Board Elections - 2018
The Board elected the 2018 officers at the Board meeting in October.
President Phil Saba
Vice President Jean Hilbig
Treasurer Jack Quella
Secretary Roman Kohler
Congratulations to Ron Martella who got his first hole in
one at Eagle Trace Golf Club July 19 on hole 14.
Witnessed by Dick Leitner and Don Baaso.
2017 PICNIC REPORT:
This year’s picnic was great with the weather cooperating with nice warm temperature and just a slight breeze to make it very comfortable. Bennett’s Barbecue was good and plentiful as they have done each year. We know what to expect and have not been disappointed. The bingo after the lunch provided cash prizes to the folks with lucky cards. Critical Nurse Staffing brought fresh picked Palisade peaches organized in baskets for gift drawings. Professional Case Management paid for the beer and held drawings for gift items. Roman took pictures of most everyone as they entered the pavillion and those pictures are on the rfhomesteaders.com web site. Thanks to the Homesteader Board members who helped set up the tables and chairs and bring coolers for the soft drinks. Many of the folks helped with the breaking down and storing tables and chairs after the picnic. We had an attendance of over 120. Everyone enjoyed a fun summer event.
FALL 2017 LOUISVILLE LUNCH REPORT:
We had about 50 attend the Luncheon at the Louisville Elks Lodge. Jule’s Catering did a great job with stacked sandwiches, salads, chips and cookies & brownies for dessert. Lemonade and tea were also part of the lunch. It is always great to see folks from the northern area who
find it convenient to attend a Homesteader sponsored event. The cost of reserving the Elks hall and the catering cost influenced the Board to attach a charge to help offset the total expense of the luncheon.
The folks enjoyed socializing and all seemed happy and thanked Board members for a good afternoon. A couple of folks came early and helped with the set up and many helped with the take down after the lunch.
SUMMARY PLAN DESCRIPTION EXPLAINED:
Marlene Elenbaas explains how working at a job after a former RF worker passes can lead to a loss of benefits by the surviving spouse.
Important Information Regarding Spouses Who Are Working at the Time of the Retiree’s Death and their Eligibility for Continued Medical Programs (Plan)
At the time of a retiree’s death, surviving spouses (whether under or over age 65) must certify that they are ELIGIBLE to continue to be covered by the Rocky Flats medical programs (Plan). In order to determine ELIGIBILITY for surviving spouse medical benefits, the surviving spouse must answer questions regarding their employment, and in some cases eligibility for medical benefits through that employer, at the time of the retiree’s death. Although it is imperative that participants with Questions regarding this benefit call the Rocky Flats Benefits Center at 1-866-296-5036 to get exact details on how eligibility criteria is determined, below are some details of how this program works.
- A surviving spouse is eligible under the Plan as a Surviving Spouse if the retiree was receiving benefits under the Plan at the time of his or her death and the spouse was enrolled as an eligible dependent, AND
- A surviving spouse of a Salaried and SPO retiree can continue coverage under the plan as long as s/he has not remarried and/or s/he has not become employed regardless of whether other insurance is available or provided, OR
- A surviving spouse of an Hourly (USW) retiree can continue coverage under the Plan as long as s/he has not remarried and/or s/he has not become employed on a job where health coverage is available.
- Exception: if the Surviving Spouse of an Hourly (USW) retiree was under the age of 50 at the time of the retiree’s death the surviving spouse will ONLY be eligible for twenty-seven (27) months of coverage at the same cost as to the retiree (based on number of dependents insured) after the month in which the retiree dies. In addition, the surviving spouse (and eligible dependents) will be
eligible to continue coverage for an additional nine (9) months of coverage under COBRA at the full cost of the premium.
Surviving spouses must recertify their continued eligibility for coverage by completing and returning a Surviving Spouse Affidavit form to the Rocky Flats Benefits Center on an annual basis. Failure to return a completed form during the annual audit will result in a loss of coverage.
The above information can be found in both the Annual Open Enrollment Guides and the Rocky Flats Flexible Benefits Plan Summary Plan Descriptions that are available on line at http://RockyMound.mercerhrs.com or by calling the Rocky Flats Benefits Center at 1-866-296-5036.
NEWS ABOUT ROCKY FLATS:
The Fish and Wildlife Service held a sharing session to present their plans for trails and a visitor center on the refuge. The USFWS plans
to hold several more sharing sessions to get public input. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Energy multi-purpose (visitor/administration) building will be constructed on the northern boundary, near Highway 128. The building will include
interpretive exhibits and space for Cold War Museum exhibits.
The year-round trail system will be open to hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Guided tours, hikes and nature programs will be
available on a seasonal basis. Refuge staff hopes to open the Refuge to
visitors in Spring 2018. Currently, Refuge staff is leading monthly nature hikes at the Refuge and reservations are required by calling 303-289-0930.
A survey on the health of people who live near the Rocky Flats site has been conducted. Carol Jensen, a nurse and a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, reported the survey shows worrisome results to warrant further study. The survey respondents reported unexpectedly large number of cases of thyroid cancer and rare cancers. Jensen cautioned that the survey is not statistically rigorous and the people who are ill likely responded more readily than those who aren’t.
There is no way currently to determine whether those cancers identified occurred at higher rates in people who lived near Rocky Flats than they
do in the general population. Jensen said researchers will next collect oral histories to validate the information provided and also learn more. Thyroid cancer is the ninth-most-common type of cancer according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey was launched in May in cooperation with the Rocky Flats Downwinder citizen group.
COOK CASE SETTLEMENT:
The $375 million class-action lawsuit resolution begab distributions in november. The Heffler Claims Group reported that valid claimants can expect to receive two checks.
They had received over 10,000 claims. They have validated over 7,360 claims. Those that are validated will be in the first wave of distribution. They have worked with property experts in the Denver area to determine property values. They will continue to work with deficient claims to have them ready by the time of the second distribution. The first amount is determined if all claims are valid and the second check will be for the amount after invalid claims are deleted from the pool. Distributions will not go out in one day. The process will require several days processing. The claims group requests that claimants keep the administrators advised of any changes to addresses or contact information that may be different than what is on the original claim. If anyone needs to contact the administrator they will need to have their claim number as part of the communication.
WE HAVE BEEN HACKED:
All former workers from Rocky Flats have had their personal information hacked from an intrusion of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The intrusions, linked to China, began in May 2014 and were not discovered and announced publicly until a year later. Most all former workers have received a letter from the OPM providing information about the hack and the free help that is available to anyone who is affected. The hack exposed names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information that may have been provided on employment documents. More than $130 million was awarded to Identity Theft Guard Solutions to provide victims credit and identity-theft insurance for three years. Keep the letter you received that give the phone number and web site for more information. That number is 800-750-3004 to enroll in or ask questions about services. The web site is: www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. The web site has a lot of information and tips about information security. Check the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
WILDLIFE REFUGE OPENING:
What may be called a soft opening, the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge has opened for guided nature hikes by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Information can be found at the web site address below. The web site gives information about the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and other Wildlife Refuges.
To explore the wildlife, birds and plants of the Refuge, please be comfortable hiking up to 3 miles. Call 303-289-0930 to make reservations. The number of participants is limited.
Rocky Flats NWR Address: 10801 Highway 93, Golden, CO.
SEC for Worker Compensation: Happy news for many claimants for compensation for cancers of Rocky Flats. The SEC has passed! Through December 31, 1983. This means that several thousand people just qualified. If you have one of the 27 cancers on the list during that time, you can now be compensated without proving your dose reconstruction. The hard work of so many individuals and groups made this happen, they never quit fighting for their loved ones and co-workers.
The National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP) offers medical screening for former Department of Energy (DOE) Rocky Flats workers who may have been exposed to hazardous substances at work. The screening provides a health and exposure history questionnaire and an interview to determine the components of the NSSP medical exam. The medical screening includes a physical exam, blood testing, urine testing, stool testing for occult blood, and a hearing test. Depending upon your DOE work history, the exam may also include lung function testing, a chest x-ray, and other specialized tests. The medical screening is designed to identify occupational diseases such as:
- chronic respiratory diseases,
- hearing loss,
- kidney or liver disease, and
- some forms of cancer.
There are special exams for former workers exposed to beryllium, asbestos, or epoxy resins. DOE has recently expanded repeat examinations through the Former Worker Programs at three to five year intervals. Those who worked around these substances are particularly encouraged to participate:
The Program offers to you at no cost, a customized medical examination based on your work history and worksite risks.
Exam results reviewed by one of the country's best medical centers and experts in occupational health
A written summary of your exam results along with copies of all test results
Medical information helpful to you and your personal physician
Access to a toll-free Health Hazard Information Line for medical questions
Educational materials about occupational health hazards
Access to information resources via the Internet
Access to advisors who understand workers