Chartered 1889, Serving the Bronx and Manhattan

Jose Ramos

Director of Retired Members

Email available here

Joe was elected Director of Retires in 2006. A position he has held for 16 years and was recently re-elected in 2022. Joe began his postal and Union career in 1965. Joe saw many changes within the Postal Service and Union at the beginning of his career. With just 5 years on the job, the carriers went on strike and Joe was right there with them. After the strike joe continued his postal career as a changed man. He volunteered for many things that would benefit the carriers of Branch 36 and was elected Shop Steward by his fellow carriers. In 2000, Joe was selected by then President Orapello to work at the Letter Carrier’s Credit Union. Joe held that position full time until 2012 when he switched to a part time position. In 2006, President Charlie Heege selected Joe to become the Director of Retirees. Thanks to all the members who voted in the 2022 election, Joe was re-elected to the position of the Director of Retirees where he continues to assist Branch 36 carriers in life after the Post Office.

Health Benefit Program in Retirement

The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program consists of three basic elements: who can enroll, how much it costs, and the contracts with carriers. Let’s focus on how and when things change when you retire.

Eligibility to carry coverage into retirement

As a rule, you must be enrolled in the FEHB Program either for the full five years immediately before you retire or from your first opportunity to enroll. The latter exception applies to someone who transferred from a position that didn’t provide FEHB coverage to one that does and then retires before completing five years.
However, there are three other exceptions to the five-year rule. First, if you are covered by Tricare or The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs (CHAMPVAQ) that time will count toward the five-year requirement if you are enrolled in an FEHB Plan when you retire.
Second, if you receive a buyout (or take early optional or discontinued service retirement) OPM will grant you a pre-approved waiver of the five-year requirement.
Third, OPM can grant a waiver of the five-year requirement when it would be against equity and good conscience not to do so.

FEHB and Medicare Part A

While you were employed, deductions were taken from your salary to pay for Medicare Part A (Hospital) coverage. If you are retired and eligible for Medicare, your FEHB benefits won’t be reduced and neither will premiums you pay for that benefit. They will remain the same as they were before you retired.
When you are eligible for Medicare, it will become the primary payer of your medical bill and your FEHB Plan will become the secondary payer, but only where both provide the same benefit. On the other hand, if Medicare provides a benefit that your plan doesn’t, it will be sole payer, and if your plan provides a benefit that Medicare doesn’t, it will be the sole payer.

Medicare Parts B, C and D

You have already paid for Medicare Part A through deductions while you were working. If you want to be covered by Medicare Part B (Medical), you will have to pay for that out of your own pocket. The same is true of Medicare Part D (Prescription Drugs).
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Manage Care) is an option offered to retirees who are enrolled in both Medicare A and B, and is available through private insurers at one’s own expense. Retirees wishing to enroll in Medicare Part C are permitted to suspend their FEHB enrollment. They may either re-enroll in FEHB during Open Season or do so immediately if their Part C provider stops offering coverage. Whether any of these options will be worth considering depends on your situation.
Few federal retirees who have FEHB elect Medicare Part D, which also comes at an additional cost. The cost of prescription drug coverage is generally superior to a Part D plan. There are limited situations, though when electing Part D might make sense for example, if you would qualify for a premium beak based on your income. Again, this is something you’d have to consider based on your own situation.
I would like to offer my congratulations to all letter carriers who will be retiring this year; and as Director of Retirees, I would like to assure you that I am here to help you any way that I can. Branch 36 would like for you to maintain your NALC membership by completing the required 1189 form. If you have not received or need a 1189 form, call the Branch and we will mail it to you. Be sure to include the Civil Service Active (CSA) number on the form. Once you receive your CSA number from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), you will be able to access your account through Service Online. This OPM website allows you to perform a few functions, such as: reviewing payments, updating bank account info, modifying tax withholding and viewing tax documents.
Each year, you will receive Form 1099-R from OPM, which is a tax form used to detail distributions from pensions. OPM will mail out the 1099-R to all annuitants by January 31st for the preceding year. You may not receive it until mid-February according to OPM. The 1099-R is ready and available for online viewing on the third week of January.
I would like to welcome all those who joined the NALC Health Benefit Plan for 2023. That is the smartest move you could ever make with regards to having the best health plan for you and your family. We extend an enormous thank you to all retired and active members who have chosen to continue with the NALC Health Plan.

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