October 31, 2014

Medicare Part B premiums remain the same in 2015

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The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $104.90 in 2015, the same amount as in 2014. Some beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income, but these amounts are also remaining the same as in 2014. The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2015 will be [...]

Healthcare open enrollment online until Nov. 1

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Railroad employees covered under National Railway Carriers/UTU Health and Welfare Plan or the Railroad Employees’ National Health and Welfare Plan were mailed a notification of the online open enrollment period that began Oct. 1, 2014, and ends Nov. 1, 2014. The information should be specific to the current enrollment for you and your eligible dependents. [...]

Wellness programs more popular with employers

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That little voice nagging you to put down the cake and lace up the running shoes is increasingly coming from your employer and is likely to grow louder with a looming change under the federal health care overhaul. More companies are starting or expanding wellness programs that aim to reduce their medical costs by improving [...]

When Railroad Medicare pays first or second

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When Medicare began in the 1960s, it was the primary payer for all services except those covered by workers compensation. In 1980, Congress enacted provisions to shift costs from the Medicare program to private insurers, when possible. This legislation stopped Medicare from making payment if the payment had already been made, or would be expected [...]

SMART TD partners with KUMC in hearing loss study

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Sixty percent of the U.S. population has hearing loss and most of those incidences are the result of exposure to noise. The University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) and the SMART Transportation Division have launched a partnership that could benefit you if you are suffering from this disability. The partnership between KUMC and the SMART [...]

Deal reached on same-sex couple dependent benefits

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Rail labor organizations and rail management through the National Carriers Conference Committee have reached an accord to extend medical, dental and vision benefits to same-sex couple spouses, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The plans affected are the National Railway Carriers/UTU Health and Welfare Plan, the Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan, the Early Retirement Health [...]

Early rail retiree insurance cap rises in 2014

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UTU members and their dependents insured under the Railroad Employees National Early Retirement Major Medical Benefit (ERMA) Plan (GA-46000) will have their lifetime maximum amount of coverage increased, effective Jan. 1. ERMA is a comprehensive benefits plan for employees who retire at or after age 60 with 30 years of service. The plan covers qualified [...]

Flu season is here, shots covered by RR Medicare

It’s that time again. Flu season is upon us and the flu shot is available to be taken now. There are between 135 and 139 million vaccinations available this year. Medicare Part B (including Railroad Medicare) normally pays for one flu shot per flu season. There are two ways to take the vaccine – by [...]

Automatic disability insurance for rail members

The SMART Transportation Division has renewed its contract, effective July 1, 2013, with Anthem Life Insurance Co. to provide a group voluntary short-term disability plan for all rail members. Coverage will continue to be automatic unless members choose to waive coverage or “opt-out.” The Anthem rail disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of [...]