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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

November 2021

President, Tony Pizza,

Third…Third…Third! As was stated last month, the November meeting will be on the third Thursday, like every past November and December, because of the holidays. But, you may have missed the notice that NEXT YEAR ALL MEETINGS will be on the third Thursdays. Why? Why not, it’s simpler. It also allows a more regular schedule for producing our newsletter.

Because of the large cost-of-living increases this year, our cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be large too. Starting in January 2022 the federal retiree COLA will be 5.9 percent for those under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and 4.9 percent for those under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). A 5.9 percent 2022 COLA will also be issued to those receiving Social Security benefits.

Federal employees and retirees, on average, will pay about 3.8% more toward their health premiums next year, according to the Office of Personnel Management. OPM announced the annual premium rates for 2022 ahead of this year’s upcoming open season, which runs from Nov. 8 through Dec. 13. This is that time to make changes to your health, dental and vision plans ahead of the upcoming benefit year, which begins Jan. 1.You can find more details on your specific plan and the 2022 rates at https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/plans/premiums/2022/ffs/premium-rates .

The pandemic continues to have an impact. OPM bases 2022 premium rates on health care usage from the prior year, and because participants continued to defer doctors’ visits, elective surgeries and other procedures this year, overall usage of the health care market remains low compared to non-pandemic years.

An old-time pastor was riding furiously down the road, hurrying to get to church on time. Suddenly, his horse stumbled and threw him to the ground. Lying in the dirt, his body wracked with pain, the pastor called out, “All you angels in heaven, help me get up on my horse!” With extraordinary strength, he leaped onto the horse’s back—and fell off the other side. From the ground again, he called out, “All right, just half of you angels this time!”