End of Medicare Part C Freedom (cost) Insurance


If you are one of the 400,000 seniors in Minnesota on Medicare who have Blue Cross Platinum Blue, Medica Prime Solution, or Health Partners Freedom plan as your health insurance plan, your plan is a “cost plan.” Cost Plans were closed to new members as of December 31, 2017. However, those of us who had/have these plans were allowed to keep them through the end of 2018. Cof13If you have Blue Cross Platinum Blue, Medica Prime Solution, or Health Partners Freedom you will receive an ANOC (Annual Notice of Changes) letter sometime in June informing you that your plan is being cancelled. You will also receive a letter from your cost plan company passively enrolling you in an Advantage plan of your current carriers’ choosing. The plan assigned to you will be a networked plan which may or may not have your doctors included! That plan may also have very high co-pays and/or deductibles as high as $10,000 out-of-pocket expense! If you do not OPT OUT you will be deemed automatically enrolled by the carrier.
(If you do not have one of these Medicare supplement plans but rather have an Advantage Plan, these changes will not impact you.)
Your Retiree Health Care Coalition (MRTI, RTC59, & C of 13) is offering several general information meetings to explain what this cancellation means to you, and what new options will be available to you, AND how to opt out of a plan you do not want. You are invited to attend one of the meetings listed to become aware of the status of Medicare Health Insurance supplements in Minnesota. Sign up by June 30. Leslee Gold, MN Medicare Consultants, will be our resource for this meeting.


Monday, August,20 10:00 am-noon, MFT 59 Office, 67 Eighth Ave. NE, Minneapolis
To attend this session contact: Denny Lander @ dlander222@gmail.com or 612 926-8478

Tuesday, August 21, 10:00 am-noon, MFT 59 Office, 67 Eighth Ave. NE, Minneapolis
To attend this session contact: Joanne Lambrecht @ joanne.lambrecht@yahoo.com or 952-212-2255

Wednesday, August 22, 10:00 am-noon, EAGLES Club, 25th St. & 25th Ave. S., Minneapolis
To attend this session contact: Gayle Marko @ 952-920-1395

Thursday, August 23, 10:00 am-noon, EAGLES Club, 25th St. & 25th Ave. So., Minneapolis
To attend this session contact: Elmer Koch @ EandJKoch@comcast.net or 952-888-7321

At these meetings we will announce dates for a set of small group meetings beginning in October to ensure each and every member gets the opportunity to receive assistance selecting a suitable Medicare insurance supplement that will best fit their needs.
If you live in Greater Minnesota and cannot make one of these metro meetings, please contact Louise Sundin lsundin@mft59.org 612-868-6042 to explore ways to get information to you.



House passes 2018 pension bill

May 21, 2018 from TRA Communications

Moments before the 2018 legislative session was gaveled to a close, the House unanimously approved the Omnibus Retirement Bill after a brief introduction by co-author and pension commission member Rep. Tim O’Driscoll. The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton.
The bill includes sustainability measures for all four of Minnesota’s public employee pension systems: the Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS), and the St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA).
For TRA, the law calls for a 1 percent retiree cost of living adjustment for five years (2019-2023), then increasing by 0.1 percent per year in each of the following five years (2024-2028) to 1.5 percent. The law also includes a provision to delay COLA payments to age 66 (effective July 1, 2024). This provision exempts those who retire under Rule of 90, age 62 with 30 years of service, disability benefits or survivor benefits.
The 2018 law includes a 0.25 percent employee contribution increase beginning July 1, 2023 (from 7.5 percent to 7.75 percent) and an employer contribution increase of 1.25 percent, from 7.5 percent to 8.75 percent, phased in over six years (fiscal years 2019-2024). The law also changes reduction calculations for early retirement over a five-year phase-in period (fiscal years 2020-2024). Age 62 with 30 years of service are exempt.
These measures reduce liabilities by $2.0 billion for TRA alone.
Upon passage in the Senate in March, pension bill co-author and chair of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) Sen. Julie Rosen praised the engagement of those who have worked for three years on a pension sustainability package with “significant benefit reforms” as well as contribution rate increases for employers and employees. Rosen said the effort reflects “true shared sacrifice.”
The bill reduces liabilities by about $3.4 million (all four systems) immediately, lowers the rate of return on investments to 7.5 percent, puts the plans on the path to full funding, provides funding to schools to offset increased pension contributions, ensures that unfunded liabilities won’t weigh down bond ratings, and safeguards the retirement security of public employees for the future.
Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans earlier this year described the effort as a “very important sustainability package” that would improve the financial health of the pension funds and the state.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of all stakeholder groups,” said TRA Executive Director Jay Stoffel. “This is a great step forward for the retirement security of the members, for the health of the pension fund and for the state of Minnesota.”
Passage of a pension sustainability package comes after failed attempts in 2016 and 2017 to address funding issues resulting from changes in public employee longevity and lower anticipated investment returns.
The TRA Board of Trustees endorsed the sustainability measures with the stipulation that contribution increases be funded, and that legislation reflect the board’s guiding principles: shared commitment, long-term financial stability, intergenerational equity and maintaining the recruitment and retention value of the TRA pension.
Among the administrative provisions affecting TRA are updates to actuarial assumptions used to assess the plan’s financial health. The most significant of these is a lowering of the assumed rate of return on investments from the current 8.5 percent to 7.5 percent. The assumed rate of return is a powerful mechanism; lowering it increases TRA’s liabilities and lowers the plan’s funded ratio.

House Passes Pension Stabilization Bill

With minutes left, House passes pension stabilization bill

By Melissa Turtinen

With just minutes left in the 90th legislative session, the House and Senate passed the omnibus pension and retirement bill.

The House passed HF3053/ SF2620*, as amended to include the House language, 131-0 late Sunday night. The Senate, which passed its bill 66-0 March 26, then had to act quickly to repass the amended version. It did, 67-0, and sent the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Sponsored by Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) and Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), the bill would help stabilize pension plans for more than 500,000 Minnesotans, including teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees.

Members and stakeholders have stressed the bill needs to be signed into law this year because the amount going into pension accounts won’t be enough to pay benefits in the years to come due to increased liabilities. The bill would bring the funded ratio for the plans closer to 100 percent by adding funding and making benefit reforms to save on costs.

O’Driscoll told the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee earlier this month the proposal “is the 2016, 2017 and 2018 omnibus pension bill all rolled into one.”

Dayton vetoed the 2016 and 2017 bills. This year, he said stabilizing state pensions should be one of the Legislature’s top priorities and asked for a clean bill.

Administration officials told the committee the governor supports the bill. It also has the support of representatives of the state pension plans.

May 15, 2018: House Ways and Means Committee OKs Pension Bill

With just six days to go in the legislative session, the 2018 Omnibus Retirement Bill cleared a key hurdle on Monday evening, passing out of the House Ways and Means committee with no amendments added.
The pension bill now heads to the House floor, where it must be heard by midnight Sunday. The bill then will have to make another stop in the Senate because a couple of non-controversial amendments were added last week in the House. The full Senate already passed the pension bill on March 26.
The governor has indicated that he will sign the bill into law as long as no “poison pill” amendments or conditions are attached to it.
Meanwhile, the retirement systems are monitoring the conference committee in which the pension systems’ Minnesota IT Services (MnIT) exclusion is in play. Language has been inserted into a bill that would consolidate the retirement systems, the Minnesota State Board of Investment and Minnesota State Lottery IT operations into MnIT. These agencies have operated for years under an exemption, and there have been repeated efforts to strike this provision from statute.
This exclusion has allowed the pension systems, SBI and the lottery, financial behemoths dependent on state-of-the-art technology and security, to keep IT operations in-house. Due in part to assertive lobbying by the retirement systems, SBI and the lottery, the exclusion was preserved when the issue arose in 2017.
The retirement systems estimate that there would be a significant increase in IT costs if the systems were consolidated under MnIT. The additional cost would be about $2.4 million per year for TRA alone.