Topics of Concern to Our Retirees/Dependents–Discussed at Our Spring Meeting with GE–April 23, 2021; and these “Topics of Concern” will be Presented to the GE Board of Directors–for the Annual Shareowners Meeting May 4, 2021
Present from Solutions–John Phelps–President; Connie Vick– Treasurer; Brian Demo–Benefits Advocation
Here are our Concerns at GE Retiree Benefit Solutions, Inc (GERBS; “Solutions”):
- Prescription drugs out-of-pocket costs, and how that affects healthcare decisions for our Retirees/Dependents; 24% skipped med’s, skipped doctor appts, and/or skipped tests/procedures; that is equivalent to about 59,000 GE Retirees/Dependents. This stat is actually low compared to KFF Study (29%). We have provided a number of examples in our previous Healthcare Surveys, and we have shown some of the astronomical OOP costs to SOME of our Retirees/Dependents. To our Organization, this is unconscionable, that our Retirees/Dependents have to make these unhealthy, and we must say—undeserved choices—we can do better than this! Together, we believe we can implement better strategies to address this concern.
- RRA Coverage—is there a balance, fairness, equity in the decision making on who, or who does not get the RRA; we know the split—about 60% get the RRA, 40% do not get the RRA (about 98,000 Retirees/Dependents). Yet, we all lost our Group Post-65 Healthcare Plans. The largest cost to our Retirees/Dependent is the cost of prescriptions, especially if there is co-morbidity concerns involved. This not a “forever cost” to GE; we believe it is a reasonable request to ask GE to reconsider it’s position on qualifications/eligibility— it will address some of the OOP expense we addressed earlier, and allow Our/Your Retirees/Dependents to receive adequate healthcare treatment, and to better enjoy their remaining years.We are proposing a “Replacement RRA Plan.” We know, from the Annual Funding Notice from the GE Pension Plan, there are 245, 671 that are retired and receiving benefits. We know that about 10,000-12,000 Retirees/Dependents pass away a year. The “Replacement Plan” would allow the cost of the RRA for those deceased to “pass on” to the next eligible active retirees—starting with most senior that do not receive the RRA. This would not be an increased cost to GE, and properly address the concern of the 40% that do not receive the RRA. We know this is a novel and unique idea, but certainly worth consideration.
We are proposing a “Replacement RRA Plan.” We know, from the Annual Funding Notice from the GE Pension Plan, there are 245, 671 that are retired and receiving benefits. We know that about 10,000-12,000 Retirees/Dependents pass away a year. The “Replacement Plan” would allow the cost of the RRA for those deceased to “pass on” to the next eligible active retirees—starting with most senior that do not receive the RRA. This would not be an increased cost to GE, and properly address the concern of the 40% that do not receive the RRA. We know this is a novel and unique idea, but certainly worth consideration.
- Alternative Healthcare Choices for our Retirees/Dependents, that will be designed to protect our Retirees/Dependents RRA & GEPAF Coverage. I believe in fairness, and to level the competitive playing field…GE needs to allow other/alternative Healthcare Vendors, that have the capability, to administer Retiree/Dependent Healthcare Accounts, and all it’s components (i.e.–RRA). I have been upfront about our Plans to offer a Group Post-65 Healthcare Plan to all GE Retirees/Dependents. Without me getting into details of our Plan; We, at GERBS—(“Solutions”—short name)— have worked hard this past 1.5 years to put this Plan in place. As soon as we finish the legalities; we are hoping GE will give us a chance to prove we are a reasonable alternative to manage Post-65 Retiree/Dependent Healthcare Accounts. Benistar is our Group Designee Management Company, and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the Insurance Provider/Company. We would like to develop further discussions on this initiative.
- Pension Plan De-Risking concerns for the future—I am sure you have seen, read, or heard about …the information we have put out– we did a Pension Plan De-Risking Informational Webinar with our Membership, and other concerned Retiree Groups on April 7, 2021; and I believe it definitely demonstrates the need for our concern regarding this issue– GE Executive statements regarding your Financial position, and the need to reduce debt/liability, including Pension Plan Strategies—”to reduce the debt/liability, and to strengthen GE’s financial position (balance sheet).” We have specific concerns regarding one aspect, or strategy, that GE has been put in place– Athene/Apollo—70 Thousand GE Retirees/Dependent transferred to their Annuity Plan. We would like to open the dialogue on this choice, and offer some remedies? We would also like to be involved in any future GE Pension Plan De-Risking communications, and actions in the future.
We STRONGLY Suggest all Our Retirees/Dependents view the Pension Plan De-Risking Webinar- we did on April 7, 2021; take time to Watch the Video, and READ the Supporting Documents & Slides.
Go Here to Read the Materials & Watch the Video– https://geretireesolutions.org/events/?fbclid=IwAR0Xjq0jgvrOltQJIdLm-LZwNtLyS_QulM04IgoT5mOmedp21uB6B3eDPkg