A Message From Our President

An article in the current NYSUT United magazine caught my attention and I hope you read it too.

It's on page 30 of the November issue entitled Retirees Help Change Hospital Policy. All of us should be aware that there are two categories of patients when entering the hospital – Outpatient and Observation – and, because of NYSUT Retirees actions, hospitals must now notify patients of their status within 24 hours.

This is important because rehab or skilled nursing care are not covered by Medicare if the patient is classified as Observation. Services such as various tests cost more, which results in large bills at discharge. Please be sure to read this article and be informed for your own safety.

I wish you all Good Health and a Happy Holiday Season. 
In unity, 
Joan Petroske 

Welfare Trust Fund Benefits

Changes for Medicare Primary and Their Dependents
Dick Lee, Trust Fund Administrator
Reprinted from the HHHART BEAT, Winter 2012-13 issue

From the many phone calls received in the past month, there seems to be a lot of confusion with the 2013 changes in the Empire Plan/United Health Care Prescription Drug Plan program. For most of us it will just mean an extra prescription drug plan card that we will have to present to a participating pharmacy when getting our prescriptions. Below is an explanation of the major changes to our Empire Plan that will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Effective January 1, the NYSHIP Empire Plan is making changes in prescription coverage. Those who are Medicare Primary along with their dependents will be enrolled in EMPIRE PLAN MEDICARE Rx, a Medicare Part D prescription program. This change applies only to the Empire prescription drug coverage; it is not a part of the federal Prescription Part D. Changes are being made as part of the Affordable Care Act, designed to reduce drug costs for brand name and generic drugs.

  • 50% discount for brand name drugs; 14% for generic drugs
  • There will be a separate prescription ID card
  • Co-pays will remain the same as or better than in-service enrollees
  • Formularies will remain the same or better than in-service enrollees
  • There will be no donut hole.

Please note-

• Each Empire enrollee may have only one Empire Medicare Rx Part D benefit. If both spouses have family coverage, they will have to choose which plan to stay with. If no choice is made, Empire will cancel the plan that has been in existence the longest. Where there is dual coverage for family and also an individual coverage for one of the partners, the individual cannot continue to receive coverage if the family plan continues.

• High income Medicare retirees ($89,500 individual, $170,000 family), will be subject to a premium surcharge. If the district pays for a retiree health plan (i.e. 25%/35%) that will continue with prescriptions. However, unlike Part B premiums, the district is not required to reimburse the surcharge.

For questions or further information, please contact: Dot Zuckerman 631-273-8822 (Suffolk) or Kathy Lyons 516-496-2035 (Nassau)

NOTE: Where the enrollee holds the family plan and is Medicare-primary but the dependents are not Medicare eligible, the dependents remain on the original prescription plan and also receive individual prescription cards.

If the holder of the family plan is not on Medicare but the spouse is, the spouse goes on Medicare Rx prescription coverage while the primary remains on the original plan. They each receive individual prescription cards.

The Year in Review - 2013

NYSUT 'Making Strides' Effort Tops $1 Million

NYSUT members and their families raised $1,026,937 for cancer research by supporting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks last fall, the sixth consecutive year hitting the $1 million mark.

"The dedication of our members in raising money for the American Cancer Society in their pursuit to find a cure for breast cancer is truly amazing. We can't thank them enough," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira.

 NYSUT members have raised almost $10 million over the last 11 years for Strides - more than any corporate sponsor in the country.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

"Learning is more than a test score!  We need to restore a proper balance to public education.  The growing fixation on high-stakes testing is damaging our efforts to improve schools.  While appropriate assessments are an integral part of a high-quality education system, an accountaility system obsessed with measuring, which punishes teachers and schools, comes at a huge cost.  It's time to make sure that teaching and learning - not testing- drive classroom instruction so that we can give all children the rich, meaningful public education they deserve."

If you agree that learning is more than a test score, sign the AFT's petition.  Click here.

NYSUT Members Need Your Union's Help NOW!

Thousands of members have been contacting the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund for financial help in recovering from Superstorm Sandy. The assistance can help with losses that insurance won't cover and fill gaps that quickly add up to major obstacles to recovery. 

Your generous contributions are key to helping the fund meet those needs. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to help members and locals in need. The fund will try to provide grants to the maximum number of members impacted as resources allow. The power is in the union. Organize opportunities to raise money and build solidarity for disaster relief. 

We've been organizing truck deliveries of donated supplies and Saturday bus trips for volunteers to head to Long Island and the metro area to provide manpower for the clean up. The need is endless. Please help. For information about how to donate, visit www.nysut.org/disasterrelief.

MEDEX Information and Form

In the Fall edition of the HHHART Beat, Dick Lee reported some valuable information on a travel service available to all NYSUT members.  Our newsletter printed the card, but to many it was not clear.  Access the "Welfare TrustFund" link at the top of this page and it will take you to the MEDEX information and a clearer version of the card one needs.

Webmaster:  Betty Jayne Volpe, bjvolpe@optonline.net

2013 Events

Thursday, September 12th

Close to 40 people attended the Fall Luncheon at the Stonebridge Country Club.  Visit the gallery to view the pictures.

Thursday, October 17th

The  CORTLI Fall Luncheon was at the Crest Hollow Country Club on October 17th. This year the speaker was Tom Di Napoli, New York State's Comptroller.

The day was informative and enjoyed by all. Read a review by Barbara Arbuss in the winter issue of the HHHART Beat.

CORTLI Luncheon 2013

After munching on hʼors doerves, receiving greetings from Manny Darwin, and singing a rousing rendition of America The Beautiful, the Coalition of Retired Teachers of LI (CORTLI) began its fall luncheon on Thursday, October 17th in a beautiful room at the Crest Hollow CountryClub. After the speakers, a delicious lunch was served.

Several speakers from NYSUT presented Union and Retirement information about things happening now, and possibly in the future. They were followed by the Guest Speaker, Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller. After telling us about his background and about his responsibilities as Comptroller, he thanked us and all teachers for our career choice and dedication, and for the difference we made in students' lives.

He said that progress was made in 2013. We are making our way back after the recession. Unemployment figures are improved, (New York City is rebounding the fastest), there is more activity in the housing market, and money is starting to flow after Super Storm Sandy. Our Pension Fund is bouncing back and is doing fine. The fight continues to protect our defined benefits.

Eighty percent of retirees stay in New York State. They spend money in the state resulting in 20,000 jobs, $30 billion added to the economy, and $5 billion in tax revenues. It was a very illuminating afternoon.

HHHART was very well represented. We hope you will consider going to the next CORTLI luncheon in 2014.  

reported by Barbara Arbuss