|As I write this, prior to leaving for Reno and
the 34th NARFE National Convention, the summer is
nearing an end, hopefully it will be cooler with less
humid temps, and our Arizona Chapters will start holding
their meetings again. I hope everyone had a good and
healthy summer, a great Labor Day weekend, and that you
spent some time recruiting new members. Although the
report for July shows that there were no new members
recruited by chapter members in Arizona.
Mentioning new members, the NARFE National Office has announced that there will be another Membership Recruiting Drive starting September 1st thru December 31st. For every NEW member recruited, the recruiter will receive $10 AND be eligible for monthly prizes throughout the contest as well as for the GRAND Prize, an Apple iPad Air 2.
The Arizona Federation board has voted to match this $10 incentive; the same as was done last year. The National Office will mail the recruiter their $10 check as they occur but the Arizona Federation will not issue checks until after the end of the Recruiting Drive, around mid-January 2017.
With the Arizona Federation match, the recruiter will receive $20 for recruiting each NEW member. Chapters might want to sweeten the pot a little more and offer to increase this amount; example, another $5 or $10. This decision is up to each chapter but it might be an additional incentive to the recruiter to try a little harder to get that new member to sign up. Think about it!
The 3rd Biennial Workshop was held in early June with 58 attendees. I believe that everyone who attended went away with some very valuable information especially concerning the proposed bylaw and resolutions to be voted on at the National Convention, which will have already happened by the time you read this. The membership, legislative, and general communications sessions also provided a lot of additional information. We received great feedback on the Evaluation Sheets and this will be taken into consideration prior to the next Biennial Workshop in 2018.
In thinking about the 2018 Biennial Workshop, the Federation is always open to suggestions for topics to be covered and we need to attempt to locate a facility where we can be absolutely sure there will be a large screen and a microphone. If anyone knows of a great location, probably in the Phoenix area since it is centrally located, please let me know.
Our next “training” session will be the Region 1 & 4 Task Force Training to be held Friday, January 20, 2017. Any NARFE member in Arizona is welcome to attend this training. I do not have the agenda as yet but it should be announced soon. This has always provided some valuable training for members – officers as well as all members.
By the time that you receive this newspaper, the FEBHP Open Season will be upon us. As I write this article, the premiums for all plans are not known and I have not received the full list of the health fairs. But, on August 11th, I did receive the first invitation from TSA inviting NARFE to attend their health fairs—Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa. Wow! I did not expect to be receiving invitations already. Once this entire list is received, it will be divided up among the districts and sent to each District Vice President (DVP). The DVPs will be looking for volunteers to attend these health fairs. The Open Season letter will be emailed out in early September to each chapter.
The Arizona Federation will again pay mileage and parking fees, if any, once the cumulative mileage by a recruiter, within one Open Season, exceeds 75 miles. Receipts for the parking fees must be attached to the Expense Voucher.
Remember, if you want to change insurance plans, either to a different insurance company or different plan within the same insurance company, you must complete the required form(s). This can be done online or using a paper copy. Retirees need to use OPM Form 2809, Health Benefits Election Form. Employees can do this within their agency. If you have questions on this, please feel free to call David Snell, Director Federal Benefits in the National Office at 1-703-838-7760, Ext 269 or 271 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, attend one of the health fairs and talk with some of the insurance company representatives.
I would ask all NARFE chapters and chapter members to start preparations to assist the Federation in attending these agency health fairs to recruit new members. This is our only opportunity to get into many of these federal agencies and talk with their employees. There are health fairs all over the state and some are only an hour or two long and others run for several hours. Your DVP will be looking for volunteers. Please volunteer to help recruit some new employees and explain why they should belong to NARFE and protect their benefits.
As you have likely heard, the Long-Term Care premiums will increase substantially as of November 1, 2016. Everyone that has the Federal Long Term Care Insurance should have received a packet of information between July 18 and July 27th. Each packet is different based on what benefits you have. The packet provided you with a few options – pay the new increased premium and continue your current coverage, or to reduce your coverage with a premium at or below what you are currently paying, or in some case there is a “Paid-up, limited benefit” but this could significantly reduce the benefits of your coverage and one needs to give this option careful consideration before it is selected. Individuals might want to discuss this with their financial advisor or other people before making this decision. The Long Term Care Partners LLC MUST receive your selection by September 30, 2016. Unless you select an option to change your coverage, your current coverage will remain the same and your premiums will increase effective November 1, 2016.
Our NARFE National Office sent a letter to OPM requesting a meeting with the Director, along with a list of questions from NARFE and its members on the Program and the premium increase. NARFE is continuing to discuss this situation with legislators, and called for hearings. If invited to testify at any congressional hearing, NARFE will voice the feelings of our members and ask Congress to take steps to keep such large premium increase from happening again. NARFE is evaluating policy options to recommend to Congress that could provide greater predictability in premiums and greater accountability from the insurance company when its actuarial assumptions prove incorrect. But realizing that both houses are not in session, it is unlikely that anything will be done regarding this before the September 30th deadline.
NARFE Perks – Have you used them? These partners and sponsors add non-dues revenue to NARFE and we need to use their services when possible. Usually when Mike and I travel across the US, we stop at the Welcome Stations and pick up the coupon book that have discounts for lodging. This year when we traveled across the US, we stopped and picked up the book for Pennsylvania and found a coupon for a Comfort Inn at $89/night. These coupons are only good based on availability and we knew that we would be late arriving that evening. So we decided to call the Choice Hotels and see what their rate might be using NARFE’s Special Rate ID 00801967 and to our complete surprise the rate was only $63/night. What a bargain! Obviously we made a reservation and knew then that when we arrived there would be a room available. I am also a Choice Hotel Privileges member and when we arrived I was told that since I was a member they had upgraded us to a suite for the same $63/night. Also, when we moved a little over a year ago, I talked with Wheaton movers and they referred me to Bekins Van Lines in Tucson. They came to our old house, gave us a quote, got us moved on the date and time they had agreed, and when they presented the bill, it was considerably lower. Their rates were below what we had obtained from other movers even before reducing the bill..
By using NARFE Perks, we also help NARFE. So next time you need something, take a look in your magazine and see if there is something there that would benefit you.
Mark your calendars now and plan to attend:
January 20, 2017 – Task Force Meeting – Cross Roads United Methodist Church, 7901 N Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
May 7-9, 2017 – Arizona Federation Convention – Holiday Inn & Suites, Mesa, AZ – Hosted by District 4
At this time, I want to thank ALL those Arizona NARFE members that volunteered to be on one of the committees at the National Convention. Of those that volunteered, 8 Arizona NARFE members were selected; 3 on the Ballot & Teller Committee (Deborah Corner – Roadrunner 1874, Clyde Gumbmann – Roadrunner 1874, and Barbara Wrinkle – Sun City West 1789), the Rules Committee (Ronnie Castaneda – Sun City West 1789), 2 on Sergeant at Arms Committee (Betty Newman – Sierra Vista 1400 and Vic Peterson – Sun City West 1789); and 2 on the Timekeepers Committee (Shirley Dewey – Roadrunner 1874 and Dee Price – Scottsdale 1234). Congratulations to all of you!
Also, there will be 46 Arizona members attending the National Convention in Reno, representing 12 of our 17 chapters in person and 5 other chapters represented by proxy.
Thank you for your continued support and dedication of NARFE and the Arizona Federation and for taking the time to read Arizona NARFE News.
UPDATED: August 26, 2016