Status Update 1/21/09

 

The Website has been updated to reflect the current status of our retiree medical efforts. Check it out at: http://home.comcast.net/~jrequa/retiree.htm

 

I have another response from UC on why they are not providing our medical coverage. It is as follows:

 

ŇDear Mr. Requa:

 

Executive Vice President Lapp has asked me to follow-up with you regarding your inquiry to her dated December 24, 2008 regarding your retiree medical coverage.  As you point out, your pension benefits continue to be paid from the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP), but your health care benefits are now paid by the company that currently manages Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) under contract with the Department of Energy (DOE).

 

Your pension benefits continue to be paid from UCRP because they are funded by the UCRP trust.  During the time you were employed at LLNL as a UC employee, you became an active member in the UCRP and accrued retirement benefits in which you became fully vested under the terms of the plan document.  During that period, the University and members made contributions to the UCRP trust to the extent necessary to keep the plan actuarially sound so the promised benefits could be paid.  The DOE reimbursed the University for the contributions made to the UCRP trust on behalf of LLNL active members while the UC-DOE contract was in effect.  The trust is a separate entity legally distinct from the University, and its assets cannot be used for any purpose other than to pay for benefits to members and their beneficiaries and to defray administrative expenses.  Those assets are still held in the UCRP trust so your pension benefits continue to be paid from UCRP.

 

UC retiree health care costs, in contrast, are paid from the UniversityŐs general assets on a pay-as-you-go basis.  There was no prefunding for such costs during your employment.  While LLNL was managed by UC, the DOE reimbursed UC for the retiree health care costs incurred by former LLNL employees on a yearly basis as required by the UC-DOE contract that ended in 2007.  Under the new management contract, the DOE is obligated to reimburse the new contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), for the retiree health care costs incurred by former LLNL employees.  Thus, the obligation to provide the health care also has been transferred to LLNS.

 

Your employment has not been transferred from UC under the DOE-LLNS contract.  You are a former UC employee and, as such, will always be part of the UC community.  The obligation to manage your retiree health benefits, however, is now the responsibility of the successor contractor to provide for ongoing funding.

 

We appreciate hearing from you and hope that you have taken advantage of the services and features provided under the health and welfare plans offered by LLNS.

 

John R. Cammidge, Acting Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Benefits

 

I am formulating an appropriate response and will send it around when it is ready.

 

There will be another article on LLNL Retirees in tomorrowŐs Independent newspaper. It will contain the URL for the Web Site and the retiree email address. Hopefully it will reach additional retirees. At the moment, I have about 70 people on my mailing list.

 

In the next few weeks, I will be organizing a new round of letter writing. I want to give Steven Chu a chance to settle in as Secretary of DOE before we hit him. Dianne Feinstein responded to Bob RalstonŐs letter pointing out that we were using the wrong input slot for help. Now that we know the right slot, we will use it. I am going to try to find the right input slot for Barbara Boxer so we can target her. If any of you know what it is or know how to find out, I would appreciate the help. Ellen Tausher is also on the list as well as UC. Since we want to present a united front, it is time to pick a name for our group. Please send in your suggestions.

 

The following link is brought to you by Greg Bianchini. It points to an article in the San Jose Mecury Times about our loosing out medical benefits.

 

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2008/december/lawrence_livermore_r.php

 

I am still working on legal representation. I have one last lawyer who has not ignored me or told me no. Unfortunately, he was sick over the holidays so things are moving slowly.

 

 

 

I met with John Stedman this afternoon. He suggests we form a pair of Political Action committees and plan on a long-term fight.  I would like to try to have things settled soon enough that we could join the UC open enrollment this fall, but I donŐt see any reason we shouldnŐt have both short and long term strategies in play at the same time. If there are any political junkies out there that would love a chance play in the state or federal arenas, please let me know. In fact, if there are any of you that know anything at all about setting up PACs I could use a short course.