Register For The UFT Town Hall Meeting

Register for our all-member town hall.



Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m. Vegas Time to hear the latest updates on contract negotiations, our fight to preserve premium-free health care and our efforts to prod the DOE to plan for the implementation of the new class-size law.

Register Now

Click: https://web.cvent.com/event/e8c14ad4-cc04-4ac3-a49c-8ed2c17ba6c7/summary?j=774771&jb=153&l=222_HTML&mid=100022908&sfmc_sub=32982334&u=16979500 .

Open Letter From Randi




To: AFT Members In Nevada:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

As the final votes are being counted, it’s now clear: In a year when democracy, freedom, public education, public safety and economic security were on the ballot, voters like you overwhelmingly rejected MAGA extremism and fear.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for volunteering, voting and getting out the vote.

Of course, we are heartbroken about some races, but this election shows a deep well of support for public education and investing in the schools that help kids thrive. Because of our votes, states like California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and even Florida passed ballot measures and funding boosts for public schools. The endorsement of collective bargaining provisions in multiple states and cities comes at a time when unions like ours have strong and enduring approval. And then there are the pro-worker, pro-education governors, senators, representatives, state and local legislators and officials, and school board members we elected.

Our members—educators, healthcare workers, public employees and retirees—campaigned relentlessly for what our kids and communities need. And those efforts made a difference.

Our country remains deeply divided, and we didn’t win all the races we had hoped to win. But this year, so many voters chose problem solvers, not election deniers, to move our country forward.

Your voice mattered and matters. Thank you for all that you do.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President


Nevada Celebrates Election Results in Senate Race



Retirees Remain Hopeful as Election Day Results are Tabulated Democrats defied expectations in the midterm elections, potentially defending enough seats to maintain control of the Senate with control of the House of Representatives still undetermined.

One hundred seventy-seven of the 266 Alliance-endorsed federal candidates won, with 40 of those races still undetermined.

The Nevada Alliance For Retired Americans and the AFT lent substantial support for our endorsed candidates, which led to these fantastic victories.

“Thank you to all of our members who worked so hard to get out the vote,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. "You elected and re-elected candidates who will continue to expand and protect Social Security and Medicare." President Biden said on Wednesday that he wants to work with Republicans, but he will not compromise on issues including cutting Social Security and any of the Inflation Reduction Act provisions that lower prescription drug prices, including allowing Medicare negotiate lower drug prices, free vaccines, a $35 per month cap on insulin costs, and an out of pocket drug cost cap for Medicare beneficiaries. “We know we will need to vigorously protect our earned benefits from attack during the next Congress, and we are more than ready to do that,” added Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.


GHI and SeniorCare In Jeopardy



Dear UFT Retiree:

Take notice and act.

The city has dropped a bombshell that puts both GHI SeniorCare and premium‑free health care in jeopardy. The city’s Office of Labor Relations has sent a letter to the head of the Municipal Labor Committee giving the unions notice of its intent to put all Medicare‑eligible city retirees in a NYC Medicare Advantage plan and eliminate all other retiree health plans. To be clear, there will only be one plan for all retirees and no other options.

If the unions don’t go along with it, the city has threatened annual health care premiums of roughly $1,500 for all in-service municipal employees.

Both alternatives are unacceptable. We will not allow the city to divide retirees and in-service members by forcing us into a choice between premium-free health care and preserving health plan options for retirees. We know there are better ways to rein in rising health care costs.

Our fight to amend the city’s administrative code has been to avoid this exact scenario. We need the City Council to amend the code to preserve health plan choices for retirees and preserve premium-free health care for all of our members. The code amendment will affirm the Municipal Labor Committee’s right to negotiate health care for all municipal union members and the city’s obligation to offer health plan choices for retirees.

Go to: https://www.uft.org/news/contact-your-nyc-council-member?j=742922&sfmc_sub=32982334&l=222_HTML&u=16422614&mid=100022908&jb=4003 .


Are You Interested in a No-Cost 3D Mammogram?

You may be eligible for a no-cost 3D mammogram.




Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for American women. A simple screening can help detect breast cancer early, with potentially life-saving results. As a UFT member with EmblemHealth insurance, you have access to a very effective breast cancer screening program through RadNet as well as access to high-quality women’s health care from AdvantageCare Physicians.

Are you eligible?

A UFT
Member

Age 40 or
older

12 months
since your last
mammogram

Have a primary
care physician
or OB/GYN

Schedule a mammogram today
Or call 800-621-4844




FAQ

> What is the cost?
The 3D mammogram is a screening service covered by EmblemHealth as an annual mammogram screening. There is no-cost sharing to members for this service, which means UFT members who have EmblemHealth do not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer screening when services are delivered by a provider in EmblemHealth’s network.

> Do I need a referral?
No, you can schedule a mammogram appointment today with no referral necessary. However, it is clinical best practice for people to have an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider or women’s health provider to receive the results of your screening even though a referral is not required for you to receive a mammogram.

> What if I don’t have a primary care physician?
The results of your mammogram will be shared with your primary care or women’s health provider. However, if you do not have an existing provider relationship, RadNet will arrange for a provider to receive the results of your mammogram for a follow-up consultation with you.

> What if I’m younger than 40?
Talk to your primary care physician or OB/GYN to see if you still quality for a 3D mammogram based on family or medical history. If you do not have an existing provider relationship, you can schedule an appointment with ACPNY on their website or call 646-680-4227.

More FAQs
No cost-sharing means that UFT members who have EmblemHealth may not have to pay out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer screening when services are delivered by a provider in EmblemHealth’s network.

“The 3D mammogram detected my cancer before a doctor could physically see it on a normal scan. There was no lump there; it was like grains of sand. It was a miracle that I found out about it so early, particularly because it is an aggressive type of cancer. I received early treatment, so I will be fine. The story could have been very different without the early detection of the 3D mammogram.”
- Cindy, UFT Employee


Retiree Health Care Update



News and information for UFT retirees


A health care FAQ for retirees. If you missed the Oct.18th Retiree Chapter meeting, here are some of the main points made at the meeting.


The following FAQ for Retired Teachers Chapter members answers commonly asked questions about the national health care crisis, its impact on New York City employees and retirees, and the challenges facing the UFT and its fellow municipal unions. It's part of our commitment to you to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

What is the status of the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan?

The proposed NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan for Medicare-eligible municipal retirees was not implemented amid ongoing litigation.

In July, the previous alliance of Empire BlueCross BlueShield and EmblemHealth withdrew as the plan’s administrators because of the delays.

The state judge told the city that it could move forward with a new NYC Medicare Advantage plan. The only thing in the way now is the need for the city and the unions to negotiate terms with a new plan administrator.

Aetna, another large health care company, has stepped forward to express its interest in administering such a plan for the city’s Medicare-eligible retirees. The unions and the city are in the early exploratory phases with the Aetna proposal. Rest assured that the unions will not agree to any plan that is inferior to the premium-free plan that retirees now have.

UFT retirees will remain in their current health plans for the time being. Medicare-eligible retirees do not need to take any action if they are satisfied with their current plan.
What was the New York City Medicare Advantage Plus Plan?

It was a brand-new, unprecedented version of Medicare Advantage that was only for New York City municipal retirees and their families. The new plan provided the same excellent benefits as the current GHI SeniorCare retiree health care plan but at less cost. UFT retirees would have had access to every doctor or health care facility that accepts traditional Medicare coverage.

Even though it was different from traditional HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans, categorizing it as a Medicare Advantage plan made the new plan eligible for $600 million annually in federal subsidies.

The plan stalled at first because of the poor rollout of information to medical providers and Medicare-eligible municipal retirees. The distinction between the new plan and individual Medicare Advantage plans was not made clear to medical providers so many of them initially indicated to retirees that they would not accept it because they were misinformed.

What is the MLC?

The Municipal Labor Committee is the umbrella group for New York City’s nearly 100 public employee unions representing nearly 300,000 workers. Its primary role is to serve as the bargaining agent for those unions on health benefits for both in-service employees and retirees.

In that capacity, the MLC negotiates with the city itself and in tandem with the city, the committee bargains with health insurance providers and chooses which of them can offer health benefits to employees and retirees and on what terms.

The chair of the MLC is chosen by the union leaders and serves as their spokesperson on these issues. The current chair is Harry Nespoli, the president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association.

Why is health care such a major issue right now?

The escalating cost of health insurance, prescription drugs and medical care across the country has created a national crisis. Hospitals and drug companies are charging increasingly exorbitant amounts, and New York City is no exception. The rate of increase is unprecedented, and it is an issue that must be addressed.

How could the national health care crisis affect the UFT and its members?

The UFT and its fellow unions in the MLC have been a shield for in-service and retired members from these escalating costs. But the premium-free health care of all UFT members, both in-service and retired, is at risk if we don’t aggressively leverage the size of New York City’s municipal workforce to go after insurance companies and get medical providers to deliver services more efficiently and at less cost. It’s the approach the unions have taken over the past decade, and it has yielded results. The UFT is determined to find a path forward that takes care of all its members, both in-service and retired, as well as future members.

What is the stabilization fund and how does it relate to health care?

The stabilization fund was originally created in 1984 to ensure that both GHI and HIP were funded without requiring payroll deductions. In the decades since, the city and its unions have also used the fund in a variety of ways, such as offsetting members’ costs for PICA drugs (for chemotherapy and self-injectables), subsidizing the cost of retiree prescription drug riders, shoring up various union welfare funds facing fiscal uncertainties and paying survivors’ benefits to the widows of uniformed officers.

All fund decisions are made jointly by the city and the MLC. The fund has benefited the in-service and retired members of every municipal union.

Did unions borrowing from the stabilization fund cause our current health care crisis?

No. When the city and the MLC agreed in 2014 to use funds from the stabilization fund to help pay for salary increases for all city workers between 2015 and 2018, the funds that were drawn down were completely offset by $1 billion in cost-saving measures in health care that the union and city worked together to generate over that same period. Not a single health care benefit was either lost or diminished during that three-year period as a result of these cost-saving measures. In fact, some health care benefits were enhanced.

The skyrocketing cost of health care has depleted the stabilization fund and is making it difficult to keep current health care plans sustainable.

Was the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan an effort to privatize Medicare?

No, the proposed plan was, in fact, a Medicare program. The city and the unions were able to access federal funding because it is a public program.

Individual Medicare Advantage plans have restrictions and leave subscribers with fewer medical options and/or higher out-of-pocket costs. The new plan was a custom, large-group version of Medicare Advantage developed for New York City municipal retirees only. It was modeled after GHI SeniorCare and was filled with features that made it the same or better than SeniorCare but at lower cost. While the new NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan bore the same (unfortunate) name, it had none of the issues that people have experienced with individual Medicare Advantage plans.

Why are municipal unions seeking to change the city’s administrative code?

A state judge’s recent ruling illuminated an issue with a part of the administrative code (Section 12 -126) that allows for a dangerous interpretation. The judge said the administrative code required the city to only offer premium-free plans. Such a mandate would eliminate the MLC's and the city's authority to offer multiple health care plans, since the city and the MLC would be unable to absorb the cost of multiple premium-free plans.

The MLC is asking the New York City Council to add a clause to the administrative code to codify the past practice of the last several decades allowing unions to be able to negotiate health care costs and give health-care plan options to members.

The city code sets a benchmark of spending that the city must adhere to when providing health care coverage. As it stands, the benchmark cost is the cost of HIP-HMO; by adding the clause, unions in the MLC can negotiate an alternative benchmark plan that costs less but offers the same or better quality of care.

The administrative code would continue to require the city to provide a comprehensive, premium-free health plan. The additional clause would only strengthen the current code by clarifying and reaffirming the MLC’s right to negotiate for all members and ensure the city must offer options when it comes to health care plans.

Without this change in code, the city may choose to save costs by offering only one health care option that isn’t up to the unions’ standards.

The judge has already ruled that the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan can move forward. The change in the administrative code will allow the municipal unions to do what they have always done to advocate on behalf of members for the best possible health care benefits.


More Info On The Retiree Health Care Update




News and information for UFT retirees:

The UFT continues to fight vigorously to protect and preserve premium-free health care for its members, both in-service and retired. We all have read about the escalating cost of health insurance, prescription drugs and medical care nationwide. New York City is no exception: The cost of health care for municipal employees and retirees has almost doubled over the past decade. Thankfully, through smart and creative negotiations over the years, the UFT and our fellow municipal unions have been able to protect our members’ health care benefits and ensure that these increasing costs have not been passed on to employees and retirees.

But as costs continue to rise, there is growing pressure from the health care industry and the city to shift some of that financial burden onto the members of New York City’s 100-plus municipal unions in the form of premiums. The UFT and our fellow unions within the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) believe there is a better solution: preserve premium-free benefits and the current standards of care by getting medical providers to deliver services more efficiently and at less cost. The MLC is exploring ways to do just that.

Medicare-eligible New York City retirees will remain in their current health plans until all pending issues are resolved. You do not need to take any action if you are satisfied with your current plan.

NYC Medicare Advantage Plus update

The proposed NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan was not implemented. It remains in ongoing litigation. In July, the previous alliance of Empire BlueCross BlueShield and EmblemHealth withdrew as the plan’s administrators because of the delays caused by that litigation. Aetna, another large health care company, has since stepped forward to express its interest in administering such a plan for the city’s Medicare-eligible retirees. We are in the early exploratory phases with the Aetna proposal.

Ensuring we can fight on your behalf

A judge’s ruling in March illuminated an issue with a section of the city administrative code (12-126) that allows for a dangerous interpretation: Although the code requires the city to cover the cost of health care for city employees, the code as it is currently written allows the city to choose any health care plan as long as it covers the cost — regardless of the plan’s quality.

The MLC is asking the New York City Council to add a clause to the administrative code to codify the past practice of the last several decades allowing unions to be able to negotiate health care costs and give health-care plan options to members.

The administrative code would continue to require the city to provide a comprehensive, premium-free health plan. The added language will only strengthen it.

We and our fellow municipal unions in the MLC are your strongest advocates for health care, and we must have a seat at the table.


Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Increase Likely Largest in Four Decades




Retirees will learn the amount of the Social Security COLA increase for 2023 on October 13, and
the current estimate, according to The New York Times, is that it will be 8.7%. That would make it
the largest in four decades.

The 2023 COLA will provide a considerable boost to all of the 70 million Americans who rely on
their earned Social Security benefits.
“The expected COLA will be an enormous help but it is not enough. Congress could increase
benefits even further by passing H.R. 5723,‘Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust,’ which was
introduced by Rep. John Larson (CT), or the Social Security Expansion Act, S. 4365, introduced
by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT). Both of these bills make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair
share,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “By removing the artificial
earnings cap that is currently $147,000 per year, we could strengthen the Social Security Trust
Fund while providing all retirees with increased benefits.”

That cap is expected to increase to $155,100 for 2023, according to an annual report released by
the Social Security Board of Trustees on June 2.

Social Security expansion bills supported by the Alliance also require COLAs to be based on the
CPI-E, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly. The CPI-E reflects health care and housing
costs, items that seniors actually spend their money on – a change that would result in fairer
COLAs every year, not just every few decades.


You’re Invited: Celebrate Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and Learn How it Will Lower Drug Prices



The Alliance will host a special virtual event on Thursday, September 15, at 4 PM Eastern time
to celebrate the passage of this historic legislation. We will have experts on hand to break down
the law and answer questions about how it will be implemented over the next few years.

Please click here to RSVP for this free, one-hour online workshop.

https://retiredamericans-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUodeGoqDsrGdXT7zyZ5CvTO0mLt7K_dc6g?_x_zm_rtaid=6A8UpORKS_KxQauulCXRHA.1662239652225.08a678badd892965295d982cb326aac0&_x_zm_rhtaid=685 .


An email with a link to join the session will be sent to those who sign up 24 hours before the
session.

Questions? Email Maureen Dunn, Director of Field Mobilization for the Alliance, at
mdunn@retiredamericans.org.



ARA Applaud House Passage of Bold Action to Lower Drug Prices



Alliance members celebrated passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the U.S. House of
Representatives today, five days after the bill was passed by the U.S. Senate. President Biden
has said he will sign the bill.

The bill will help lower prescription drug prices for seniors by:
● Requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prices for some of the highest priced prescription
drugs, using its enormous purchasing power on behalf of seniors and taxpayers;
● Capping out of pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries;
● Making all recommended adult vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries beginning in 2023;
● Prohibiting drug corporations from increasing the price it charges Medicare for a drug by
more than the rate of inflation; and
● Capping out of pocket drug spending at $2,000 per year for Medicare Part D.

“I have witnessed seniors at the supermarket, having to leave food at the cash register so they
could make ends meet,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “This legislation is a
game-changer that will go a long way to help ensure retirees are not put in that terrible position.”

Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world, and one in four Americans has reported not
taking at least one drug as prescribed because they couldn’t afford it.

“The Alliance has been fighting to give Medicare the right to negotiate lower prices for more than
two decades,” added Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.“The action taken by
Congress today sends a strong message to seniors that lower drug prices are closer than ever.
“Now that the House, the Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris have voted, our members
look forward to President Biden quickly making this legislation the law of the land,” said Fiesta.
“When he does, we will finally be putting seniors ahead of pharmaceutical corporations to deliver
lower drug prices for the American people.”


Carmen Alvarez Newest Addition To Las Vegas UFT Retiree Staff



If you were teaching in special education before retirement you might know Carmen Alvarez, UFT VP for special education.

With the growth of our retiree Chapter, the UFT has enlisted the assistance of Carmen, recently retired UFT VP, to support us. She has generously agreed to assist Rich Miller, UFT Retiree Coordinator, from New York City.

Many of your questions or problems that come up require answers from an expert at the UFT offices. If you have a question or need any assistance you now have another contact to lean on. She is readily available by e-mail at: Calvarez@UFT.org and by phone at: 212 598 9546. Please make note of this contact information.

With her years of leadership experience, and proximity to the UFT offices, we are indeed fortunate to have her join the leadership of our Retiree Chapter.

New Dentist Joins UFT Welfare Dental Program



If you are looking for a Dentist accepting the UFT SIDS Program under our Cigna program, take a moment to check our newest listing:

Dr. Vuong Do, DDS
Red Hills Dental
9770 S. Maryland Pkwy #8
Las Vegas, NV 89183
Monday- Saturday
(next to Chase Bank)
Office Ph # 702 463-7300
Fax # 702 754 0229
www.RedHillsDental.com




Note Change Of E-mail Address For Rich



Due to hacking of the account, please note the change of address is now: unionrich3@gmail.com.

If you need to contact him, you still can call his cell# 702 287 7129 and send an e-mail: unionrich3@gmail.com. Please keep these contact numbers handy.