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Get COVID-19 at-home tests shipped to you at no cost

As COVID-19 cases rise, it's important to stay safe this winter. Each U.S. household can now order 4 COVID-19 at-home tests shipped straight to their door at no cost. All you need to do is visit COVIDtests.gov and enter your contact information and mailing address. During the public health emergency, people with Medicare can also get up to 8 over-the-counter COVID-19 tests each month at no cost. 

At-home tests, or "self tests," give rapid results and can be taken anywhere, regardless of your vaccination status or whether or not you have symptoms. Visit CDC.gov to learn when to test yourself, how to use an at-home test, and what your test results mean.

How To Find UnclaimedFunds 

from Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller

 

How to find unclaimed funds:

Search using the person's full legal name as well as nicknames and maiden names that might have been used on accounts. 

Directory of Useful Telephone Numbers & Websites

Attached is a list of useful telephone numbers and websites for Federal Agencies and other organizations.   Click on the white button for the list.

 

 

 

 

 

How You Can Help Your Family After Your Death or Incapacitation

A Checklist for a Surviving CSA Spouse or Domestic Partner

 

 

 

 

2021 IRMAA Application

The 2021 Medicare Part B IRMAA Reimbursement Form has been released by the City Office of Labor Relations.  It is available by clicking here or going to CSA Welfare Fund website, www.csawf.org, and clicking on the MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT tab on the left, then clicking on the form.

 

 

 

 

CSA Legal Service Plan

CSA has negotiated a free legal service plan for all CSA Retirees.  Click on the red button below for detailed information.

 

 

Zoom Hosting Resource Sheet

On December 21, 2020 the CSA Queens Retiree Chapter held a virtual a Zoom Hosting Workshop presented by Susan Rippe Hoffman.  Click on the white button for the Resource Sheet from that workshop.

 

 

 

Updates from Norm Sherman

Informational Update Vol 14 #2  March 3, 2023

1. Medicare Part D Drug Costs - 2023

The GHI enhanced Medicare Part D drug plan in 2023 still consists of 3 stages. If you noticed a change in your prescription costs in January it may be the result of starting again in Stage I on January 1, 2023, no matter what stage you ended in on December 31, 2022. In Stage I, you pay 25% of the drug cost while the plan (GHI enhanced Plan D) pays the other 75%.

If your total drug cost (what you and your plan both pay} exceeds $4,660 (up $230 from 2022) at some point in 2023, you enter Stage II, formerly known as the donut hole. Fortunately, the donut hole has closed for both generic and non-generic drugs; you continue to pay the same 25% of the drug cost while your plan pays 75%.

If your true out-of-pocket expense – known as TrOOP – for both Stages I & II exceed $7,400 (up $350 from 2022) you enter Stage III, or the Catastrophic Coverage. In this Stage your co-payment continues as it was in 2022: you pay 5% of the drug cost. Medicare pays 80% and the plan pays the remaining 15%.

 

The CSA Welfare Fund also offers an added benefit in this Stage by reimbursing you the 5% cost up to $5,000. There is no deductible. Just send your monthly Express Scripts statements to the CSA Welfare Fund for reimbursement. These statements should be sent at the end of the calendar year to help facilitate the CSA Retiree Fund’s processing of your claim.

 

2. “Valentine’s Gift”

If you are Medicare eligible and have the GHI Enhanced Plan D plan, you should receive your “Valentine’s” gift of $480 for 2022 by the end of this week, depending on your mail service. The checks were mailed out on Friday, February 24.

 

The “Valentine’s” gift is a CSA Welfare Fund benefit designed to help defray the cost of the High Option Rider that pays for the Enhanced Plan D. If you were eligible for reimbursement, but were not on Medicare for the full year, you should receive a pro-rated check. The pro-rata is $40 a month for every month on Medicare.

 

Please note that only Medicare-eligible CSA retirees are entitled to the “Valentine’s” gift; non-CSA Medicare-eligible people are not. If both husband and wife are Medicare-eligible CSA retirees, then both are entitled to the $480 providing EACH has their own NYC medical coverage. If one member is covering the other member, then only the member who is covering is entitled to the $480.

 

For non-Medicare CSA retirees and non-Medicare dependent spouses, the CSA Welfare Fund and CSA Retiree Chapter will continue to cover copays, providing the member and spouse are under the GHI or City HMO plans. After a $100 deductible, the reimbursement is 80% of the drug cost up to a maximum of $10,000. In addition, the CSA Retiree Chapter automatically (no filing of a claim necessary) supplements this reimbursement with an additional 20% of the Fund payment.

 

3. Part B Co-Pays

 

In my last Update (Vol 14 #1) I mentioned that effective January 11, the judge ordered the City to stop charging retired workers the $15 co-pay for doctor visits & numerous other medical services. However, some doctors have continued to charge this co-pay because they claim the secondary insurer has not informed them to stop. It happened to me two weeks ago.

 

Fortunately, you can now get a new EmblemHealth Health Plan Medical Card that states there are no co-pays. When you get this card show it to your provider to ensure that you should not have to pay a co-pay

To get this card, just call 212-501-4444 and ask for a new Medical card. They may also send you an Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield card which is for hospitalization.

 

4. Question of the Month

 

Q. Since I now have to file a claim with GVS to receive an eyeglass reimbursement from the CSA Retiree Welfare Fund, do I also have to file a claim with the CSA Retiree Chapter to get its reimbursement?

 

A. No. Receiving the Chapter reimbursement is still a seamless operation. After GVS notifies the Chapter that your claim was approved, the Chapter will reimburse the $65. On another positive note, the eyeglass reimbursement has risen 50% to $150.

Informational Update Vol 14 #1 January 29,2023

 

1. 2023 Medicare Part B Deductible & Premiums

As you start to visit your Medicare doctors in 2023, you will have to pay Medicare Part B deductibles again since they reset on January 1, 2023. The deductible for Medicare Part B decreased $7 from $233 to $226. The GHI Emblem Health Medicare Part B deductible remains at $50. The part of the $226 deductible that you pay when you visit a doctor will depend on the doctor’s service and what Medicare allows for the service. The likelihood is that it will be less than the full amount of the deductible. You will pay the amount that is left at future doctor visits. Remember, Medicare will not pay its part of a doctor’s bill, which is about 80%, until you have fully met the deductible.

This year the standard Medicare Part B premium decreased $5.20 from $170.10 to 164.90. Although most people pay the standard premium, some pay more. For those whose Medicare Adjusted 2021 taxable income was greater than $97,000 if they filed individually or $194,000 if they filed jointly, they will pay a Part B & a Part D surcharge known as the income-related monthly adjusted amount or IRMAA in addition to the standard amount. The extra amount that they will pay varies on how much taxable income they received in 2021.

The good news is that BOTH the standard and Part B IRMAA amounts are still reimbursable. Unfortunately, the Part D IRMAA surcharge is not. While the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) reimburse the standard amount automatically, they require an application for the Part B IRMAA reimbursement. At this time, the date when the 2022 application will be available is unknown.

 

2. Increase & Change in Optical Reimbursement Benefit Great news!

 

Effective January 1, 2023, the CSA Welfare Fund optical reimbursement benefit has increased from up to $100 to up to $150. The CSA Retiree Chapter reimbursement benefit will continue at up to $65. There has also been a change in the way you file a claim for the optical benefit. No longer will you get an optical voucher from the CSA Welfare Fund. Instead, the Fund has contracted with General Vision Services (GVS) which will not only handle all of the reimbursement claims, but will offer additional comprehensive benefits as well. These generous benefits include, but are not limited to, a thorough GVS care examination, including dilation, cataract, and glaucoma screenings when required.

 

The CSA Welfare Fund has sent you a GVS flyer and letter that fully explains the GVS benefits and procedure for filing an optical claim. The Fund also included in the mailing a combined dental and vision ID card that validates both your GVS network and dental (SIDS/ASO) network benefits. Please note: the dental program remains the same and will function separately from the new vision benefit.

 

To learn more about your GVS benefits, which started January 1, 2023, go on the website, www.generalvision.com, and register for an account. To register follow these steps:

1. Click on “Register.”

2. Enter Benefit # 6025

3. Fill out the Requested Information

4. Put in a Password of your Choice.

Congratulations! You now have an account.

When you sign in, your home page will contain your name and benefit number (6025). On this page, there are links that will allow you to view your optical benefits, schedule appointments with your provider, and search for participating providers using the zip code locator.

 

You can also search for and register on the “GVS” App which is downloadable from the IPhone and Android App stores.

 

If you use a participating provider, he or she will file the claim form. You should have nothing to do other than filling in your personal information. If you are using a non-participating provider (out-ofnetwork)

  •  Call GVS directly at 888-346-1802 and ask for a claim form.

  •  Have the provider fill out his portion of the form.

  •  Submit the claim form to: GVS, 520 8th Ave,, New York, NY 10018

 

GVS will review the claim and reimburse up to $150. The CSA Retiree Chapter will receive your name and will reimburse you the additional $65.

 

3. $15 Co-Pay

As you probably know, the judge has ordered the City to immediately stop charging the retired city workers the $15 co-pays for doctor visits. The City plans to appeal this ruling. In the meantime, if your doctor charges the $15 co-pay (he should not if you have not yet met your deductible), pay it and keep a copy of the receipt. Hopefully, this matter will be resolved shortly.

 

4. Questions of the Month

Q.  I am turning 65 and have health insurance through my spouse’s job. Must I sign up now for Medicare Part B so I don’t incur a late fee?

A. No, if your spouse’s employer has 20 or more employees. Generally, Medicare will consider your health coverage credible, allowing you to delay signing up for Part B without penalty until your spouse retires.

 Informational Update Vol 13 # 12 1. December 31, 2022

 

What is Meant by Tier Drugs? –

Your doctor prescribes you a new drug and tells you that it is a tier 3 drug. Generally, you would have no idea what the drug would cost, but knowing what tier it is lets you know if the drug is cheap or expensive.

Drug tiers are the main way drug companies inform you how much a specific drug will cost. Based on what tier the drug is in, it will have a specific co-payment.

 

Most of the drugs that you are prescribed are generally placed in tiers 1, 2, 3 or 4, with tier 4 drugs, known as specialty drugs, being the most expensive drugs and tier 1 drugs the cheapest.

If you are covered by the Emblem Health/GHI Enhanced Medicare Drug Plan (PDP), you recently received a letter giving you the 2023 Cost Sharing Guide for Medicare Members (click on the button below to see a copy.)

 

The guide gives the tier levels, type of drugs covered in those tiers, and the coverage based on whether you are in the Initial Coverage (starts January 1, 2023), Gap (formerly called the Donut Hole) Coverage, or Catastrophic Coverage categories.

 

Initial Coverage - the co-payment is 25% of the cost of the drug for either a 30-, 60-, or 90-day supply. The charge for insulin is $35 for a 30-day, $70 for a 60-day, or $105 for a 90-day supply. Most vaccines are free.

 

Gap Coverage – Formally when you were in gap coverage, you paid 75% of the drug cost. Now you pay the same 25% as in the in the Initial coverage. The charge for insulin is also $35 for a 30-day, $70 for a 60-day, or $105 for a 90-day supply.

 

Catastrophic Coverage - the co-payment is the greater of $4.15 or 5% of the cost for generic drugs and the greater of $10.35 or 5% of the cost of brand-name drugs. The CSA Welfare fund will also reimburse your co-pays in this category 100% up to $5,000 with no deductible.

 

2.TRS Income Verification Letter – RP68

 

Some members have called me to ask whether a letter they received from TRS requesting confirmation they are alive is legitimate. Below is the response that Mark Brodsky wrote in the last CSA Retiree Chapter Update.

TRS, on a random basis, sends out a letter asking for you to confirm that you are alive. It appears, based on the calls and emails we have received, that a significant number of these letters were recently sent out. Simply follow the instructions that TRS requests and send it back to them. You can call TRS at 888 869- 2877.

 

3. Catastrophe Major Medical (CMM) Plan Participation

The CMM plan purchased under NYSUT Member Benefits has had some significant changes (no changes for those who purchased CMM under AFSA or CSREA) effective January 1, 2023. These include the following:

♦ In-Network Deductible – reduced to $2,000 from current $4,000 for an individual, and $4,000 from current $5,000 for a family. The deductible is annual and out-of-pocket. Coverage is only good for a calendar year.

For example, if you meet your deductible for 2023 on July 13 and the Plan approves the 13th as the date your coverage begins, then you will be covered from July 13th through December 31st. You would have to meet the deductible in 2024 to apply for coverage again.

♦ $1,000 Critical Illness benefit. - If you are diagnosed with a critical illness on or after January 1, 2023, this benefit will provide a one-time lump sum payment of $1,000 to help defray the costs of increased medical care.

♦ Out-of-Network home health care charges – The Plan has increased the reimbursement rate from 20% to 30% of Covered Charges, I.e., the amount of remaining charge after payment by your basic plan, up to the maximum weekly and lifetime benefits when using an Out-of-Network provider for home health care 

Informational Update Vol 13 # 11  November 29, 2022

1. 2023 Social Security Letter – If you are eligible for Medicare, you should have received a letter from Social Security this past week informing you of your 2023 Social Security benefit amount before and after deductions.

Due to a rise in the cost of living, your Social Security benefit amount will increase 8.7% starting January 1, 2023. Social Security deducts from this amount your Medicare Part B (medical) premium & your IRMAA Medicare Part D (drugs).premium, and, if you want it deducted, taxes.

 

Medicare Part B Premium

Your Medicare Part B premium is divided into 2 parts: the standard amount & IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts). Everyone who is Medicare-eligible pays the same standard amount. For 2023, the standard amount is $164.90.per month, down $5.20 from $170.10 in 2022.

The Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) is a monthly surcharge that is deducted ONLY from those Medicare eligible members whose taxable income (based on your 2021 income tax return) surpasses a certain threshold. In 2023 the threshold is $97,000 if you filed individually (up $6,000 from 2022) and $194,000 if you filed jointly (up $12,000 from 2022). The SSA letter contains a chart indicating various income thresholds and the monthly amounts of the surcharge

Medicare Part D Premium

If you have a Medicare Part D drug plan through the union, you must have a High Option Rider. You either purchased this rider as an active employee or purchased it after you retired. The High Option Rider is currently $125 a month and is deducted from your pension check.

If you are eligible, you will also pay IRMAA Medicare Part D. The amount is based on your 2021 income tax return. The SSA letter contains a chart indicating various income thresholds and the monthly amounts of the surcharge.

How Much You Will Get

Please note the first page of the SSA letter contains 4 bullets. The first one shows how much your SS benefit for 2023 is before deductions, providing you are collecting Social Security. The second shows the 2023 deductions for Medicare Part B for the standard amount and for IRMAA (if not eligible for 2023 IRMAA, IRMAA deduction should be 0).

The good news is that the 2023 Part B standard amount & IRMAA deductions are both reimbursable. You will receive the standard amount automatically, probably sometime in April 2024. IRMAA reimbursement is not automatic; you must apply for it. The application is generally available when you receive your standard reimbursement.

The 3rd bullet shows the 2023 deduction for Part D IRMAA. If you have an IRMAA deduction for Part B then you will also have one for Part D. Please note that Part D IRMAA is NOT reimbursable.

The 4th bullet lists your SSA benefit amount after all deductions.

If you are eligible for IRMAA in 2023, keep your 2023 SSA letter in a safe place. You will need to include it, along with your 2023 SSA1099 letter, in the application package when you file for 2023 Part B IRMAA.

2. Payment of Medicare Part B Premium – Most Medicare members have their Part B premium electronically deducted from their Social Security Check. However, if you are NOT collecting Social Security (you may be waiting until you are old enough to receive full payment) you will receive a bill called “Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due” (CMS-500). You can pay this bill by:

  • using your bank’s online bill payment service,

  • signing up for Medicare Easy Pay, a free service that automatically deducts the premium payments from your savings or checking account each month, or

  • paying by check, money order or credit card or debit card. If you are paying by credit card or debit card, you must complete of sign the coupon at the bottom of the Medicare bill. Use the return envelope to send your Medicare payment along with your Medicare payment coupon to:

Medicare Premium Collection Center

P.O. Box 790355

St. Louis, MO 63179-0355 

 

Questions of the Month

Q. I did not receive my SSA letter listing my 2023 Social Security benefits and deductions. How can I get a copy?

A. There are 3 ways:

  • You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

  • Visit your local Social Security office and request the SSA letter. Have a previous SSA letter or facsimile of the letter available with you so that you can clearly describe to the SSA agent what you want, OR

  • Download a copy from the SSA website, www.SSA.gov. This will require your having an online SSA account, which, if you don’t have one, you can open one on the SSA website by just following the prompts.

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