2nd Quarter 2009 Benefits Corner

by Al Horan, CRA's Benefits Chairperson

I am happy to report that CRA's Dental Program is going well. However, a major undertaking like this program is not without hiccups. Because of early issues, MetLife agreed to extend the enrollment deadline to March 31.

At the time this column was written it was too early to determine the number of eligible CRA members who elected dental coverage. In total, approximately 11,000 enrollment kits were mailed to dues-paying CRA members by MetLife. The mailing went to qualified individuals, including Chevron legacy retirees who qualify for dental coverage through Chevron.

In the case of Chevron retirees, CRA's program was offered as an alternative. CRA's Dental Program is not replacing Chevron's Dental Plan. The main intent of the CRA program is to offer dental coverage to non-Chevron legacy retirees who retired from Texaco, Gulf, Caltex, Unocal, etc. Stay tuned because we should be able to share more information about CRA's program in our next Benefits Corner.

Now, turning to a very weighty concern to us all. When this column was written, the Dow Jones fell below 7,000, unemployment was increasing and the bailout of financial institutions continued. I feel it's safe to say that given the state of our economy we all are concerned about our financial futures. This includes both individuals living on fixed incomes and those living off their savings - and also involves individuals who received pension lump sums.

Regardless of the sources of our incomes, it behooves each of us to review and consider minimizing our expenses. Further, we should consider deferring any large purchases. Finally, it would be prudent to work closely with our financial/investment advisers.

Regarding retirees who receive fixed pensions from Chevron: We recently visited with Chevron and again raised the dire need for pension supplementation increases. While we've been able to demonstrate clearly to Chevron the need for increases and their willingness to consider our supporting data, I'm concerned the current economic climate may be overshadowing our request. Be assured, however, we will continue to recognize your need for increases and are continuing to discuss this need with the Company.

In other discussions with Chevron it was brought to our attention that only about 45-50 percent of retirees, who are covered by Chevron's non-HMO medical plans, are taking advantage of the Mail Order feature to fill their prescription medications. We understand 45-50 percent usage is low. You may be unaware of the convenience and cost savings by obtaining your prescription medications by mail from Medco.

I have been using Medco's Mail Order service for years. To help CRA members better understand the advantages of using the Mail Order feature, Bill Dodge, a Benefits Committee member, has prepared a write-up which he can share with you as well as answer your questions. His contact information appears below. You may also contact Medco by phoning 1-800-935-6215, if you are covered by Medicare, or 1-800-987-8368 if not covered by Medco. You also can visit Medco's website at http://www.medco.com.

Lastly, I am pleased that, from my perspective and to Chevron's credit, the quality of the claims payment service for Chevron's Medical Plans seems to have improved. I'm receiving fewer requests for assistance. And, where assistance is requested, the claim issue is not routine.

In handling these unusual situations I have nothing but praise for Chevron by getting involved and bringing these claims to speedy resolutions. While claims appear to be running smoothly, I have recently been involved in a few situations where non-Chevron legacy retirees or their survivors have experienced problems in establishing their legacy benefit or an earlier commitment to provide a benefit.

However, again to Chevron's credit, they stepped in and helped resolve these problems. Although these situations can be upsetting we should try to remember that Chevron's benefit plans are complex and the non-Chevron benefit plans also are generally complex.

To try to avoid future problems, it is suggested you find and keep your original retirement letter and any supporting documents in a safe place. It probably also makes sense to contact Chevron's HR Service Center to review your elections and beneficiary designations.

The Service Center "contact information" is: 1-888-TALK2HR (1-888-825-5247) or their website at http://www.benefitsweb.com/Chevron.html.

If you have questions, feel free to contact any of the following Benefits Committee members:

- Al Horan, Caltex: E-Mail: awhoran@verizon.net, Phone: 972-964-1787

- Virginia Benfield, Texaco: E-Mail: vbenfield@comcast.net, Phone: 281-558-3807

- Linda Bulla, Texaco: E-Mail: jo2nlin3a@earthlink.net, Phone: 615-832-1046

- Bill Dodge, Chevron/Gulf:E-Mail: wndodge@sbcglobal.net, Phone: 832-934-0608

- Herb Farrington, Unocal: E-Mail: herbf76@msn.com, Phone: 714-904-5825

- Richard Watkins, Unocal: E-Mail: wrwatkins@embarqmail.com, Phone: 903-451-3266