From Molly Janczyk, February 9, 2007
Subject: HC: IF ONLY..............................
I retired with $33 for HC for me and my husband. From then till now, we pay $744 for both of us for HC.
I have cleared approx. $70 each year additonal to my pension cks. as they never raise being simple COLA.
$70 more a month each year leaves me a growing deficit as this year alone HC raised $100 for premiums for us both. Of course, we are further behind as costs have risen each year and this is just for this year not meeting the deficits for all 8 years since I retired in '99.
Increased gas, food, clothes, utilities, puts me further in a hole every year.
We are the only group that decreases in benefits each year.
I retired being told we had HC second to none and we'd never have to worry about HC. We were discouraged from purchasing other insurance plans by STRS HC Pamphlets. We were told to choose the best HC for our family with STRS back then being the best. We did as we were told.
I paid $396 in '99 for HC for the year total at $33 x 12 cks. = $396.
I received about $70 COLA increase each year each ck over the past 8 yrs.
$70 COLA x 12 cks = $840 increase each year x 8 yrs. = $6720 COLA additional pay to me in 8 yrs.
My HC costs have risen to $744 per month just for premiums, 20% copays additional up to $1500 each and $500 deduc. each vs. 100% STRS paid when I retired with us paying 0 copays.
$744 monthly x 12 cks = $8928 we pay yearly just for premiums, $500 each for deductibles = $1000, and my husband always meets his out of pockets due to health conditions at $1500.
'99: $396 (premiums) '07: $8928 (premiums)
Plus $1000 for 2 deductibles, plus $1500 out of pocket.
'07: $8928 + $1000 + $ $1500 = $11,428 just for medical.
We used to pay $5 and $10 for RX's for 90 days. We now pay $25, 75, 125 for
90 days based on generic, accepted name brand and high end name brand. We need prior approvals for our Dr.s to prescribe to us.
I allow $300 a month from my budget to cover RX's up to $2000 each. My husband will meet his out of pocket as he always does due to all the meds he takes for several life altering conditions. $200 a month for him for 10 months = his $2000 out of pocket until he is on STRS 100% pay for the remainder of the year. $100 for me for 12 months = $1200.
(I have acquired high blood pressure and acid reflux SINCE retiring due to stress of all this and have hereditary high cholesterol, normal wear and tear arthritis needing attention at times, as well as some other issues to do with hormones, etc.)
That totals $3600 per year for RX's added to te $11,428 HC costs.
$15,028 for annual HC costs now over '99: $396 + approx. $125 monthly for RX's to = $521.
$15,028 : '07 (medical and RX)
-.....521 : '99 (medical and RX)
$14,507 ADDITIONAL HC COSTS SINCE '99 retiring
I have received that simple 3% COLA over 8 yrs totalling $6720 for all 8 yrs.
$14,045 HC costs JUST FOR 2007
-..6,720 (TOTAL amount of money rec'd for COLAS over 8 years)
$..7,325 loss without considering the other 7 years.
Now, go back over 7 other years above and beyond this year's loss and add that to the deficit of $7,325 . Each year going back will be a little less loss due to each years premiums being a bit less but still hugely jumping each year.
Retirees with spouse retired just for 8 years have lost upwards from $28,000 since retiring in income IF THEY HAVE ONLY EXPERIENCED $3000 increases per year. This is a low assessement, however, just to make a point without everyone's real outlay. More realistically, we have paid $2500 edging up to $14,000 for some and others not meeting the $1500 out of pocket nor receiving so many RX's though the average home has 20 RX's. So, up to $11,000. So, the average is closer to $8000 increase in HC costs vs. $3000 year FOR NON MEDICARE RECIPIENTS.
Take the $7,325 above + just $3000 a yr increase of HC costs on average to =
7 yrs x $3000 = $21,000 costs over retirement pensions. The COLAS were considered for all 8 yrs.
Add inflation to this loss and then consider where retirees are 'adjusting' as Herb Dyer said to me. We have nothing to adjust with except homes, refusing meds, treatments and for those able going back to work to pay for HC. We have lost our retirements and will never recover in our lifetimes coupled with our own stock market losses and use of financial security funds.
We have nothing to look forward to except more increases, worry over how long we can work or at least make it to Medicare. Speaking of Medicare, those folks now have to pay: $313 for their spouse. This is compounded by lower pensions due to retiring before those not on Medicare and so less ability to pay. STRS said it would BILL any whose pension did not cover HC premiums.
We continue to hear: "We have to make those tough decisions" which translates to more pain for retirees. I hope that every employee and STRS Board Member is fighting hard to pass HCA legislation and that every active understands that this is YOUR future if legislation does not pass.
How grateful we would have been to have been asked BEFORE making our irrevocable decisions to retire if we'd be willing to contribute $50 per ck NOW to offset untendable HC costs robbing us of our retirements now. It is the ONLY way to have HC in the future and a small price to pay to have an actual retirement as salaries are now so high to average the last 3 yrs with the ability to go for 35 yrs at 88%! We would have jumped at these opportunities and our only error was we were born too soon.
We will not be helped by HCA legislation as HC is funded to 2021. Most of us will be dead. We will unfortunately have to figure out how to last that long having our security stolen and trying to find ways to meet costs. IF ONLY, I could turn back that clock, work till I had 35 yrs and really retire. IF ONLY I had the opportunity to pay a few dollars ahead to secure my retirement. IF ONLY....................
RH Jones to Molly & Pat, February 9, 2007
Subject: Re: Fw: In defense of the 13th check. Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 10:17:00 -0500
Pat & Molly,
It has been 7-yrs. since we've had a 13th ck. or an Ad Hoc legislative increase in our base. Higher HC costs, fuel costs and other inflationary increases are hurting. We are not keeping up.
I don't want Ohio's teachers in Soc. Security but they get bi-yearly COLA increases. We get just a once per year 3% simple COLA. The 13th ck. helped us to stay even. Recent STRS retired educators have retired at a much greater income that those of us who have been out a few years or more. In the future, active professional educators will retire just like us. They need to get behind & push for the 5% employee/employer increase in the STRS HC contribution.
From Molly Janczyk, February 8, 2007
Subject: RE: Fw: In defense of the 13th check.
Thank you for your input, Pat. We know retirees lose more money each year with such increases and only a set simple COLA which doesn't come close to meeting costs and inflation.
Pat Cox to Molly Janczyk, February 8, 2007
Subject: Fw: In defense of the 13th check.
Dear Bob and Molly -
Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of us retirees. Another idea to consider about that 13th check: Those who have been retired for ten years or more are really in need of an extra check. When you see the monthly checks that recently retired teachers are receiving in comparison with what earlier retirees are receiving, you see a HUGE income difference. Of course, they earned more by the end of their careers which entitles them to those larger checks, but older retirees could certainly use an extra check to pay for the large increases in co- payments and deductibles and whatever. That COLA amount is sad.