|News from Retired Employees of Los Angeles County|
|Volume 14 Number Three||May, 2013|
By Dave Muir
Chair, Legislation Committee
ORANGE COUNTY RETIREE HEALTHCARE LITIGATION
The arrangement in Orange County had been that retirees were in the same healthcare risk pool as active employees. When the Board of Supervisors removed retirees from the common pool their healthcare insurance premiums increased dramatically and the Retired Employees Association of Orange County (REAOC) sued in Federal Court.
The retirees' case is based on the argument that Orange County's long standing practice of including retirees with active employees in the healthcare risk pool gave rise to to an implied contract that gives retirees a vested right to always be included in the same risk pool as the active employees. The U.S. District Court ruled against the retirees based on the Court's conclusion that, as a matter of law, a government cannot be bound by an implied contract, that is there must be a written contract that expressly sets forth the terms.
The retirees appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the California Supreme Court to rule on whether, under California law, there can be an implied contract against the government. The California Supreme court said yes. So the case was sent back to the Federal District Court for a trial on the question of fact: could the retirees prove there were sufficient facts to bind Orange County under an implied (unwritten) contract. The retirees lost again in the District Court. So the case is again on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
The Ninth Circuit has set an expedited briefing schedule as follows: REAOC's opening brief due February 19, 2013; Orange County's brief due March 20; REAOC's reply brief to Orange county brief due April 3. After the briefing is completed the Court will review the papers and then set the case for oral argument.
THANK GOODNESS WE HAVE A WRITTEN CONTRACT WITH L.A. COUNTY GIVING US VESTED RIGHTS TO HEALTHCARE COVERAGE!
By Greg Walia, Chair,
Supplemental Benefits Committee
Many RELAC members have taken advantage of the Supplemental Dental & Vision plans offered through Pacific Group Agencies and insured by Ameritas. However, some members may be unaware of how to get the full benefits from these plans. For clarification, we'd like to point out the following:
The Dental plan is specially designed to supplement another PPO plan such as the LACERA provided Cigna PPO plan. It will not work with an HMO plan. The Ameritas plan is designed to help cover the out-of-pocket costs that you normally have when using the LACERA provided plan. However, if you do not have another dental plan, this plan will work as a stand-alone plan. You are not required to visit any specific dentist to use this plan. You may see any dentist.
The Vision plan is completely independent of any other vision plan you may have and it is designed for members who either have a LACERA plan but want a second set of glasses/contacts during the year or for members who do not have any other vision coverage. This supplemental vision plan is materials only. It covers lenses, frames and contacts, but does not cover eye examinations. You may see any eye care provider.
You may only enroll in the Dental & Vision plans during the Open Enrollment period which occurs around mid-October to early December. You will receive enrollment information in the mail later this year. The other supplemental benefit plans are available for enrollment year round.
Please contact Pacific Group Agencies at (800) 511-9065 for information on enrolling.
For some time now, the RELAC office has been open on Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
Effective immediately, our office is open for service on Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will remain open through the lunch hour; however we are closed on Fridays.
Should you wish to contact us outside of office hours, you may leave us a message by calling (626) 308-0532 or (800) 537-3522. Office staff will call you back during the next working day. We remain committed to being responsive to the needs of our members!