From the Desk of the President (October, 2016)
34 Dental Trustee
Graham has resigned as our Local 34 Dental Trustee. I would like to thank him
for serving as our representative on the Dental Trust through Council 5. He
brought a number of ideas and suggestions for improvements to investing our
funds held by the trust until they are expended for services provided. His work
will ensure that our fund continues to be healthy. The Dental Trustee position
is an unpaid position - cannot be held by an officer or steward who receives a
stipend from our local. Meetings are held at the Council 5 office with the other
Dental Trustees from Locals 2822, 977, 1719, 2474 and the Council. The lost time
and mileage for those meetings are covered by the Dental Trust. If you think
that serving in this position would be of interest to you, please contact me at
612-348-0266. I would like to be able to have a new Trustee appointed by the
November 16, 2016 Executive Board meeting.
Budget & Finance Committee will present a proposed 2017 budget at the
November 2, 2016 General Assembly. That budget will cover our projected
expenditures for the coming year. The General Assembly is held in HSB 110, 525
Portland Ave (corner of Portland Ave & 6th St) at 5:30 PM. If you want to
see where our money is spent, attend the meeting for that presentation. Your
suggestions and comments are welcomed and appreciated.
day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. You can take up to two hours on that day to
vote. This is paid time but you must let your supervise know in advance that you
intend to do so in order to give her/him the ability to have adequate coverage
to meet the business needs for the work that you do. According to the Payroll
Contact this time is coded as "REG" on our time-card.
Committees comprised of AFSCME members from around the state screened candidates
who submitted a questionnaire with questions about the work that we do and the
legislation that was passed or not passed over the past two years. Those
committees made recommendations to the Council 5 Executive Board who then voted
to endorse candidates whose values most aligned with our values. We endorsed Jan
Callison for the 6th District Hennepin County Commissioner seat and Debbie
Goettel for the 5th District Hennepin County Commissioner seat. If you live in
those districts, please consider those endorsements. You can find a list of all
the endorsed candidates in this newsletter.
7 - 21 Open Enrollment Period: November
is open enrollment month for insurance. You can add or remove people from your
insurance coverage for 2017 during this enrollment period so, if you were
married or divorced, added a child via birth or adoption, had a dependent age
out at any time of the past year, you can make those changes to your coverage.
This is for any health, dental and vision coverage offered through the county.
You can change your health plan or network at this time. You can also make
changes to the flexible spending account and vacation/PTO cash out program if
you have one or open one of you don't.
now you should have received a letter spelling out the cost changes for our
health insurance for 2017. Note that we will have a "first dollar"
deductible for singles and families. That means that you will pay the first
$150.00 for single coverage and $300.00 for family/spouse coverage for any
office visits (this does not include prescription drugs or preventive care
visits for all plans). The letter sent to your home mailing address included a
side by side comparison of the four health plans - HCMC/NorthPoint Advantage
plan; Fairview/HealthEast/North Memorial Advantage plan; HealthPartners/Park
Nicollet Advantage plan and the Standard plan - so that you can see what the
changes are for your current plan.
of the most frequently asked question from members about the different Advantage
plans is "What happens if I end up with a condition and my plan does not
have a specialist for that condition? Do I end up paying out of network costs
because I end up seeing a doctor that is not in my plan?" If you need to
see a doctor outside of your Advantage plan because that network does not have
anyone to treat your condition, your doctor will refer you to a provider and it
is then covered as if the provider was in your plan ne-work. If you have
questions, you can always call the Concierge Line at the respective plans to see
how they handle your specific condition:
- HealthPartners/Park Nicollet: 952-967-7108 or 800-861-1868, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00
p.m., Monday - Friday
— Fairview/North Memorial/HealthEast: 612-672-2952 or 855-821-4832, available
— Hennepin County Medical Center/NorthPoint: 612-873-5700
plan administrator: PreferredOne: 763-847-4477 or 1-800-379-7727, 7:00 a.m. -
7:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
strongly encourage you to review your health care costs for the past several
years. If, like me, you have not used the Flexible Spending Account, you will
need to do some predictions about what your costs will be for next year to
determine if this will benefit you. If you already have a Flexible Spending
Account, you will have to decide how much more you will want to add to that
account. The benefit of the Flexible Spending Account is that any money withheld
from your paycheck for that account is pre-tax dollars. You also do not need to
have had the amount withheld from your checks before the cost is paid from that
account. So, if you have only had $100.00 withheld and go to the doctor and the
cost for that visit is $95.00, that amount will be covered by the account. I
already know that I will open an account for 2017.
can find information on this and all the changes by visiting the open enrollment
web page - www.hennepin.us/employees.
Day is November 11th
to honor our Veterans on November 11th - Veterans Day. If you have family
members, neighbors, friends, coworkers - take the time to thank them for their
service to our country. Because of them, we are free to pursue health and
happiness. Because of them, we have the ability to cast our ballots in an open
election. Because of them, we can wake up knowing that, flawed as our system
might be, we still have the ability to voice our concerns about our government
openly. Thank you to all of our members who have served. I appreciate it very
Thanksgiving - enjoy the four day weekend. Hopefully you will be able to spend Thanksgiving with good company. Our family celebration is held at my house. With all the family members - ranging from 2 months to 86 - it can be noisy and crowded but we are making memories to share, laughs to brighten each other - food for our souls. The other food is pretty darn good, too. The table is full as everyone brings their special dish to share and care packages are sent home. I give thanks for all the experiences of the past year.
~ President Jean Diederich