Rick and Louise Follman Insurance Co-Chairs

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1 VOLUME 1 Fall 2014 Your Advocate in Protecting Your Health and Pension Benefits ARTC MATTERS Holiday Greetings to All: This is the time of year when we tend to be focused on gratitude for our blessings and sharing our good fortune with others in various ways. In the spirit of the holidays I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to those in the ARTC family who have contributed their time and talent to our association over the past year(s). ARTC officers and committee chairs and affiliate presidents (your Board of Directors) dedicate countless hours each year to keep the organization running smoothly and efficiently to promote ARTC s primary agenda - protecting our pension and health care benefits and advocating for improvements of social security and state income tax exemption status for retired teachers in Connecticut. These same individuals donate many additional hours at their affiliates serving as liaison between statewide and local groups. continued on page 7 New Prescription Drug PRogram Rick and Louise Follman Insurance Co-Chairs The Teacher Retirement Board (TRB) will be changing their Prescription Drug Program, effective January 1, The new company is Express Scripts. The plan is EMPLOYEE GROUP WAIVER PLAN (EGWP) which is a Medicare D plan. It will offer the 23,000 retired teachers in the TRB plan increased exposure to drug coverage at equal to /or better cost. Some key points: services are substantially the same; most changes are improvements such as 90 day supply at your local pharmacy; no co-insurance for generic drugs after the deductible is met. INDEX Capital Report- Page 2 ARTC-PAC- Page 2 ARTC Has Gone Hi-Tech- Page 3 Glenn Moon Scholarship- Page 3 Affiliate Reports- Pages 4-7 News from TRB-Page 6 The network of pharmacies and covered drugs have gotten larger (66,000 pharmacies and approximately 1800 maintenance drugs are included). Much information is available. For customer service, call hours a day. Every member will receive a packet from the TRB around the middle of Dec. However, the best way to obtain the information you need is to attend a presentation given by Dr. Joe Fields, the TRB Health Care Consultant or his representative. NOVEMBER The Express Scripts toll free # is up and running. You can call to speak to a representative.since you do not have a member ID yet, you will be able to ask them general questions. Identify yourself as a member of the CT Teachers Retirement Board. Mail-order drugs: There is a very big change in how Express Scripts will handle your mail-order prescriptions. Originally, members continued on page 2 UPCOMING EVENTS JANUARY 7- OPENING DAY FOR LEGISLATURE JANUARY 21- ARTC MEET and GREET APRIL 29- ARTC, CEA-R, AFT LOBBY DAY MAY 19- ARTC SPRING LUNCHEON continued on page 2

2 CAPITAL REPORT Sandra Bove and Cathy D Agostino, Legislative Chairpersons The Legislative Committee played an active role throughout the election process. We arranged to have Governor Dan Malloy and Tom Foley speak at our Fall Luncheon. Both candidates, appearing at separate times, answered our prepared questions concerning our issues and took questions from the audience as well. We were pleased at the informative and respectful answers from both candidates who displayed warmth and a sense of humor not seen throughout the campaign. Now that the Governor has been elected for a second term, we are pleased that at the luncheon he reiterated his commitment to fund the pension and to reduce the state income tax on retired teachers pensions. The Governor s proposal for a reduction of tax on the pension was passed by legislators and will move forward 10% reduction in 2015, 25% in 2016 and 50% in As the new Legislative session begins in January, it is important that we remain vigilant in supporting this law, explaining its fairness to all legislators. Because we cannot choose to pay into Social Security during our public school employment, we should be given tax breaks comparable to those given to retirees receiving Social Security benefits. The sustainability concern of our Health Insurance Fund is ongoing. We will be monitoring whether or not the change in our prescription drug coverage to Express Scripts as Legislature Continued of Jan.1 will have any impact on our Health Insurance Account. We will continue to lobby our legislators for their support in restoring the State s promised one-third contribution to the account. We look forward to an active and busy time as the new Legislative session begins, and urge all members to meet with their newly elected legislators as well as welcome back those who have supported us in the past. On the National level, we continue to lobby for the repeal of the GPO/WEP. We ask all members to sign on to ssfairness.com to stay informed and become active on this front. Senator Blumenthal has not signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act. We have the support of our CT US Representatives and Senator Murphy for this repeal. (To reach Senator Blumenthal: , www. blumenthal.senate.gov ) insurance continued from page 1 with mail-order prescriptions needed to get new prescriptions effective Jan.1st. This has changed to your benefit. If you have mail-order prescriptions through CVS Caremark that will extend beyond Jan.2,2015, Express Scripts will be able to continue refills through its own home delivery program. CVS Caremark will transfer your prescriptions to Express Scripts. There are only two exceptions: 1. Narcotic-based prescriptions will Not transfer; 2. Specialty drugs will Not transfer. If you take Specialty drugs, a representative from Express Scripts will contact you to help with the transition. Your credit card information will not ARTC-PAC We are happy to report that most candidates we endorsed were victorious in this fall s election. This generally was a close election. At one point during the night the constitutional candidates were neck and neck, but by mid morning there was no doubt of the winners. One of the closest was the Treasurer s race. As the cities began to report, it became obvious that Denise Nappier was returning to office. To see our endorsements, go to our Keep in mind, as a retired teacher in Connecticut, you do not have a union to negotiate with the legislature for your retirement benefits. ARTC committee members, with the help of our lobbyist, will continue to work to secure our pension, restore the state s promised funding to our Health Plan, insure the future tax reductions to our pension, and advocate for the repeal of the GPO/WEP. transfer to Express Scripts. Your prescriptions that will expire before Jan.1, 2015 will need to be renewed. If you would like to continue to auto-pay using an on-file credit card, you should contact Express Scripts in December and provide that credit card billing information. DECEMBER You will receive a very large packet from Express Scripts in mid-december. The envelope will include the TRB logo. Your ID card will be in this envelope as well as very important plan information, such as a formulary list, pharmacy directory and home delivery information. web page: ARTC PAC has a new program we are developing. Take a state senator or representative to lunch/breakfast to inform them of retired teachers issues. PAC will pay the bill for up to four people (Your representative or senator plus three members living in the district). Every affiliate should have at least one rep on the PAC. We meet the second Monday of every month at 9:30 am. Michael D. Norman, PAC Chair 2

3 ARTC Goes Hi-Tech Over the summer we hired Kristin Costello to update our methods of communication. Our main goal is to increase our membership. The ARTC website was updated to increase visual appeal, user friendliness and versatility. All meetings and affiliate events are displayed on the main schedule. Also, legislative news is updated every week and luncheon and membership applications are available to be printed. About 800 photos were added from MEET and GREET, LOBBY DAY and our LUNCHEONS. The website is now compatible with mobile devices. There are also links to Facebook and Twitter. Members who receive ARTC Voter Voice and s will be able to click on a link to electronically sign a petition or send a comment to a legislator. The media campaign Why I Support ARTC is underway. We are asking all affiliate presidents to submit a selfie, along with a couple of sentences about the importance of ARTC to be placed on our Facebook page. ARTC has a profile on Linked-In, too. For the Fall Luncheon, a three page mailer was sent to 550 members. 7,000 messages/invitations went out to Facebook, Twitter and Voter Voice. At the last ARTC Membership meeting, the Ad-Hoc Marketing Committee was meshed into Membership. Bonnie Reimann, former membership co-chair, retired and Ad-Hoc chair Patty McDonnell, was voted in to take her place aside co-chair Roz Schoonmaker (Update: Roz has resigned her position due to health concerns.) GLENN MOON SCHOLARSHIP The Glenn Moon Scholarship Committee is saddened by the passing of our treasurer, Richard Brigham, in April He retired from West Hartford after 34 years of teaching elementary school. His dedication to the field of education continued as he tutored and mentored children. He also served on the ARTC Board of Directors starting in 1994 as the President of the West Hartford affiliate ( ), a member of the PAC and Legislative Committees, and a valued member of our Glenn Moon Scholarship Committee. In 2000 he accepted the post as our treasurer, a role he performed flawlessly. Most of all, Dick will be remembered for the balance and sense of humor that he brought to discussions and presentations. Dick will be greatly missed. Terry Barton, our wonderful chairperson, has retired after16 years of successfully leading the Glenn Moon Scholarship Committee through difficult and prosperous times. She joined the committee in 1991, became the secretary in 1992, and the chairperson in During her tenure as chairperson,the Scholarship account surpassed their goal of $100,000 for on-going funding of our scholarships. After her retirement from the Bristol School System in 1988, Terry also served on the ARTC Board of Directors as the President of the Bristol affiliate, a member of the PAC and Legislative Committees, and the historian compiling the book Coming of Age, ARTC History Terry s efficient leadership and her Check Us Out Online: ARTC has a new look and we ve updated our website to make it easier to navigate and find the information you need. Check us out! hard work plus her kindness and patience are appreciated by us all. Particularly thankful are the 74 scholarship winners during her service, as evidenced by the many notes received over the years. Many thanks also go to our hard-working committee members: RoseMarie D Aquila, Esther Beierle, Amedeo Cannone, Trenda Caron, Sandra Genung, Marianne Grace, Patricia Kelly, Hazel Kurlansky, June Legge, Andrea McCormick, Geraldine Petrizzi, Linda Picciarelli and Bob Sulick. Bob Sulick is our new treasurer, and Trenda Caron has accepted the post of co-chair of the Scholarship Committee WINNERS Samuel Caramante, from Groton, recieved a four year renewable scholarship of $2000 to attend UConn in Storrs. Courtney Carrozzo, from Winsted, was awarded a one year scholarship of $1,500 to attend Merrimack College in New Hampshire. Megan LaFlamme, from Willimantic, earned one year scholarship of $1,500 to attend Thomas College in Maine. Please consider contributing. Checks should be made payable to Glenn Moon Scholarship Fund and mailed to... Robert Sulick 15 Monticello Drive Wethersfield CT

4 A F F I L I A T E U P D A T E S GREATER BRIDGEPORT In 1951 the GBRTA organized as a small group focused on improving teacher pensions and health insurance, providing for the welfare of its members and supporting community activities. In 2014 it continues as a vibrant organization of more than 900 retirees, communicating through its newsletters, website and . The focus, however, remains the same. Members responded to requests that they contact legislators regarding the proposed decrease in Connecticut income taxes on teacher pensions and funding for the Health Insurance Premium Account. A contingent represented GBRTA at Lobby Day meeting with legislators and delivering messages in support of retired teachers. Serving the community, the GBR- TA awarded fifteen college-bound seniors in local high schools with scholarships of $1100 each. GBRTA members provide aid for a local food kitchen - Merton House, and the West Haven Veterans Hospital. The Association supports the Shoebox Project through Samaritan s Purse, an international organization overseen by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. GBRTA members have donated more than 200 Shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and personal items. Additional donations defrayed the cost of shipping the boxes. Trips and programs of interest to retirees provide social and volunteer opportunities for members. Even in retirement, GBRTA members continue the dedication to service that characterizes teachers. Acting together, we are a strong voice for good. Barbara Kmetz, President The ARTC is PROactive as opposed to REactive ~Patty McDonnell Bristol The Bristol Area Retired Teachers (BART) began the new retiree year with our Welcome Back Breakfast on September 9 at Nuchie s Restaurant in Forestville. We re-greeted our retired colleagues and welcomed as our guests the new retirees from the Bristol Public Schools. On October 23 we experienced a two-part program in Waterbury. First, we met at Fascia s Chocolates at 11:00 AM and had a tour of their chocolate production facility. We continued our chocolate experience by adjourning into a meeting/workroom where each of us created his/her own chocolate bar. After time for shopping in the Chocolate Store, we then traveled down the road to San Marino s Restaurant for lunch, business, and socializing. On March 19, we will meet for a program at the newly opened new Bristol Boys & Girls Club/Family Center on West Street. We will have a tour of the new facility, have a box lunch, and conclude with business and more socializing. We will also have an opportunity to respond to the Club s request for volunteers to help in their mentoring program. We will conclude our year on May 6 with our Annual Meeting and Scholarship Awards at the Chippanee Country Club. Bob Lewandoski, President FAIRFIELD The Retired Educators of Fairfield (REF) had a very productive spring. At our annual spring meeting in April, our current slate of officers was re-elected, and an interesting talk about Learning Through Travel was presented by Eleanor Gonzalez. A number of our members participated in our town s 375th celebration Food Drive whose goal was to stock area food pantries for an entire year. In June we were pleased to present two $750 scholarships, one at each high school, to two seniors pursuing education. Members took several trips including the Boston Pops in MA and the 9/11 Museum in NYC. We honored the 40 newly retired teachers at a breakfast at the beautiful Tashua Knolls Golf Club in Sept. A picnic at the beach in Oct was enjoyed by both active and retired teachers. The monthly Breakfast Club, where attendees enjoy discussing a variety of topics, continues to be a success. We invited a legislator,brenda Kupchick, to join us in Oct. We will do that again! Check out our blog at Marilyn Feranec & Loise Neville, Co-Presidents HARTFORD COUNTY Our Fall meeting for the Hartford County Retired Teachers was held recently at the Wethersfield Country Club. We were fortunate to have Tom Singleton, ARTC president, as our featured speaker.his subject was the new prescription drug program which was very informative to all and interesting questions were asked. Tom responded with clarity about all the changes. A delicious lunch was enjoyed by all. A very impressive meeting! Barbara Brennan, President 4

5 Manchester Manchester held its annual Back to School Breakfast on opening school day. It was enjoyable and well attended. The recent June retirees enjoyed seeing all those yellow busses pass by as they relaxed and sipped their coffees! At our October brunch, Dr. Joe The Naugatuck Retired Teachers Association held a March meeting which started our scholarship search ending with Jason Begin. A former student of mine, he not only wants to teach in the USA, but also throughout the world. Our June meeting recognized 29 teachers that accepted an early retirement package and eleven of them retired from City Hill Middle School. This was a tremendous amount of experience leaving the Naugatuck school system at one time! Our NRT year started with a September memorial service recognizing past teachers, administrators, and other education employees. NRT now has two co-treasurers, Nancy Grady and Betsey Stauffer. They took over from Fred Pappano who started in our organization as our first treasurer. Many thanks, Fred. Debbie DeRienz, President New Haven County Retired Teachers Association (NHCRTA) had a very interesting Fall Luncheon at the Country House Restaurant in East Haven on September 11, Although the original guest speakers, Martin Looney and Brendan Sharkey were called away to other political meetings, there were many other important figures there. Legislators Peggy Sayers, Senator Joe Crisco, Representative Michael D Agostino and New Haven s own Robert Agnese were among the guests. They spoke about their support of our issues on Health Care and Pensions. Representative Sayers related how legislators operate in Hartford and what we need to do to contact them. Filling the ARTC table were legislative chairs Sandra Bove and Cathy D Agostino (Yes, that s her son, the legislator), Patty McDonnell, Ed Messina and Pat Yacovacci (all from the ARTC Executive Board) and Walter Drozeck (Representative from ARTC PAC). Hostess Carol Noble, president of NHCRTA presided. Carol Noble, President New London The NLCRTA had the first of five meeting/lunches at Ocean Beach on Sept. 16th. The speaker was Joe Fields who talked about our new prescription plan. At each of our meetings we have a basket raffle to raise money for our scholarships. We also collect items for special causes. Wounded Warriors of America was the first. Jane Aarnio, President Fields was the guest speaker. The new STRB change from Caremark to Express Scripts for our pharmaceutical prescription coverage was explained.it was very informative and well received. At our November lunch, ARTC s lobbyist Mary Phil Guinan was the main speaker. She explained to those who attended what her duties entailed. Emphasis was made on how important it is for our members to keep in contact with their legislators this year to inform them of our concerns with health insurance and teacher pensions. It still is amazing how many legislators think our pensions are the same as the State employee pensions!we will attend Lobby Day at the legistlative offices in Hartford to reinforce our concerns with the legislators. In closing, I would like to express to every ARTC member safe and enjoyable holidays in the upcoming months. Tom Alexander, RTAM - President MiddleSex Congratulations to Bette Tischio our newest affiliate president to join ARTC. NEW HAVEN COUNTY Northern Fairfield County The Fall Luncheon of the NFCRTA was held at Anthony s Lake Club on Oct 28th with 84 members in attendance. Vice President Rona Rothhouse chaired the meeting.our guest speaker was Tom Lally, an insurance consultant to the STRB. Also in attendance was a representative of Express Scripts.Tom gave an overview of our new drug program followed by a Q and A session. Our webmaster,joretta Kilcourse, will post some of the most important details and documents on our website (www.nfcrta.org)our newsletter may also be found there. Various committees and officers contributed reports which appeared in our printed luncheon programs. Two scholarships were awarded to aspiring teacher candidates, one for $1500 and another for $1000. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 PM. John Luning, President NAUGATUCK ARTC 2014 Executive Committee poses for official photo at LOB in Hartford, CT. From left to right- Michael Norman, Immediate Past-President; Wayne P. Woodtke, Executive Director; Sandra Bove, Legislative Co-Chair; Tom Singleton, President; Ed Messina, President-Elect; Cathy D Agostino, Legislative Co-Chair; Rick Follman, Insurance Chair; Sandra Fitzgerald, Secretary; Patty McDonnell, Public Relations; Pat Yacovacci, Financial Secretary. Missing from picture are Mary Gracyalny, Financial Officer; Bonnie Reimann and Roz Schoonmaker, Membership Chairs. 5

6 Southern FAIRFIELD COUNTY Last Spring the WRTA held some important events. Our luncheon on May 6, 2014 at the Villa Rosa saw the presentation of four $1500 scholarships given to four high school graduating seniors who are entering the field of education. Our annual Memorial celebration took place on June 19, 2014 honoring the memories of twenty retired educators who passed away during the year. The service was held at Sts Peter and Paul s Church. A choir of twenty-three retired teachers provided beautiful music. A brunch at the Hill s Restaurant followed the ceremony. We began the Fall season with a meeting of the WRTA at Villa Rosa Restaurant on September 9, New members were welcomed. A presentation on Waterbury- Turn of the Century was given by member Philip Benevento. Future meetings will be March 25, 2015 (presentation by Waterbury Arts Magnet Chorus), May 13, 2015 (Scholarship Luncheon), and our Memorial in June at a date to be determined. James Stirling of Stirling Benefits spoke on the Connecticut State Teachers Retirement Board Health Plan at our Spring Luncheon. Go to com/ for Mr. Stirling s powerpoint presentation. On Monday, Oct.13 at our general membership meeting at St. Mary s Church Hall in Norwalk, Dr. Joe Fields, state insurance consultant, addressed our members on the new prescription drug plan to be implemented Jan.1, If you are a retired CT teacher living out of state, you can still have a voice. You can join the SFCRTA (the largest affiliate in the state) and the ARTC (Association of Retired Teachers of CT) and add your voice to ours. On these two websites (www.sfcrta.com & org) you can find updates on the various political agendas, as well as contact information for various State and Federal officials. Frank Cooper, President WATERBURY Michael Ieronimo, President LLet s get all CT retired teachers to join ARTC! Our voice must be strong and loud to protect what we have been promised. -Carol Taylor WEST HARTFORD Like all other retired organizations, the WHREA is in the process of attracting new members and fundraising efforts. Last year we successfully added twelve new members which is a record for us. Also, the fundraising goes toward scholarships that we give to West Hartford students of all ages. On Thursday, December 11, we will have one of our two yearly socials at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford. This year the award winning Hall High Choraliers will provide the entertainment. Last spring, we had 65 attendees that truly enjoyed the luncheon and speaker. We hope to surpass that number this year! Our wonderful newsletter, the Emeritus, is distributed to all 360 members and will soon have a travel section. The WHREA s participation in last year s Lobby Day was outstanding. It was so wonderful to see the ARTC, CEA, and AFT working together for the common good of all retired teachers. Susan S. Daly, WHREA President WINDHAM-TOLLAND COUNTY If you don t think that you can learn and have fun, then you didn t attend the WTRTA Spring Luncheon that was held on May 21st at Grill 37 in Pomfret, Connecticut. For starters, we had all the heavy hitters at the luncheon to fill the membership in on what has transpired with ARTC this year. Tom Singleton, ARTC president and past WTRTA president, encouraged membership in ARTC. Sandra Bove and Cathy D Agostino filled in the details about the legislative initiatives taken this year, and Regina Leonard explained the function of the ARTC lobbyist. Though our plates were filled with knowledge when they got through with us, there was more to come. The seventh and eighth grade chorus from Pomfret Community School led by Mr. Robert Beckwith got our feet tapping and our hands clapping with American inspired songs sung by lovely young voices. During lunch, baskets of goodies were raffled off and the money supplied next year s scholarship fund. Earlier our 2014 scholarship winner, Helena Rheault from Somers, Connecticut was presented with this year s Glenn Moon award. Details of the upcoming trip to see Damn Yankees in June were offered also. Yes, it is possible to learn and have fun, so don t miss our upcoming next luncheon! Carol Taylor, President 6

7 continued from front This team numbers approximately thirty individuals and they are the heart and soul of ARTC. They make things happen to protect your retirement security. You will find their names scattered throughout this newsletter. Take the opportunity to thank them for their service to all retired teachers. Our part-time professional staff; Executive Director, Financial Officer, Social media staff, lobbyist and consultants for communications provide guidance and expertise to our volunteer board and committees. They are vital to our success. I am grateful for the knowledge and experience they provide to us. Ultimately, we would have very limited success without the generous financial support and ardent participation (by phone calls, s, lobby day attendance ) in our legislative advocacy efforts. I offer a sincere thank you to all of our participating membership. Good cheer and good health to all in Fall Luncheon Tom Singleton, President ARTC picture 1- top left GOVERNOR MALLOY, ARTC PRESIDENT TOM SINGLETON, AND NANCY WYMAN POSE FOR PHOTOS AT THE ARTC FALL LUNCHEON. picture 2- top right. CAROL NOBLE, NEW HAVEN PRESIDENT, AND ED MESSINA, ARTC PRESIDENT-ELECT, LISTEN TO SPEECHES AT THE ARTC LUNCHEON picture 3- AFFILIATE PRESIDENTS LINE UP FOR A PHOTO OP AT THE ARTC FALL LUNCHEON We Can t Do It Without It s ARTC members who make it possible for us to effectively advocate for your rights! Strength comes in numbers, and the more members we have the more impact we can have on legislation. As you know, we are a retiree organization exclusively dedicated to protecting pensions and health benefits of retired teachers. Our goal for is to increase membership by 2,000 new retired teachers. For $50 a year, you help us maintain a lobbyist at the state capitol to keep a watch on pending legislation and budget issues that may impact our benefits especially legislation on our health insurance. You! Is $50 worth it for you, to help protect what you earned? If so, join us by logging onto our website and completing a membership form online. NEWS FROM TRB Clare Barnett and Roz Schoonmaker have been elected to another term on the TRB. They accumulated so many signatures that there is no need for a formal election.this will be Roz s 37th term! 111 South Road Farmington, CT (866) Thank you for your continued support and donations. 7

8 Since 1946, ARTC has been a retiree organization exclusively representing CT Retired Teachers. 111 South Road Farmington, CT (866) NON-PROFIT ORG U.S.POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #1020 HARTFORD, CT ARTC MEMBER BENEFITS Your membership with ARTC gives you access to many valuable benefits! ARTC endorses the following member benefits: Long Term Care / Home Health Care Insurance Tax-Deferred Annuity Medical Air Services Association (MASA) American Hearing Benefits Government Employee Travel Opportunities(GETO) LaQuinta Inn & Suites Discount Hertz, Avis, & Budget Car Rental Discounts AMBA TravelPERX Identity Theft Protection Dell Computer Discounts Apple Discount Flowers Discount Interested in traveling with other Retired Teachers? Find out what trips/tours are available at: French s Worldwide Travel 50 Market Square Newington, CT (Please reference ARTC ) To learn more about any of the endorsed benefits, please call AMBA at with

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