Dear LLNL Retirees
As you know, the costs for health and welfare benefits in our country continue to rise. This year LLNL costs increased approximately $35 million, with the Laboratory absorbing 95 percent of these increases. Next year, without changes to the plans we currently have in place, costs would increase another 13 percent, or almost $20 million.
Now is the time to take significant steps to provide options that minimize or avoid passing these increases onto our employees and retirees. Deputy Director Steve Liedle and I formed a Health and Welfare Benefits Working Group to seek ways to retool our benefits options to create a more cost-effective model ‚Äì while continuing to provide competitive plans that attract new employees, retain our current work force and serve the needs of our retirees. We also have worked hard to maintain the same range of options. I believe that this new suite of available plans offers our retirees a reasonable balance between cost and flexibility.
This model avoids substantial increases in 2009, while maintaining quality of care and covered benefits. However, this model will bring changes. Non-Medicare retirees, depending on their chosen medical plan, will see increases next year. Those enrolled in Kaiser Permanente will see small increases, while other plans will see moderate to substantial increases. Retirees in the latter category will have the ability to choose a lower cost plan and still see the same doctors.
Among the changes that take place beginning January 1,2009;
The changes, along with a chart detailing costs are described in the enclosed materials. In addition, the Laboratory will offer several meetings for retirees in early November, just prior to Open Enrollment. This year Open Enrollment will be held November 10-21 for non-Medicare retirees and November 5-28 for Medicare-eligible retirees. A schedule of meetings is enclosed.
I encourage you to review these materials carefully, attend the presentations and utilize the resources available to you. Health care costs affect all of us. Through the changes outlined above, I believe we have created an equitable plan, one that benefits our Laboratory and ensures that LLNL employees and retires will continue to receive the best health care available.
George H. Miller
Contrast that with the UC Plans: