Post Your Concerns And Suggestions Relating to H.R. 756, Postal Service Reform Act of 2017

2/15/17 – Please post your comments, concerns, and suggestions relating to H.R. 756, Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, in our comments section below. Please keep comments clean. If you have contact with any of the four USPS unions national presidents please share these comments with them in an effort to protect our right to primary coverage as promised when we were hired. PEN

As you know a bipartisan group of legislators, all four postal unions, USPS, postmasters and postal managers, large mailers, and who knows who else are trying very hard to get House Resolution 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017 passed – a summary of that bill is posted here.

My first question regarding this push is why didn’t these groups try just as hard to get P.A.E.A., Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, repealed and/or replaced instead of repealing postal retirees and survivors primary health coverage by their FEHB benefit provided by employment with USPS. If our right to primary coverage under FEHB is abolished then what’s next – our right to retirement managed by OPM?

  • The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) is opposed to H.R. 756 and urges opposition – read their statement here.
  • Coalition Letter Opposing the Postal Service Reform Act (H.R. 756) – read this opposition here.
  • Read commentary and reader comments regarding P.A.E.A. here.
  • Read opposition comments by Jerry Stidman, Jerry ran for APWU president in 2016, here.

Please add your comments and/or suggestions below – without insult to others please – and, if possible share with your national union president.

Rick Owens – PEN
Retired USPS 2007


11 Responses to "Post Your Concerns And Suggestions Relating to H.R. 756, Postal Service Reform Act of 2017"

  1. Woody   February 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Why do they plan on hurting postal employees and retirees with regards to our health insurance? Leave our FEHB Plans alone and remove all discussion of our health insurance from this legislation.

    Do not force us into an insurance pool of only postal employee health plans. Some of us have worked our whole adult lives and then retired on what we were promised and now you want to break that promise and take it away from us.

  2. Arthur   February 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I’m against a postal workers only FEHBP. Why can’t we continue in the available plans? Taking all postal workers out will weaken FEHBP. If we’re forced into Medicare fine, but we shouldn’t be forced into a postal only plan. The Unions are for this bill because they’ll get increased membership in their health plans.

  3. Ernest Johnson   February 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Add a little information of Interest if it applies to one, many, or all Medicare recipients:

    “Feds tightens the grip on Medicare” as worthwhile reading and entering into conversation and
    consideration for further discovery.

  4. Marilyn   February 15, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    There is no need to create a Postal Workers only FEHBP or force us into enrolling into medicare. All they need to do, is to stop the insane prefunding requirement. The FEHBP works, because of the large pool of employees. If this is changed, premiums will increase. Also, once this is forced on postal employees, it will filter out to all federal employees. The Unions are not acting in the best interests of the members in supporting this bill. They should have asked the members for input, before supporting this bill.

  5. Ernest Johnson   February 15, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Feds tighten the grip on Medicare is the driving force in this process but money is greasing the wheel. The new systems are designed to divide medicare recipients according to the needs of the said system.
    This isn’t new. Its a part of the reason the Politicians and all the stakeholders, catalog mailers, Unions, Amazon, UPS, FEDX and many other players, supports H.R. 756, and H.R. 760. These are better known as “Vested Interest” Committee Members with the support of Congress and Bi-Partisan supporters.
    This is part of the rules both pieces are uplifting blindly! Everyone realize a Vested Interest except the Postal Retiree and then the remainder of Federal Retirees.
    Finally, Will these two systems deny what you need, then force what they say is documented to be your limit of care, and your help is based on data and all the stakeholders in agreement!

  6. Gail   February 15, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    My concern is about having health insurance coverage if I visit a foreign country. I have a son who lives in Canada with his family. My husband has heart issues. Currently my Blue Cross Blue Shield would cover me while traveling. Medicare as far as I know does not.

    I currently have Blue Cross Blue Shield. My husband has Medicare as secondary. It is expensive to have both but it covers most of our medical bills. I retired at 62 and planning on keeping my Blue Cross Blue Shield and picking up his Medicare when he turned 65. To change our insurance now is unfair. I based my decision to retire after carefully planning for a year in advance and making sure what I could count on. Promises to retirees need to be kept.

  7. Ididnotvoteforthatguy   February 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Current postal retirees reaching the age of 65 have an option to add Medicare to their FEHBP plans. PART A (Hospital) is free, but PART B (Physician) is estimated by NARFE to be an extra $134 per month. Why do 90% of current retirees choose to opt into Medicare Part A? And why do 74% of current retirees chose to pay extra for Part B? Maybe for a good reason: because it saves out-of-pocket expenses in the long run. Medicare Part A, B, D plus the FEHBP plan would cover most participant medical expenses. Since the odds for hospital/physician care increase with age, the extra $1,500 yearly costs could easily save lots of cash when a health disaster/accident strikes. Some may argue that a “postal pool” would automatically mean an increase in plan payments. I personally am not so convinced of that. H.R. 756 would make Medicare the primary payer for all healthcare costs. The postal-only FEHBP plans would become “supplemental” plans – basically covering all the other expenses Medicare does not cover. Since the pay-out would be decreased, it follows that the premiums would also decrease. This would help offset the added $134 per month in Medicare Part B expense while virtually providing me with peace of mind if I ever get stuck in a hospital for more than three days … knock on wood. There is a right-wing organization who estimated the savings to be only “$750” per year. I’m not sure where they got this number, but all I know is that Medicare plus FEHBP would provide almost 100% medical expense coverage. And no matter how much knocking on wood I do, I still think it would be beneficial for me to have this coverage. Medical emergencies are the number one cause of financial ruins. So I’m not sure how the $750 savings per year was calculated. Add the free Part D coverage which would save money for those who require prescription medication – and I’m not so convinced that Medicare integration is necessary such a bad deal.

    NARFE only objects to H.R. 756 because “current retirees” do not have the option to continue existing coverage without being forced into Medicare. That is understandable and I agree that “current” retirees should be given the option not to participate in Medicare. But NARFE does not object to this bill for “future” retirees. NARFE supports the same Medicare integration for current employees aka “future retirees”.

    And lastly on the topic as mentioned in a previous comment, I’m not convinced about the allegations by Jerry Stidman that postal unions support HR 756 only “to improve their ability to sell their health insurance plans.” The bill will basically make Medicare the primary payer while the PS-FEHBP becomes secondary. As a result of the “second-payer” status the unions’ health plans would most likely have to reduce plan rates. Second-payer does not mean that I lose access to my preferred physician network. There will also be healthy competition, as private insurance companies will continue to provide their own plans. How does HR 756 improve the postal unions’ ability to sell their health insurance plans? If somebody – whether or not campaigning for union office – knows how to explain that, I’d be willing to consider.

  8. Mike   February 16, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Agree with above comments on FEHBP and Medicare – PLEASE don’t fix something that is not broken. That is what happened with P.A.E.A. And please bring back the 2012 Postal Delivery Standards!

  9. Postal Joe   February 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    We are loosing sight of “The Big Picture” here!!! While I like posting with all you good people about what the Medicare Mandate will mean to our benefits, the “Big Picture” should be…we shouldn’t have to debate this issue at all!!! We should be enjoying our retirements or planning our retirements without this issue of Healthcare changes hanging over our heads for crying out loud!!
    The question isn’t “what are we going to end up with for healthcare out of this?” The question should be “Why are they changing it at all?” These changes should apply to “New Hires” that won’t be promised what we were promised when hired!!

    Postal Joe – great post. It’s not what we’ll end up with…it’s why are they even considering changing the benefits that we were promised when we were hired. As Postal Joe says…if this passes (and my guess is that it will) this legislation should apply to ONLY new hires and no other employee or retiree…period.

  10. Thomas R. Benson   April 29, 2017 at 5:30 am

    It is no secret that I strongly oppose HR 756, The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017. I believe that if this bill passes as it is worded currently, it has the potential to have some very adverse effects on retirees of the US Postal Service. When we look at the changes it proposes, such as forcing all retirees aged 65 and older into Medicare, we must look at the political climate as well as the agenda of the 115th Congress. As I have said in a previous article, there is a lot of gray area in HR 756. I do not feel comfortable agreeing to and/or making changes to the retirees Medicare options when there are so many threats against medicare currently.
    Simply put, if the company you work for claimed it could be out of business in 6 months, would you go out and purchase a home or a new car? Its highly unlikely you would make any life changing decisions or commit to any thing until you knew and understood what the company’s plans are for the future.

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has made it well aware his intent to fundamentally change how Medicare works. In an article on it states :

    “Ryan would convert Medicare from a “defined benefit” to a “defined contribution” program. Instead of a guaranteed level of coverage, a dollar amount would be set for Medicare beneficiaries to pay premiums on insurance they would buy from private-sector companies (this is why Ryan calls it “premium support”). Ryan’s plan would also increase the eligibility age from 65 to 67.
    A former chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan wants to limit how much the government spends on Medicare. In 2015, Medicare accounted for 15 percent of the federal budget, a proportion expected to grow as the number of beneficiaries rises.”
    President Trump as well as the Republican Congressional Representatives have made it well known that the intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act. states:
    “Although it has received little attention, a full repeal of Obamacare would eliminate Medicare benefits created by the law. Among other things, it improved Medicare’s financial outlook by slowing the growth of spending and clamped down on fraud, waste and excessive payments. It also enabled tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries to get free preventive services such as flu shots and screenings for cancer and diabetes. And between 2010 and 2015, nearly 11 million Medicare beneficiaries saved $20.8 billion on prescription drugs—an average of $1,945 per person — because of the gradual closing of the coverage gap known as the doughnut hole.
    While Obamacare remains controversial — in part because of its mandate to purchase health insurance and because premiums have increased for some plans—the Medicare provisions have proved popular with beneficiaries.”
    There is a lot of uncertainty on what the outcome will be on Medicare as Congress formulates its plans. Its the uncertainty that worries me. I’m a firm believer we must look ahead and weigh all the “what ifs” and examine the “gray” areas before committing and supporting any bills that will change retirees futures.
    And as a proud Union member as well as Local President, I feel it’s not right to change the choices and benefits that have been promised to us after years and years of employment. I know that others out there feel the same as I do. This was promised to us as a condition of our employment. We should have the same benefits and rights of every federal sector employee. To put this burden on only postal retirees is not in good conscience and opens Pandora’s box that will allow other rights and benefits to be taken away in the future.

  11. Nancy   September 22, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I was a BIA federal employee for 20 years. I decided that neither my husband (not a federal retiree) nor I would take Medicare when we turned 65. My federal insurance, which covers us both, was adequate. I am wondering if anyone knows whether or not under this new law, I would be required to enrole in Medicare? And, if I was required to do so, what about my husband who is on my policy? Personally, I don’t mind signing up for Medicare just so I don’t have to pay the penalty. I’m just not sure that HR765 covers my situation. Nor am I sure that making everyone pay into Medicare will save the government money. If Medicare becomes the first payer for all retirees, then the government may end up paying more not less. But then, I haven’t done the math.

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