Lunch at the STRS cafe 8/16/07
From left to right:
A forum for Ohio educators, sharing thoughts regarding their health care and pension system (STRS Ohio). Researcher John Curry manages a clearinghouse of related e-mails, articles, announcements, etc. His daily mailings include many items that do not make it to this blog. Contact John (email@example.com) if you wish to be on his e-mail list. Kathie Bracy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
a. Nationwide Medicare Advantage has limited benefits, access to doctors and medications. The cost of Medicare Advantage is up to 30% higher than traditional Medicare for the same services. Great caution is needed when considering any Medicare Advantage Plan.b. Any federal subsidy for Medicare Advantage may be over ridden by Medicare Advantage’s increased costs, thereby further depleting STRS Health Care Fund.
a. PBMs continue to be sued for not disclosing rebates and for steering clients to drugs for which the PBM receives the highest rebates. At the least, the practice is unethical, to CORE members it appears to be illegal price fixing that is a federal trade violation.b. Select the PBM which has the most honest track record. To do otherwise would revisit the illegal practices of a past PBM—Merck—whose practices cost the STRS health care fund a fortune, albeit a $50 million settlement.
a. Any divestiture has the potential of a dire negative impact on the STRS Pension fund. Especially considering the 585-point drop in the Dow Jones in July as well as 281-points and 387 points so far in August 2007.b. Full disclosure of any divested funds and the full cost of such divestiture, including losses, gains and administrative costs, need to be provided to all STRS members, immediately upon any divestiture taking place.
a. In STRS Ohio News, it was reported on page 3 that “35-year retirements have increased by 330%” since 2000. These educators are retiring at 88% calculation for pension benefits. Those who retired prior to 1999 are calculated at about 66%.b. This increase in benefits has to have a major impact on the STRS pension fund. What are the full parameters of that impact?
"The fact of the matter is, honorable people keep their word [re: divestment]," she said. "We expect the pension systems to keep their word. Rep. Mandel is keeping his word to the American people by going back to Iraq for a second time."
Voting for: Chapman, Meuser, CervantesVoting against: Hayden, Lazeres, Leone, Puckett, Johnson, RamserAbsent: Brooks
Voting for: Johnson, Brooks, Meuser, Puckett, CervantesVoting against: Leone, Lazares, Chapman, Hayden (Leone said that other options to be considered first.)Abstain: Ramser
Voting for: ALL 10 BOARD MEMBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (How's this for a surprise?) The Board voted 6-2 in June (with Leone and Brooks voting no) to instruct the STRS to develop a policy/program for implementation on January 1, 2008. Leone requested the rescinding. STRS Legal Counsel reported that since Leone and Brooks voted no in June, other board members would need to propose a rescinding action. After a heated 2-hour debate, Hayden made the motion and Lazares seconded it.
Voting for: Johnson, Brooks, Meuser, Puckett, Cervantes, Hayden, Ramser, ChapmanVoting against: Leone and Lazares (Both stated that the Board needed to set a better example of controlling costs internally.)
Voting for: Johnson, Meuser, Puckett, Cervantes, Leone, Lazares, Chapman, Hayden, RamserVoting against: NoneAbsent: Brooks
• Plan offers favorable premiums.• Plan has stability and should be a low cost option for several years.• AultCare has the experience of offering a Medicare managed care plan for 10 years and has more than 18,000 covered lives in the market place.• Pilot program will help staff learn more about this type of plan offering.• Adverse selection, if any, caused by this plan offering is expected to be limited.”