We are still on duty, looking out for information of importance to our membership. The Board of Directors continues to meet via Zoom. While we were disappointed that the October membership meeting planned for Rolling Hills Club in Wilton had to be canceled, we know that no explanation is necessary. Our speaker was to be Kathleen Holt, MBA, JD, an Associate Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy and a valuable resource for retirees. She was recently appointed to the TRB! We look forward to the time when we can meet in person again and hope she will be able to join us.
Our SFCRTA has attained new status. Thanks to Herculean efforts and many hours of work by SFCRTA President Frank Cooper and Treasurer Connie Forder, assisted by Board Members Janess Coffina and Gerry Petrizzi, we are officially designated a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. This means the organization will not have to pay sales tax for costs associated with our meetings, mailings, etc. What does it mean for members? Any donations you choose to make beyond the cost of membership or attendance at meetings will be eligible as a tax- deductible contribution. The next step to gain eligibility for bulk mail rates, is already in process.
Supporting Our Colleagues
The Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut has suggested that members send a note to the school from which you retired, thanking the staff for their efforts during these challenging times. They certainly deserve everyone’s appreciation.
Our membership goes from – January to December. If you have not yet joined, click here for our membership renewal information for 2021. Remember: Numbers matter and we still face many important issues regarding our pension and health insurance.
Connecticut Legislature 2020 Election Results
There were very few changes in the legislators who represent the eight towns that make up our Southern Fairfield County districts. In fact, all of the State Senators were re-elected to their posts- Bob Duff (D), Carlo Leone (D), Will Haskell (D), Tony Hwang (R), and Alex Kasser (D). The composition of the Connecticut Senate will be 24 Democrats and 12 Republicans.
There are fourteen Connecticut House of Representative districts that provide representation for the eight towns comprising SFCRTA, and only two of those districts will have different representation. In district 143, Stephanie Thomas (D) is replacing Rep. Gail Lavielle (R) and in district 149, Kimberly Fiorello (R) is replacing Rep. Livy Floren (R). All other Representatives were re-elected. The composition of the Connecticut House of Representative will be 98 Democrats and 53 Republicans. Although not representing our SFCRTA towns, former Connecticut Teacher of the Year, U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (D), was re-elected to serve the 5 th District. Also re-elected to represent our 4 th District was U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D).
Health Insurance Information
Our October 2020 newsletter provided a chart with information from the TRB on monthly charges for 2021 for both the Medicare Supplemental and the Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare has announced the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $148.50 for 2021, an increase of $3.90 from $144.60 in 2020. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $203 in 2021, an increase of $5 from the annual deductible of $198 in 2020. Additional information about income-related monthly adjustments can be found at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles.
Remember that income determination for 2021 Medicare rates will be based on 2019 income. If you were able to not take any required minimum distributions from retirement accounts during 2020, hoping reduced income might change your Medicare premiums, you will not see that impact for 2021; it will occur in 2022.
Possible help with Medicare payments- If you live in Connecticut, are eligible for Medicare, and have monthly income below $2,617.44 (Single) or $3,535.02 (Couple), you may be eligible for help from the Medicare Savings Program. Call the CHOICES Statewide Health Insurance Hotline at 1-800-994-9422 to see if you qualify.
Social Security Fairness Act
There is nothing to report at the moment except for the fact that President-Elect Biden has indicated plans to make reforms to Social Security that include eliminating the WEP and GPO.
If these provisions impact you, please stay alert for opportunities to make your voice heard.
Stay safe and stay well!