November 26, 2014

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 [...]

Are you eligible for death, dismemberment insurance?


Active and retired railroad employees covered under The Railroad Employees’ National Health and Welfare Plan or The NRC/UTU Health and Welfare Plan may be eligible for life and accidental death and Dismemberment benefits from MetLife. For eligible active employees, the death benefit is in most cases $20,000, and there may be an additional AD&D benefit [...]

Express Scripts/Medco’s packaging may change


Members who receive prescription medications through Express Scripts/Medco’s home-delivery pharmacy service may notice a change to their prescription bottle and its packaging beginning May 1. For those who are unaware, the companies merged last year. Members may notice different colors of prescription bottles – Express Scripts prescription bottles are orange and Medco bottles are white. [...]

Diet, weight control, exercise are keys to healthy living


By Dr. Norman K. BrownUTU Medical Consultant We have known for a long time that inadequate oxygen from poor heart or lung function, or poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide carried from breathing into our lungs, can injure our brains. Recent studies of women exposed to second hand smoke showed statistical increases in dementia over [...]

A guide to RR Medicare’s voice-responsive phone line

You need to know more about your Railroad Medicare benefits or specific claims.  Sometimes you’d like to find the information on your own, and other times, you want to speak with a Customer Service Representative (CSR).  Railroad Medicare, administered by Palmetto GBA, gives you the best of both of worlds.  Just call Palmetto’s IVR at [...]

“Nurse line” offers answers to medical questions


Members covered by Aetna, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or UnitedHealthcare seeking information about treatment options, chronic conditions or answers to other health-related questions can call a “nurse line” for answers 24 hours a day, every day. This free service can help you with losing weight, managing stress, quitting tobacco and much more. More importantly, [...]

RRB awards Palmetto GBA new Medicare contract

Palmetto GBA logo

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has once again awarded its Medicare contract to Palmetto GBA, which will continue to handle Medicare Part B claims for Railroad Retirement beneficiaries. The award, which was announced Sept. 28, names Palmetto as the Railroad Specialty Medicare Administrative Contractor (SMAC). The transition to the new contract award does not have [...]

Rail-member vision plan improvements on tap


UTU members covered by the Railroad Employees’ National Vision Plan will see improvements in the program effective Jan. 1 when benefits formerly provided by VSP will be administered by EyeMed Vision Care.  Enhancements include:  • A larger national network of providers, consisting of both independent and retail-affiliated providers;  • Five of the top six eye-care providers [...]

Medicare premiums to increase in January

Medicare beneficiaries will see their standard Medicare Part B monthly premium increase by $5 monthly to $104.90 beginning in January. A small number of beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income, which depends on the extent to which an individual beneficiary’s modified gross income exceeds $85,000 ($170,000 for [...]

Note a recall of medication Pradaxa(r)

The manufacturer of the prescription medication Pradaxa(r) is voluntarily recalling all patient-level lots of 75mg dosage of the medication. The reason is a potential packaging defect that the manufacturer says may compromise the integrity of the bottle and permit moisture to enter and impair the effective dose. If you have the 75 mg. dose of [...]