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November 2023

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson

photo of Ann Ozuna
Ann Ozuna, long term retirement advisor, will be joining Spokane NARFE on November 13 with the latest and greatest about 2024 FEHB health benefits. Ann will present a synopsis of the smorgasbord of next year’s benefits available to federal employees and retirees. Ann is a wealth of information, so prepare any questions you may have. Ann’s presentation provides an opportunity to hear about benefits if you have missed the in-person health fairs throughout the region this year.

November’s membership meeting will be our Chapter’s annual meeting. We will elect Vice-president, Secretary, and board directors. They will be installed during our December meeting and begin their role in January. I encourage you to attend and vote for Spokane Chapter’s future leadership. Thank you for entrusting me as your President for the past four years. Open Season for our Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) will be from November 13 to December 11. During this time, federal employees, retirees, and survivors can make changes in their current enrollments of FEHB and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). You don’t have to do anything if you like the health coverage you presently have. FEHB premiums paid by federal employees and retirees will increase an average of 5.8% in 2024. This compares with our Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) increase of 3.2% for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and 2.2% COLA for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 2024. NARFE supports the Equal COLA Act, H.R. 866, which would correct this unfair policy between COLA for FERS retirees and COLAs for CSR retirees and Social Security beneficiaries (Sources: OPM.gov, SSA.gov, and NARFE.org). November’s issue of NARFE Magazine has traditionally featured easy-to-follow charts and a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to guide you through your decisions. Also, you can go to www.benefeds.com to learn more about FEDVIP. Please call me at 208-661-7695 or email me at scottsoriole@q.com if you have any questions regarding Spokane Chapter 32.

ALZHEIMER’S (vacant Chairperson)

Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease, which worsens over time. The disease often progresses in the following stages: (1) Asymptomatic: No cognitive symptoms but possible biological changes in the brain. (2) Mild cognitive impairment (MCI): Symptoms of cognitive ability loss begin to appear. (3) Early stage (mild): Typically involves symptoms that interfere with some daily activities. (4) Middle stage (moderate): More pronounced symptoms that interfere with many daily activities. (5) Late stage (severe): Symptoms interfere with most daily activities. Treatment begins with a conversation with your doctor. You may want to ask your doctor: (1) Is this medication right for me? (2) How common are side effects to watch for? (3) How to manage side effects and will I need to stop taking the drug? (4) What is the benefit of this drug, and will it change daily life? (Source: alz.org). Spokane Chapter is recruiting an Alzheimer’s Chairperson. If you are interested in sharing your learned knowledge with the group, then please contact any Officer or Director. With no chairperson, a village is needed to share information with our group.

PROGRAM (vacant Chairperson)

If you missed our October meeting, then I encourage you to go to narfespokane.org to read about our past guest speakers. Ann Ozuna will present her annual review of Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) in November, and we will celebrate the holidays during December. Please join us in January 2024 when Robert “Bob” Bartlett, PhD, will share his research of the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, aka Triple Nickles” (their spelling) with us. We will invite Candice Correa, PhD, to return in February to share her latest tax information. Spokane Chapter is recruiting a Program Chairperson. If you are interested in sharing your learned knowledge with the group, please contact any Officer or Director.

MEMBERSHIP

The Chapter is looking for a Membership Chair. If you are interested, please contact any of the Officers or Directors. Come be a part of a great group of people fighting for your benefits.

NARFE – PAC (Vacant Chairperson)

NARFE-PAC supports Fed-friendly lawmakers who understand that the government should keep the promises made to its public servants. The PAC bolsters the profile of our top issues, creating additional opportunities to educate lawmakers on the issues that affect you most, such as preventing cuts to your cost- of-living adjustments, protecting your health care, and doing away with the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) (source narfe.org). You can contribute to NARFE – PAC using the contribution form found in the monthly NARFE Magazine or by sending a check, made out to NARFE – PAC, to our Post Office Box. The address is: NARFE, PO Box 4592, Spokane, WA 99220.

November 2023

NOVEMBER CHAPTER MEETING MONDAY NOV. 13, 2023 Lunch at 11:30 Meeting at 12:15 Darcy’s Restaurant 10502 E. Sprague Ave. PRESENTER – Anne Ozuna – The Federal Retirement Lady


The meeting will be available via ZOOM: The ZOOM information is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84692463195?pwd=R3M0eFF0NzRaMFo3bTNvNERDNHBBUT09 Meeting ID: 846 9246 3195 Passcode: 137652 +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)


LEGISLATION Roger Bosky

Our president has identified several issues and events above that affect us. Other items that concern us include the Government Pension Offset/Windfall Elimination Provision (GPO/WEP ), which now has 298 co-sponsors - more than enough for passage if Congress ever brings this bill up for a vote. Last year, despite there being more than 290 co-sponsors, it chose not to bring it up to the floor. There’s an old quote from Bismarck which says,” Laws are like sausage. Better not see them being made.” But I’d like to add a caveat. My caveat is that I would like to see some sausages ( laws ) made if ever Congress can get back to work. However, the Republican majority in the House can seem to agree on how to run the sausage machine. Also, in addition to increases in our FEHBP plans, our Medicare premiums for 2024 will go up to $174.70 for most people.

SECRETARY & MEMBERSHIP Arlene Patton

Chapter 32’s membership currently stands at 445 (225 Chapter members and 220 national only members). Welcome Jeffrey Taylor, of Otis Orchards, as a new member to Chapter 32. Hope to see him out to Chapter meetings. A special thanks to the Chapter members that came out to represent NARFE Chapter 32 at local federal health fairs. This annual event is a great opportunity to meet and recruit new members from the local federal workforce. . Contact Information: email apatton1202@comcast.net or call 509-747-1589

NARFE is more than just a great magazine. Let them know! Promote NARFE anytime you can. The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits and retirement! NARFE = YOUR BEST BET FOR THE FUTURE!

WEBSITE Chris Smith

Think about joining FEDHub. You’ll be connecting to some of our other chapters in Washington including Everett, Tri-Cities, Bremerton, and South Puget Sound as well as the Washington State Federation, and, of course, national. You’ll receive announcements about meetings, minutes, special speakers, events, and webinars around the state and nationally. Whether it’s OPM’s 2024 FEHP premiums or a story about how WEP has affected a Washington member, it makes for interesting reading.


Logon to the National NARFE site, click on FEDHub, create a profile, and sign up for communities of interest (like Washington Federation). FEDHub gave me a greater sense of being part of a state and national organization preserving and protecting my federal benefits. See you on FEDHub!


Please contact me at finesse.minds_0j@icloud.com if you find any errors or have any pictures or pertinent articles that may be of interest to members via the website.

SUNSHINE Susan Harvey

As I write this, the forecast is for rain and some warmer temperatures. This coming Sunday will bring us back to Pacific Standard Time. Sunrise will come earlier, and sunset will be way too early for this writer. Take care of your bodies and minds with the changes. The Chapter is sending birthday and anniversary wishes to all who celebrate in November. I recently became aware that Florence Husa, our member, and spouse of Lennie Husa, had passed away. I must apologize for the extensive list of members Headquarters had added to our Memorial List. Why they combined several years of lost members to the 2023 roster, I do not know. I am working to resolve this glitch. I hope to have a resolution by December. Scott Robinson is continuing the search for a Membership, Alzheimer’s, and Programs Chairs. Call him if you are interested. REMINDER, spouses can be members on their own OR can take over the membership of a deceased member. If you become aware of good news, illnesses, surgeries, or a death of a member or family member, please contact me at 509-953-6828.

SERVICE & OUTREACH Kathy Brooks

We are looking for ways to reach active employees of the government agencies in our area. If you have ideas, please share them with us.


Spokane Washington Chapter 32

PO Box 4592

Spokane, WA 99220


SPOKANE SERVICE CENTER

Narfe0032@gmail.com

509-954-6719


National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association 32

NARFE on the Web: National: www.narfe.org WSF: www.narfewa.org Spokane: www.narfespokane.org

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