QUESTION: I see my name on the donation
list when I send in my check for $20.00. What
are the annual dues?
We have maintained the dues at $15.00
now for twenty years and any payment over that
amount is reported as a donation in the next
published newsletter. Life members (75years old
and with us a minimum of 5 yrs membership) need
not pay dues, however when they send money we
credit the amount as a donation. As you can
see, our list of donors is quite impressive.
QUESTION: What hours are the office open?
ANSWER: We have no paid staff and
rely on volunteers. There is usually some Board
member in the office Monday to Friday between
the hours of 11.am to 1 p.m.( sometimes earlier
and later). However, if you plan on stopping by
please call ahead to make sure that one of us
will be there. You can leave a message on our
answering machine and we will get back to you.
Please talk slowly and leave us a call back full
QUESTION : I have Medicare as my primary
and GHI as my secondary for health coverage.
GHI recently denied approval for a foot
procedure that I thought should have been
accepted. Can you offer any comment?.
ANSWER: GHI will not pay for any
treatment that Medicare does not approve or
accept. If the treatment has already been
completed the GHI statement (explanation of
Benefits) will contain that comment
QUESTION: When I pass away what will happen
to my spouse as far as medical coverage?.
ANSWER: This will have to be a two part
answer which I will try to explain.
Incidentally, you question is one that comes up
most frequently at our meetings. If the retiree
has retired on 3/4 and dies from the condition
that mandated the retirement (heart bill
retirees included) the City will continue the
same medical coverage that was in effect with
the retiree. This will also include Health and
Welfare benefits (dental, eyeglass, and
prescription). If the retiree has retired for
regular service or ordinary disability, the
spouse will be able to continue the medical
coverage but must pay for it at the group rate.
The group rate is a bargain and is calculated at
the cost of 102 percent of the amount that the
City was paying. Due to special legislation
that we were able to achieve several years ago
this coverage does not expire after 36 months.
This applies only to New York City Police and
Fire retirees. Upon learning of the death of a
police retiree the Retiree Benefits Section of
the Office of Labor Relations sends the spouse
an application which is referred to as "Cobra
For Life". The surviving spouse fills it out
and sends it to the medical plan of choice and
is thereafter billed and covered by that health
carrier. The survivor also can continue the
Health and Welfare coverage with the respective
Union, PBA,DEA,SBA, SOC. ( based on retirement
rank) only for a period of 36 months, but they
must pay for that continuing benefit for a 36
month period. The Health sand Welfare coverage
is no longer available after the 36 months but
it does not effect the Medical coverage which is
QUESTION: I am a police widow. My husband
was a service retiree and I have continued my
medical coverage with GHI. I also took the
Health and Welfare 36 month coverage from the
Union which I pay for each month. My 36 months
will be up soon, what should I do for
ANSWER: You can contact GHI and enroll in
their prescription plan by paying for that
rider. The Union will be sending you a
termination notice when the 36 months are up.
You can also shop for other prescription plans
and if you are Medicare age they will be
partially subsidized by Medicare. For the
Medicare eligible, we recommend that you go to
you local pharmacy with a list of your
medications and they will tell you which
available plan is best for you
QUESTION: I am receiving the Medicare rebate
for myself and also my spouse. When I die will
my spouse continue to receive the rebate.
ANSWER: The survivor continues to be in
the rebate program only if the City is paying
the health coverage. If the City is not paying
for the health plan then there is no
justification for the City to provide the rebate
QUESTION: Do I have to notify the Pension
Bureau when I become eligible for the pension
ANSWER: NO. THEY HAVE ALL THE
INFORMATION ON YOU IN THEIR DATA BASE, HOWEVER
YOU SHOULD BE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE
QUALIFICATIONS, JUST IN CASE THAT THERE IS A
QUESTION: What is the current status of the
The application for permission from the New York
State Dept. of Insurance for them to operate as
a "for profit" publicly held corp. is not
resolved as of this writing. We, as well as the
Unions, and the City are opposed to allowing
them this change since it will no doubt result
in increased costs to all. Unfortunately the
Governor apparently will favor the change since
he has already included anticipated proceeds
from the sale of the stock in the state budget
planning. this is one of the rare times that
the City, the Unions and the Retirees are all in
agreement that this is not a good thing. Let us
hope that the temptation of enjoying the spoils
of the public stock sale offering does not over
ride the decision outcome.
QUESTION: On the same subject, what if they are
given the green light to go ahead, who will get
If they cannot be stopped there is a mad
scramble and confusion as who can participate in
the millions of dollars raised. The Governor
wants it to go to the State, the City wants a
piece, some of the Unions indicated they ought
to benefit and we retirees firmly believe that a
substantial portion should go towards the active
and retiree health and welfare funds. This
issue may be a long and drawn out struggle and
could very likely end up in the courts
QUESTION: What are they talking about when they
mention "living will"
It is a legal document that allows you to put in
writing what kind of health care you would want
if you were too ill to speak for yourself. You
designate who you would want to make the serious
decisions. Medical persons are seriously
concerned about this matter when they are
dealing with dire cases.
QUESTION: I have been notified that I will be
paying more than the usual rate (96.40) per
month in 2009. How come?
Several years ago congress passed legislation
placing a "sur charge" on the premium rate for
persons having taxable earning over and above
specified levels. The amounts are printed in
the 2009 Medicare booklet on page 124. A
booklet was sent to every Medicare recipient.
In this current age of computers it is apparent
that Medicare is monitoring the tax returns and
using the information to notify those Medicare
recipients with larger incomes as to their
increased premium charges.
Each August when the Retiree Employee Benefits
section sends out the rebate checks, included in
the letter, are the instructions for applying
for the additional rebate. Most recipients just
cash the check without reading the enclosed
instructions. If you qualify and submit the
required documentation, you will receive a
second check in the following months of March
or April. This benefit applies to both the
retiree and spouse and they must apply
QUESTION: I am considering relocating to
another state. What health plans are
recommended for any particular states.
It is necessary for you to contact the Retired
Health Benefits Section at 40 Rector Street,
3rd floor New York, NY 10006 and request the
booklet. It will explain which plans can be
provided in your selected state. I would then
recommend that you contact other New York City
retirees in that area and confer with them as to
their experiences with the City provided health
plans before you make the selection.
Unfortunately, in some states the choices are
QUESTION: On my monthly pension check statement
there is a separate line as follows: "ANTY RES.
FND" and an amount indicated, which is part of
the total of the monthly check, please clarify.
Including that as a separate item is confusing.
It is an indication of the amount your excess
contributions to your pension has added to the
monthly payment that you are receiving. It is
not something that you can withdraw or that will
QUESTION: Will the VSF be continued or paying
the 12,000 as it did in Dec. 2010
The VSF which was changed to a Defined benefit
reached a level of $12,000 and will continue at
that level until the Trustees of that Fund
decide to make any changes. a modification of
the current Defined Benefit would require
state-approved legislation. To the best of our
knowledge, no changes in eligibility or amounts
are being considered.
QUESTION: HR 218 Regarding Retired Police
Officers qualification for carrying their guns
out of state.
The Federal Law presented a problem in respect
to the documented proof of annual training in
use of firearms that was equal to the retirees
"ACTIVE COUNTERPART" Many States and
Municipalities were unable or unwilling to
provide the necessary training due to cost and
time required. The new change in the Federal
law now allows the retiree, at their own
expense, to qualify, by undergoing the annual
training at a State certified law enforcement
recognized firearms facility. The retired P.O.
must have their ID card and Annual Firearms
certificate in their possession. All
restrictions apply such as no carry on
airplanes, medical facilities, schools, public
buildings, etc. In other words, the same as
applies to active PO's wherever they happen to
be. Be aware of the fact that whatever action
you may take it will be with your own financial
QUESTION: Since I retired I have left my
Annuity still invested with my Health and
Welfare Fund and my question is what taxes will
I have to pay when I withdraw it?
There was a decision rendered in 2008 from the
State of NY Department of Taxation which in
substance states that the Annuity is exempt from
State Tax and consequently exempt from City
tax. However you will have to pay Federal tax
on the withdrawal. If you should require a copy
of that decision you can call our office and we
will mail you a copy
QUESTION: My wife needs a wig after chemo for
cancer, do you know if it is covered by my
health plan or health and welfare?
The best advice we can give you is to go to a
providing store since they re in business to
make money and are experts at advising you as to
what reimbursements are available from Medicare
or your Health plan( GHI-HIP etc.) and also
check your Health and Welfare
QUESTION: I am in need of a wheelchair and
would like to know if one is available for me as
a retiree of the department.
Yes, also includes, hospital beds, crutches,
canes, oxygen, ambulance, etc. Service is in a
limited service area. Call Emergency Medical
Squad at 718 526 9320 for details as to what is
available and how to qualify.
QUESTION: Has the Obama Health Care Laws had any
new effect on charges to me?
Yes. We recently were informed by one of our
Medicare covered members that since Jan. 1, 2011
his Social Security direct deposit monthly check
was reduced by $15.00 a month. After much
inquiry he was told that the new federal health
law has imposed as penalty for the cost of
prescription coverage for those persons
grossing $85,000 on a single tax return, or
$170,000 on a joint return. It is worked
similar to the income surcharge that went into
effect on computing Part B payment required for
any given year.
QUESTION: I recently read that in the State of
Michigan they are going to tax their pensions.
Do you have any information or comment.
Although the State of Michigan may have been
given the approval by their Court based on the
wording of the Michigan State constitution it is
contingent upon the specific wording within the
Constitution regarding pensions. The
Constitution of the State of New York protects
public employees from diminishment of impairment
of their pensions. Article V. Section 7 reads:
After July first, nineteen hundred and forty,
membership in any pension or retirement system
of the state or a civil division thereof shall
be a contractual relationship, the benefits of
which shall not be diminished or impaired.
QUESTION: I was much younger than 65 when I
received approval for Social Security disability
and was not aware that it is mandatory by the
City to accept Medicare for late enrollment. Is
this a life long penalty.
No. According to Medicare's published (on line)
rules par.3a States If a premium effective
surcharge was in effect prior to attainment of
age 65, the premium is rolled back to the
standard (unimpressed) premium effective with
the month of attainment of age 65.
FOLLOWING IS THE LISTING FOR
MEDICARE PART B PREMIUMS. CHECK AUG 2012
NEWSLETTER FOR MORE INFORMATION.
$96.40 2013 $110.50 2017
$110.50 2014 $115.80 2018
$115.40 2015 $120.80 2019
$99.40 2016 $126.00 2020
Question: How do I know if I have the 365 day
rider on my GHI coverage
Simply by looking at your monthly or quarterly
pension statement. In the health statement
deduction column the amount will be $2.21 per
person. If it is not there call your Health and
Welfare fund because some of the funds cover it
for all of their retirees.
Question: How do I know if I have the high
option rider on my GHI coverage
Again, simply by looking at your monthly or
quarterly pension statement. In the health
statement Deduction column, the amount will be
$6.50 for individual or $16.47 for family.
If you are Medicare covered (part A&B) the GHI
high option rider is not necessary and the only
Health deduction may be the $2.21 person 365 day