May 17, 2012–10 a.m.–Retired Teachers Memorial Building
The meeting was called to order by President Carole Sarkisian-Bonard at 10 a.m. at the Retired Teachers Memorial Building, 3930 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno. Approximately 225 FURA members were present.
Carole welcomed the group and announced that she and Melinda Homola are retiring as President and Vice President of FURA but will remain in an ex officio capacity on both the FURA Steering Committee and Executive Board. She continued with a brief history of FURA–Fresno Unified Retirees Association–for the benefit of those retirees who have recently became members of the Association.
Once again, for the record, Carole reiterated the differences between FURA I, II and III. She emphasized that FURA is ONE organization representing all District retirees but it was an in-house decision to name the groups for clarification purposes especially in the area of retirement dates as follows: FURA I is comprised of those retirees who were part of the class-action lawsuit and who retired prior to April 17, 2006. The lawsuit is over and has been judged in FURA’s favor. The date of April 17 was designated by the court as the cut-off date determined by the date of the letter initiated by the District and sent to retirees mandating payment of health premiums.
FURA II is comprised of those retirees (137 members) who retired during the period of April 18, 2006 to July 31, 2006 referred to as the “Gap Group”. FURA III consists of those retirees who retired after July 31, 2006 and who reached the District’s healthcare eligibility requirements of their original contract of employment–57 ½ years of age and completion of 16 years of service.
In reference to FURA II, Cathy Franzell announced that on March 15, 2012, an agreement which was an extension of FURA I’s class action lawsuit was reached and signed between FURA and Fresno Unified School District stating that no health care premiums, fees or assessments will be charged to FURA II eligible retirees effective immediately. She thanked the Executive Board and Bezemek Law Firm for their successful efforts in this matter.
Carole announced that an invitation was extended to representatives from the District’s Benefits and Risk Management Office to attend the meeting for the purpose of a question and answer period regarding health benefits. There was no response to the invitation. Carole stated she and FURA Board members fielded many calls relating to the health plan changes by the District and the placement of retirees on Medicare Part D. It was hoped that someone from the District or Joint Health Management Board would have been present to address retirees’ concerns.
Carole briefly reviewed the current changes to the medical health plan and reminded the retirees to review the information sent out by the District and either make their concerns known by mail or email to the Board of Education and/or Joint Health Management Board. Many members present expressed concerns regarding prescription coverage under the Envision RX plan and their experiences in accessing related information; that many encountered delays and denials in receiving prescription drugs. She reminded the members that the court’s ruling is posted on the website; that this reference should be cited and included in all communications of complaint to the two Boards mentioned above.
Inquiries have been made by many of the members regarding Dental and Vision Insurance. Carole reminded the membership that anyone who retired prior to 2009 cannot purchase dental or vision insurance from the District. This decision has been made by the Joint Health Management Board. FURA is currently offering vision insurance through VSP and information is available by contacting Lynn Freeman or Walt Franzell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available on the FURA website: fura-fusd.org.
Continuing, the following guests were introduced to the membership: Bryan Feemster of James G. Parker Insurance Associates and Tiffiny Bailey-Khoury, Regional Sales Manager, Wells Fargo Insurance, who described the steps in obtaining vision and/or dental insurance with their group for those retirees currently not offered opportunities to do so or who wish to change their existing plans. They stated that in order to examine the feasibility of a group plan and to acquire competitive rates from various carriers, it was necessary that those members interested complete the Employee Benefits Survey made available at the meeting and return the information no later than June 1, 2012 to James G. Parker Insurance Associates, 1753 East Fir, Fresno, CA 93720. The results and subsequent steps would be posted either on the FURA website or included in a newsletter.
At this time, Carole introduced David Bradley, who has assumed the leadership responsibility for FURA III. David, retired in 2010 from Malloch School, and served as Vice President of FTA and also was a site rep and negotiator for 12 years. He also served as the Elementary Educator on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Committee of Credentials in Sacramento. He presented a brief overview of organizational requirements and the vast coordination efforts that will be necessary in this endeavor. He urged the current retirees of FURA III to join with him to regain District-paid lifetime health benefits by calling him at 559-227-6578.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12 noon.
Florence Deak, Recording Secretary