Monday, December 16, 2013
PQRTA Pensions and Benefits Update from the BCRTA AGM
Greetings, Colleagues in Retirement:
Please see below for information from Kay re: our pensions and benefits.
Thanks to all who have recently updated their e-mail contact information with me; it is a big help for keeping our file current.
LOST in the Chalk Dust: If you are in contact with newly retired Irene Ball, please ask her to contact Val Dyer at email@example.com . We do not have her current contact information, on file, and, as a result, cannot keep her advised of PQRTA event information.
PQRTA Communications Chairperson (2013-14)
Pensions and Benefits
At the recent BCRTA AGM, Director Gerry Tiede gave us a full update on the state of our pension. As you know the bleak investment returns in 2008 had a negative impact on our plan as investments pay 80% of our pensions. This left us paying for our own dental and extended health premiums. The good news is that our investment income has rebounded nicely and our indexed raise is likely to be fully funded for the next few years at least. The September CPI governs our increase, which is not likely to be much this year as gas prices went down. It must be pointed out though that our pension fund poured about $1 billion into the BC economy this year. So do not believe what you read about public pensions costing the taxpayers huge sums of money!
Gerry also brought us up to date on a new service provided by the Pension Corporation. You can open up a “My Account” by accessing www.tpp.pensions.bc.ca.
You need to register by using your personal ID number found on the top right hand corner of your pension statement. Then you can access all your information since January 2013. This will be helpful at tax time; eventually you should even be able to print off your own T4s.
Gerry also reminded us of the online services offered by Blue Cross – our Extended Health and Dental Care Plans provider. You need your plan number to register for CARESNET at www.pac.bluecross.ca/corp/member. “Benefits and Elegibility” will tell you what our plan covers. You can review your own “Claims History”, including what you paid and what the plan reimbursed. You can set up a “Direct Deposit” so your pharmacist can bill the plan directly. Again this information will be useful at tax time when you should claim as many medical expenses as you can (More to come on this in the new year).
Another website can help you find the cheapest drugs and dispensing fees in your area. Our plan only pays $10.00 maximum dispensing fee. The site is www.pharmacycompass.ca . If you feed in the name of the drug, the size of the dosage and your location, the site will tell you which pharmacies near you charge what for the same service. This is important because we need to keep the cost of our plans as low as possible. However, it is also important to have a pharmacist you know and trust and who is aware of your medical history.
E-mail if you have any questions.
Posted by Jim Swanson at 12:15 AM