[Note: My first newsletter, which was recently sent to Rocky Flats retirees, dealt with upcoming changes to Rocky Flats retiree benefits and contained some of the content of the following posting.]
Firstly, I want to mention that readers can signup to have future RockyFlatsFacts.com (RFF.com) newsletters on RF benefits and other issues sent directly to your email by typing your email address into the box in the upper right sidebar of this website’s landing page (just below, “Get RFF.com Newsletter”), and clicking the “Subscribe” button. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription – which you need to reply to – in order to complete the signup process. (Of course, I won’t spam you or give your email address to others, and you can unsubscribe at any time, no hard feelings.)
I’m unsure at this point how many future RFF.com newsletters might be forthcoming since it will depend both on the availability of new information and the level of reader interest. There’s only about a month remaining until RF retirees should receive details of the new 2015 RF benefit plans by mail and that announcement will be followed by about six weeks until (Nov. 30, 2014) retirees are required to sign up…or lose health insurance coverage.
I mentioned in a recent commentary on this website that I was alerted to some efforts to reverse the recent move by the Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce medical insurance benefits for Rocky Flats retirees and/or their spouses who are 65 and older. I have received messages about efforts to forestall these retiree benefits changes. One message contained a link to a letter to Congress asking for exemption from the new changes for people who retired from Rocky Flats prior to 1995.
However, I have since received a personal email message that “…our letter seems to be falling on deaf ears. Politicians don’t seem to have much interest in an election year…We have also contacted an attorney and discussed legal action but don’t feel there are sufficient grounds to do so.” Don’t lose your health insurance waiting for someone to stop this! Perhaps something can still be done, and I’m certain many people are thinking of what that might be. Be prepared for the likely outcome that such efforts will fail and make certain you complete the sign up requirements ahead of the deadline.
I’m well aware that some retirees won’t be helped by a decision to defer or eliminate the benefits changes for pre-1995 retirees: I happen to be in that group. I had the “pre-1995” benefits until I returned to work at Rocky Flats as a “second-tier contractor.” I was required to forego my no-cost medical insurance benefits to be able to return to work at Rocky Flats. I still remember how upset I was. I expect many pre-1995 RF retirees may feel that same anxiety being forced to cope with this current benefits change.
I will once again recommend that affected Rocky Flats retirees review the new health insurance options carefully and be prepared to sign up for a “less generous” (i.e., higher upfront cost) medical insurance coverage. The no-action alternative is to lose all Rocky Flats benefits if retirees don’t sign up before the November 30, 2014 deadline. The letter in the above link does a fine job of expressing the feelings of many pre-1995 retirees.
On a contrary note, I have also received email comments to this weblog from pre-1995 Rocky Flats retirees who believe that the retirees should not be “complaining.” Their opinion, in brief, is that pre-1995 RF retirees have enjoyed many, many years of benefits far more generous than those of most retirees in the “private sector.” I mention this in the interest of fairness and diversity of opinion. Remember that I have no official capacity on this subject and am only attempting to be a conduit for information and community feedback on this challenging issue.