Federal employee group rejects reform bill

The president of one of the largest federal employee organizations has issued a statement opposing recent bipartisan supported postal reform legislation. 

“There are simple solutions to the financial problems facing the U.S. Postal Service, such as eliminating the prefunding requirement outright, but this bill takes a more complicated route,” National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President  Richard G. Thissen said.

He said forcing current postal retirees and survivors to pay an additional $134 per month for health care coverage and enroll in Medicare is not the best way for the USPS to save money.

Thissen said other possibilities to increase revenue include increasing the price of postage “to a more reasonable amount,” allowing USPS to ship alcohol or provide financial services and allowing USPS to pay its health insurance bills when they are due, and not before and end the prefunding requirement.

“NARFE has offered an alternative that is simple, fair and reasonable: maintain automatic enrollment of current postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short opt-out window of 60 or 90 days,” he said, adding,” Without this option, the bill breaks a promise regarding postal retiree health benefits and replaces the individual postal retiree’s choice of health insurance with a paternalistic requirement, at significant cost to the Medicare program.”

Reader comments

Sun, Feb 19, 2017 Paul Buffalo NY

It's bad enough to force us into part B but a 10 % penalty for not taking it for every year since turning 65 on top of it. There's no penalty for not taking Part D so why is there one for part B

Fri, Feb 17, 2017 Barb MN

I retired from the postal service after 32 years of service. Forcing retires on to Medicare is a cheap shot for retires because we have no voice except our representatives. Here are a few points to consider. 1. Not all retires worked full time. There for our annuity is small. I averaged less than 650 hours a year as PTF (Part Time Flex) in a small office. 2. Some of us are affected by WEP and GPO. 3. Under CSRS we never had matching funds in the TSP program. 4. Finding clinics and doctors in rural areas who accept Medicare can be a challenge. 5. Retires not protected by hold harmless would have higher premiums. 6. Our checks come from the government, we have access to other government programs. We are part of the government family and should not be treated differently. 7. Repeal the prefunding mandate. This would affect our household greatly with the added part B premiums by almost 3000.00 a year! That added expense could go for property taxes, auto or house insurance, or in a retirement fund. How can this added expense help retires? It is an added expense that I should have a choice to make not forced on me. If passed this will affect us for the rest of our lives.

Tue, Feb 14, 2017 Bev

I believe it is very unfair for Postal retirees and survivors to be forced to pay an additional $134 monthly to pay health benefits and/or enroll in Medicare. No one should be forced to join Medicare - I do agree they should have a time period to opt out. Sometimes after being retired situations become a little more clear in our minds and we decide to change our choices. I do, however, believe if the US Postal Service cannot make it financially their present operational system, then changes need to be made; i.e. closing some post offices and/or stop Saturday deliveries, except for businesses. I have never understood why they are expected prefund their health care - I don't believe any of the agencies are under this same requirement.

Tue, Feb 14, 2017 Linda Hawaii

no, already retired persons should not be forced onto medicare. Future retirees could be but then they would have advance notice. If my husband and I were forced onto Medicare Part B, our health costs would increase by $300 a month. This was not in our budget when he retired.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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