2nd Quarter 2010 Benefits Corner

Benefits Corner: A review of Dental, Health Insurance, Pension issues

 by Al Horan

By the time you read this article, MetLife will have been reoffered membership in CRA's Dental Program. However, it is worthwhile that, thanks to HDH, our dental consultant, and MetLife the reoffering became reality. This is the first time MetLife agreed to reoffer its dental product to any contract holder.

While ideally we would have preferred to have the reoffer take place around July, MetLife was required to make the reoffer in March because of insurance regulations. We hope you took advantage of the reoffer by joining one of the plans offered through MetLife. Remember there is no guarantee the Program will be reoffered again the future. On a related note, we hope anyone who joined a MetLife Plan authorized an automatic deduction of their premiums from their bank account. Recently, a dental plan member was hospitalized and their dental premium was not paid. Consequently, their coverage was cancelled for non-payment. We are currently working to have the coverage reinstated. Since unforeseen conditions can happen, we strongly encourage you to carefully consider authorizing automatic payment of your premiums.

Supplementation remains high priority

We know many of you are receiving fixed monthly pensions from Chevron and it has been several years since a pension supplementation increase was provided by Chevron. We also know and appreciate your concerns about the economy and the period of elapsed time since the last supplementation. An increase is a very high priority to me personally and the CRA leadership. Whenever possible, we raise this issue with Chevron. This also is on our agenda for discussion at

CRA's Annual Meeting in May

However, just before going to press with this article, Chevron announced a cut of 2,000 downstream jobs. We hope this action does not in some way overshadow the needs of our retirees. We will continue to provide you with updates.

As mentioned on previous occasions, we encourage you and anyone you know who has a Chevron pension - especially through a legacy company - to keep their retirement papers. Although an exception, but still a concern, just recently someone I know and worked with filed for her pension with Chevron's Service Center. Unfortunately, her records could not be located.  We are working with Chevron Corporate Benefits to establish her claim. Bear in mind that when a company both acquires and merges with other companies, sometimes records are misplaced. Therefore, we encourage you, and people you know, to keep important records in a safe place. It's a good idea, too, to make loved ones aware of the location of your important documents.

Health insurance reform complex

Just last evening, March 21, the House of Representatives approved the Senate's version of a Health Reform bill. Within the next couple of days it is expected that President Obama will sign the bill and it will become law. I understand, however, that the House will propose certain modifications to the law which will require approval by the House and Senate before they can be presented to the President for signature. At this point it's too early to determine the impact, if any, the new law and any modifications will have on our medical coverage. In discussions with Chevron, they indicated that after they evaluate the impact of the legislation and, at the appropriate time, they will provide us with information regarding our Chevron Medical Benefits. 

National Census guidelines

Finally, 2010 is the year of the National Census. The process of collecting census data began in March, with April 1 being the official day of the population count. By the time you read this article, hopefully you will have responded to the government's request. However, if you did not receive a census form, or if you are contacted by the government, bear in mind that the needed census information is limited to name, gender, race, ethnicity, household members, relationships and whether you own or rent your residence. You should NOT be asked for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. The U.S. Census Bureau should contact you by mail or in person. You should NOT be contacted by phone or email. Be aware, too, that field representatives from the Census Bureau must present an ID badge which should have a photo, expiration date and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark.

In closing, we remind you that if you have questions or need assistance with Benefits issues, please 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: 832-934-0680
• Herb Farrington, Unocal: E-Mail: herbf76@msn.com, Phone: 714-904-5825
• Richard Watkins, Unocal: E-Mail: wrwatkins@embarqmail.com, Phone: 903-451-3266