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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

June 2024

President, Tony Pizza,

At the May meeting we had a visit by our District VP, Steve Smith. We also had a late offer for a presentation by member Bob Warnagieris about creating a personal story of events in your life that your family might like to know. Bob read of our lack of presenters and volunteered after our newsletter had been sent out. If you have a topic to share, let our Program Chair George Ramirez know.

Don't bank on larger COLAs in future years. In 2023 it was over 8%. For 2025, it might be a little over 3%, and that might be the largest for years. Predictions are that increases might be even less. Whether it's high or low, the adjustment always lags behind the actual increase in the cost of living. And those big increases at the grocery store, housing costs, utilities, and gasoline aren’t coming down soon, if ever.

TSP Update As of May 15, 2024, if a TSP participant requests a withdrawal from a TSP account, there is no longer a 30-day waiting period requirement before requesting another withdrawal. The TSP writes that this change “is part of our ongoing efforts to make the TSP a simple and convenient place for you to manage your retirement income.

If you are covered by Medicare Part B, the Medicare Reimbursement Account (MRA) may apply.

A $800 reimbursement is applicable to Blue Cross Basic members and others covered by your plan (like wives). It is explained here pretty well: MRAQRG2021-interactive.pdf (fepblue.org)

GEHA’s is $1000 and applies to High Option plans: GEHA's Medicare Part B Reimbursement Account | GEHA

Kaiser’s is $2400 for some plans: 2024 FEHB Guide to Medicare MAS (kaiserpermanente.org)

Have you been penalized by the IRS for insufficient withholding? If so, might be time to have OPM increase your withholding. As of October 1, 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has increased the interest rate for tax underpayments to 8%, much higher than the interest rate of 3% just two years ago. The IRS determines the interest rate every quarter using the federal short-term rate plus three percentage points for most individual taxpayers. Rising interest rates are the cause of the large spike.

The annual open season is when most enrollment changes in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program occur, but certain changes are allowed at other times when an individual experiences a “qualifying life event.” The major events that permit enrollment or change in enrollment are: A change in family status; change in employment status; You or a family member lose FEHB or other coverage under another FEHB enrollment. When one of these events occurs, you may enroll, change your enrollment from self only to self and family, change your enrollment to another FEHB plan or option, change your enrollment to self only, or cancel your enrollment. If one of these situations applies, see Changing FEHB Coverage Outside an Open Season (fedweek.com)

A man is interviewing for a new job: “What is this big gap on your resume?” a recruiter asked. “I went to Yale for 4 years,” he says. The recruiter is impressed and offers him the position. The man is excited and responds: “That’s awesome, I am so happy about this because I badly needed this Yob.”