Chair Talk

February 2014

New State Health Plan

As you all know, on January 15, 2014 the Civil Service Commission voted 3-1 to adopt the Impasse Panel Recommendations and place all state employees in the New State Health Plan beginning October 1, 2014. We were successful in getting the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) removed from the agenda as SERA had not met with Civil Service and the Office of the State Employer to discuss alternatives/impact of the health care changes. I had devised a form that retirees could fill out and return to me about their own health care costs under the current plan. I have received about 100 forms from retirees. Cheryl Streberger and I will have an initial meeting with OSE and Civil Service on February 12, 2014. At the December Executive Board meeting I had appointed a committee (Dave Cook, Ed Panasiewicz, Dave Reusser, Ray Czaja, Cheryl and myself) that would meet with the state in follow-up meetings. We will be discussing the impact that the health care changes will have on retirees. We will also be looking for possible alternatives to this plan.


When I received my mail-order prescriptions today there was a goldenrod notice enclosed that indicated that NoviXus would no longer automatically fill a prescription that they receive directly from your physician. They will place the prescription in your profile and will notify you by phone that a new prescription has been received. You may then contact NoviXus to have that prescription filled/ordered. I do not know why the procedure has changed. I have a call in to Employee Benefits to get more information about the change.


The 2 year agreement between VBS and SERA ends on February 14, 2014. As a result of this program SERA Chapters have gained 3,793 new members since March of 2012. I am proposing that we extend this agreement for 6 months until August of 2014. During this 6 month period we will be looking at problems that we have had within the program and try to formulate solutions in a new agreement. We will also be looking at how to address retaining the new members.

Editor’s note: Bob Kopasz is Chair of the Michigan SERA Council. He may be reached at P.O. Box 692, Mt. Morris, MI 48458; phone 810/240-8380.