTE NUMBER: House Senate


191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179


– –

+ +

+ +

67 67

’14 Udall (D) (R)

* Bennet (D)

# +

# –

% +

0 0 2

100 100 94

+ + – –

+ – – –

– – – –

60 20 0 0

1 Rush (D) + 2 Jackson (D) + 3 Lipinski (D) + 4 Gutierrez (D) + Quigley (D) I 5 6 Roskam (R) – 7 Davis (D) + 8 Bean (D) + 9 Schakowsky (D)+ 10 S Kirk (R) + 11 Halvorson (D) + 12 Costello (D) + 13 Biggert (R) – 14 Foster (D) + 15 Johnson (R) + 16 Manzullo (R) – 17 Hare (D) + 18 Schock (R) – 19 Shimkus (R) – ’14 Durbin (D) * RBurris (D)

+ + + + + – x + + + + + – + + – + – –

+ + + + + + + – + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + – + + + + + + – + – – + – – + +

+ + + x + – + + + – – + – – – – + – – + +

100 100 100 100 100 20 100 80 100 80 80 100 20 80 60 20 100 20 20 100 100

+ +

+ +

+ +

+ +

+ +

– – – + + +

+ – – + + +

x + – + + – – –

– – – + + + – –

+ + + + –

+ + x – –

+ + + + + – +

S Moran (R) – Jenkins (R) + R Moore (D) + D Tiahrt (R) – G Brownback (R) ’14 Roberts (R)

– – + –

– – + – – +

1 Scalise (R) – 2 Cao (R) + 3 S Melancon (D) +

+ + + + + + +

+ + + + + + +

100 100 100 100 100 100 67

20 5 34



+ – +

– + +

– + +

60 67 100

16 14 8 1

53 89

1 Miller (R) – 2 Boyd (D) + 3 Brown (D) + 4 Crenshaw (R) – 5 R Brown-Waite (R)+ 6 Stearns (R) – 7 Mica (R) – 8 Grayson (D) + 9 Bilirakis (R) + 10 Young (R) + 11 Castor (D) + 12 RPutnam (R) – 13 Buchanan (R) + 14 Mack (R) + 15 Posey (R) – 16 Rooney (R) + 17 S Meek (D) + 18 Ros-Lehtinen (R)+ 19 Deutch (D) I 20 Wasserman Schultz (D) + 21 RDiaz-Balart, Lincoln (R) – 22 Klein (D) + 23 Hastings (D) + 24 Kosmas (D) + 25 Diaz-Balart, Mario (R) – ’12 Nelson (D) * RLeMieux (R)

– x + – – – – + – – + – – – – – + + I

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + I

– + + – – – – + + – + – + – – – + – +

– + + – x – x + – – + – – – – – + – +

20 100 100 20 50 20 25 100 60 40 100 20 60 40 20 40 100

3 19 29 6 4 12 5

19 83 97 32 27 29 16







+ + + –

+ + + +

– + + +

– + x –

40 100 100 60

12 18 40 5 0 100 26 1 96


+ + –

– + –

– + –

40 100 0

4 9

– + – x + – – + I – – + +

+ + + + + – + + I – + + + – x

– + – + + – + + I – – + + x –

– + – + + – – – I – – + + – –

20 100 25 100 100 0 40 80

5 25 17 23 5 82 1 7 13 5 0 100 45 2 96 2 6 25 4 27 13 13 2 87

0 20 100 100 0 0

0 3 0 2 13 13 7 0 100 14 1 93 2 5 29 1 3 25

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100 0


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21 0 100 6 21 22 2 12 14 3 13 19



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# +



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Larson (D) Courtney (D) DeLauro (D) Himes (D) Murphy (D) * RDodd (D) ’12 Lieberman (I)

111th Congress VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

0 8 1

100 85 97

Whitfield (R) Guthrie (R) Yarmuth (D) Davis (R) Rogers (R) Chandler (D) ’14 McConnell (R) * RBunning (R)




5 0 100 1 3 25 26 33 44 13 0 100 13 28 32 1 10 9 0








111th Congress VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

4 5 6 7

191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

Fleming (R) Alexander (R) Cassidy (R) Boustany (R) ’14 Landrieu (D) * Vitter (R)

– – – –

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VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

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43 75 25

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1 Olver (D) 2 Neal (D) 3 McGovern (D) 4 Frank (D) 5 Tsongas (D) 6 Tierney (D) 7 Markey (D) 8 Capuano (D) 9 Lynch (D) 10 RDelahunt (D) ’14 Kerry (D) ’12 Brown (R)

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94 93 100 97 100 100 95 100 100 100 82


1 R Stupak (D) 2 D Hoekstra (R) 3 R Ehlers (R) 4 Camp (R) 5 Kildee (D) 6 Upton (R) 7 Schauer (D) 8 Rogers (R) 9 Peters (D) 10 Miller (R) 11 McCotter (R) 12 Levin (D) 13 DKilpatrick (D) 14 Conyers (D) 15 Dingell (D) ’14 Levin (D) ’12 Stabenow (D)

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5 2

0 100 13 13

Childers (D) + Thompson (D) +

+ +

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– +

80 100


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Walz (D) Kline (R) Paulsen (R) McCollum (D) Ellison (D) Bachmann (R) Peterson (D) Oberstar (D) ’12 Klobuchar (D) ’14 Franken (D)

191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

Harper (R) Taylor (D) ’14 Cochran (R) ’12 Wicker (R)


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– +

– +

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– + – –

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20 80 0 0

1 Clay (D) + 2 Akin (R) – 3 Carnahan (D) + 4 Skelton (D) + 5 Cleaver (D) + 6 Graves (R) – 7 S Blunt (R) – 8 Emerson (R) + 9 Luetkemeyer (R)– * RBond (R) ’12 McCaskill (D)

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78 71

41 20 2 13 32 9

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Terry (R) Smith (R) ’12 Nelson (D) ’14 Johanns (R)


1 2 3

Berkley (D) Heller (R) Titus (D) * Reid (D) ’12 Ensign (R)


1 Shea-Porter (D)+ 2 S Hodes (D) + * RGregg (R) ’12 Shaheen (D) NEW JERSEY

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Andrews (D) LoBiondo (R) Adler (D) Smith (R) Garrett (R) Pallone (D) Lance (R) Pascrell (D) Rothman (D) Payne (D)

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Holt (D) + Sires (D) + ’14 Lautenberg (D) ’12 Menendez (D)

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1 2



2 28

0 2

100 93

1 2 3

Heinrich (D) + Teague (D) + Luján (D) + ’12 Bingaman (D) ’14 Udall (D)





1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Bishop (D) Israel (D) King (R) McCarthy (D) Ackerman (D) Meeks (D) Crowley (D)

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15 0 100 19 0 100 14 16 47 21 2 91 51 2 96 20 0 100 20 0 100



+ +


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

111th Congress

111th Congress


VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 * *

Nadler (D) Weiner (D) Towns (D) Clarke (D) Velázquez (D) McMahon (D) Maloney (D) Rangel (D) Serrano (D) Engel (D) Lowey (D) Hall (D) Murphy (D) Tonko (D) Hinchey (D) Owens (D) Arcuri (D) Maffei (D) Lee (R) Higgins (D) Slaughter (D) Vacant Schumer (D) Gillibrand (D)


191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

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# +

# –

% +

28 21 44 5 27

1 0 5 0 2

97 100 90 100 93

2 Boren (D) 3 Lucas (R) 4 Cole (R) 5 G Fallin (R) * Coburn (R) ’12 Inhofe (R)

29 58 36 38 38 5

1 1 0 2 2 0

97 98 100 95 95 100


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8 48

0 1

100 98

100 100




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10 0 100 21 2 91 13 15 46 39 3 93 2 6 25 19 33 37 20 3 87

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4 24 14 2 6 25 4 1 80 30 1 97 6 0 100 0 4 0


AL Pomeroy (D) ’12 Conrad (D) *RDorgan (D)


27 3 28 10 24 2

90 74 92

3 8 0 1 4

50 53 0 33 100


1 Driehaus (D) + 2 Schmidt (R) – 3 Turner (R) – 4 Jordan (R) – 5 Latta (R) – Wilson (D) + 6 7 Austria (R) – 8 Boehner (R) – 9 Kaptur (D) + 10 Kucinich (D) + 11 Fudge (D) + 12 Tiberi (R) – 13 Sutton (D) + 14 LaTourette (R) + 15 Kilroy (D) + 16 Boccieri (D) + 17 Ryan (D) + 18 Space (D) + *RVoinovich (R) ’12 Brown (D)

3 7 5 2 0

7 29 19 46 8 85 22 0 100 8 11 42 4 0 100 19 9 68 15 5 3 3

0 0 8 0

100 100 27 100







Sullivan (R)

VOTE NUMBER: House Senate



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

111th Congress

1 2 3 4 5


191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179


# +

# –

% +

+ – – –

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x – – – – –

100 20 20 20 0 0

7 0 100 10 20 33 5 10 33 1 4 20 2 2 50 3 17 15

Wu (D) + Walden (R) + Blumenauer (D)+ DeFazio (D) + Schrader (D) + * Wyden (D) ’14 Merkley (D)

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95 35 91 89




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22 34

0 1

100 97




8 0 100 27 1 96 5 2 71 3 20 13 29 2 94 9 6 60 11 8 58 37 18 67 3 0 100

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x + + +

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100 100 100 100

25 18 15 3

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20 20 0 20 100 100 0 0

5 14 2 16 0 15 2 6 47 6 29 1 1 5 1 3

26 11 0 25 89 97 17 25



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100 100 0

10 13 1

1 1 3

91 93 25

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20 40 20 100 100 100 25 100 100 0 0

12 9 13 12 40 2 31 5 2 2

29 29 18 33 2 87 3 80 10 80 13 13 7 82 0 100 5 29 1 67


1 Brady (D) + 2 Fattah (D) + 3 Dahlkemper (D)+ 4 Altmire (D) + 5 Thompson (R) – 6 Gerlach (R) + 7 S Sestak (D) + 8 Murphy (D) + 9 Shuster (R) – 10 Carney (D) + 11 Kanjorski (D) + 12 Critz (D) I 13 Schwartz (D) + 14 Doyle (D) + 15 Dent (R) – 16 Pitts (R) – 17 Holden (D) + 18 Murphy (R) + 19 Platts (R) + D* Specter (D) ’12 Casey (D)

12 3 80 5 0 100 5 0 100 3 15 17 5 0 100 48 4 92


1 R Kennedy (D) + 2 Langevin (D) + ’14 Reed (D) ’12 Whitehouse (D) SOUTH CAROLINA

1 R Brown (R) 2 Wilson (R) 3 D Barrett (R) 4 D Inglis (R) 5 Spratt (D) 6 Clyburn (D) ’14 Graham (R) * DeMint (R) SOUTH DAKOTA

AL Herseth (D) ’14 Johnson (D) * Thune (R) TENNESSEE

1 Roe (R) 2 Duncan (R) 3 D Wamp (R) 4 Davis (D) 5 Cooper (D) 6 R Gordon (D) 7 Blackburn (R) 8 R Tanner (D) 9 Cohen (D) ’14 Alexander (R) ’12 Corker (R)




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1Q 35

111th Congress




191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Gohmert (R) – Poe (R) – Johnson (R) – Hall (R) – Hensarling (R) – Barton (R) + Culberson (R) – Brady (R) – Green, A (D) + McCaul (R) – Conaway (R) – Granger (R) – Thornberry (R) – Paul (R) + Hinojosa (D) x Reyes (D) + Edwards (D) + Jackson Lee (D)+ Neugebauer (R) – Gonzalez (D) + Smith (R) – Olson (R) – Rodriguez (D) + Marchant (R) – Doggett (D) + Burgess (R) + Ortiz (D) + Cuellar (D) + Green, G (D) + Johnson (D) + Carter (R) – Sessions (R) – ’12 Hutchison (R) ’14 Cornyn (R)


# +

# –

% +

– – – – – – – – + – – – – – x + + x – + + – + x + – + + + + x –

+ + + + – + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + x –

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– – – – – – – – + – – – – – + + + + – + – – + – + – + + + + – – – –

20 20 20 40 0 40 20 25 100 20 20 20 20 40 100 100 100 100 20 100 60 20 100 25 100 40 100 100 100 100 25 20 0 0

2 3 4 32 0 12 4 2 8 3 2 6 5 1 23 23 30 27 1 19 20

6 25 5 38 31 11 29 52 13 0 39 24 15 21 19 10 0 100 5 38 6 25 15 29 23 18 22 4 0 100 0 100 5 86 1 96 14 7 2 90 27 43

5 2 26 3 49 8 27 27 1 3 5 2

0 100 6 25 1 96 12 20 4 92 0 100 4 87 2 93 14 7 19 14 18 22 5 29

– + –

+ + – – –

– + + – –

x + – – –

25 100 20 0 0

5 10 18 1

33 95

17 37 4 22

31 15

+ + +

+ + +

+ + +

100 100 100

5 48 3

0 7 0

100 87 100








1 2 3

Bishop (R) – Matheson (D) + Chaffetz (R) – ’12 Hatch (R) *D Bennett (R)


AL Welch (D) * Leahy (D) ’12 Sanders (I)





Wittman (R)


Continued from p. 30

rules and pass the bill that would require the heads of each executive agency to establish and implement a policy that would authorize employees to telework as much as possible without diminishing agency operations or performance. It also would require that agency heads provide training for telework employees and designate a telework managing officer. Note: A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (277 in this case) is required for passage under suspension of the rules. Motion rejected 268-147. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See May 7, 2010, Hotline 714, “Telework Bill Defeated.”)



111th Congress VOTE NUMBER: House Senate

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Nye (D) Scott (D) Forbes (R) Perriello (D) Goodlatte (R) Cantor (R) Moran (D) Boucher (D) Wolf (R) Connolly (D) ’12 Webb (D) ’14 Warner (D)

191 310 737 251 334 36 169 179

+ + – + – – + + + +

+ + – + – – + + + +


# +

# –

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– + – + – – + + + + + +

80 100 20 100 40 20 100 100 100 100 100 67

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100 100 80 40

21 0 100 18 0 100 20 0 100 6 21 22

– + + + +

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– + + + + + +

– + + – + + +

20 100 100 80 80 100 100

2 57 38 5 21 26 9

6 3 2 2 2 0 0

25 95 95 71 91 100 100

+ + +

+ + + + I

x + + + I

+ – + + I

100 80 100 100 100

50 16 55 35

3 3 4 6

94 84 93 85

– + + + – – + +

– + + + + + + + + –

– + + + – + + + – +

x + + + – – + + + –

0 100 100 100 20 40 100 100 67 33

2 21 22 8 11 21 54 5 22 22

19 0 0 0 48 40 6 0 13 4

10 100 100 100 19 34 90 100 63 85

+ – –

– – –

– – –

20 0 0

2 0

14 1

13 0

27 4 7 10

87 41

6 25 2 17 31 4 48 7 43 17

19 11 89 87 72





1 Inslee (D) + 2 Larsen (D) + 3 R Baird (D) + 4 Hastings (R) – 5 McMorris Rodgers (R) – 6 Dicks (D) + 7 McDermott (D)+ 8 Reichert (R) + 9 Smith (D) + * Murray (D) ’12 Cantwell (D) WEST VIRGINIA

1 D Mollohan (D) + 2 Capito (R) + 3 Rahall (D) + ’14 Rockefeller (D)


1 Ryan (R) – 2 Baldwin (D) + 3 Kind (D) + 4 Moore (D) + 5 Sensenbrenner (R)– 6 Petri (R) – 7 R Obey (D) + 8 Kagen (D) + ’12 Kohl (D) * Feingold (D) WYOMING

AL Lummis (R) ’14 Enzi (R) ’12 Barrasso (R)

2010 HOUSE VOTE #334, MAY 28, 2010 Fiscal 2011 Defense Authorization -- Motion to Table (HR 5136) Rep. Ike Skelton’s, D-MO, motion to table (kill) Rep. Michele Bachmann’s, R-MN, appeal of the ruling of the chair with respect to the Skelton point of order that the Bachmann motion to recommit the bill was not germane to the bill. The motion would recommit the bill to the Armed Services Committee with instructions that it be immediately reported back with an amendment that would freeze the pay of members of Congress and nonuniformed federal employees. Motion agreed to 227-183. A “yea” vote is considered a “plus” for NARFE purposes. (See August 2010 NARFE, “Fed Pay Freeze Attempts Defeated,” p. 12.) ■ OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE


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Questions & Answers NOTE: The following Questions & Answers were compiled by Retirement Benefits Service Department staff. These are real questions received by the Department and real answers, 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 members contact an attorney, financial planner or certified public accountant/tax adviser.

ACTIVE EMPLOYEES SS BENEFITS & FERS QUESTION: I have been covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System since my first civilian job and plan to retire next month.I heard that I might be eligible for a benefit under my husband’s Social Security because it would be higher than my Social Security benefit. Response: Your full retirement age is 66, and you are not subject to the Government Pension Offset. If you start receiving benefits as a spouse at your full retirement age, you would get 50 percent of the monthly benefit your spouse would receive if his benefits started at full retirement age. If you start receiving benefits at a younger age, then you would receive less. For example: At age 62, you would get 35 percent


of the monthly benefit instead of 50 percent because you would be getting benefits for an additional 48 months. At age 65, you would get 45.8 percent of the monthly benefit instead of 50 percent because you would be getting benefits for an additional 12 months.

FEHBP COVERAGE/TSP WITHDRAWAL QUESTION: I am age 68 and will retire in four years under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). My husband is about five years older than I am.When I retire, do I have to elect an annuity with a 25- or 50-percent survivor’s annuity in order for him to be covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)? We are both currently covered under the FEHBP,but I am confused about requirements for future coverage. Also, can I take my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) money and put it elsewhere, tax-deferred,such as rolling it over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?

you would be over age 70-1/2 when you retire, so you would have to start withdrawing at least part of your TSP or IRA funds to meet minimum distribution requirements at retirement.

RETIREMENT ELIGIBILITY QUESTION: I am currently under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). When I turn age 56,I will have 29.6 years of service, plus six months of unused sick leave. Would this make me eligible for retirement? Response: An employee must have 30 years of service at age 55 to qualify for voluntary retirement. Accrued and unused sick leave may not be used to meet the service requirement. You would not be eligible to retire until you have 30 years of actual creditable service. However, once you qualify for retirement, the sick leave can be added to your actual civilian and military service credit for the computation of your retirement annuity.

ANNUITY & TAXES QUESTION: I plan to retire soon. Would you be able to recommend a good source of information on taxes and annuities?

QA &

Response: In order for your husband to be eligible to continue under your FEHBP plan should you predecease him after you retire, you would have had to have elected a survivor’s annuity benefit, and he would have had to be covered by your FEHBP plan (family coverage) as a family member at the time of your death. There are two survivor’s annuity benefit election options under FERS: Either a survivor’s benefit for 25 percent of your unreduced FERS annuity or for 50 percent of your unreduced annuity. You can roll over your TSP funds into an IRA. However, it appears that

Response: Federal income taxes on your federal retirement annuity are explained in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits. You can obtain this free booklet from the IRS by calling 800-829-0582, or going to the IRS Web site at and downloading it. Under “Publications,” click on Publication 721.

DIVORCE QUESTION: I am considering getting a divorce.Would you tell me which of OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

my federal benefits would be affected? Response: Court orders related to divorce or separation can divide federal retirement benefits and refunds of retirement contributions, provide survivors’ benefits for former spouses upon a retiree’s death, permit former spouses to continue Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) coverage and require assignment of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI). There is a difference between a court order that would apply to a private-sector pension and a court order that would apply to your federal retirement. Court orders that affect privatesector pensions are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). However, federal pensions under both the Civil Service Retire-


ment System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are exempt from ERISA. ERISA created the term “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO) to describe a court order that divides retirement benefits under ERISA plans. QDROs are not acceptable to affect CSRS or FERS benefits. However, this does not apply if the court order labeled QDRO also expressly states that it is written in conformity with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations. The importance of this is that attorneys sometimes prepare federal retirees’ court orders on the assumption that they can provide any benefits available under ERISA from the CSRS or FERS. One of the most important differences is that ERISA can provide that a former

spouse’s share of a benefit can begin when the employee reaches a minimum retirement age, even if the employee is still working. However, this is not available under the CSRS or FERS. The maximum possible combined total of all current and former spouse survivors’ annuities equals 55 percent of the rate of a self-only annuity under the CSRS, or 50 percent under FERS. A court order awarding a survivor’s annuity to a former spouse reduces the maximum that could be paid to the spouse married to the annuitant at the time of death. An insurable interest election can be made at retirement to provide a current spouse with additional survivor’s benefits if the retiree is in good health. See your human resources office about an insurable interest if you


Finally, a cell phone that’s… a phone!

ice ed Pr uc 8 d 4 Re y $ b

o t N rac nt Co

Questions & Answers

“Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to enter the digital age and get a cell phone. My kids have been bugging me, my book group made fun of me, and the last straw was when my car broke down, and I was stuck by the highway for an hour before someone stopped to help. But when I went to the cell phone store, I almost changed my mind. The phones are so small I can’t see the numbers, much less push the right one. They all have cameras, computers and a “global-positioning” something or other that’s supposed to spot me from space. Goodness, all I want to do is to be able to talk to my grandkids! The people at the store weren’t much help. They couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a phone the size of a postage stamp. And the rate plans! They were complicated, confusing, and expensive… and the contract lasted for two years! I’d almost given up when a friend told me about her new Jitterbug phone. Now, I have the convenience and safety of being able to stay in touch… with a phone I can actually use.”

Questions about Jitterbug?

Try our pre-recorded Toll-Free Hotline1-888-796-5526. The cell phone that’s right for me. Sometimes I think the people who designed this phone and the rate plans had me in mind. The phone fits easily in my pocket, but it flips open and reaches from my mouth to my ear. The display is large and backlit, so I can actually see who is calling. With a push of a button I can amplify the volume, and if I don’t know a number, I can simply push one for a friendly, helpful operator that will look it up and even dial it for me. The Jitterbug also reduces background noise, making the sound loud and clear. There’s even a dial tone, so I know the phone is ready to use.


Affordable plans that I can understand – and no contract to sign! Unlike other cell phones, Jitterbug has plans that make sense. Why should I pay for minutes I’m never going to use? And if I do talk more than I plan, I won’t find myself with no minutes like my friend who has a prepaid phone. Best of all, there is no contract to sign – so I’m not locked in for years at a time or subject to termination fees. The U.S. – based customer service is second to none, and the phone gets service virtually anywhere in the country.

FERS SUPPLEMENT QUESTION: I am age 58 and retiring soon.I will be receiving an annuity supplement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). I plan to work in the private sector and was told that working could impact the amount of my supplement.


Order now

and receive a free Car Charger. A $24 value! More minute plans available. Ask your Jitterbug expert for details

Available in Red, White (shown), and Graphite.

Call now and get a FREE GIFT. Try Jitterbug for 30 days and if you don't love it, just return it. Why wait, the Jitterbug comes ready to use right out of the box. The phone comes preprogrammed with your favorite numbers, and if you aren’t as happy with it as I am you can return it for a refund of the purchase price. Call now, the Jitterbug product experts are ready to answer your questions.

Jitterbug Cell Phone



Call now for our NEW low price. Please mention promotional code 40593.

IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: All rate plans require the purchase of a Jitterbug phone and a one-time set up fee of $35.00. Coverage and service is not available everywhere. There are no additional fees to call Jitterbug’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. Rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges. Prices and fees are subject to change. Savings are based on marketing materials from nationally available cellular companies as of June, 2010 (not including family share plans). The full price of the Jitterbug Phone will be refunded if it is returned within 30 days of purchase, in like-new condition, and with less than 30 minutes of usage. A Jitterbug Phone purchased from a retail location is subject to the return policy of that retail location. The Jitterbug phone is created together with worldwide leader Samsung. Jitterbug is a registered trademark of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and its related entities. Created together with worldwide leader Samsung. Copyright © 2010 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.


are still employed and interested in this election in a divorce situation. The way to avoid mistakes in drafting the divorce, separation or annulment is to have your attorney consult the booklet, A Handbook for Attorneys on Court-ordered Retirement, Health Benefits and Life Insurance. It is available on the Office of Personnel Management Web site at pamphlets/ri83-116.pdf. It is very important that provisions of a decree intended to award a survivor’s annuity both reflect the intent of the parties, and conform to law and regulations (Subpart H, Part 838, Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, and Title 5, United States Code). While orders can be changed before the employee retires or dies, in general, they cannot be modified to affect survivor’s benefits after the employee retires or dies.

Response: If you retire voluntarily on an immediate annuity that is not reduced for age, you may be eligible for the annuity supplement, in addition to your regular monthly FERS benefit. You also may receive the supplement if you retired involuntarily before attaining your minimum retirement age (MRA) or voluntarily because of a major reorganization, reduction in force or an early retirement. However, in these three instances, you would not be eligible for the annuity supplement until you reach your MRA. If you receive a deferred benefit, a disability benefit or an immediate MRA+10 benefit, you would not be eligible for the annuity supplement. OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

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 Web site,

If your annuity has a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and a FERS component, you could still receive an annuity supplement. However, you must have completed one full calendar year of service subject to FERS computation rules. As with Social Security benefits, the FERS annuity supplement is subject to an earnings test. It is reduced if you earn more than the Social Security exempt amount of earnings in the immediately preceding year. The supplement is reduced by $1 for every $2 of earnings over the minimum level ($14,160 for 2010). It is possible that the supplement could reduce to $0. However, the FERS basic benefit would not be reduced.

earnings would probably be less, and so would your benefit.

MEDICARE PART A QUESTION: I retired in 1980 under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and would like to enroll in Medicare Part A. Am I eligible? Response: CSRS employees who were employed on January 1, 1983, when Medicare taxes were first withheld from federal employees’ pay, were automatically covered by Medicare Part A (hos-

pital insurance), premium-free. If not employed by the federal government on January 1, 1983, CSRS employees who worked for 10 years subject to Medicare taxes would be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. A CSRS employee who is eligible for Social Security or railroad retirement benefits can enroll in Medicare. A CSRS employee who is married to someone who has paid 10 years’ worth of Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes also is eligible for Medicare Part A, premium-free. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) has been available to all Americans and resident aliens living in the United States since 1965. A monthly premium is charged for Medicare Part B. CSRS employees who retired prior to 1983 cannot enroll in premium-free Medicare Part A. While they can enroll

RETIREES SS BENEFITS QUESTION: I stopped working at the end of last year at age 57. I don’t expect to work again before I start my Social Security benefits when I turn age 62. Will I still get the same benefit amount for age 62 that was shown on the statement I recently received from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? Response: When the SSA averaged your 35 highest years of earnings to estimate the benefits on your statement, the SSA assumed that you would continue to work up to age 62, making the same earnings that you made last year. If, instead, you have $0 earnings each year over the next few years, your average NARFE | OCTOBER 2010


Questions & Answers New lamp lets you read indoors as if the sun was shining over your shoulder.

New lamp provides sunshine… even on a cloudy day Can a floor lamp improve your life? This one can. The Market Street Lamp brings the many benefits of natural daylight indoors to help you read better, see better and feel better.

Brighter Than

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Standard he other day I went outside Bulbs! to get my mail. The sun was shining, and as I walked back to the house I was reading a Building a Better Lamp letter from my granddaughter. She Discover the difference it can make! was telling me all about her week 3-way Brightness The right amount of light for at camp. Once I got inside the Switch any task house, I sat down in my favorite Balanced Spectrum Lasts over 8,000 hours chair to finish the letter. That’s Bulb when I realized I didn’t have my Pivoting Gooseneck Move the light… not your book reading glasses on. Try as I might, Banker-style shade Concentrates light on work area I couldn’t easily make out the Energy Efficient Saves $120 over the life words. That’s when it hit me… the of the bulb sunshine was the reason I could read it without my glasses! I remembered a friend Try it for yourself with our exclusive in-home telling me about her lamp that provided sunlight trial. Once you’ve experienced how this lamp can indoors – the Balanced Spectrum Market Street improve the way you live, you’ll wonder how you Floor Lamp. I got one of my own right away, and ever got along without one. Call now, and you can try the Market Street Floor Lamp in your own now I don’t have to be outside to read my mail. home. If you are not completely satisfied for any A bright idea. For years, people have known reason simply return it within 90 days for a full the benefits of sunlight, from the ability to see refund of the product purchase price. Call now! details and distinguish colors to improvements in Market Street mood and overall well being. Now, firstSTREET, the leader in natural lighting technology has floor lamp . . . . . . . was $129.95 incorporated the many benefits of sunlight into a Now . . . . . . . $119.95 + S&H lamp that’s practical, attractive and affordable. Its brightest setting is brighter than two 100-watt Please mention promotional code 40591. incandescent bulbs, and the 3-way switch gives For fastest service, call toll-free 24 hours a day. you just the right brightness for any task. Whether you are reading the stock page, doing We accept all major credit cards, or if you intricate needlepoint or simply watching TV, you choose, you can pay by check over the phone. To order by mail, please call for details. can change the light to fit any activity.




Copyright © 2010 by first STREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.


Efficient and attractive. This light is not only easy on the eyes, it’s easy on the wallet. The bulb lasts up to 10 times longer than a traditional bulb, and because it uses less electricity, you’ll save $120 over the life of the bulb. The elegant cherry wood and antique brass finish make this lamp a classy addition to any room.

in Part A, they would have to pay a premium, the amount of which would be determined by the number of quarters of Medicare coverage they have, if less than 40 quarters. If you need to sign up for Part A, you can sign up during the following times. Initial Enrollment Period: When you are first eligible for Medicare. This is a seven-month period that begins three months before the month you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65 and ends three months after the month you turn age 65. General Enrollment Period: Between January 1-March 31 of each year. Your coverage would begin July 1. You may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment (see below). Special Enrollment Period: If you or your spouse (or family member, if you are disabled) are currently working, and you are covered by a group health plan through the employer or union. If you aren’t eligible for premiumfree Part A, you may be able to buy it. However, if you don’t buy Part A when you are first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10 percent. You would have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you could have had Part A but didn’t join. For example, if you were eligible for Part A but didn’t join for two years, you would have to pay the higher premium for four years. You don’t have to pay a penalty if you are eligible for a special enrollment period. For more information on Part A, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit the Web site at If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, call 877-772-5772.


I selected a survivor’s annuity for my wife. A few weeks ago,I asked if I could change this and was told that I could do so only in the event of a death or divorce. Is that ruling final? Response: The retirement law automatically provides a full survivor’s annuity for the spouse of a retiring, married federal employee, unless the employee and the spouse jointly agree to a less than full survivor’s annuity or no survivor’s annuity at all. After retirement, the survivor’s annuity can be terminated only if the marriage ends because of death, divorce or annulment.

SS DISABILITY QUESTION: I am receiving Workers’ Compensation from the Department of Labor and have been approved for a


Social Security disability benefit. Will my compensation be reduced? Response: Your Social Security benefit may be reduced. If the total amount of these benefits exceeds 80 percent of your average current earnings, the excess amount is deducted from your Social Security benefit. Example: Before you became disabled, your average current earnings were $4,000 a month. You, your spouse and your two children would be eligible to receive a total of $2,200 a month in Social Security disability benefits. However, you also receive $2,000 a month from Workers’ Compensation. Because the total amount of benefits you would receive ($4,200) is more than 80 percent of your average current earnings ($3,200), your family’s Social Security benefits

would be reduced by $1,000. Your Social Security benefit would be reduced until the month you reach age 65 or the month your other benefits stop, whichever comes first.

DRUG COVERAGE AND NURSING FACILITIES QUESTION: I am writing to you because of my great concern for members who have Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and have a loved one in a nursing home. Members may not realize that their medication benefits will change when they enter a nursing home. Outside of a nursing home, ordering medications through Medco gives a member considerable savings.


Questions & Answers Thousands have rediscovered the luxury and therapy of bathing… now it’s your turn

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remote, and the chair lowers to the bottom of the tub. When you’re done, you press another button, and the chair returns you to the top of the tub.



52487 Copyright © 2010 by firstSTREET, for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Smart-Chip Technology Make the Neptune® Safe & “Fool-Proof” The remote control contains a powerful rechargeable battery that operates up to seven up/down cycles which lets you know with a light indicator when it needs recharging. The remote can be recharged in any household outlet. Advanced What’s their secret? Europeans understand “smart-chip” technology will not allow it that most falls in the home happen in the to lower you down if there is not sufficient bathroom, and that slipping and falling is power to raise you back up. the number one reason seniors can no Exclusive Offer! Try it Risk Free longer take care of themselves and are For 30 Days! forced to move into costly assisted living Not sold in any stores. As part of their facilities. That’s why many European introduction into the U.S. market, the families— in order to ensure their elders can Neptune® Bath Lift is exclusively available lead independent and dignified lives as long right now only through this exclusive Home as possible— install a Neptune® Bath Lift. Trial Offer. If you are not 100% satisfied with how safe and easy taking a bath becomes Redesigned, Easy To Use & New Lower with the Neptune™, simply return it for a full Prices For the U.S. Market product cost refund. The Neptune® Bath Lift has been a best seller in Europe among households with Call today and discover the seniors for decades. But its high price tag Neptune’s ease of use, with has made it prohibitive to many seniors in its simple touch hand-held the U.S. That’s why Neptune’s engineers waterproof remote control. recently went back to the drawing board with a single mission... create a high-quality, NEW Neptune® easy-to-use bath lift that American seniors Upright Bath Lift on fixed incomes can actually afford. Call now for our lowest price! Easy To Install, Easy To Use & Portable Please mention promotional code 40594. The Neptune® Bath Lift is a technologically advanced, fully portable “chair” that sits in your tub. High-quality suction cups hold it Ask about our lifetime warranty! in place. You simply sit on the transfer flap— a piece that sticks out from the chair’s side— and swing your legs into the tub. Then you press a button on the fully waterproof

However,medications and supplies for members in care centers (nursing homes) are furnished through Caremark. If a NARFE member or loved one enters the care center, they may be told they must order prescriptions through the pharmacy supplying their needs.Such is not the case; the patient does have a choice. When you receive your first billing, it is a shock because you are billed an insurance fee of $10 or $2 per order. These costs are not shown in the plan brochure. I hope that NARFE will forewarn members of what happens in care centers. Response: Thank you for providing information on this important topic. If you or a dependent have to be admitted into a skilled nursing facility, get the facts from the nursing facility and from your FEHBP plan regarding prescription drug benefits and coverage for the period of the stay. Some facilities may insist that you order all of the medications prescribed while a patient through the facility pharmacy. Despite what they say, this may or may not be true, and using the facility pharmacy may increase your out-of-pocket drug costs considerably. You also should check with your health plan’s prescription drug provider regarding the rules for prescription drugs for a patient in a nursing home. BC/BS, whose mail order prescription drug benefits usually save the enrollee money over the retail pharmacy, states in its brochure that prescription drugs billed for by the nursing facility will be covered under benefits for retail-filled prescriptions, and the coverage will depend on whether the facility obtains its prescription drugs through a BC/BS preferred provider. The caution here is to know in advance how your prescription drug costs are handled to avoid “sticker shock,” in addition to the hardships involved in a nursing home stay. ■ OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE


NARFE MEMBER BENEFIT Pays you generous cash benefits ATTENTION: NARFE Members Age 65+ f you or someone you know has ever been in the Hospital, you’ve probably seen the “sticker shock” firsthand.


Though Medicare and your other health insurance cover a generous amount of your Hospital bills, you may find some limitations in how much they cover. That could mean paying part of your Hospital and home recovery bills out of your own pocket. That’s why NARFE Insurance Services is pleased to offer you the NARFE Short Term Recovery Insurance Plan as a special, guaranteed-issue member benefit. This plan pays you cash benefits if you’re admitted to the Hospital for as little as one day. It also pays cash for covered home recovery expenses you often need when you leave the Hospital. This includes home nursing services, physical and occupational therapy, companion care, home health and homemaker services, and more.

Your specially negotiated benefits under this plan include:  Affordable rates starting under a dollar a day, specially negotiated for NARFE members  Up to $6,000.00 a year* in cash benefits to help pay for daily home recovery care expenses after a Hospital stay  Up to an additional $1,450.00 New in cash benefits to help with Benefit Hospital expenses Amount  Cash benefits paid in addition to any other coverage you may have, and you can use the money however you want  Protection that can’t be cancelled because of your health, even if you live to 100  Guaranteed acceptance for you and your spouse. This means that although you will not be asked to take a medical exam or answer medical questions at the time of enrollment, insurance benefits payable are subject to your policy’s Pre-Existing Conditions Limitation. ADVISORY: Right now, this member benefit is yours for the asking if you’re a NARFE member over age 65. You’re GUARANTEED ACCEPTANCE.

FOR FASTER SERVICE, CALL TOLL-FREE Underwritten by: Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company Simsbury, CT 06089

*Benefits reduce to $3,000.00 a year at age 80. All benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. Policies underwritten by Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company detail exclusions, limitations, reduction of benefits and terms under which the policies may be continued in force or discontinued. Plans may vary by state. SRP-1151 A (HLA)(5384) 48172 (10/10) ©Seabury & Smith, Inc. 2010

1-800-233-5764 Request Number 048172-1-1-1 Hearing-impaired or voice-impaired members may call the Relay Line at 1-800-855-2881. AR Ins. Lic. #245544 CA Ins. Lic. #0633005 d/b/a in CA Seabury & Smith Insurance Program Management

How do you maximize your FEP Service Benefit Plan hearing aid benefit? Add the savings of the Blue365® discount program! (TruHearing is a BCBS PPO Provider)

TruHearing is a national vendor that provides discounts on hearing aids through the Blue365 program. Here is an example of your potential savings for a top technology hearing aid with 16 channels, 5 memories, noise & wind reduction and speech enhancement features: Average retail price:


TruHearing (private label) price through Blue365: FEP Service Benefit Plan covered benefit: Your out-of-pocket cost:

$1,995 $1,000 $995*

TruHearing offers 64 models – both brand name and private label – from four of the leading manufacturers: Siemens, ReSound, Unitron and Rexton. Discounts of 30-60% vary depending on manufacturer and model. TruHearing contracts with 1,400 hearing professional nationwide. Contact TruHearing to schedule a free hearing screening with a contracted hearing professional near you.

(877) 360-2432 ®

Call TruHearing for: Free screening (you must call TruHearing to schedule your appointment) Free copy of “The Guide to Better Hearing” DVD Free batteries for 1-year with purchase $25 rebate per hearing aid unit on your first purchase under this TruHearing discount program * Hearing aids are a covered benefit under the FEP Service Benefit Plan for adults age 22 and over, limited to $1,000 per hearing aid per ear per 36-month period. Children, up to age 22, are limited to $1,000 per ear per calendar year. Member cost sharing applies. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated, licensed Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Blue365® 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, certain hearing tests, and vision services, please remember to use your Service Benefit Plan benefits. To find out what is covered under your policy, contact the Service Benefit Plan. The products and services described herein are neither offered 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, nor BCBSA, or 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.


I am smiling because TruHearing saved me money on top-of-the-line hearing aids. My daughter is smiling because she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to repeat herself, my friends are smiling because I can hear them at restaurants, my pastor is smiling because I participate better in meetings and even my neighbors are happier since I have turned down the volume on my TV. Give TruHearing a call and put smiles on lots of faces!



(877) 360-2434

PEN SEASON REPORT 2010 Preview Editor’s note: This is the first of a threepart series that will be continued in the November and December issues. he 2010 Open Season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) runs from Monday, November 8, to Monday, December 13, 2010. Because this issue of NARFE magazine went to press in August, official announcements regarding next year’s benefits and premiums, and changes to the Open Season processes were not yet available for inclusion in this article.


ABOUT BENEFITS AND PREMIUMS Contract negotiations between the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and FEHBP plans are conducted in private. OPM will not release information about any plan’s benefits or premiums for contract year 2011 until it completes negotiations with all of the participating plans. After the changes for 2011 are announced by OPM in September, this information will be included in the November and December issues of NARFE magazine.

MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION Generally, annuitant and survivor participants should receive their FEHBP and FEDVIP Open Season initial notice and plan brochures by the starting date of the Open Season. This should give you ample time to review


health, dental and vision plans so you can make an informed decision and any changes by the ending date. For most Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System retirees and survivors, Open Season information will be sent by OPM’s Open Season contractor. OPM mails its annual FEHBP Open Season notice to all retirees so that it is received before the beginning of Open Season. Anyone who does not receive the Open Season notice by November 8 should call the Open Season contractor at 800-332-9798. Active federal employees will receive Open Season information and instructions from their respective personnel or administrative offices. As with retirees, FEHBP plans that will participate in the program for contract year 2011 will send new brochures to their enrollees. Those with Internet access can use OPM’s Web site,, to obtain additional information. The

site has an easy-to-use menu to select and download information on the benefit programs. Changes in benefits and premiums for the 2011 year should be available online by the beginning of Open Season.

CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE DURING OPEN SEASON Health Insurance (FEHBP) During Open Season, employees, annuitants, survivor annuitants, former spouses and those in receipt of benefits from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, already enrolled in the FEHBP may change plans, options, type of enrollment (self-only or family) or make any combination of these changes. Annuitants and survivor annuitants who suspended FEHBP coverage to enroll in TRICARE, TRICARE-For-Life, the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage HMO OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE


There’s something

in the water.

Regardless of your age, it’s important to drink plenty of water. It helps rinse away food and harmful bacteria — and that leads to healthier teeth. And did you know that tap water may be better for your teeth than bottled water? That’s because water from the tap may contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay. Here’s another tip: GEHA Connection Dental Federal® with High Option provides up to $4,000 in benefits each year for each covered family member. Find out why our members are smiling: Visit Join our online chat with GEHA President Richard Miles. Tuesday, October 26, noon Eastern Time at (877) 590-GEHA U Connect with us: Follow us: © 2010 Government Employees Health Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

PEN SEASON REPORT plan, CHAMPVA, Medicaid or as a Peace Corp volunteer may re-enroll in the FEHBP during Open Season. Eligible active federal employees who are not enrolled may take this opportunity now to enroll or re-enroll. Annuitants and survivors who are not enrolled generally may not enroll or reenroll. Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP) During Open Season, eligible employees, annuitants, survivors and compensationers may enroll in the program or, if already enrolled, change plans, options, type of enrollment or make any combination of these changes. Open Season also is the only time you can voluntarily cancel your FEDVIP enrollment. Your FEDVIP enrollment continues year to year unless you change or cancel during Open Season.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) During Open Season, federal employees will be able to sign up for FSAs for the 2011 plan year under the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS). FSAs allow employees (but not retirees) to set aside pretax money that can be used for certain health and dependent-care expenses. Unlike the FEHBP and FEDVIP, enrollment in FSAFEDS does not carry over from year to year, so employees must re-enroll each year. To enroll, employees must go to or call 877-372-3337.

EFFECTIVE DATES OF CHANGES, ENROLLMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS • FEHBP Annuitants and Survivors. For changes and re-enroll-

ments: January 1, 2011. The new premiums will be deducted beginning with the February 1, 2011, annuity payments. • FEHBP Federal Employees. For enrollments, changes and re-enrollments: beginning of the first pay period after January 1, 2011. • FEDVIP Annuitants and Survivors. For enrollments, cancellations and changes: January 1, 2011. The new premiums will be withheld from annuities beginning with the February 1, 2011, payment. • FEDVIP Federal Employees. For enrollments, cancellations and changes: beginning of the first pay period on or after January 1, 2011. • FSAFEDS. The effective date is January 1, 2011.

Retirement Benefits Service Department

Important Questions for Open Season Will my current health plan continue to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)? Don’t assume that FEHBP plans remain

Long-Term Care


urrent enrollees in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) will receive a separate, personalized package from Long Term Care Partners. This package will provide information on any changes to premiums that will be effective January 1, 2011, as well as choices to change benefits within their current plan or to change to a new benefit structure.


participants or have the same coverage every year. The FEHBP frequently adds new plans and drops others, particularly health maintenance organization (HMO) plans. In addition, medical expenses covered by a plan this year may not be covered next year and vice versa. HMO plans might change the area of coverage, dropping some ZIP codes and adding others. You also will need to be aware if your HMO plan has split into two separate plans, with separate premiums and areas of coverage. This could result in the enrollee being automatically enrolled in the new plan, unless the enrollee makes an Open Season election to stay with the original plan. The best way to stay on top of upcoming changes is to read carefully the information sent to you by both your current health insurance plan and by the Office of Personnel Management

(OPM). This means that you need to keep your mailing address current with both the plan and OPM so the information gets to you in a timely manner.

What should I do if I don’t understand something in a plan’s brochure? Don’t ignore plan features that are unclear to you. Contact the FEHBP carriers directly to clarify plan features and eliminate future misunderstandings. This is very important whenever a plan offers a new option or a new benefit.

Am I correct in believing that OPM’s comparison chart gives me all of the information I need to select a health plan that best meets my needs and the needs of my family? The Open Season Health Benefits Guide that OPM sends to every enrollee provides a good summary of the plans availOCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

This good news is worth a shout out.

We’ve raised the annual maximum limit to $5,000 for our High Option. Which means you get even more coverage out of your dental benefits. To learn more about how The MetLife Federal Dental Plan can help you save money on dental care, visit our website at Open Season to elect your dental coverage begins on November 8, 2010 and ends on December 13, 2010. Start the healthy conversation today!

Like most group accident and health insurance policies, MetLife dental insurance policies contain certain exclusions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Contact MetLife for more information. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166. © 2010 MetLife, Inc. © 2010 Peanuts. L0810125060(exp0811)(All States)(DC,GU,MP,PR,VI) 1008-2448

PEN SEASON REPORT able to you and the covered services that the plan pays for. Even so, OPM cautions you not to rely exclusively on the comparison chart or hearsay about health plans. Do an independent review of your family’s and your health care needs, and how well individual plans meet those needs. Be sure to review your plan brochure and the brochure of any other plan you are interested in for upcoming changes. Compare the benefits offered with your health care needs and those of your covered family members.

Are there other aspects of health plans’ day-to-day business that I need to consider when choosing a plan under the FEHBP? Don’t forget to check the plans’ records of service and reimbursement, and the availability of preferred provider organi-

a health plan is to go by the least expensive premium available to you?

zations (PPOs) in your area for contract year 2011. Remember that a plan’s PPOs also can change from one year to the next; and if you use a nonpreferred provider, it will cost you more in co-pays and/or coinsurance. Also read and understand the plans’ coordination of benefits policy if you have other insurance coverage, such as Medicare or TRICARE.

Is it true that the safest way to select

Don’t figure the cost of a health plan on premium rates alone. Keep in mind that premiums are but one aspect of your health care costs; benefits are equally important. Review deductible, coinsurance and co-payment features. Some plans have separate deductibles for major medical and specialized-care expenses. Some plans may substitute coinsurance for co-payments. Carefully review health plans’ catastrophic protection limits and which of your out-of-pocket costs count toward those limits. If Medicare (Parts A and B) is your primary insurer, review your FEHBP plan brochure to see if the plan waives or discounts any of your deductibles, coinsurance or co-payments. Remem-

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PEN SEASON REPORT ber: A co-payment is a flat amount; coinsurance is a percentage of the cost. If prescription drug coverage is a major part of your health care, then you want to look at a plan’s out-of-pocket expenses for generic as well as brand name or specialty drugs. You also should pay attention to the difference in amounts and costs for ordering prescriptions by mail and the costs for using your neighborhood retail pharmacist. Double-check your understanding of the total costs before enrolling in a plan. Evaluate each plan in light of your past medical history and your anticipated medical needs for the coming year. Also make the same considerations for your eligible family members.

Are there other cost-related implications that I need to consider when making a decision about a health plan? Don’t forget to consider a plan’s catastrophic coverage feature, a limitation on the maximum out-of-pocket expenses that you might have to pay in a calendar year. Also, be sure you understand what counts as an out-of-pocket expense. All out-of-pocket expenses do not count toward the catastrophic protection limit. Consumer-driven health plans and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) tend to have higher catastrophic protection limits, along with lower monthly premiums.

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 account (HRA). Medicare-eligible enrollees cannot open an HSA. HDHP monthly premiums may be lower than traditional fee-for-service 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. HDHP enrollees are encouraged to be prudent about their health care treatment and expenditures.

How will an HDHP/HSA or an HRA help the FEHBP member? An HDHP/HSA or HRA provides insurance coverage and catastrophic coverage, and 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 members of your family get very sick, you will have to meet your health plan’s catastrophic protection limit, which could be as much as $10,000 out of pocket in a calendar year.

My health plan will continue to participate in the FEHBP next year. What do I have to do if I want to stay with my present enrollment? Don’t do anything if you are satisfied with your present health insurance coverage. Your present coverage is automatically continued unless you make a change, or unless your plan or option is terminated. For retirees and survivors: If your monthly health benefits premiums for 2011 are more than your monthly annuity, and you do not change to a lesscostly plan or option during Open Season, OPM will send you instructions on what you must do. One option is to keep your current plan but pay the premiums directly to OPM instead of having them deducted from your annuity.

My health plan will not be participating next year. What happens if I do not change to another plan before Open Season ends? If your current plan will not be participating in the FEHBP in 2011, you may

elect a new plan during Open Season. For active federal employees: You must elect a new health plan, or you will not have any FEHBP coverage in 2011. For retirees and survivors: OPM will enroll you automatically in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard option if your plan is leaving the FEHBP for contract year 2011, and you do not choose a new plan. If your plan terminates the option of the plan in which you are enrolled for 2010, OPM may enroll you in the plan’s other option, if it is approximately equivalent to the option being terminated, and you do not choose a new plan for 2011.

I am going to change my current FEHBP coverage. How will I obtain my new plan identification cards? New plan identification cards are generated by the health plan, not by your employing agency or OPM. The plans usually issue the cards within 30 days from the date they receive your new enrollment change from your agency or OPM.

How do I make sure that my spouse is covered by the FEHBP in the event of my death? In order to retain FEHBP coverage, the surviving spouse (if not also a federal employee or retiree) must be eligible to receive a survivor’s annuity benefit and be covered by a family enrollment at the time of the death of the retiree. Survivors’ annuity benefits for a post-retirement marriage must be elected within two years of the marriage. (Note: If you are a retiree and you remarry the person who was your spouse when you retired, and that spouse at retirement waived his or her entitlement to a survivor’s annuity, you cannot elect a survivor’s annuity for that same spouse based on the remarriage to that person.) For retirees: Upon your death, your spouse will be covered by your FEHBP OCTOBER 2010 | NARFE

Have You Heard? Through Blue365®, FEP Members Enjoy Hearing Aid Savings from Beltone! Beltone Discount (through Blue365) + FEP Service Benefit = Big Savings for YOU! Beltone is a national provider of hearing instruments and hearing accessories. Now, stepping up to Beltone is easier than ever. When you combine your FEP Hearing Aid benefit with the discount Beltone offers through Blue365, you can save on over 80 models of Beltone digital hearing aids.

Schedule your free hearing assessment today.

Here’s What You Get— s 25% discount off retail prices s Free hearing screenings s Free second year warranty with loss, stolen, damage coverage s Free batteries for one full year s National BelCare™ Aftercare Program Ask your Beltone professional about additional features for upgrade exchanges, follow-up care and a 30-day refund.

Beltone. Helping the world hear better. Beltone technology is designed to give patients more natural hearing and the freedom to enjoy life. Beltone’s new line of True™ hearing aids features one-of-a-kind “wireless” technology. Hearing aid patients can hear the TV directly in their True hearing aids, without cords.

To find out more about your Blue365 discounts go to Find your nearest Beltone provider office – over 1500 offices nationwide! Dial 1-888-896-2365 or visit *Hearing aids are a covered benefit under the FEP Service Benefit Plan for adults age 22 and over, limited to $1,000 per hearing aid per ear per 36-month period. *Hearing aids are a covered benefit under the FEP Service Benefit Plan for children up to age 22, limited to $1,000 per hearing aid per ear per calendar year. Member cost sharing applies. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated, licensed Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Blue365® 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, certain hearing tests, and vision services, please remember to use your Service Benefit Plan benefits. To find out what is covered under your policy, contact the Service Benefit Plan. The products and services described herein are neither offered 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, or BCBSA, or 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 plan, if he or she is eligible for a survivor’s annuity, and you are enrolled in a family enrollment at the time of your death. For active federal employees: Survivors’ benefits are determined by operation of law; there is no requirement for active federal workers to elect survivors’ annuity benefits for their spouses in order to protect the spouse’s future FEHBP entitlement.

If I have FEHBP plan coverage, do I need to sign up for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan benefits as well? Your prescription drug benefits under the FEHBP are generally better than, or at least as good as, the prescription drug benefits under Medicare. You do not need to sign up for Medicare Part D. The OPM contract year 2011 FEHBP plan brochures will each contain a statement telling you that your FEHBP prescription drug benefit is superior to or at least as good as Medicare’s. If you subsequently decide to sign up for Medicare Part D, the plan brochure statement from OPM will excuse you from any Medicare Part D late-enrollment penalty.

Can I find information concerning my FEHBP plan on the Internet? Information on the 2010 Open Season (for contract year 2011) will be posted on the OPM insurance Web site, www.opm. gov/insure. The OPM site will provide links to the health plan brochures for 2011 before Open Season begins on November 8. These links also will be posted on the NARFE Web site,


Your Open Season package from OPM also will provide you with other sources.

Who is eligible to participate in the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)?

would still pay for these expenses, but you would do so using money remaining in your paycheck after federal (and often state and local) taxes are deducted.

Employees who work for an executive branch agency or an agency that has adopted the Federal Flexible Benefits Plan (FedFlex) can elect to participate in FSAFEDS.

The employee’s annual election is deducted from his or her pay in allotments spread evenly over the number of pay dates remaining in the benefit period.

When do you enroll?

What is the “Use-It-or-Lose-It” Rule?

Eligible employees can enroll in FSAFEDS during Open Season. Open Season enrollments are effective January 1 of the following year. Current enrollees must remember to enroll each year to continue participating in FSAFEDS. Enrollment does not carry forward year to year.

Under Internal Revenue Service rules, you forfeit any money for which you did not incur an eligible expense under your FSA during the benefit period.

What is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? A flexible spending account is a tax-favored program offered by employers that allows their employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pretax dollars. By using pretax dollars to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses, an FSA gives employees an immediate discount on these expenses that equals the taxes they would otherwise pay on that money.

How do I pay for this benefit?

Can an annuitant participate in this program? No. By law, annuitants (other than reemployed annuitants) cannot participate in FSAs. FSAs are a way of setting aside pretax salary for payment of eligible expenses. Annuitants receive annuities, which are not salary. Re-employed annuitants must be eligible for active FEHBP coverage to participate.

How do I get more information about FSAFEDS? For further information, visit www. or call 877-372-3337 (TTY: 800-952-0450).

Retirement Benefits Service Department

How can an FSA help me? An FSA offers tax savings by allowing you to pay for out-of-pocket expenses with pretax money. Without an FSA, you

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PEN SEASON REPORTS NOVEMBER: 2011 Premiums DECEMBER: Plan Changes and Prescription Drug Guide


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From the Secretary’s Desk A Fond Farewell By Nathaniel L. Brown National Secretary


his is my last column as your National Secretary. It certainly has been an honor and a pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve you during the past four years. Some of you have asked why I did not seek a third term. Four years is a long time to be away from family and friends. In addition, national officer positions are fulltime jobs and, frankly, I needed a break. Despite how enjoyable and challenging my tenure as National Secretary has been, I felt it was time for me to make a change so that I would be able to get around to some of the activities on my “to do” list. More important, it provides the opportunity for any of our dedicated members who may have aspira-

tions to serve as a national officer. As I look back to the time since I was elected at the 2006 NARFE National Convention in Albuquerque, many fond memories come to mind. I am grateful for the friends I have made and the wonderful people I have met. I am thankful for the warm hospitality shown to me when I attended federation conventions, chapter meetings and other activities to which I was invited. In parting, I want to thank all of you for your generous support. I especially want to thank you for the ideas and suggestions you provided to help make NARFE a more effective and efficient organization. While it was not always possible to implement all of them, I did my best to bring about the changes that you thought were best for NARFE. Four years ago, I indicated in my acceptance speech that my motto was, “Working Together, We Can Make a Difference.” That has been my guiding principle. I believe that we – national officers, regional vice

presidents, federation presidents, chapter presidents and the membership – have indeed made a difference by working together. Despite the challenges we face – whether they are leadership, financial or apathy – I know that, if we continue to work together, we can and will make a difference. Last, but just as important, I want to thank the staff at NARFE Headquarters. They are a highly competent and devoted group of people. It has been a pleasure to work with them, and they certainly made my job as National Secretary a lot easier. I will always have fond memories of the experiences we shared. What is next for me, and where do I go from here? I will return to my home in Arizona and become involved in my home chapter – the Copper State Chapter, a statewide chapter. And, yes, I hope to see many of you at future national conventions. In the meantime, let us continue to work together to make NARFE the best organization yet. ■

Contact Us NARFE HEADQUARTERS 606 North Washington St.,Alexandria,VA 22314-1914 Phone: 703-838-7760 Fax: 703-838-7785

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Contact Member Records toll-free at 800-456-8410, or send change of address by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Member Records, or by e-mail to

Q&A: To obtain an answer to a retirement benefits question, call 703-838-7760 and ask for the Retirement Benefits Service Department; send your question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Retirement Benefits; or submit it by e-mail to

OUT & ABOUT: Submit photo with caption information by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Out & About, or by e-mail to LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Letters may be edited for grammar, clarity and length. All letters must be signed. Send by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Letters to the Editor, or by e-mail to NARFE | OCTOBER 2010


Report From the Regions

By Helen L. Zajac Region VIII Regional Vice President


e all remember the challenge of President John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Those words seem very appropriate to me as NARFE begins the celebration of 90 years of service to the federal community. Throughout its history, NARFE has fought to protect

others you know in the federal community to join NARFE. Remember: There is strength in numbers and, when NARFE speaks to Congress, the more NARFE members, the greater our clout. Provide your email address to NARFE to stay up-todate on issues and receive legislative action alerts. Share your human resources contacts in federal agencies with NARFE leaders. Attend chapter meetings, volunteer to serve on a committee and offer to serve in a leadership role. Share your copies of NARFE magazine within your community. Many dedicated members have already done these things, but we also need your help. We must all work together because we all share responsibility for our future security. ■

and enhance the benefits of federal workers and retirees, beginning with the reason NARFE was founded – to increase retirement annuities for those already retired. Some other NARFE successes include legislation establishing survivors’ annuities and health insurance for federal retirees, including participation in Open Season; fighting discriminatory tax policies at the state and federal levels; protecting cost-of-living increases from congressional proposals to withhold, delay or eliminate them; and, more recently, continuing to ward off congressional efforts to cut our earned benefits. What you can do for NARFE is retain your membership (dues withholding is an easy way and also saves you money), and encourage

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Out & AW bout ith the Chapters

For more NARFE chapter and federation photos,go to Click on NARFE magazine.

NARFE Legislative Advocacy in Action


fficers of the Texas Federation and three Texas chapters met with representatives of the offices of Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn.The NARFE officials urged both Texas senators to preserve equity in cost-of-living adjustments among all federal retirement programs and to defend the fiscal integrity of the federal retirement system. They also discussed other key NARFE issues. Pictured, left to right, are: John G.Thomas,Texas Federation legislative representative; Stan Bowers, Chapter 1410 1st vp; John Etue, Central Texas regional director for Sen. Hutchison; Sandy Edwards, Central Texas regional director for Sen. Cornyn; Donal Fulton, Chapter 1410 president; David Fitz, Chapter 1410 vp; and Albert Prewitt, Texas Region 15 director.

$8,787,824* *Total as of July 31, 2010

Marion Spencer, left, president of Chapter 1797 in Hanover, PA, awarded the chapter’s 2010 Public Service Award to Bette Rogers for her service to the chapter and the community.


NARFE members contributed for Alzheimer’s research:

$9 Million Fund

Chapter 148 in Des Moines, IA, recently rededicated the Des Moines Service Center as the “Ron Scott NARFE Service Center” in honor of the chapter’s late member. Scott was instrumental in organizing the service center at its present location. At the ceremony were Mrs. Scott (right, front) and four daughters, along with Richard Thissen, Region V vice president; Joy Bridenstine, Iowa District V vp (second from left); and Ginny Baker, Chapter 148 president (right, back).

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






Name Address

100% of all contributed funds go to Alzheimer’s research.




Chapter number

If you have any questions, write to: National Committee, Chairman Barb L. Pretzer, 4817 Rockridge Court, Manhattan, KS 66503


Your charitable contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Write your chapter number on check; make it payable to: NARFE-Alzheimer’s Research and mail to: Alzheimer’s Association 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-7633


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.


NARFE MEMBER HOMEBENEFITS 1-800-666-9203 • 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 interesete moving services with the nation’s most trusted moving company – Allied Van Lines! *State restrictions apply. Call or visit website for details.

BEKINS VAN LINES 1-800-456-6832 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CT) 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.


Endless Vacation Rentals® As a member of NARFE, you will receive 10% off the “Best Available Rate” at vacation rental properties booked at or by calling 1877-670-7088, prompt 3, and providing promotion code 20672 at time of booking.





Discounts on Escorted Europe Land Tours

1-800-233-5764 Insurance plans designed and administered exclusively for NARFE members. Call for information on Whole and Term Life, Hospital Indemnity, Accidental Injury and Death Plan, Dental Plan and Cancer Care Plan. For information on Long Term Care call the Long Term Care Unit at 1800-358-3795.

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 now 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.

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!

The dream of European travel is easily turned into splendid reality with our broad range of Europe vacation packages across a continent of distinctive cultures.

NARFE Exclusive Offer Save an additional 5% off any Globus or Cosmos Tour Save even more! Ask about Double Discount Departures – You save 10% off the lowest available price. Call NARFETRAVEL TODAY

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HEARING BENEFITS TRUHEARING The TruHearing program can save you hundreds of dollars: • Free hearing screening • 45-day, money-back guarantee • 3-year warranty • Free one-year supply of batteries • 1,400 hearing professionals nationwide • 12-months, no interest financing (available upon approved credit)

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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 or call 800-258-2847.

1-800-354-2322 — Welcome to Alamo Country. Where NARFE members get unlimited mileage and year-round discounts off Alamo’s already great rates. Book with your travel agent or Alamo®. Be sure to request I.D. Number 262544 and Rate Code BY (A-1 for weekend rentals) at the time of reservation. (Same ID number and code applies to National Car Rental.)

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

CREDIT CARD AVIS: 1-800-331-1441 WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP As a member of NARFE, you will receive an additional 10% off the “Best Available Rate” at participating locations every time you travel. Book online or call and give agent your special discount ID number, #20672, 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 member-benefits hotline 1877-670-7088 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®, Microtel Inns and Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge®, Knights Inn® and AmeriHost Inn®.


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


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. Use priority code: UABEWD.


Order NARFE name badges and apparel, including jackets, baseball caps, polo shirts and T-shirts! See MEMBER PERKS on the NARFE Web site, or go to: Toll-Free Phone: 877-866-0102 Fax: 301-371-6824


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.

October November December January 2010 February March April May June July August September



211.549 212.003 211.703 212.568 212.544 213.525 213.958 214.124 213.839 213.898

+0.1 +0.2 -0.1 +0.4 0.0 +0.5 +0.2 +0.1 -0.1 0.0

August Results Are Mixed ByTracey Ray Stocks extended their July winning spree into early August, and the C Fund was up more than 2.3 percent before investors began to worry that the global economic recovery is coming to a halt. On August 11, the C Fund fell 2.8 percent, wiping out the entire monthly gain in one day, and it continued lower for the rest of the month. The F Fund rose for the fifth month in a row and remains the best performing fund for the year to date, as interest rates fell to record lows. (Bond prices rise when interest rates fall.) The L Income and L 2010 Funds benefitted from heavy exposure to the F and G Funds and are now the only L Funds showing positive returns for 2010.

Tracey Ray is chief investment officer of the Thrift Savings Plan. 62

-1.9 -1.6 -1.8 -1.4 -1.4 -0.9 -0.7 -0.6 -0.8 -0.7

Prices Unchanged in July


he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was unchanged in July. To calculate the next cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2010 will be averaged for a third-quarter determinant, which will be compared with the 2008 third-quarter base index of 215.5 (because of price deflation in the past measurement year, the 2008 third-quarter average is still the point of comparison). Julys index of 213.898 is still down 0.7 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. July’s index is 1.0 percent higher than the December 2009 base index of 211.7. ■

Thrift Savings Plan Investments* Month G Fund 2009 September 0.26% October 0.26% November 0.26% December 0.25% 0.29% 2010 January February 0.24% March 0.27% April 0.28% May 0.28% June 0.24% July 0.23% August 0.22% Last 12 Months 3.10% Month 2009 September October November December 2010 January February March April May June July August Last 12 Months

L Income 1.08% (0.26%) 1.27% 0.59% (0.45%) 0.74% 1.43% 0.50% (1.50%) (0.61%) 1.81% (0.63%) 3.99%

F Fund 1.07% 0.51% 1.30% (1.55%) 1.54% 0.38% (0.11%) 1.07% 0.85% 1.56% 1.07% 1.28% 9.29%

C Fund 3.74% (1.86%) 6.00% 1.94% (3.60%) 3.11% 6.04% 1.58% (7.99%) (5.24%) 7.01% (4.51%) 4.93%

S Fund 5.94% (5.51%) 3.85% 6.57% (2.43%) 4.89% 7.39% 4.82% (7.51%) (6.90%) 7.00% (5.59%) 11.03%

I Fund 3.79% (2.41%) 3.16% 1.43% (5.17%) 0.06% 6.28% (2.35%) (11.20%) (1.75%) 10.78% (3.14%) (2.28%)

L 2010 1.32% (0.38%) 1.47% 0.70% (0.58%) 0.81% 1.61% 0.51% (1.64%) (0.68%) 1.81% (0.62%) 4.33%

L 2020 2.63% (1.39%) 3.00% 1.50% (2.03%) 1.61% 3.75% 0.76% (4.98%) (2.34%) 4.82% (2.29%) 4.64%

L 2030 3.14% (1.81%) 3.55% 1.85% (2.49%) 1.94% 4.52% 0.94% (6.07%) (2.98%) 5.80% (2.88%) 4.88%

L 2040 3.56% (2.15%) 3.98% 2.12% (2.88%) 2.18% 5.15% 1.05% (6.97%) (3.47%) 6.60% (3.33%) 4.98%

*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:


Bathing Technology Breakthrough– Introducing New Safer Lower Step!

Can a bath improve your health and quality of life? Rediscover the pleasure and soothing therapy of a luxurious bath… safely and affordably.


emember the feeling you had when you drew a hot bath, sat down in the tub, and let the warm water wash away the cares of the day? After the bath, you emerged refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go. For many people, the luxury of taking a bath has become a thing of the past as age and mobility issues have robbed them of one of life’s simple pleasures. Now, the leader in finding innovative products for Boomers and Beyond has found a product that can get you back in the water again, safely and affordably. It’s called the Designed for SENIORS® Safe Step Walk-In Tub, and we’d love to tell you about it.

New lower step makes getting in and out of the tub even safer!

Come on in, the water’s fine. Traditional bath

Just take a look at everything you get: • Standard features give you the ultimate in comfort and therapy • New Lower Step – less than 4” high • 17” high seat and anti-slip surfaces • Hydro-Jet water and GentleJet™ air jet Therapy • Dual zone jets and in-line heater • Aromatherapy plus soothing Chromatherapy • ThermoStatic mixing valve for temperature control • Ozonator technology for a clean and healthy bath • 100% leakproof, mold-resistant and easy to clean • Attractive and durable design – American Made


Designed for SENIORS

Now you can regain the benefits of bathing. No other bathtub offers the range of benefits you get standard with the Designed for SENIORS® Safe Step Walk-In Tub. First, as you enter, you’ll notice that you barely have to lift your feet to get into the tub. Then, settle into the 17" high non-slip seat and draw your bath. Turn on the water or air jets and feel those aches and pains drift away. The dual zone jets let you concentrate on the spots that hurt most, and the thermostatic mixing valve and in-line heater keeps the water warm so you can stay in as long as you like. For the ultimate in luxury, turn on the aromatherapy and the chromatherapy. If you close your eyes you’ll think you are in a spa in the Swiss Alps … but you’re in your own bathroom! Why wait to take advantage of this life-changing technology? You’re worth it.

80069 Copyright © 2010 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.

tubs have a one and a half foot wall, but for many aging Americans, it might as well be six feet tall. Stepping into a slippery tub takes a degree of balance and coordination many of us no longer have. Safe Step has always been concerned about your safety and now has redesigned their tub to have one of the lowest step-up thresholds in the industry…. less than 4” high! Imagine being able to simply walk in to the tub, sit down and take the bath you’ve been missing. It easily replaces your existing tub, so you can stay in the home you love and even help to increase its value. Because it comes standard with the best features on the market, the Designed for SENIORS® Safe Step tub is not only the most affordable … it’s the best.

Don’t wait another minute to begin enjoying the independence, safety and dignity of the Designed for SENIORS® Safe Step Walk-In Tub. Call now Toll-Free and mention your special promotion code 40816. Financing available with approved credit.

1998 Ruffin Mill Road Colonial Heights, VA 23834


October 2010  

NARFE Magazine, October 2010 issue.