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Focused Strictly on Retirees
Run by Retirees
Protect Retiree Benefits
Work to Improve Retiree Benefits
Mobilize Retirees (When Needed)
THIS MONTH’S HOT TOPICS
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.
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 APRIL 2, 2018
State sponsored retirement plans under assault from Finance Industry
The Mother Jones web site carries this story reporting that in California and elsewhere the investment industry is standing in the way, aggressively deploying trade groups, and raising the specter of legal threats to stop the proliferation of these plans. The article says that the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose the plans because they argue the private sector already provides options for workers. Heavy lobbying against state run models (such as California’s Secure Choice program) of state legislators by finance industry organizations is reported in this story. (See also next story.) (More)
Opinion – Senator Moorlach attacks state pension plan
The State of California has moved forward to implement a retirement savings plan for those workers who do not have a retirement plan that initially was called Secure Choice but is now called CalSavers. State Treasurer John Chang is moving forward to help implement the plan, and Orange County Senator Moorlach in this piece in the Orange County Register says the Treasurer’s move is a move to push California to insolvency. (See also next story.) (More)
Puerto Rico rejects proposed public pension cuts
ABC News reports that Puerto Rico is faced with major budget funding shortfalls and a federal control board charged with overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has developed a plan to help pull Puerto Rico out of an economic crisis. However, that plan includes proposed cuts to the island’s public pension system and this story says Puerto Rican officials are saying they will not bow to the control board’s pension cutting demands. (More)
More than a dozen state legislators are double-dippers
A double dipper is usually defined as a public-sector employee or elected official who is able to draw a retirement check from one government agency while going to work and drawing a paycheck from another government agency that has a different retirement plan. While perfectly legal, the double-dipping reality infuriates pension reformers who point to it as an abuse. Now the Los Angeles Times reports in this article that more than a dozen state legislators, including Orange County’s Tom Daly and John Moorlach, are double-dippers. (More)
Santa Ana supports state sanctuary law
While the Orange County Board of Supervisors and at least three city councils in Orange County have voted to support federal legal action to toss out the state sanctuary law related to undocumented residents, the Santa Ana City Council has taken an opposite position according to this story in the Orange County Register. (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 May 23rd luncheon must be at the REAOC office by Wednesday, May 16th, 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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