Nov 3, 2008

Funny Stuff with LLNS Benefits for Retired Folks

Hi Frank,
I can't believe this has not already been noticed but, I don't see it in the blog. I got this off of the LLNS blog, obviously.... Could this also be done here????? If so this is huge.
-Anonymous

LLNS is keeping us in the dark as much as possible on health care options and costs. My wife and I are both Medicare-eligible, so we received the Medicare-eligible packet on October 28. I don’t know what options employees are getting, or the under-65 retirees. I talked to an employee friend, and he said the packet he received did not contain very much information.

Our packet said that all Medicare-eligible retirees are being dumped from the group health insurance plans effective next January 1. LLNS is moving to a defined contribution health plan instead of a defined benefit group plan for us Medicare retirees. What LLNS will provide us is a family Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), into which they will contribute $2400 in 2009 for each Medicare insured person (usually self or self plus spouse). We are responsible for purchasing individual Medicare supplement insurance or a Medicare Advantage plan, and Medicare pharmaceutical insurance, from an administrative management company “Extend Health” which LLNS has an arrangement with. We pay the premiums and get reimbursed from our HRA to the extent that the funds are sufficient. If anything remains, we can use that for other health care expenses (deductibles, copays etc.).

The biggest message in the packet is that Medicare retirees MUST contact Extend Health to select and enroll in a medical plan. If you do not make a plan selection with Extend Health your coverage will terminate effective January 1, 2009. (That is a direct quote from the booklet.) If a retiree is away from home, visiting relatives or on a tour, someone should get the message to them.

There is an exception for retirees in Kaiser. They can stay in the Kaiser group plan until sometime in mid-2009 when Extend Health is anticipated to have made an arrangement with Kaiser to be able to broker individual Medicare plans provided by Kaiser.

Other items from the packet – dental insurance stays under Hewitt. Retirees can participate in the Vision plan – VSP Access Plan. This is a discount program, not an insurance.

The information packet contains no information about the individual Medicare plans or their costs. Having to purchase an individual plan instead of being in a group plan, I strongly doubt that we will come out ahead.

The LLNS booklet says that we will receive a packet from Extend Health during the week of November 3.

The LLNS booklet tells us that Extend Health has a web site. They don’t say what the web site is, but we can look it up.

I found, first, that Extend Health is a recent startup. They raised $15 million in a second round of venture capital funding in August 2007. See Extend Health raises $15M for defined contribution health plans, or just go to venturebeat.com and search their site for “Extend Health”.

The Extend Health web site is www.extendhealth.com.

Take a look at their Business pages, where they tell their prospective business customers that they can control current health costs and reduce corporate health liabilities and reporting obligations.

Extend Health is a combination of an administrative management company and an insurance agency.

You can look at the individual plans they have on offer. I found a few early facts. Medicare plans cover individuals. You select a plan for you and your spouse separately. The premium depends on where you live and increases with your age. It will take me a long time to go through the plans to find one which is similar to the group coverage I have this year, so I can compare cost.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is scarey!
No doubt we are next.

Potential employees have got to see this stuff so that they can make employment decisions with complete information.

Eric said...

This is scary but not surprising.

A couple of years ago, we helped people get through this swamp safely when there were different monsters in the swamp.

Sounds like the rules changed again. This swamp appears to be navigable but much more treacherous than the last swamp.

C'est la guerre.

Anonymous said...

The treatment of retirees is a very strong measure of the integrity of an institution. At LANL, when you retire, it's pretty much don't let the door hit you in the ass. But
at places like Argonne and Brookhaven, retireess are treated with dignity and they keep their laboratory Email addresses.

greg close said...

New employees don't have ANY retiree medical except for Access Only, so I don't think that will turn many heads one way or the other for potential employees.

It will be interesting to see how LLNL retirees like/dislike the Extend Health plan once they're in it. The concept is a departure from traditional health care, but so is Definity - and that's a very good plan (I was on it for 2 yrs at former employer). Time will tell, I guess.

Of course, since people like me have NO retiree medical on the horizon, I'm coming at it from a different perspective. For me and my family, something would be better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how LLNL retirees like/dislike the Extend Health plan once they're in it.
============================

One source of inequity is the following.
Practically all these retirees retired
from LLNL while LLNL was managed by UC.

In effect, they are really UC's retirees; not LLNS's retirees. Why should someone who spent his/her career as a UC employee, and retired from UC before the contract change; be considered any differently than someone who retired from one of the UC campuses?

These are employees that spent their career working for UC; not LLNS. Why can UC hand off their retiree medical benefits to LLNS?

Yes - retiree medical benefits are a gift - and one isn't entitled to them in the same way a working employee is. However, there does seem to be an element of discrimination here - if one retires from a UC campus; UC takes care of your retiree medical. But retired UC employees that worked for LLNL and not a campus don't get the same generosity from UC; they get the generosity of UC's successsor, LLNS.

Anonymous said...

People have been warning on this blog for some time that LANS would eventually resort to cutting back on retiree medical benefits. Many people did not want to believe it and continued to trust tbe word of LANS.

Well, that day has come for LLNL and will soon be coming for LANL. LANS wants to save money and earn their "for-profit" fees from NNSA. They don't care about a bunch of old retirees who didn't work for LANS/Bechtel, but worked instead for UC. Who's UC? They don't seem to exist around these parts any longer.

The plan is to squeeze the current and former employees and gradually back away from the "substantially equivalent" BS that DOE fed to the employees back in 2005. If they can get people to leave LANL in disgust and reduce the size of the work force, so much the better as far as LANS and NNSA are concerned.

Anonymous said...

I cannot see how the LLNL retiree medical will meet the "substantially equivalent" criteria.

ALSO, if memory serves, the cost of retiree medical is a direct payment from the DOE. It should have nothing to do with the LANS contract or Mikey's bonus.

Anonymous said...

ALSO, if memory serves, the cost of retiree medical is a direct payment from the DOE.
=======================

If DOE funds the retiree medical; then that's even less reason for cutting their benefits to save cost. If the DOE is paying for retiree medical; then that money should be paid for retiree medical and not used to shore up some other LANS / LLNS shortfall.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/915/story/372722.html

Anonymous said...

Whoa!

" Washington Savannah River Co., the former management and operations contractor for the Savannah River, S.C., nuclear site, has agreed to pay the federal government $2.4 million to resolve allegations of fraud.

The U.S. Justice Department alleged that the company, owned by URS Corp., failed to disclose substantial projected increases in required pension fund contributions during 2003 contract negotiations. As part of the settlement, the contractor will withdraw claims for an additional $35.6 million for the Department of Energy to cover the rise in its pension costs.

The Department of Justice said that after the 2005 contract began Washington Savannah River Co. sought and received a $1.2 million adjustment to the contract to cover what DOE believed were unexpected increases in required pension funding.

But as the contract period progressed, the pension fund contributions continued to rise. The government alleged the contractor's actuarial had predicted the increased contributions."

Anonymous said...

"..the company, owned by URS Corp., failed to disclose substantial projected increases in required pension fund contributions.."


Hmmm, that couldn't possible happen here at LANL, could it? I'm sure the dead silence from LANS about the current state of the pension is only because TCP1 is in such great financial shape.

Anonymous said...

For those of us on Medicare, the major banefit of UCRS is the prescription drug converage. Nearly all other medical procedures have to go thru Medicare first.

Anonymous said...

Obama, Udall, and Lujan won.
Democrats increased their numbers in both the House and the Senate.

Is anyone willing to do anything pro active for Los Alamos yet?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone willing to do anything pro active for Los Alamos yet? (6:12 AM)

It's hard to have any pro-active energy left when you see the top folks of LANS who are running LANL down into the ground. The "why bother" attitude has taken over most parts of the lab. With the loss of the last few competent managers like Beason, morale will only sink lower. We're a bunch of lemmings marching for the cliff, following the Bechtel corporate flag.

Anonymous said...

"Is anyone willing to do anything pro active for Los Alamos yet?"

Like what, exactly?

Anonymous said...

"Is anyone willing to do anything pro active for Los Alamos yet?"

Well maybe not for Los Alamos (and with a rather egoistic attitude) but for the benefit of my family and myself I left as many others already did.

SSPed

Anonymous said...

To 12:44

What are you willing to do, other than ask questions?

Anonymous said...

6:12 am. Obama and Udall won in Los Alamos and Lujan was very close. Is that not proactive?

Anonymous said...

Obama and Udall will be very bad news for LANL. I don't know how else to say this other than, we're f*cked.

Anonymous said...

The good news is, within a few years, the US will have unilaterally disarmed.

Medeyev will have nothing to complain about.

Anonymous said...

To 12:44

Exactly what?

Step 1

Allocate four hours of your time per week toward action that will improve Los Alamos. There are many possible actions. The first one seems to be to create a viable plan for what to do next and to recruit people to do it.

Does this help?

Anonymous said...

"The first one seems to be to create a viable plan for what to do next and to recruit people to do it." - 7:24 AM

A. Take a big insurance policy out on your McMansion Los Alamos Home.

B. Recruit 'Joey the Spark' to burn it down and then collect.

C. Leave town and find a better and more sane place at which to do the research that you love.

Anonymous said...

"The first one seems to be to create a viable plan for what to do next and to recruit people to do it."

If it's so straightforward, why don't you do it and present your recommendation to us. All you do is complain how nobody is doing anything, while offering nothing of substance yourself. All talk, no cattle.

Anonymous said...

To 12:42

The phrase is "All hat, no cattle."

I already have a plan and am executing it along with others from around the nation, at about 80 hours a week each. The plan is going fine, thanks.

If you want to know anything about this plan, you have to stop hiding and challenging. That strategy, as has been evident for years, will not work.

You have to come out in the open, commit to more than blog comments, and do some work yourself.

Do you have the cujones to do that? My guess is 'No.'

Anonymous said...

Hey, 12:42, lay off!

7:24 is just the "idea man."

Anonymous said...

"B. Recruit 'Joey the Spark' to burn it down and then collect. - 11/6/08 10:24 AM"

Back in Joisey that is known as "Jewish Lightning".

Anonymous said...

7:24 is just the "idea man." - 4:45 PM

7:24 sounds very much like Eric. It looks like he's gone rogue and is posting anonymously. Expect him to start plugging financial and job search 'services' on the blog any minute now.

Anonymous said...

11/5/08 10:17 PM

You're finally going to be kicked off your ivory towers! YES!!!

Anonymous said...

11/5/08 10:17 PM

No, with your attitude I would say YOUR f*ed, the rest of us will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Back in Joisey that is known as "Jewish Lightning". - 11/6/08 8:01 PM

Also know in other parts of the world as "hot remodeling".