I got this e-mail from a retired teacher and reader. she has lots of good points and questions I can't help her with so I am posting in hope of getting her some answers.
Hi Ms. PO’ed,
I wanted to vent and didn’t know to whom to vent (sorry, I am an old English teacher). All the blogs are concerned with Bloomberg’s attempts to destroy education in New York as we know it and I can’t seem to find any that deal with the day-to-day complaints of our retired brethren. In fact, one of my formerly favorite bloggers seems threatened (his column this past week) by the retired teachers chapter members, afraid that if we vote in mass we will somehow make things worse both in the union itself and in the system.
I know you are (somewhat newly) retired and several of your followers are too. Do you know of any blogs that are specific to our needs?
My vents: 1) I paid into the 25/55 retirement plan for many years, confident that I would make it past the 25 years, even expecting to work beyond. But the sudden targeting of older teachers, the Principals Academy no-nothing principal I worked for, the lack of protection from the union, made all my plans go up in smoke. I went out after only 23 years. That means that the retirement figures bounce back to the 32 years model and the money I paid in goes for nothing. Why can’t we get that back? Since so many of us older teachers are going out early, being forced out by the Bloomberg policies, where is all that money going? Since I am now on a small fixed pension, smaller than I had ever dreamed because I went out early, I could so use that money. I emailed the retired teachers chapter leader, Tom Murphy, and got an email back saying he would look into it. I can’t possibly be the only retiree who has asked about it, can I?
2) I know that all the teachers are now being told they must use express scripts. I hate express scripts. I hate the idea that it is a monopoly and I have no choice. I hate that this badly affects neighborhood pharmacies trying to survive in this awful economy. I hate that even though I can get discount coupons from the drug companies that reduce my costs, express scripts will not honor them (the neighborhood pharmacies always did). I hate it taking up to 30 days to get my meds. I hate that I have to rely on the post office, which is on the verge of bankruptcy and is cutting services, to get me my much needed medicines.
3) Where did the deductible suddenly come from for lab tests? I thought the medical coverage (GHI) stayed exactly the same after retirement. I just received a denial letter on routine blood tests my husband and I got two weeks ago, saying I was responsible for the entire amount because my deductible had not yet been met. WTF? I have never, in all my years as a City employee, had a lab bill denied. And what does this mean when I go in later this year for some surgery? Will there suddenly be bills that wouldn’t have been there if I were still working? If so, why, if it is the same plan??????? And why does no one explain this? Nowhere is it written – all I find is that the medical coverage is the same after retirement.
4) Can anyone explain SHIP to me in laymen’s terms? Do I save all my doctors’ and lab bills and then submit them? Why? I am confused about the purpose of SHIP and what to do about it.
5) And finally but perhaps more important than the rest, why should it, in this era of computers, take 5 full months for them to get me my actual pension? I retired in the off-season, not at the end of a school year when so many others were putting in their papers. And, more to the point, why did they “tide me over” with less than half of my projected pension – I figured that my twenty-something daughter who works for little more than minimum wage was earning more than I was getting, certainly not enough for a person to live on! I know, I know, they give you interest on the monies, as the person at the pension office kept saying, but I had to take out loans to get through these five months! That is a sin! Why can’t they err on the side of the newly retired teacher?
Thanks so much for letting me vent. You know I am such a big big fan of your blog. If you want to use any of this in your blog, of course, feel free.