Trump can en­sure fair health care costs for fed­eral work­ers, re­tirees

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Around 10 years ago, I re­tired from the fed­eral govern­ment. At that time, my wife and I sat down and dis­cussed our re­tire­ment op­tions. Af­ter care­ful thought, we de­cided it was in our best in­ter­est for me to ex­tend my ca­reer by an­other six months, which would give me 15 years of ser­vice. I re­tired in March 2007, and for over two years, our plan seemed to work. We knew our costs would con­tinue to grow. How­ever, we be­lieved these added costs would be at an ac­cept­able rate that we had fac­tored into our re­tire­ment plan.

All fed­eral em­ploy­ees and re­tirees as part of a ben­e­fit pack­age re­ceive health care in­sur­ance. They all know that ap­prox­i­mately two-thirds of the pre­mium is paid by our govern­ment, and some­where around onethird comes out of our own pock­ets.

Un­for­tu­nately, my wife and I did not have a crys­tal ball to look into the fu­ture. My pen­sion was not huge; how­ever, we fig­ured this money would be a nec­es­sary sup­ple­ment and would give us a little money each month even af­ter pay­ing our health care pre­mi­ums.

Folks, here is where the rub­ber hits the road. In 2017, my health care pre­mi­ums rose by $128, which is around a 30 per­cent in­crease. In about an­other year, my pen­sion will no longer cover these health care in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums. It should be noted that my wife and I are cov­ered by Medi­care and, there­fore, only about 20 per­cent of our health care costs are paid through these com­mer­cially op­er­ated health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. In my case, af­ter Medi­care, the to­tal amount for 20 per­cent cov­er­age paid as part of my ben­e­fit pack­age comes to over $18,500 per year (U.S. Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment sta­tis­tics).

Our 45th pres­i­dent, Don­ald Trump, is now in charge of the largest money-spend­ing op­er­a­tion in the whole world. As the CEO, he has con­trol of all bud­getary con­cerns for all tax­pay­ers. He has proven he is not bash­ful about ex­press­ing his con­cerns about un­usual costs for the new Air Force One jets and new jet fight­ers and has re­al­ized sav­ings on both in his first few months is of­fice. I am hop­ing he will now turn his at­ten­tion to­ward these pre­mi­ums that are be­ing paid to health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

Fi­nally, per­haps the health care in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are ask­ing us to pay rea­son­able pre­mi­ums; how­ever, wouldn’t it be nice if Pres­i­dent Trump had his staff con­duct an au­dit of all fed­eral em­ployee health care pre­mi­ums, en­sur­ing we are in­deed get­ting bang for the buck? At the present time, many fed­eral em­ploy­ees are hav­ing anx­i­ety at­tacks over how their fed­eral ca­reers will turn out. Our pres­i­dent could go a long way to­ward al­le­vi­at­ing this one fear by en­sur­ing their health pre­mi­ums are rea­son­able. Af­ter all, we are the peo­ple. John Pe­tralia, Sun­der­land

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