From New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

Have Peace of Mind that Your Pension Benefits are Secure
Like all investors, the state’s pension fund has faced challenges this year. Fortunately, we’re well-funded and the benefits of public workers are secure. We want to assure the more than one million men and women who rely on the state pension fund for retirement security that we are well-positioned to weather the ongoing volatility. To our retirees, your pensions are safe and we will continue to pay your benefits as scheduled each and every month as promised. For some time, we’ve been making adjustments in expectation of a downturn in the economy. We’re actively managing through these difficult times and are confident the markets will ultimately recover

Know Your Retirement Benefits if You Get Sick
The unfortunate reality is that some public workers may become seriously ill or die from this virus. If tragedy befalls them before their retirement becomes effective their beneficiaries could lose out. I applaud Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order that waives the standard waiting period after filing for service retirement benefits to ensure their families will get the benefits meant for them. I want to make sure that we’re fulfilling our promises to public workers.

What you need to know if you are traveling outside the US.

Are you planning to travel outside the US? Then you should be aware of how your health insurance works during foreign travel.

Empire Plan coverage is available worldwide, primarily in the form of reimbursement. If Medicare is your primary insurance, you should be aware that Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States (with a few exceptions).

If you require medical care while abroad, the American Embassy can usually provide names of reliable, English-speaking doctors. After receiving medical services, ask for copies of your medical records in English, if possible. Keep a receipt when you pay your bill. When you get home, submit the records to the appropriate Empire Plan administrator. The Plan administrators will reimburse you directly for covered expenses. If you are Medicare primary, remember that Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States. If no other coverage is in effect, The Empire Plan is primary until you return.

The above paragraph was excerpted from the publication, On the Road with the Empire Plan. The publication  is a must read for all New York State retirees who travel out of New York, both in the United States and internationally.

Click the buttons below to download the New York State publications or to learn more about Medicare and foreign travel.




Thanks to member Ed Nostrand for sharing the information about Medicare and foreign travel.

Urgent Message Regarding Health Insurance

NYSUT sent out a notice earlier this year regarding the NYSHIP dependent eligibility audit. The  Audit was directed strictly to those members with family Empire Plan coverage and who obtain their health coverage through school districts or local

April 15, 2016, was the deadline for participants to submit verifying dependent information to the plan for the purpose of coverage. It was reported yesterday that as of 04/14/16, 26,000 Empire Plan participants had not submitted their dependent verification information. If this information is not submitted, dependents will be removed from coverage, and most would lose coverage retroactive to 01/01/16.

Local leaders encourage their members to review the dependent verification packet they received in February and comply with the request as soon as possible. If participating members have questions, members can call HMS Solutions (the NYSHIP dependent verification vendor) 1-855-893-8477.

Update on Social Security and Medicare

The AFT as issued a bulletin from on recent changes to Social Security and Medicare that all retirees, and soon to be retirees, should be aware of.

2016 Changes Announced for Social Security and Medicare

The Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced changes in Social Security and Medicare benefits effective January 1, 2016. This bulletin provides some of the key changes for review and use by local leaders and active and retired members.   More detailed information can be found at Continue reading

Good News for North Carolina Residents …

NYSUT reported this morning that United Healthcare (UHC) and the 
Carolinas Health Care System (CHS) have reached a contractual agreement, 
resulting in the return of all CHS physicians to The Empire Plan 
network. The effective date will be retroactive to March 1, 2015, 
ensuring that Empire Plan enrollees and dependents do not experience any 
interruption in their network benefits for services received from CHS 
providers. Any questions regarding CHS providers or claims should be 
directed to UHC by calling The Empire Plan at 1-877-7-NYSHIP 
(1-877-769-7447); press or say 1 for the Medical Program