I unfortunately got to the meeting about 15 minutes later so I missed a bit of good stuff. (Some idiot who managed to semi-successfully drive a large SUV with her head shoved clear up her ass came uncomfortably close to killing me on the I-5 on the way there.) These are, however, the high points.
With regard to retirees who have hit 65, there was a woman there from Blue Cross who gave a good talk on how stuff hooks into medicare. She was VERY INSISTENT on one point. If yo sign up for the wrong stuff, usually some thing you get in the mail from somebody trying to sell you something masquerading as health insurance, you can end up screwing yourself out of your already excellent retiree health plan. I wish I had heard the whole presentation. Her name was Elsa Rapp and she can be reached at Blue Cross at 877-841-8135. She is the Senior Outreach Manager for Government Programs. She seems to know her stuff.
The mess with the retiree life insurance has left a bad taste with many people. Assuming Mike, Skip and Larry are telling the truth (and I am quite certain that they are) New York Life bumped up the rate for the retiree life insurance quite a bit due to the fact that our retirees have been dying at an unusual rate within the last year or so. What it means is that the retiree life insurance is cut in half and it is pretty much gobbling up all of the new dues increase. We had hoped to be able to put away some money from the raise of the dues from $5 to $10 per month, but it looks like we are just barely going to be skating by. Due to the fact that federal law requires that retirees be kept separate from current employees it is not possible to spread the risk onto younger, working staff members who would probably not appreciate their rates going up in any case. It really was just some stuff happening at an inconvenient time guys. No grand scheme, no shady deal. Just too many people passing too young. Remember, there are about 8,300 people in the retired chapter and they get this life insurance for being a warm body, no health questions, no physical. If you are breathing you get it. A lot of people can’t get life insurance due to existing medical conditions and $10,000 or $5,000 is not to be sneezed at.
Also, there is a really interesting project getting under way, a National Correctional Museum. If all goes well (this is still fairly fluid) it will be built on the grounds of Folsom prison overlooking the river. The state has already indicated an interest in donating the unused land and a very respectable architectural firm (working gratis) has already done up some drawings and floor plans. This is envisioned as telling the story of the prison in the U.S. from the staff point of view. It is already set up as a 501(c)3. This might be worth donating some time and some bucks to at some point. The old Folsom Prison Museum would fold into it. This could turn into a very, very nice project for the profession.