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Focused Strictly on Retirees
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Work to Improve Retiree Benefits
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THIS MONTH’S HOT TOPICS
Please note that the due date for your reservations for the March 28, 2018 luncheon is March 21, 2018. The newsletter has the incorrect date.
COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT FOR 2018
For 2018, the COLA is 3 percent. This is based upon a change in the CPI of 2.79 percent which was rounded to 3 percent as is required by statute. OCERS will increase applicable benefit allowances by 3 percent. The COLA adjustment will appear on the May 1st check. For more information about the COLA, please click here to go to the OCERS web site.
The Supplemental Targeted Adjustment for Retirees Cost-of-Living Adjustment (STAR COLA) was also approved. The STAR COLA is paid to eligible retirees and survivors who have lost more than 20% of their original retirement benefit’s purchasing power due to inflation. This discretionary benefit was approved by the Board of Retirement on March 19, 2018. This adjustment will appear on the May 1st check. This will cover retirees who retired on or before April 1, 1980.
NEW INFORMATION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ABOUT YOUR MEDICARE CARD
New Medicare cards are coming soon. Here’s what you need to know about your new card. Plus, how to avoid related scams.
Starting in April 2018, Medicare will begin mailing new cards to everyone who gets Medicare benefits. Why? To help protect your identity, Medicare is removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. Instead, the new cards will have a unique Medicare Number. This will happen automatically. You don’t need to do anything or pay anyone to get your new card.
Medicare will mail your card, at no cost, to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you need to update your official mailing address, visit your online Social Security account or call 1-800-772-1213. When you get your new card, your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
If your sister who lives in another state gets her card before you, don’t fret. The cards will be mailed in waves, to various parts of the country, from April 2018 until April 2019. So, your card may arrive at a different time than hers. You can check the rollout schedule to get a better idea when you may be receiving yours.
When you get your new card, be sure to destroy your old card. Don’t just toss it in the trash. Shred it. If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, keep that because you’ll still need it for treatment.
As the new Medicare cards start being mailed, be on the lookout for Medicare scams. Here are some tips:
Don’t pay for your new card. It’s yours for free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
Don’t give personal information to get your card. If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, asking for your Social Security number or bank information, that’s a scam. Hang up. Medicare will never ask you to give personal information to get your new number and card.
Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would any other health insurance or credit card. While removing the Social Security number cuts down on many types of identity theft, you’ll still want to protect your new card because identity thieves could use it to get medical services.
Please see the article below about the scams that have already begun!
KEITH L. CONCANNON SCHOLARSHIPS
The period to apply for and submit an application for the Scholarships begins January 1, 2018 until April 2, 2018. Please click here for additional information.
Applicants must allow sufficient time to submit the electronic scholarship by the April 2, 2018 deadline. Also the letter of reference and the official transcripts that are required as a part of the application process must be postmarked by the deadline date of April 2, 2018.
LATEST MEDICARE SCAM
While most of use are aware of scams, this one MAY seem legit at first, but a scam is a scam.
This is pretty important to get to people with Medicare, their families and friends or adult kids who help parents with Medicare. Please see the following about the newest Medicare scam.
Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself, family and friends throughout the US :
Starting 4/1/18 Medicare will start a year-long project to replace all current Medicare cards for beneficiaries to convert to alphanumeric ID numbers. Currently the ID number is your social security number. This is starting to hit the media. To read more about the replacement of the Medicare cards, click here.
Scammers are opportunistic. First of all the new Medicare card will come to you in the mail. You don’t need to request it or do anything. It will show up.
What’s the scam?
Somebody from “MEDICARE ” will call to tell you that you are getting a new Medicare card. But until it comes you will need a temporary card. Fee for the card is between $5-50 dollars. They want personal information, bank account or credit card so they can process your temporary card.
Things to remember
Medicare will never call you unless you ask them to.
Medicare does all communications by mail unless you ask them to call.
Ditto for anybody saying they “work with Medicare to make sure you get everything you are entitled to” . Scammer alert
How to protect yourself from this one?
First of all spread the word. Feel free to share these notes.
Use your answering machine to screen calls or just don’t even answer a number you don’t recognize.
If it has happened to you or your friends or loved ones and personal info had been given out (happens considerably more often than you think so don’t feel bad) immediately take action to protect yourself against identity theft.
OCTA will once again be seeking qualified volunteers to serve on the OC Go Taxpayer Oversight Committee (TOC). Applications for the 2018-2021 term will be accepted March 1 through May 1, 2018 to fill four positions; one each in the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Supervisorial Districts. The TOC is an independent 11-member committee that monitors OCTA’s use of revenue collected through OC Go, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. The TOC has spent more than a decade ensuring that all OC Go funds are spent on voter-approved transportation projects.
Orange County residents in the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Supervisorial Districts are eligible to apply.
The First District consists of the cities of Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Westminster, portions of Fountain Valley, and the unincorporated community of Midway City.
The Second District includes the cities of Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. It also includes the unincorporated areas of Rossmoor, Sunset Beach, Surfside, and Santa Ana Heights.
The Fourth District consists of the cities of Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, and portions of Anaheim and Buena Park. It also includes the unincorporated area of West Anaheim Islands.
The Fifth District is made up of the cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, portions of Irvine, and the unincorporated communities of Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, and Wagon Wheel.
Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and be willing to participate for a three-year term. Potential committee members should also demonstrate a history of participating in community activities and be knowledgeable about transportation. The Grand Jurors Association of Orange County (GJAOC) is conducting the TOC recruitment program and will recommend qualified candidates for membership. For additional information or to request an application, visit the TOC recruitment webpage or contact the GJAOC’s Sandra Dunkin at (949) 735-9151 beginning March 1.
Click here to read the latest newsletter from the California Retired County Employees Association (CRCEA).
WHAT’S IN THE NEWS – WEEK OF MARCH 12, 2018
OC DA, Sheriff, Supervisor races profiled
This Voice of OC article describes the candidates running for the positions of Orange County District Attorney, Sheriff and County Supervisor of the Second and Fourth Districts. Four other county elected offices that are up for election are also mentioned: Assessor, Auditor-Controller, Clerk-Recorder and Treasurer-Tax Collector. (More)
Fired OC employee to run for office against her boss
A story posted at the OC Daily web site reports that the former employee says she is running against the current Auditor-Controller because the office has “become too political.” The story says she was fired after an internal county investigation found that she had “conducted personal business while at work.” It also says she has filed a Whistleblower complaint against Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery for bringing his children to work. (More)
20 Candidates challenge 2 OC Congress members
Twenty people have filed to run for Congressional seats held by Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters according to this story in the Orange County Register. Fifteen people are challenging Republican Rohrabacher including a prominent Republican Party member. Waters, also a Republican, is being challenged by four Democrats and an Independent according to the story. (More)
Myths and Truths – Why US healthcare is so expensive
This New York Times article reports on a comparison of US health care costs to that of 10 other developed and rich nations and came up with the conclusion that when it came to many of the measures of health system function in an American Medical Association study, the United States was in the middle of the pack, not an outlier. (More)
Federal Court overthrows fiduciary rule
Advocates for investors have long sought control over financial advisers to require them to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts rather than their own commission earning interest. Regulations issued by the Department of Labor a few years ago required that. Now, however, according to this article in Pensions and Investments a federal court has said the Department of Labor exceeded its authority and those very rules are not valid. (More)
ABOUT OUR LUNCHEONS
REAOC luncheons are held for the purpose of bringing Orange County retirees together for an afternoon of camaraderie, entertainment, and information. Friends and family are always welcome! Each luncheon features a different theme, with door prizes, and special gifts. As an added bonus, there is a valuable Progressive Drawing. They also serve as a general meeting for the membership.
The Mile Square Park Banquet Facility located at 10401 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, California, 92708. For directions, call the Mile Square Banquet Facility at (714) 962-5541 or see map below showing where the Facility is located. Please DO NOT call the Facility to make reservations. Reservations are made by sending in the reservation form in The Informer or by calling the REAOC office at (714) 840-3995.
Luncheons are held the 4th Wednesday of January, March, May and September, and on the first Wednesday of December at Noon. To ensure a parking spot please arrive by 11 a.m. Please carpool.
Luncheons for 2018 are listed below:
January 24 March 28 May 23 September 26 December 5
Please Note: Reservations by phone or mail for the March 28th luncheon must be at the REAOC office by Wednesday, March 21st, 2018.
Cost for the luncheon is $17.00 per person. A reservation form is provided in The Informer (on the current Luncheon page), in the “Forms” section of the REAOC web site or you may email the REAOC office of your request (firstname.lastname@example.org).
HEMET CHAPTER LUNCHEONS
Luncheons in Hemet have been traditionally held on the second Tuesday during the months of February, April, June, October and December. Attendees arrive around 11:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in the Fellowship Hall (please note the new location) located at 515 E. Kimball Avenue in Hemet and lunch is served between 11:45 and noontime. The cost is $9.50 per person. The Hemet Chapter would like new members and encourages all REAOC members who live in the area or within driving distance to join them for the luncheons.
REAOC’s Hemet Chapter will hold its next luncheon on Tuesday, April 17th at 11:30 AM at the First Presbyterian Church in the Fellowship Hall (please note the new location) located at 515 E.Kimball in Hemet.
Make your reservation by calling Mary Little at 951-485-7738 or Jane Pabitzky at 951-237-3240 by no later than April 10th,2018.
Luncheons for 2018 are listed below:
February 20 April 17 June 19 October 16 December 18
MAP TO MILE SQUARE PARK
Below is a map showing the general location of the Mile Square Park Banquet Facility located at 10401 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, California 92708.
If you need exact directions from your house you can go to MapQuest and click on “driving directions.”
HEALTH PLAN RATES FOR 2018
If you have any questions regarding your health plan, please contact the County’s Employee Benefits section at (800) 858-7266.
Please click on the links below for the charts provided by the County for the 2018 Health Plan rates:
Below is a link to the County PPO Blue Shield website. It’s a great website, retirees can track their claims (once they register), find network providers, get plan information, price prescriptions, etc.
On the bottom left corner of the find a provider page is a place to check the network outside of Ca.
Blue Shield of Ca contracts for the Blue Cross Nationwide network so the provider options outside of CA are very good.
The County of Orange also provided this Retiree Services and Resources for REAOC. Please click here to access this document.
For information about the supplemental insurance including dental and vision coverage, please click on the link below.
Stay in touch with REAOC.
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