About the NRLN Utah Chapter

Officers:

Judy Stenberg, NRLN Vice President, Pacific / Mountain West Region (vp-nrln@nrln.org)

Neil West, Regional Grassroots Director, Pacific / Mountain West Region (nwest7847@gmail.com)

Utah Congressional District Leaders

CD1 Leader - Neil West - (nwest7847@gmail.com)

CD2 Leader - Del Polad - (delpolad@ymail.com)

CD3 Leader - Sharon Smith - (smith0219@comcast.net)

CD4 Leader - Sherry Shilcrat (sshilcr@gmail.com)

The NRLN Utah Chapter was established in 2011 when the Association of US West Retirees (AUSWR) closed for business. It was determined by the regional officers that all that could be done by the courts for its retirees had been done. However, with the continued efforts by our former companies and Congress to change the agreements we made with our employers in accordance with ERISA Laws, there was more yet to be done. It was recommended that we continue this effort for retirees and seniors by becoming members and supporting financially the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN)

Following Is Important Information

Emails from the NRLN - If you are not receiving Chapter and NRLN emails, send an email to contact@nrln.org or call toll free 866-360-7197

Action Alerts needing your action now (If you have taken action—Thank you!) Go to: www.nrln.org/SE.html#/ to access NRLN Action Alerts.

NRLN Facebook Page will tell you about the work the NRLN is doing on your behalf. If you have a Facebook account, go to www.facebook.com/nrln1.

Reduced Drug Cost - Check Good Rx (that is all you have to type in your browser) to obtain a coupon for a reduced price if the drug is available. Go to www.nrln.org/links.htm to access the NRLN Useful Links webpage for other useful information for seniors.

Who to Contact When a Retiree Dies:

CenturyLink Service Center 800-729-7526 or Claudeen Luckart for Utah (cluckar@gmail.com)

CenturyLink Phone Concession

   (west of the Mississippi) 800-659-3279
   (east of the Mississippi) 800-872-4016

Social Security 800-772-1213

Medicare 800-633-4227

Veteran’s Administration 800-827-1000


You should know who represents you in Congress.

Below are their names and Washington DC phone numbers. If you don’t know your Representative and Senators, go to: www.nrln.org/congresslegs.html#/legislators/ . Type in your street address and zip and click GO. The names and photos of your members of Congress will appear.

Senators

   Mitt Romney - 202-224-5251 DC, 801-524-4380 SLC
   Mike Lee - 202-224-5444 DC, 801-524-5933 SLC

Representatives

   District 1 Rob Bishop – 202-225-0453 DC, 801-625-0107 Ogden
   District 2 Chris Stewart – 202-225-9730 DC, 801-364-5550 St. George
   District 3 John Curtis – 202-225-7751 DC, 801-922-5400 Provo
   District 4 Ben McAdams – 202-225-3011 DC, 801-999-9801 West Jordan

NRLN Report Card Tells You If These Members of Congress Supports You Everyone one of the members of Congress who represent you have an NRLN report card on the NRLN website. Go to: www.nrln.org/congresslegs.html#/legislators/ and select your state on the USA map. When your state appears, click the EXCEL Download tab.

CenturyLink Information

CenturyLink Telephone Company website: Retiree information website-go to www.centurylinkbenefits.com

Read the latest NRLN actions during the month.review

Read Spring 2020 NRLN FOCUS Newsletter
focus

Medicare Help

The State Health Information Program (each state has an acronym) helps Medicare beneficiaries better understand their Medicare coverage options and benefits. Counselors help seniors make informed decisions by providing free and unbiased guidance. The counselors have extensive training and are volunteers under a Federal program in each state. Following is the phone number for your state: Utah 800-541-7735


Message for CenturyLink Pre-1991 Retirees
from Judy Stenberg

Be careful Pre-1991 Retirees

I have heard that you have received your healthcare packet for 2020. I have not seen it, because I retired after 1991. I have heard that CenturyLink has another UnitedHealthcare Plan for you next year (2020). I have been told it says if you choose to move from the CenturyLink Pre-1991 Plan to the UnitedHealthcare plan you only have six (6) months to go back to the CenturyLink Pre-1991 Plan. So, the question you need to ask is “if I don’t go back to the CenturyLink Plan in six (6) months does that mean that the company says I am voluntarily leaving the Pre-1991 Plan and can never return to it?”

Again, I have not read the current information you have received. I just want you to be sure that you are making the right decision for your health care.


Judy Stenberg’s Report to You

Judy had meetings on Capitol Hill on September 24 and 25, 2019 during the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) fall Fly-In to Washington, DC. She met with the lead staff for Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Patty Murray (WA), and Ron Wyden (OR). She also met with the lead staff for Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Adam Smith (WA-09), Pramila Jayapal (WA-09) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01). There were four issues discussed.

Medicare Advantage Plans

There are concerns about these MA Plans. Since from 1997 to 2018 the government has paid out $380 in subsidies. In the years 2019-2020 Congress passed the 2018 Bipartisan Balance Budge Act authorizing Health and Human Services to add Medicare Advantage benefits costing $16.5 billion a year. This spending was for chronic care products and services such as changing air filters and shampooing carpets for at-home Asthma patients and much more. Whether these kinds of services will truly make a difference for people is up for debate. None of these added benefits are given to the 38.2 million seniors that are on Original Medicare A and B plans. It is only going to the 21.3 million in Medicare Advantage Plans. It is discriminatory.

The NRLN asks the following of Congress and the President to do the following.

  1. Grandfather the 21.3 million seniors in MA plans, because the plans were purchased in good faith.
  2. Ask for a government review to investigate the financials of MA and Original Medicare with and without subsidies.
  3. Make all 2019 to 2020 subsidies (air filters, meals, etc.) available to the 38.2 million in Original Medicare to eliminate discrimination.
  4. Reduce the annual $85 billion in Medicare and Medicaid wrong and improper payments (use the savings to eliminate the 75 year deficits of Medicare A and B).

NRLN Supports Bills to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

Again Judy stressed, in no uncertain terms, how angry their constituents are about the drug crisis. She pointed out to each person she met with, whether the Representative or Senator had co-sponsored the drug bills that the NRLN urges Congress to pass. Judy told them again about the NRLN Report Card for each member of Congress and that these report cards are on the NRLN website for all to see.

Competitive Bidding on Prescription Drugs

The meetings included statements that Congress must enact a policy that mandates Health and Human Services to implement a competitive bidding model that will permit direct purchasing of prescription drugs from manufacturers. This does not create a bigger government, it will make HHS more efficient and saves Medicare billions annually. We noted that our members retired from over 300 U. S. companies and public entities with hands-on business experience in developing, producing, and delivering American goods and services at high quality world class standards. The NRLN applies this expertise to recommending public policies that protect senior income and healthcare (Medicare and Drugs).

Passage of Social Security 2100 Act

The Social Security Trustees’ report in April, 2019 states that beginning in 2020 Social Security will pay more in benefits than it takes in from taxes and interest income. Social Security will deplete its reserve fund in 2035. The projections are that there will only be enough revenue to cover 77% to 79% of benefits.

The NRLN did an extensive review of the Social Security bills that have been introduced in Congress and determined we should support the passage of H.R. 860 / S. 269 (the Social Security 2100 Act). Passage of this Act will ensure solvency of the program for 75 years, provide an increase of about 2% across the board and cut income taxes on Social Security benefits for about 12 million middle–income Americans.

To pay for the Act there would be a raise in the payroll tax rate starting 2020 so that by 2043 workers and employers each would pay 7.4% instead of the 6.2% they pay today. And a payroll tax rate would be imposed to a current earnings amount above $400,000.

Please go to https://www.nrln.org/SE.html#/ to take action in telling your Representative and Senator to support the pass H.R. 860 and S. 269 to save Social Security.

Pension Plan De-Risking

Judy chose to bring up corporate de-risking again. As reported before, many companies are planning to sell their pensions to insurance companies for annuities in the near future. If companies makes this move you will become a single annuitant and you will lose all of your government protections through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The NRLN advocates that when a full plan termination takes place retirees should have 90 days’ notice prior to a plan termination, the option of rejecting an annuity buyout individually, and the NRLN has outlined safe harbors, which must be put in place to protect those that take annuities.

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