MEA - Retired
What are the myths about public education in Michigan?
Posted on MEA.ORG on 11/10/14 at 4:39pm
Education Trust-Midwest, a non-partisan research, information and advocacy center, compiled a list of the most common myths about education in Michigan. Their list is a result of discussions with many organizations—both educational and non-educational—across the state.
Myth #1 – There is no education crisis.
Myth #2 – Our students are the problem.
Myth #3 – Our teachers don’t matter much.
Myth #4 – Money doesn’t matter—or it’s the only thing that matters. -
Myth #5 –We don’t know how to fix schools.
See more at: http://mea.org/what-are-myths-about-public-education-michigan#sthash.G0ZfXhlP.dpuf
Senator Jansen's staff testifies - "MPSERS on Edge of Disaster"
Posted with permission from the AFT Retiree Network
On November 13, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government brought in officials from the Office of Retirement Services to answer questions about a recent MPSERS audit. Phil Stoddard testified that the audit had found no material weaknesses in the MPSERS system. However, staff persons from Senator Jansen's office highlighted four reportable conditions contained in the audit and used that as a basis to attack the health of the entire MPSERS system.
Mr. Stoddard reported to the committee that investment returns for MPSERS have been in the 94th percentile nationally over the past four years. He said that unfunded liabilities have been shrinking overall, and the relatively new hybrid plan is 105% funded. Mr. Stoddard stated that ORS runs one of the most sophisticated retirement systems in the country.
After Mr. Stoddard concluded his testimony, Deborah Drick and Mike Maloney from Senator Jansen's staff testified before the committee. They claimed that the MPSERS system is in fact teetering on the edge of disaster. They stated that the assumed rate of return in wildly overblown, and that the plans are woefully underfunded. Their opinion of the performance audit differed substantially from that of ORS, and they claimed that the audit paints a picture of denial and political expedience.
Mr. Maloney testified to the committee that the actuarial assumptions in the MPSERS plan are completely wrong. He stated that the mortality rate is wrong, the assumed rate of return is too high, and that the system is on the brink of collapse.
Committee Chair John Pappageorge (R-Troy) suggested that persons with such wildly different opinions as to the accuracy of the rate of return assumptions should try to come to some agreement on an accurate number. This issue will continue to receive legislative attention as the Senate examines Senator Jansen's proposed legislative package in December
Are you Approaching Medicare in the next few months?
Many of our members will be moving into Medicare in the next few months. Consequently, these members frequently wonder exactly “what will happen to their health insurance coverage as they transition into Medicare”.
A very detailed and specific breakdown of what you can expect as you are approaching Medicare can be found in a PDF file on our website. We asked Blue Cross to help us in describing in detail, what members can expect as they approach Medicare age. To open this PDF that describes what you can expect as you approach Medicare click here.
CHANGES IN MAIL ORDER PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IS IN THE WORKS
Prior to Jan. 1, 2010, MPSERS contracted with BCBSM to fill mail order prescription drug scripts through Express Scripts (ESI) Mail Order Pharmacy. When Catamaran became MPSERS' Pharmacy Benefit Manager in 2010, its in-house Mail Order Pharmacy did not have the capacity to handle the large number of prescriptions that would come from MPSERS retirees. Therefore, Catamaran created a subcontract with ESI Mail Order Pharmacy. Since then Catamaran, has increased its in-house Mail Order Pharmacy capacity, and they are offering increased discounts if the MPSERS Mail Order Pharmacy business is moved from ESI to Catamaran. For the past several months, ORS staff and consultants have met with Catamaran to learn about and evaluate its improved capabilities, and effective January 1, 2015, the mail order pharmacy will transition from ESI Mail Order Pharmacy to Catamaran's Mail Order Pharmacy. ORS staff and consultants are confident that Catamaran will be well-suited to service our members with their mail order pharmacy. Formal announcement will be made by ORS at some point in the future. All inquiries regarding this change should be directed to ORS following the release of the formal announcement.
EXPRESS SCRIPTS IS NOW CATAMARAN HOME DELIVERY
On January 1, 2015, your mail-order prescription provider will change from Express Scripts to Catamaran Home Delivery.
What are the benefits of home delivery?
Home delivery can save you time and money. A 90-day extended supply usually costs less than a 30-day supply at a retail pharmacy and you can save time by visiting your local pharmacy less. You can also order refills quickly online or on your smartphone through the Catamaran mobile app.
Delivery is free and your prescriptions are safe. If your prescription requires special handling, like refrigeration, Catamaran Home Delivery will pack your medication and ship accordingly, at no extra cost to you.
What if I already use Express Scripts mail order?
If you already use home delivery services through Express Scripts, we will help you have a smooth transition. Most (but not all) prescriptions will be automatically transferred to Catamaran Home Delivery after January 1, 2015. You will receive detailed information mailed directly to your home with exact instructions on what steps you will need to take.
How do I enroll in Catamaran Home Delivery?
You can pre-register in Catamaran Home Delivery starting now. To enroll or learn more about the program, visit https://www.mycatamaranrx.com/PortalCentral/ . You can also enroll by calling Catamaran Member Services at 1-888-577-6517. You will need to provide your member ID located on your pharmacy ID card to register for the first time. (BCBS Fall 2014 Best of Health)
Understanding your Annual Wellness Visit
Visiting your doctor for an annual wellness visit is one of the best ways to stay on top of your health and catch issues early. If you haven't yet visited your doctor for your wellness visit this year, here's what you should know before you go:
What is an annual wellness visit?
An annual wellness visit is a preventive visit to your doctor once per year. During this visit, your doctor will check for potential health issues and suggest ways you can improve your health.
What should I bring with me?
To help your doctor determine your health needs, bring a list of the medications you take and the names of any other doctors you see, as well as a list of any family health issues.
What should I expect during my visit?
During your visit, your doctor will ask you questions about your personal and family health history. Your doctor will also measure your height, weight, body mass index, and blood pressure. Your doctor will use this information to create a preventive care plan for you.
The visit is covered once a year at 100 percent and includes your height, weight, body mass index, and blood pressure measurements. However, if your doctor recommends additional screenings or tests, you may have to pay coinsurance for these services. To view a list of covered preventive services, check your Evidence of Coverage at www.bcbsm.com/mpsers. (BCBS Fall 2014 Best of Health)
Medicare Open Enrollment
From October 15 through December 7 is Medicare's open enrollment time for changing insurance. You may be receiving offers from other Medicare plans asking you to enroll with them. If you are happy with your Retirement System plan, do not make any changes. Medicare will only allow you to be enrolled in one Medicare plan at a time, so if you join a plan outside of the option the Office of Retirement Services offers, you will be dropped by ORS, and have NO health insurance benefits through the Retirement System. So… if you are happy with what you have, DO NOTHING.
Blue Cross Discounts available to Members
The Blue’s have fitness discounts available to members (including Blue Care Network and Blue Care Network Advantage members) through two programs.
Healthy Blue Extra’s includes member discounts from Michigan retailers and Blue 365 includes national discounts.
- Food and nutrition: Take advantage of great savings on Weight Watchers®, home meal delivery service and fresh produce at stores like Plum Market and Westborn Market.
- Health and fitness: Enjoy a massage at 20 percent off, and save on fitness club memberships, classes and consultations.
- Home and garden: Get discounts on plants, flowers and other products for your home.
- Travel: Pay less at Michigan's top resorts and destinations for budget-friendly vacations and getaways.
- General: Shopping for a home? Looking for a home security system? Healthy Blue Xtras has savings for you.
- Recreation: Save on family activities and outings like golf and kayaking, the Detroit Zoo and Michigan's Adventure.
To get a fitness, discount, members need to access
- Click on Healthy Living, then Discounts for members from the drop down menu
- Click on the blue apple for Healthy Blue Extra’s (for outside MI, click on Blue 365)
- For Healthy Blue Extra’s, you need to select the region of MI you want and the discounts will come up.
For Blue 365 you can generally just show your Blue Cross card at the retailer. For Blue 365, to access the website (you leave the BCBSM website), you have to register to locate the discounts available and then you can put in your zip code for discounts in your area.
Subbing in Michigan Public Schools
Rules for School Retirees who return back to work as Subsitute Employees.
Below are the rules for school retirees who return back to work substitute employees. First it’s important to note that Michigan school districts are free to hire their own substitutes. The question for teachers is when they retired to determine how they may be impacted if they return to school employment as a substitute teacher. For more Information please click here.
Have you noticed the recent changes to our website? We have made several changes which improve the navigation and functionality of the website.
You will notice that one of the major changes can be seen in the navigation bar on the left side of the home page. The items listed here (buttons) are the gateway into the main information in the website. Some of these buttons contain side arrows which indicate additional information that can be accessed via these buttons. (See “About Us,” “Leadership,” etc.). You will notice that when you “hover over” one of these buttons, sub-menus pop out to the right. This makes it easier to get to more detailed information.
Member Only Section (Member Login)
We have made several changes in this area too. Once you have logged into the system you will notice the message at the bottom of the page, which clearly indicates that you must click on the “Submit” button to enter into this area. Once you click on “submit,” following a brief pause, our website reopens. Now for the major changes. Please note that some of the navigation buttons on the left are highlighted with a change in color and have a red border around them. This highlighted buttons indicates that it contains additional information available for members only, not for the general public. Some new navigational buttons also appear at the bottom of the navigation bar on the left. We would encourage members to explore this area of the website.
Member Login Reminder
Members can login with these credentials:
Username: (first letter of your first name + last name Tom Smith = tsmith
Password: (last four digits of your Social Security Number)