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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Medical coverage costs are up!

Anonymously contributed:

Found out today that my LLNL/LLNS Anthem Blue Cross EPO coverage for LLNL/UC retirees premium is going up 25% to over $500 per month. "Official" UC retirees have a host of plans to choose from, none with a cost over $400, and several at much lower cost. Thanks, LLNS. Thanks, DOE. Thanks for abandoning us, UC. Hope the lawsuit succeeds.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

What lawsuit? We are all a bunch of cowards at the Labs. All we do is complain.

Anonymous said...

You could still be at the lab. As a percentage for a current employee The EPO premium went up 32.97% to 496.00 per month (employee and family).

As a dollar amount, if the retired folks are getting hit for over $500, well I guess my golden years in retirement won't be with gold in my pockets.

Anonymous said...

LANL non-medicare retirees found out over a month ago that their premiums would go up about 30%. However, I'm confused about the state of UC retirees at LLNL. At LANL, as a result of the contract transition, *all* LANL retirees, including those who had retired from UC years, or decades, earlier, had their health care benefits taken over by LANS, at the direction of NNSA, not something LANS wanted. So, in 2006, if you you were a LANL employee who had retired from UC in 1985, your retiree medical care was all of a sudden out of UC's hands and under the control of LANS. The original poster seems to establish a difference between what he calls "official" UC retirees and "LLNL/UC" retirees. Is there a difference at LLNL, because there isn't at LANL. Is the original poster confused?

Anonymous said...

"current employee The EPO premium went up 32.97% to 496.00 per month (employee and family"

2011 Non-Medicare Pre-65 Retiree Medical Monthly Contributions/EPO
Retiree + Spouse + Children
$610.00

My premium essentially went from $177/mo to $610/mo since LLNS took over in 2007 ... Yup, my 2% cola should be able to cover the increase.... Not.

Anonymous said...

"official" UC retirees and "LLNL/UC" retirees

I believe "official" UC retirees refer to UC, nonLLNL (and nonLANL) retirees. LLNL/LLNS retiree's Medical have nothing to do with UC anymore ... except that they were once (Oct 1, 2007) 'substantially equivalent'(?) ...

Anonymous said...

8:40 PM: The same thing happened at LLNL. All LLNL employees who retired under UC, whether before or after the inception of LLNS, have their medical benefits administered under LLNS, not UC. I don't know if LLNS "wanted" the UC retirees or not, and don't know that it matters. Maybe LLNS took it on as a "burden" so they could get their lucrative contract (and then decided to minimize that burden by providing inferior and more expensive medical insurance to those they were "forced" to take on). Perhaps the original poster was making a distinction between UC retirees from all other campuses ("official and recognized UC retirees") and those from LLNL (and LANL) who UC/DOE allowed to become "second class" UC retirees, despite what was promised to them all throughout their careers. All I know is that the LLNL/UC retirees got the shaft (as did those from LANL). There is a lawsuit underway on this very topic: see .

Anonymous said...

original poster is confused

Anonymous said...

At LLNL, as the transition began I was at a presentation from Human Resources where it was stated that the medical benefits were provided by whomever ran a "campus". And as you know, LANL and LLNL were the only two "campuses" that have moved out from the UC umbrella.

At that presentation, the HR rep stated that that had always been the case, that the medical benefits were provided by the campus and was reimbursed by the government. Our campuses changed ownership and LANS/LLNLS became the provider.

The issue is that since the letter head said UC, that the retirement was UC and the medical was provide by UC, we thought we were UC employees. We never were. We were the hired help.

Since we left the larger population of UC employees our group purchasing power decreased and the discount give to UC was not provided by the insurance carriers to the labs. That combined with the increase of insurance created the double whammy that was part of the financial hole that in turn created layoffs.

Anonymous said...

At LLNL the cost went down for some in Kaiser.

Anonymous said...

Due to the final elimination of employee contributions being pegged to salary ranges, there were probably cost reductions or at least flat-lining for some employees under all the plan options.

Just be glad no politician has the guts to point out that all the employer contributions should probably be considered taxable income.

Anonymous said...

At LANL, the non-medicare retiree EPO costs went from about $70 per month to about $100 per month, not including LANS contribution, for retiree alone. Retiree plus family about $300 for 2011. Can it really be true that at LLNL, the same coverage costs the non-medicare retiree plus family over $600????

Anonymous said...

I think the legal contest is that two groups of employees (campus retirees, lab retirees) in single plan when it was formed are now treated differently after the fact to benefit the plan trustees, without the consent of the beneficiaries.

Those who retired from UC campuses and those who retired from either of the labs retired in a single retirement plan are now treated differently to detriment of one, and the benefit of the trustee.

Anonymous said...

Folks who are in Kaiser locally: What do you think of it?
Looks like we'll need to switch out of (retiree) Anthem Blue Cross. Just waaay too expensive, for family w/kids.

Anonymous said...

"Can it really be true that at LLNL, the same coverage costs the non-medicare retiree plus family over $600????"

Cut and Paste from LLNS chart:

2011 Non-Medicare Pre-65 Retiree Medical Monthly Contributions/EPO
Retiree + Spouse + Children
$610.00

Anonymous said...

October 22, 2010 6:10 PM
"What lawsuit?"
See the website http://llnlretiree.com/
To find out, note that this has been developing for some time now and is the result of a lot of work by many who have cared enough to pay attention.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Mikey and Miller will be well compensated by their "for profit" LLCs for planting an ax in the back of the loyal lab retirees.

Just wait until they suddenly announce without warning that they are getting rid of retiree medical for all current retirees. It's probably coming sooner rather than later. It's what "for profit" companies like to refer to as "cost containment".

Anonymous said...

I think the legal contest is that two groups of employees (campus retirees, lab retirees) in single plan...

I am not a lawyer, but I think the defense will be that "the plan" constituted the pension benefit. I heard multiple times at transition that the retiree health care benefit was not a defined benefit accrued in advance.

Anonymous said...

2011 Non-Medicare Pre-65 Retiree Medical Monthly Contributions/EPO
Retiree + Spouse + Children
$610.00

October 26, 2010 10:13 AM

Wow, just outrageous. Twice the premium ex-LANL employees of the same category are being asked to pay, for essentially the same coverage. Is this a California problem? (In which case, either vote Republican or suck it up. Or a LLNS problem (in which case get a class-action lawsuit citing LANS' supposedly "substantially equivalent" premiums of 1/2 that of LLNS). How can California residents stand and tolerate this kind of ridiculous robbery of their benefits??

Anonymous said...

"Can it really be true that at LLNL, the same coverage costs the non-medicare retiree plus family over $600????..."

George is a self-centered scientist.

They enjoy screwing people.

We'll be better off when he is gone.

Anonymous said...

For those locally who are considering switching to Kaiser, we've been very happy with the change; they have come a long way and we love the convenience of everything in one place. It's definitely worth a shot, you can't beat the savings per month.

Anonymous said...

Where are our political representatives (and candidates) when we need them (mostly doing what they do best, trying to get re-elected)? Imagine if something like this happened to military retirees/veterans (or policemen, or firemen, or teachers even). The politicos would be screaming and there would no doubt be congressional hearings. But for us Cold-Warriors, who sacrificed much to help protect the country when it asked us to, who were sold a bill of goods with our "UC" status/pay/retirement/benefits? Nada. Nothing. Nobody cares. I guess we're not a big enough voting block, don't have a noisy champion, and don't have a union. We toiled in security-mandated anonymity for all those years, doing the right thing, making the sacrifices, only to be sold down the river by DOE, UC, and our former colleagues at LANL/LLNL (now LANS/LLNS management lackeys). Where is the justice?

Anonymous said...

October 26 10:23am

Thank you for the link to see what is really going on! May your hard work and diligence prevail!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:30pm Oct 26 wrote that it's outrageous that retirees in California pay..."Twice the premium ex-LANL employees of the same category are being asked to pay, for essentially the same coverage. Is this a California problem? (In which case, either vote Republican or suck it up."

That "vote Republican" comment MUST be a joke since it was the Republicans who privatized the management of LLNL and specified the terms of the contract.

By the way, the Republicans also gave us the unfunded Medicare Part D Drug Benefit with a large donut hole (from $2830 to $4500).

From wikipedia: "By the design of the program, the federal government is not permitted to negotiate prices of drugs with the drug companies, as federal agencies do in other programs. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is allowed to negotiate drug prices and establish a formulary, pays 58% less for drugs, on average, than Medicare Part D.[24] For example, Medicare pays $785 for a year's supply of Lipitor (atorvastatin), while the VA pays $520.
Former Congressman Billy Tauzin, R-La., who steered the bill through the House, retired soon after and took a $2 million a year job as president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the main industry lobbying group. Medicare boss Thomas Scully, who threatened to fire Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster if he reported how much the bill would actually cost, was negotiating for a new job as a pharmaceutical lobbyist as the bill was working through Congress.[25][26] A total of 14 congressional aides quit their jobs to work for the drug and medical lobbies immediately after the bill's passage."

Those guys? Republicans. No, I wouldn't vote for them or their Tea Party friends.

Anonymous said...

Social Security and Medicare have created a series of generations that are now dependent on the federal government for their welfare after retirement. Why? Why not encourage, in the monetary, social, and moral senses, people to plan for their own needs when they retire? It is too late for anyone older than 40, but for others, here is the message: You will be on your own after retirement, so 1) never live above your means; 2) never drop out of school, and get the highest level of education you can; 3) plan financially for what you will need for when you can no longer work; and 4) save every dollar you can for when you retire. We'll see whether the American people have the guts and ambition to live up to that challenge. Some will be disabled or medically needy - we can handle that through a simple government program. But Social Security and Medicare should go away. Budget problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, a couple of Republican wars should go away. Budget problem solved (quicker, too).

Anonymous said...

Better yet, a couple of Republican wars should go away. Budget problem solved (quicker, too).

October 30, 2010 8:21 PM

You forget that both parties voted to go to war in Iraq, and Obama called the war in Afghanistan "the right war." These are not and were not "Republican wars." sorry to burst your bubble, and your attempt at rewriting history.

Anonymous said...

October 31, 2010 8:42 PM

So manipulation of intelligence data to convince congress to approve the invasion of Iraq never happened is what you're saying? Now that's rewriting history. I can see Afghanistan. After all that's where Osama was and still is hiding. I get a chuckle from those who still cling to the belief that Saddam had something to do with the 9-11 attack (which then morphed into "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" and finally "Saddam is just a bad man") . How much money has been spent and how many lives have been lost prosecuting the Irag war?

Anonymous said...

Oct 31,

Bush, the Republican, deceived this country into going to war to get Saddam; because "that man threatened my daddy" End of story. (Except for the thousands of Americans slain for that cause!)

Anonymous said...

Bush, the Republican, deceived this country into going to war to get Saddam; because "that man threatened my daddy" End of story. (Except for the thousands of Americans slain for that cause!)

November 1, 2010 6:50 PM

Don't you hate it when you are a caricature? Who deceived the French, the Germans, the Canadians, the British, and the Australians? Who deceived Bill Clinton when he bombed Baghdad? How exactly does a President "deceive" Congress?? Are you saying the entire US military and intel community lied to multiple congressional committees just to provide an excuse to Bush to avenge the plot against his father? You are truly delusional.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying the entire US military and intel community lied to multiple congressional committees just to provide an excuse to Bush to avenge the plot against his father?

YEs YES and YES

Anonymous said...

Ok - thanks for the confirmation.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the original post about medical insurance costs?

Anonymous said...

Yes, until October 30, 2010 8:21 PM chimed in by blaming costs on "Republican wars." There's one in every crowd. One trick ponies.

Anonymous said...

The retirees have a generous benefit that is better than the private sector, government employees, and new employees (such as myself). I will get no health care benefit when I retire from LLNL. Now please tell me how bad you have it.

Anonymous said...

Google announced today (Nov 10th) that they are giving all of their workers a massive 10% raise this year!

How's that for an example of the private world honoring their technical staff!

Anonymous said...

November 9, 2010 10:14 PM

At least you know up front what you are getting into (or not), and can plan for it. You weren't told one thing, sold a bill of goods regarding working for UC and promised its "great" retirement as part of your compensation, only to have the Labs, DOE, and UC renege on it after the fact......

Anonymous said...

The days when one could count on a future benefit to be available as promised when hiring on are long gone. No one in industry could really ever count on that. The fact that UC/LLNL/LANL employees could for a few decades is a testament to the extraordinary lengths UC went to during that time to keep its promises. Their (and our) luck finally ran out. No one had any right to expect better luck than they got. Suck it up and move on. Life is a bitch. And then you die.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the medical costs suddenly went up because the stress on employees that came after the LLC take-over of management is finally having an accumulative effect on employee health?

The new "for-profit" LLCs have being doing their very best to slowly wear down the staff. They see great benefits and accolades from NNSA by getting the current high benefit staff to leave and replacing them with lower salary, low-benefit workers.

Anonymous said...

November 10, 2010 7:39 PM

Nobody promised medical benefits. You would be completely wrong about that.

Anonymous said...

Nobody promised medical benefits. You would be completely wrong about that.

November 11, 2010 7:15 AM

Yeah, I would, if I had actually said that. Read my post again: I didn't. Maybe your need to express your little bit of knowledge outweighed your intelligence. I was referring to any employers' benefit "promises", medical or whatever, and the folly of expecting them to hold up over time. A "promise" is in the ears of the beholder, and is not binding unless written. End of point.

Anonymous said...

November 11, 2010 9:31 PM

Hmm.Here is what you wrote November 11, 2010 9:31 PM.

"The days when one could count on a future benefit to be available as promised"

UC never promised medical benefits, ever. Your premise is flawed so your entire line of reasoning (what ever it is) is flawed. Does that help?

Anonymous said...

November 11, 2010 9:31 PM

Your point, if there is one, would have been expressed more efficiently by simply asserting the truth: UC never "promised" medical benefits so you all should suck it up and move on.

Not sure where you dredged up the notion that UC promised, implied or otherwise, that there would always be a medical insurance benefit. I defy you to show where UC even suggested that.
Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Here is the point:

UC provides lower cost medical insurance for its non-Lab retirees than LANS and LLNS does for the UC retirees who retired from LANL and LLNL. In my opinion, and soon, I hope, the courts, LLNL and LANL employees who worked for UC and RETIRED as UC employees should be afforded THE SAME retiree medical benefits as those who retired under UC from other campuses. The coverage and cost should be THE SAME, the treatment of these LAB UC RETIREES should be THE SAME (and please, don't get me started on "substantially equivalent"). If UC pulls the retirement medical benefits from ALL UC RETIREES, then I agree, we've got nothing to complain about. But in the MEANTIME, why should we UC RETIREES be treated as second-class? Heck, most of us never even worked one day for LANS or LLNS........

Anonymous said...

November 15, 2010 10:20 AM

Bravo. Maybe all the carpers who say UC never "promised" health care are either envious that they don't qualify or think a lawyer's definition of "promise" is the right one. I seem to remember "has every intention"...

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS:

LANS LLC just announced at the November 18th All-Hands meeting that they are going to need 8% salary contributions by spring of 2012 from everyone in TCP1 to make it solvent (current salary contributions are about 3%).

Losses are now projected to be about $150 million per year over the next couple of years. The 8% salary contributions will only partially cover the projected pension shortfalls with the rest to be made up by "other means". The projections of pension shortfalls for TCP1 at LANL continue to grow ever greater with time.

In addition to this, the Director announced that it is very likely that medical costs will be going up next year for employees and that they are reviewing medical coverage for current staff and retirees (whatever that means; possible cancelation or significant reductions of retiree medical coverage at some future point?).

The biggest news that Anastasio mentioned at the All-Hands was that DOE/NNSA really doesn't seem to like the TCP1 pension as it now stands and wanted to force LANL to convert to the greatly reduced pension payout system which SNL recently established for their long time employees.

To put it bluntly, the promise of "substantially equivalent" appears to be null and void as far as DOE/NNSA is concerned. LANS fought to keep the TCP1 pension benefits at current levels by selling DOE/NNSA on the idea of the greatly increased 8% salary contributions plus the use of additional lab money that LANS thinks can be rounded up from various lab accounts.

It is becoming clear that DOE/NNSA lied when they told LANL employee back in 2006 that they would strongly defend a "substantial equivalent" benefit policy which would match benefits offered by UC for all the pre-LLC employees. DOE has a long history of telling lies, so I'm not that surprised. Their promises mean absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

It has been absolutely clear for many years that the no-class, mean-spirited DOE/NNSA aparatchiks in Germantown and the Forrestal building will never be satisfied until they have forced the cowardly laboratory directors to entirely eliminate pensions and health care for their employees.

Anonymous said...

Those at LANL and LLNL who trusted LANS and LLNS as well as NNSA, are now feeling pretty crappy about their choice of TCP-1. The number of people who will now stand up for the choice they made is vanishingly small. Although those of us who had the chance to choose retirement from UC are so far ok, there are no guarantees given California's dire straits. All choices are bad to some degree, for those who are unlucky enough to be associated with DOE/NNSA, except of course the federal employees. My advice: get the hell out. Find a private sector or university job and blow off the bastards. Do it now. If you feel locked in based on your years of service or age, you will feel worse soon. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Those at LANL and LLNL who trusted LANS and LLNS as well as NNSA, are now feeling pretty crappy about their choice of TCP-1. The number of people who will now stand up for the choice they made is vanishingly small. Although those of us who had the chance to choose retirement from UC are so far ok, there are no guarantees given California's dire straits. All choices are bad to some degree, for those who are unlucky enough to be associated with DOE/NNSA, except of course the federal employees. My advice: get the hell out. Find a private sector or university job and blow off the bastards. Do it now. If you feel locked in based on your years of service or age, you will feel worse soon. Think about it.

November 19, 2010 6:43 PM

Thank you Tom D'Agostino. Sounds like Pete Nanos has been offering management behavioral classes in D.C.

Anonymous said...

The number of people who will now stand up for the choice they made is vanishingly small.

I'm still cool with being TCP-1. An employee contribution will kick in at LLNL at some point. They promised us an equivalent benefit, I'm not sure what representation was made as to cost thereof.

The UC was self-indulgent in taking such a long holiday from contributions by itself and employees. On the other hand, I can also appreciate that organizations can get in trouble for having their pension fund too well funded.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to see someone who chose TCP1 say they feel crappy about their choice. But we often see someone who chose TCP2 speaking for those who didn't, I guess to make them feel more secure about their choice? Guaranteed by NNSA may not pan out, but those who are relying on UC may find themselves in the same position; absolutely no guarantees with UC these days. TCP1 or TCP2, we're all in this together.

Anonymous said...

Yes we're all in this. Definitely not "together."

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: once you retire or freeze your retirement with LANS/LLNS, can they still change your pension plan? I know they can pull medical from under you, but can they move you to a lower pension plan, like the SNL mentioned? Or can they only do that for future retirees? Same with UC, can they change your pension after you have already frozen your retirement?

Anonymous said...

...can they change your pension after you have already frozen your retirement?

In some respect, almost undoubtedly. For example, I don't know that cost-of-living adjustments are a mandatory benefit. Start scaling those back, when we have inflation again, and over the course of a decade it can make a real difference to a plan and its liabilities.

Anonymous said...

Pension plans can lose money from bad investment choices, and become underfunded. They can also be raided, for example the California Legislature can raid the UC pension fund. Whether this can affect current retirees is open to legal battle, but future UC retirees would certainly be affected. Ask former US steel workers, who lost their pensions AFTER they retired what can happen. If you have a 401K or a 403b, your retirement money is yours. If you have a pension, it belongs to someone else until they give it to you.

Anonymous said...

The executive management team and most of the rest of the mid and lower level LLC management won't be feeling much of the pain from these higher TCP1 salary contributions. Their salaries have already been "bumped up" far higher since the for-profit LLCs took over the NNSA labs.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that upper management and the Bechtel Boys must be laughing at the scam they have been able to pulled off in support of the DOE/NNSA. With the new 8% contributions and the much higher medical costs, most of the staff at LANL will be quickly falling backwards in lifestyle. When you consider that the salary contributions are being done after-tax, not pre-tax, and that almost all other lab benefits have gone up wildly in terms of salary contributions, your average lab staff member will soon be seeing close to a 15% decline in their take-home pay. The financial pain is real and growing!

Meaningful raises for the non-management TSMs? Fuggitaboutit! It's all down-hill from here unless your a member of the LLC management team.

Anonymous said...

In the interest of accuracy, LANS pension contributions will increase in April of 2011 from 2/4%(4% for earnings above $106,800 Soc Sec Max)
to 4/6% then to 6/8% in April 2012.

This is not because of pension losses, but due to increasing normal costs of the plan.( The annual increase in liability due to age,salary and service increases) and the continuing low interest rates that must be used to calculate the needed additional funding.

The TCP1 plan at both LANS and LLNL continues to be one of the richest pension plans around. To have to pay in 6% just makes us equal to TCP2 folks who have to contribute 6% to get the maximum benefit.

By the way, pension benefits can generally only be changed prospectively. Should a change in HAPC definition occur, your pension to the change date will be based on the old formula and pension from the date of change forward will be calculated under the new formula.


Im in TCP1 and I'm still loving it.

Anonymous said...

9:02, thank you for the explanation. That is really what I was wondering; it sounds like changes to the HAPC or changing the pension plan completely to something like what SNL has would only pertain to future retirees, not anyone who has retired or frozen their retirement. It would be good to know if cost of living adjustments can be changed after retirement; if anyone has any facts regarding this, please post.

Anonymous said...

It would be a complete mistake to assume that, under admittedly worst circumstances, you pension can ever be considered "frozen", and that only future retirees can ever suffer losses of what they were "promised." There are too many examples of retirees all over this country losing their pension benefits with no recourse, after retiring, to ever be that naive. Not to suggest you will lose your pension tomorrow, but to think it could never happen and not plan for the contingency would be naive to the point of criminal negligence of your family. If your only retirement income is your pension, you are taking an incredible risk, IMO. Try spending less and saving more. Live within your means. If you retire with any debt at all, you will lose.

Anonymous said...

How soon we forget........


* The terms and conditions of the plans may change at any time.
* The plans may be terminated or amended at any time.
* The U.S. federal government may change terms under which the Social Security system provides
retirement income or the laws (including tax laws) applicable to employer-sponsored retirement plans.
* Your employment relationship may be voluntarily or involuntarily changed or terminated before the
date used in this statement.

Anonymous said...

November 22, 2010 11:10 PM

Great post. Greater if you had provided a citation.

Anonymous said...

November 23, 2010 7:29 PM wrote:

>Great post. Greater if you had provided a citation.

www.llnsllc.com/file/LLNSBenefitsSummary.pdf

Bottom of page 17.

Anonymous said...

The fact remains: UC retirees from the Labs are treated differently than UC retirees from other campuses, and that isn't right. If the whole UCRP goes under or gets changed, then fine, everyone gets the shaft. But as long as UC retirees from other campuses get different (and better) treatment than do we, it remains unfair and should be the subject of class action litigation. Period.

Anonymous said...

November 24, 2010 12:54 PM

"as long as UC retirees from other campuses get different (and better) treatment than do we, it remains unfair and should be the subject of class action litigation."

I agree. Who are you waiting for to do something about this??

Anonymous said...

See this website:

http://llnlretiree.com/.

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