City of San Diego Retired Employees Association
February 9, 2021
Board Meeting Minutes
NOTES: All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted
The meeting was held via Zoom
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Dick Wilken at 9:15am.
Board Members Present: Jim Baross, Mike Bresnahan, Chris Brewster, Karen Butler, Shirley Hall, Joan Hernandez, Brad Jacobsen, Joan McNamara, Mary Ann Stepnowsky, Dave Twomey, Dick Wilken, and Janet Wood (until 9:30)
Guests Present: Joe Flynn, Stacey LoMedico, Nancee Thomas
AGENDA: There were no additions or changes to the agenda.
MINUTES: The minutes of the January 2021 Board meeting were approved.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Karen notified the Board that the cost of printing the newsletter will increase from $345 to $365 per month. To date, we have received no invoice from Jonathan Hayes for Connor’s work on the newsletter.
M/S/C to accept the January Treasurer’s Report.
INVESTMENT COMMITTEE REPORT: Via email, John reported that the Russell 3000 experienced a slight loss but the appreciation since inception is 49.81% (slightly lower than the 50.51% reported last month). The Money Market appreciation remains practically unchanged at 3.73%
M/S/C to accept the Investment Committee Report.
RETIREMENT BOARD REPRESENTATIVE’S REPORT: No report
INFORMATION ITEMS: Dick informed the Board that Stacey LoMedico has joined the Advocacy Committee and at his invitation will be sitting in on Board meetings. Her focus will be on increasing REA membership. Stacey told the Board that she has already been reaching out to the City and others in an effort to contact potential REA members.
COMMUNICATIONS: Dick reported that a retiree’s issue was referred to SDCERS and was successfully resolved.
Dick indicated he had initiated a project to review the email, written and telephonic communications between our members and SDPEBA, our contracted membership management partner, to insure it was up to date, responsive, and professional. SDPEBA has been fully cooperative in this effort. A number of form letters need updating and there was a need to streamline and clarify which communications should go directly to SDPEBA’s mail address and which should go to our REA mailbox. Dick asked for input on whether we needed to retain our own PO box. The feedback was that some membership and billing correspondence items could now be addressed to SDPEBA directly but we should retain our REA PO box as our address of record. SDPEBA will be asked to continue to monitor our PO box.
1) Dick stated that since Janet Wood is no longer the Newsletter Editor that he is considering appointing her to the position of Membership Coordinator which has been vacant since we outsourced membership management to ILS/SDPEBA. Dick asked for input from Board Members. The general concluding feedback was that we should redefine the role of Membership Coordinator to retain the responsibilities such as sending out Birthday Cards for those over 80 and related tasks. Dick indicated he would proceed to appoint Janet to this position and reports that she fully agrees to take over those responsibilities.
2) Because of covid restrictions, an in-person Audit Committee meeting is inadvisable. Dick proposed that he review bottom-line numbers – not individual expenses – for accuracy this year. This would be a one-time review.
M/S/C to allow Dick Wilken to review the basic accounting of 2020 income/expenses in lieu of a full Audit Committee review, on a one-time-only basis.
3) Dave presented an agreement with Voice of San Diego that will keep us on as a sponsor (with links to our site) every Wednesday at a cost of $5000.
M/S/C to approve the expenditure of $5000 to maintain a presence on Voice of San Diego
4) There was minor final wordsmithing of the REA Mission Statement.
M/S/C that the REA Mission Statement shall be:
“REA’s mission is to advance the social and economic well-being of retired City of San Diego employees; to advocate for retirement security in the public and private sectors; and to support community causes through volunteerism and other contributions.”
5) Mike Bresnahan reminded Board members to rank their goals for 2021 and submit them to him by February 15.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE REPORT
There was discussion about enhancing our presence on Voice of San Diego by doing a podcast about the implications of Prop B’s repeal, with Michael Zucchet and Gregg Rademacher. It was agreed to move forward with this, but to wait until the subject becomes timely with the general public.
The next meeting is Wednesday, February 24 at 1:00pm via Zoom.
OTHER COMMITTEE REPORTS
Membership: No report
Newsletter: Deadline for the next issue is February 18.
Website: No report
OTHER RETIREE/ACTIVE EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORTS
Retiree Issues Task Force (RITF): Chris recommended follow-up on our November 2020 letter to the Risk Management Director about streamlining the paperwork involved in getting Medicare reimbursement. [text of letter attached]
Retirement Security Roundtable: No report.
MEA: No report.
Other Retired Public Employee Associations: No report
PROGRAMS: No report.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30am.
November 30, 2020
Julio Canizal, Director
Risk Management Department
1200 Third Ave, Suite 1000
San Diego, CA 92101
The City of San Diego Retired Employees Association is aware of a longstanding practice for the processing of reimbursement to retirees for Medicare premiums that we believe could be streamlined to the benefit of the City, SDCERS, and retirees. We believe the modification would result in a substantial reduction in the paperwork currently submitted by retirees and processed by the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System, while expediting reimbursement to retirees.
Under the current system, a retiree on Medicare must submit evidence of their premium and must also submit evidence that they have paid that premium in the first month after a change (although not in subsequent months). While notice of an individual’s premium cost is typically provided to the retiree by Medicare a month or so in advance of any change, evidence that they have paid the premium is typically available sometime later, obviously after that payment. This process can delay reimbursement by a month or more, and doubles the amount of paperwork that must be submitted and evaluated.
In correspondence with SDCERS, one of our Board members has learned that the current Medicare reimbursement process stems from a few instances where retirees were unable to pay the Medicare premiums and lost Medicare coverage; but that there have only been a few times out of tens of thousands where that happened. As noted though, under the current system, the only validation of payment required is for the first month, not for subsequent months.
Of course, the vast majority of retirees will do anything to keep their Medicare coverage and they are reimbursed for their expenses to do so. As well, since this is a bill which is owed to the Federal government, it is very unlikely that a retiree would be able to successfully avoid paying.
With this in mind, we would like to recommend that Risk Management allow reimbursement for Medicare premiums based on a copy of the premium notice from the Social Security Administration, forwarded to SDCERS, but without proof of payment. This would ensure reimbursement in the month incurred, reduce the paperwork that SDCERS has to handle, and reduce the paperwork required of retirees.
On average, the SDCERS Retiree Health Team processes 800 – 1300 reimbursement requests monthly. So this change could be expected to significantly reduce workload.
I would be pleased to discuss this further.
Quennelle Allen, Deputy Director
Gregg Rademacher, Chief Executive Officer, SDCERS
Cynthia Queen, Director of Member Services
Sandra Claussen, Medical Review Officer/Retiree Health Supervisor, SDCERS