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Officers
Left To Right:

Dan Rudd, Sec/Trea
Judy Foster, President
Kay Walker, V.P.

MEA - Retired

  • Your Three Officers at Work
  • Committee Chairs Meeting Sept 15
  • Judy Foster speaks to Chapter Presidents at Summer Leadership
  • Branko Bojicic speakmmer Leadership
  • Tim Greimel speak to MiARA members at MEA Headquarters
  • At Dinner Prior to Board of Director Meeting

Bills Would Alleviate Financial Strain on School Employees

Two separate proposals aimed at reducing financial pressures on Michigan school employees were introduced in the House this week.

The proposed bills come in the wake of Monday's release of a joint MEA-AFT Michigan membership survey that revealed widespread demoralization among Michigan educators and support staff - with stagnant wages and rising benefit costs among respondents' biggest concerns. 

One proposal would reduce health care costs for school employees, while a separate bill would extend a tax credit to offset student loan debt for educators working in schools that serve at-risk populations. 

MEA applauded the introduction of these bills in a press release today.  As the Legislature is on break for the election and back home in their districts, members should talk with lawmakers - and candidates - about these bills and the importance of addressing the compensation issues facing school employees.

House Bills 5924 and 5925 were introduced by Rep. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) to rein in skyrocketing out-of-pocket health care costs that school employees have suffered since the passage of PA 152 in 2011. That law required school districts to choose one of two formulas for sharing costs with employees.

Lucido's bill would eliminate one cost-sharing method, known as the "hard cap," which sets a ceiling on the dollar amount districts pay toward health care premiums. What would remain is the so-called 80-20 option, which requires employees to pay no more than 20 percent of the premium cost out of pocket.  

As drug prices and health care costs have soared nationwide in recent years, the hard cap model adopted by many districts across the state has proven burdensome to teachers and support staff. The 80-20 split would spread annual increases across both school districts and employees.

Lucido said the proposal would restore some needed balance to the system. "This bill would still protect school districts from exorbitant health care cost increases, because it maintains the 80-20 cost-sharing formula," he said. "However, it also would keep health care affordable for employees, so we can continue to attract good people to the profession." 

Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) sponsored a second financial proposal that targets educators carrying college loan debt who are working in a school building where 50 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced lunches. 

Changes coming for Retirees Using Specialty Medications January 1, 2017

There will be changes to our prescription drug medications for public school retirees that use specialty medications. These changes will take place on January 1, 2017.  The Office of Retirement Services has sent us the following information. .  Please note the difference between Non-Medicare and Medicare members. These changes only apply to members who have Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO coverage, and have OptiumRx for prescription drugs.

As of January 1, 2017 BriovaRx will handle all specialty medication needs for non-Medicare members. Beginning January 1, 2017 Medicare enrolled members will receive savings on preferred specialty medications filled at BriovaRx. These savings are available exclusively at BriovaRx. Our Patient Care Coordinators and Pharmacists at BriovaRx are highly trained to understand your special therapy needs, and we ship your medication wherever you need it—in safe, temperature-controlled and tested packaging—at no cost to you.

If you currently utilize a specialty pharmacy other than BriovaRx, here’s what you need to do:

  • Call 1-855-4BRIOVA (1-855-427-4682) to enroll right away. Our Patient Care Coordinators will guide you through the process. They will be expecting your call and are ready to help.
  • You can also register online at https://briovarx.com/newpatient. Make sure to complete the form entirely to help avoid delays in your transition.  After you submit the form, BriovaRx will contact your doctor and take care of everything else.

Non-Medicare Members

 

BriovaRx Pharmacy

Effective 1/1/2017

Non-BriovaRx Pharmacies

Effective 1/1/2017

Preferred Specialty Drugs

20% ($10 Min/$40 Max) - 30 Day Supply

No Coverage

Non-Preferred

Specialty Drugs

40% ($10 Min/No Max)* - 30 Day Supply

No Coverage

 

 

Medicare Members

 

BriovaRx Pharmacy

Effective 1/1/2017

Non-BriovaRx Pharmacies

Effective 1/1/2017

Preferred Specialty Drugs

20% ($10 Min/$40 Max) - 30 Day Supply

40% ($10 Min/No Max)* - 30 Day Supply

Non-Preferred

Specialty Drugs

40% ($10 Min/No Max)* - 30 Day Supply

40% ($10 Min/No Max)* - 30 Day Supply

*There are other specialty pharmacies in your network

OptumRx is here to help! Find forms, plan details, and answers to your questions
on our website and mobile app. Or, call and receive the assistance you need from our friendly professional staff.

Visit: www.optumrx.com/mycatamaranrx

Download the app: Search OptumRx in Google play store or Apple App Store

Call: 1-866-288-5209 (Non-Medicare) or 1-855-577-6517 (Medicare) to receive assistance 24 hours a day

MEA Fights State's "Blatantly Irresponsible" School Closure Threats

MEA is working with partners to push back against state threats to close schools based on test scores that districts were promised would not be used to rank, label, or penalize schools until three years of consistent data was available. 

Last week, the School Reform Office (SRO) first confirmed plans to close as many as 100 Michigan schools identified as low-performing by next June. Officials said they would use standardized test scores from 2014-2016 to make those determinations. 

However, amid a growing backlash from a variety of education advocates, the SRO has publicly backed away from that aggressive stance. Now a smaller yet unknown number of schools will face closure, "nowhere near 100," SRO Director Natasha Baker told the Detroit Free Press. 

Regardless of the number, it is wrong to use fundamentally flawed information to make decisions of such enormous consequence, said MEA President Steven Cook.

During the three years of data the state will review to determine closures, three different tests were used to measure school performance - the old MEAP and two different versions of the new Common Core-aligned M-STEP. 

In addition to shifting tests, districts were moving from paper-and-pencil tests to digital versions that resulted in lower scores everywhere - even in the highest performing districts. 

"It is blatantly irresponsible to base these drastic decisions on inconsistent, inaccurate data," Cook said. "Public schools are the backbone of their communities. Closing schools and threatening dedicated school employees does nothing to help children or improve struggling schools-most of which operate in impoverished areas in need of investment and support."  

The SRO has said the schools in danger of closing are those in the bottom five percent of school rankings for three consecutive years. Officials have said they would not close schools where "unreasonable hardship" would be created for parents, or where no better alternative exists.  

Various organizations representing Michigan school administrators and school boards are fighting the SRO's plans, along with MEA and AFT Michigan and other organizations aimed at fighting privatization of education in our state. 

The SRO has not forced school closures since the Legislature granted the authority six years ago. Instead it has focused on the failed state takeover model - emergency managers, consent agreements, CEO's, the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA), privatization (charter operators), and dissolution of districts. 

However, the SRO's management has changed in the past 18 months. 

The office once operated out of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) under the oversight of the Democrat-controlled State Board of Education. In March 2015, Snyder moved the SRO to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget under his control. 

 


Tentative MPSERS Fall Education Seminar

Proposed Dates

Locations

Venue

October 11

Marquette

Holiday Inn Marquette

 1951 US 41 West

Marquette, MI 49855

October 12

Escanaba

Quality Inn & Suites

2603 N. Lincoln Rd

Escanaba, MI 49829

October 13

Gaylord

Otsego Club & Resort

696 M-32 East

Gaylord, MI 49734

October 14

Traverse City

 

TBD

 

October 17

Grand Rapids

Doubletree Grand Rapids

4747 28th St SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49512

October 18

Lansing

Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

219 Harrison Rd.

East Lansing, MI 48824

October 19

Bay City

Bay Valley Resort

2470 Old Bridge Road

Bay City, MI. 48706

October 20

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo County Expo Center 2900 Lake St

Kalamazoo, MI 49048

October 21

Novi

Sheraton Novi  

2111 Haggerty Hwy

Novi, MI 48375

October 24

Sterling Heights

Sterling Inn

34911 Van Dyke Ave

Sterling Heights, MI 48312