NALC supports plan to move postal workers to separate health insurance pool

When Senator Tom Carper unveiled his latest postal reform bill, one of the more controversial items was the provision that established a separate health insurance pool for current and former postal workers, along with the requirement that postal retirees enroll in Medicare when they become eligible. At the time, the National Association of Letter Carriers President Fred Rolando released a statement calling the bill “a good place to begin the conversation” about preserving the USPS. Rolando noted, however, that the bill included “several provisions we cannot support and raises a number of serious concerns for letter carriers and the larger federal employee community”.

Rolando’s statement didn’t specify which provisions he had a problem with, but it’s clear now that the redesign of the health insurance program wasn’t one of them. A little noticed, unsigned article in the union’s official magazine, the Postal Record, makes it clear that the union whole heartedly supports the change. It even quotes Rolando as saying “It’s a proposal that NALC was instrumental in developing”.

NALC-LOGOAlthough work remains to be done on key issues, such as adjusting postage rates and service standards,there is broad agreement on the most important financial problem facing the Postal Service: how to alleviate the crushing burden to pre-fund decades of future retiree health benefits. The industry has coalesced around the idea of full Medicare integration for health plans that cover postal employees and postal annuitants in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP)—that is, implementing a requirement that postal annuitants enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they reach age 65, and requiring FEHBP plans covering postal employees to adopt drug plans made possible by the Medicare Part D program.

This approach would not only largely resolve the pre-funding requirement that is hindering USPS finances, it also would reduce FEHBP health insurance rates for all active and retired letter carriers as part of the bargain.

“It’s a proposal that NALC was instrumental in developing,” President Rolando said. Indeed, the basic outlines of the proposal were carefully crafted by the NALC and the USPS by the health care task force established by the 2013 Das award. “We have agreed on the major provisions of this plan, but we are taking a cautious approach to it to make sure that any legislation takes into account the best interests of the Postal Service, letter carriers and other postal workers.”

According to the proposal, the Office of Personnel Management would create a postal-only health benefit program within FEHBP. These postal plans would be rated and priced separately from the plans covering other federal employees, with rules on Medicare enrollment that would apply only to the postal plans. Postal retirees covered by these postal plans would be required to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they reach age 65. In addition, the postal FEHBP program would embed low-cost drugs made possible by the Medicare Part D program.

Click here to download the full Postal Record article.

  • Ron From Wisconsin

    Piratehead!
    Don’t screw around with my FEHBP!

  • tommy evans

    I went with Medicare Part B, (and of course Part A is automatic) If the “postal-only health benefit program within FEHBP” have lower rates, since they are not primary-coverage, it sounds like a win-win.

  • RB

    Good for me also and what I was planning on doing anyway. I do not need Part D and hope it is optional and still be in plan because myself and I am sure many others are Vets that get their Meds thru VA

  • sLiM_mC_sHaDy

    NOOOOooooooo. Postal Service cannot manage its own self… how they gonna run an insurance pool? They can’t even swim!

  • DPW

    Sounds like bullshit to me

  • Jay

    The plan will still be managed by FEHB not USPS.

  • CC

    It is important to remember that it was the NALC that whole-heartedly supported the 2006 PAEA legislation that got the service in the pre-funding mess in the first place.

  • GordonG

    I haven’t forgotten that!I say let’s give this new health plan a try, but, let’s do a testing for three years on NALC represented only employees and retirees.
    Then and only then would it be implemented agency wide to the other craft.

  • David Batzek Sr.

    I have been retired 5 years now have Letter carriers med and medicare and everything works out fine.

  • sLiM_mC_sHaDy

    Hallelujah!

  • Mad hatter

    Anyone note that nalc health insurance has never been among lowest in cost EVERY year? Smaller separate pool might make alot of sense to Sell the nalc insurance but perhaps not for nalc members….

  • doowoplover534

    Just REPEAL the 10 year window that the republicans put in when criminal Bush was president. Done to ruin the Postal service so the republican creeps can PRIVATIZE and skim off the profits .The window should go back to the 75 year window to fund the health plans .There was no problem then . REPEAL the republican caused fraud financial trouble .

  • doowoplover534

    A sellout

  • postalcanine

    I’m retired and enrolled in Medicare Part A & B when I turned 65, just like every other American retired worker would do. But I’ve been insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield for over 40 years, and I like it and so does my wife who doesn’t work and can’t collect Social Security. Freddie and Tommy aren’t going to take away my health plan and dump me in a plan with a few hundred thousand older retired workers who are in worse shape than most from humping mail outdoors for 25 to 40 years or standing on their feet 8 hours a day running a machine or working at a retail counter. The cost of a postal only plan will be outrageous, especially considering the dwindling numbers of postal workers paying into the plan. Medicare will become a voucher program if the Republicans win the White House, and you can be sure that the vouchers won’t increase every year to match the medical inflation rate. If Freddie and Tommy want to have a postal plan, put the current workforce in it and leave the retirees alone.

  • Mail Dude

    Yes,but since that buffoon Donahoe proposed Donahoecare,a USPS mismanagement run healthcare system,taking USPS employees out of FEHB,and BTW,USPS management would not be required to go into it, Rolando has been silent.No benefits will come from having separate health care systems under FEHB that I can see.Sounds like Rolando has sold out to management,who never is for the best interests of the employees.Will be very interesting to see if he sells the Carriers down the river next year and agrees to a horrible,management dictated CBA like Goofy Guffey did to the APWU 4 years ago.

  • Matt

    Don’t fix what is not broken. Look at the percentage of non career workers and growing. Do you think top management and the union officials will be part of this new insurance. No say in the matter from rank and file..

  • Sam73065

    You need to hark back to the implementation of that law and realize that the NALC and APWU both supported it. Try not to rewrite history or facts in your ranting.

  • Sam73065

    Isn’t it amazing how members of the NALC and APWU rewrite history in their minds and pretend this was all a republican/Bush conspiracy instead of broadly supported reform act by all parties. It has been a disaster for the USPS. We were screwed in this deal, but it wasn’t simply a republican screw the union deal as many ranters spew.

  • doowoplover534

    YOUR the one who is re-writing history Call the Union office and confirm what you just wrote .Nothing but BULLSHIT It was an amendment put into the Bush national budget and NO separate law. Get your FACTS straight No union would support the privatization of the Postal service. YOUR 100%WRONG .

  • Sam73065

    This was not part of a privatization effort. Piss poor legislation that might lead to privatization if more piss poor decisions are made. But this was supported by a very broad coalition, including the NALC and APWU and I was a member of the NALC at the time of passage. And don’t spew nonsense about no union supporting privatization, they sure will if they feel it will benefit the union and even maybe the members.