Okay, I want everyone to gather around, shorter folks in front, taller folks in the back. All settled? Now, by a show of hands – and I want everyone to be honest here – how many of you know:

  1. That you must inform the Health and Welfare Fund right away with any changes in your participation with that Plan. Such changes would include, but are not limited to the existence of other dental, medical, pharmaceutical or vision coverage with another insurance Plan or carrier, changes in marital status, or the birth of a dependent etc.?
  2. That you should neither utilize your HRA debit card at the time of service for any dental, or medical bill, nor on any dental, medical, or pharmaceutical bill until said bill has first been processed by the Health and Benefit Plan?
  3. That there exists a voluntary contribution component to the Money Purchase Plan and Trust that can, over time, put your retirement savings on steroids?
  4. That active participants as well as early retirees have access to 24/7 virtual care through the Teladoc feature of the Plan and that this care is accessible via an app that you previously downloaded (you did that, right?) or via the phone number that is listed right on their medical identification card?
  5. That expert second opinions and equally important, top notch medical professionals can be found within the Grand Rounds App that you previously downloaded (Again, you did that right?) or by utilizing the phone number conveniently located on your medical identification card?
  6. That emergency room physicians and/or treating medical professional classify each and every ER visit by their necessity? Meaning, that the treating medical professionals classify the medical necessity of the visit as either immediately life-threatening, urgent, but not immediately life-threatening or as non-urgent. The latter of which means that the condition was not emergent in nature and/or should and could be easily handled at an urgent care facility or by making an appointment with a doctor.
  7. That many physicians working within a hospital setting are not employed by the Hospital and as such, are not covered under the Plan’s contract with those facilities? Or did you know that regardless of the participation status of a treating physician within a hospital you will receive a separate bill for their services?
  8. That the retirement module is updated monthly and that reviewing the “big picture” that is presented within that module helps you make better career and retirement decisions?
  9. That you need to need to notify the I.B.E.W. Local 697 Fund Office if you had designated another Local’s Benefit Fund as your “home Local” and are changing your ERTS election back to Local 697 Benefit Funds. (Don’t know what ERTS is? Don’t know if you are registered on ERTS? Call the Fund Office.)
  10. That on January 1, 2022, the reimbursement rate for all dental claims was increased from 75% to 80%? Or that the annual family dental allowance for active participants was increased from $2,000 to $3,000? Or that the dental allowance for all retirees was increased to $1000.00 per family, per year?
  11. Yeah. Well, proving that less is more, we will just leave you with this. If you did not know any one of these things or all of these things, we strongly recommend that you check out prior newsletters, Fund FAQ’s, the various Summary Plan Description Books or speak to the Funds Manager prior to the monthly membership meetings.

    Bonus Question/Food for thought:

  12. Why if you have family in the Bessarabia area of the world (if you have to ask you either don’t have any there or don’t like that side of the family) or Moldovia, you and they need to be concerned about the Russians aggressions in the Ukraine? (Hint: I hate to say that they are more than likely not going to stop with the Ukraine.)