CANDOER News

U.S. Symbol

Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
Issue 24December 1997Volume 3 - Number 1

Welcome to the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. Letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees, past or present, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.

The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062

CAT'S CORNER

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my families and my best wishes to you and your family for a very enjoyable Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

As I stated in the November issue, the December issue is an abbreviated issue.

MEDICARE BENEFIT CHANGES

Medicare is about to undergo major changes. In August President Clinton made huge structural changes in the federal health plan for the elderly and disabled by signing the balanced budget bill. These changed will directly affect beneficiaries for years to come.

Several of the changes add lifesaving benefits, including new or improved screening of breast, vaginal, cervical, prostate, and colonrectal cancer.

Of Medicare's 38 million enrollees about 4.4 million have already joined a private health maintenance organization (HMO). Starting in 1999, seniors will be able to join a private health plan and Medicare will pay the premium. You will NOT be permanently locked into that plan, you can switch to another option or back to traditional Medicare later.The new options include preferred provider organizations (PPOs), provider-sponsored organizations (PSOs), Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and private fee-for service plans.

The enrollee is still covered by Medicare for other services, however, a doctor who accepts even one patient for treatment under such an arrangement will be ineligible to bill Medicare for two years for any treatment for any other patient. This provision is seen as a way to accommodate, for instance, a person who wants to obtain a specific doctor for surgery but finds the doctor does not take Medicare patients.

FYI: The option of private contracts, backed by the American Medical Association and sponsored by Senator Jon Kyl (R.-Arizona), is highly controversial. Opponents, including the administration, say it could allow a doctor to tell a patient he would not treat them under Medicare payment rules but would take them as a private patient if they are willing to pay more than Medicare allowed. Critics say it would allow doctors, in effect to gouge patients and nullify hard-won limits on doctor's charges.

Critics feel that very few doctors are likely to be able to forgo all Medicare payments for all patients for two years; this could very sharply limit the potential use of such contracts. End FYI

New Medicare Benefits

Annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer for women on Medicare aged 40 and over. The normal Medicare deductible of $100 a year would be waived for mammogram. Effective date 1998.

Annual Pap smears and pelvic examinations for high-risk women to detect cervical and vaginal cancer with deductible waived; every three years for non-high-risk women. Effective date 1998.

Colonrectal screening for those 50 and over at frequencies to be established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Effective date 1998.

Training through dietary and other lifestyle changes to help patients protect themselves against the side effects of diabetes. Effective date 1998.

Bone mass measurements for women at high risk of osteoporosis. Effective date 1998.

Annual prostate screening (several methods could be used) for men over 50. Effective date 2000.

LUNCHEON LOG

We had our smallest turnout ever at the November CANDOER Luncheon. In attendance were the following nine (9) people: Bob Berger, Bob Catlin, Al Debnar, Paul Del Giudice, Charlie Hoffman, Will Naeher, Joe Pado, Doc Sloan, and Norris Watts.

RETIREE'S REPORT

On October 26, I received an e-mail request from Steve Lowe to change his e-mail address. He dropped his IBM service and has switched to a local service. His new address may be found in the 1998 Directory of Members and on the last page of this issue.

On October 30, I received a letter for Sandra Williams. Sandra furnished her Personal Data and a donation to the CANDOER funds. She indicated that she planned to retire in March of 1998. Her Personal Data may be found in the 1998 Directory.

On November 3, I received a letter from Ray Norris with a completed Personal Data Form and a donation. Ray's Personal Data may be found in the 1998 Directory.

On November 4, I received a completed Personal Data Form and a donation from Bob Alexander. Bob was the Sgt. Major in the DLO's office in Room 44A20 M.S., when he retired in 1987. Bob's Personal Data may be found in the 1998 Directory.

On November 7, Marv Frishman notified me of a change of e-mail addresses. His new e-mail address may be found in the 1998 Directory.

On November 10, I received an e-mail from Bob Rouleau asking for information on how to join the CANDOERs. I sent Bob my standard membership package and invited him to join. On November 14, Bob replied with his Personal Data. This information, including his e-mail address may be found in the 1998 Directory.

On November 13, I received an e-mail address from Phil Hendrix furnishing his new e-mail address. This information may be found in the 1998 Directory and on the last page of this issue.

On November 14, I received an e-mail message from Bob Bell advising that he can now be reached by e-mail. The address, furnished in the 1998 Directory and on the last page of this issue, is shared with his daughter so it may show Kathy Malloy on the header.

On November 15, I received a call from Gene Caruso. Gene said he is doing great, and in fact, had just played a good round of golf earlier in the day. Gene said he had called to let me know that he had talked to Bill Ward. Bill had been hospitalized due to an allergic reaction to sulfa drugs. He is doing well now. I again wrote to Bill to inform him of the CANDOERs and invited him to join. Gene also furnished a new area code for Bill. You may find this information in the 1998 Directory.

On November 17, I received an e-mail message from Rush Lantz furnishing his private e-mail address. This information may be found in the 1998 Directory and on the last page of this issue.

On November 19, I received an e-mail message from Tom Murphy asking for the Newsletter to be sent to him. Tom's personal data may be found in the 1998 Directory and his e-mail address on the last page of this issue.

FEHB Guide

The following information is furnished for your information, by your friendly neighborhood publisher/editor.

Just about all insurance plans will have substantial increases in their premium beginning in January 1998, as well as changes in their coverage. It would be a good idea to take a close look at your present plan to see if the coverage has changed, before you make the decision not to change, because of a rate increase.

The below cost chart may help you to decide if you want to switch or stay with your present plan.

I have received no information on any other plans, including POS and HMO plans.

FYI: OPM has a World-Wide Web page. The site contains information and downloadable brochures on all available insurance plans. Those plans that show a small computer along side their name have their own WWW page. Point and click on this small computer and it will switch you directly to that particular insurance providers web page. OPM's page is at: http://www.opm.gov/insure/ End FYI

Fee for Service (FFS) Plans

PLANSELFSELF/FAM
SELF INCREASESELF/FAM INCREASE
Alliance$180.68$377.80-$ 6.78- $ 15.88
APWU $ 80.97 $178.47+$32.82+$ 70.24
BC/BS-High $139.65$295.95-$ 6.78- $ 15.88
BC/BS-Standard$ 50.31$122.59+$ 5.37+$ 14.19
GEHA$ 69.45$149.81+$14.26+$ 29.52
Mail Handlers-High$ 73.65$148.55+$12.92+$ 17.96
Mail Handlers-Std$ 39.55$ 85.84+$ 8.65+$ 18.78
NALC$101.79 $214.68+$43.70+$ 92.02
Postmasters-High$248.41$536.06+$58.43+$124.85
Postmasters-Std $ 75.49$164.17+$16.62+$ 34.73
DEATH OF Bettye Jean Gross

It is with deep regret I inform you of the death of Bettye Jean Gross, on November 2, 1997, of cancer, in Kansas City, MO. Bettye retired from the Department of State in 1979 after 20 years with the Foreign Service.

DEATH OF Mark Schroyer

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of Mark Schroyer, on November 15, 1997, after being struck by A drunk driver while changing a tire. Mark Was a FS employee, assigned to the Beltsville Messaging Center as a Facilities Control Technician.

DEATH - James Wilkins

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of Jim Wilkins, beloved husband of Jacqueline B. Wilkins, on November 14, 1997, of a stroke. Jim, at the time of his death, was a GS employee assigned to the Beltsville Messaging Center as the COMSEC Custodian.

ENJOY!

See you next month.

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