President’s Message – August 2018

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Dog Days of Summer
Early August is usually a time when things tend to slow down so we can relax, recharge, and enjoy the dog days of summer during the first two weeks of the month. I’ve found that stepping away from the normal stressors we face each day can be one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves. It helps bring about renewed energy, fresh eyes, and helps us gain a fresh perspective to help us work through troublesome issues.

A HUGE THANK YOU!
I had the pleasure of attending the 20th annual Fallen Heroes Memorial ride on Saturday July 14th. Once again Jack Wise, the Fire Hogs Board and members, along with their incredible army of volunteers put on a great event honoring our widows and raising buckets of bucks for our Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund.

Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension IssuesSpeaking of troublesome issues, this past year I’ve noticed more gray hair than I had previously and I attribute it, at least in part, to dealing with the ongoing Pension issues. For more than two years this has been my main focus and top priority. Everything that can be done is being done to protect the medical coverage this 111-year-old organization has worked so hard to create for our members. This really is one of the most important issues we’ve ever faced as an organization.

LAFRA is the successful organization it is because the infrastructure is solid. The Board determines membership rules and believes all members deserve equal coverage, regardless of age. Trustees, executive leadership, attorneys, advisers, and vendors are key to providing stability. In addition, we have experts providing medical plan education, financial guidance, and auditing firms providing the best services available. Dedicated staff serves all members, active and retired, and their families.

Over the past few years I’ve been grateful to have the opportunity to meet with many new recruit classes before they start training at the Drill Towers. I go back again days before graduation to present medical coverage and Relief information. I’m proud to offer the amazing benefits designed by firefighters for firefighters. It’s important to keep it this way, which is why I can’t emphasize enough to the Pension Board that the decision-making structure we have in place must remain unchanged. Our retirees served the City of LA, and they paid their dues to the organization with the understanding the same benefits would remain intact for them during retirement. We need to protect what we have today and make sure we can keep it going untouched by outside influence.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE:

Your health is important to you, your families and to us. Preventive care is key to staying healthy and it keeps costs down. If you don’t have a primary care provider, now is a good time to find one. Annual wellness exams are fully covered by the PPO plan.

We rolled out the new Wellness Plan last month. Questions? Read the rundown on the program a couple pages further into this month’s issue (page 14). If you still have questions or need more info, call (866) 936-4243.

A new Explanation of Benefits (EOB’s) went into effect recently. There’s a full-page explanation on page 6 of this issue. Here are a couple of other important points:
• Refer to the ‘Reason Code Description’ for information regarding your claim.
• If a Medicare EOB or proof of medical necessity is required, please call HealthScope Benefits (HSB) at (866) 995-2372.
• Eligibility should be confirmed by calling (HSB), not Anthem Blue Cross.
• When receiving treatment out-of-state, the provider should review your ID card for billing instructions.
• Any surgical procedure requires prior authorization through Anthem Blue Cross in a timely manner.
• When a cataract surgery is scheduled, the Toric Lens is a covered item.
• Call HSB when a contracted provider requires payment up front other than an applicable copay.
• Active employees, only the subscriber’s name appears on the medical ID card.
• If you seek reimbursements regularly, save time and sign up for electronic transactions.
• When submitting reimbursement requests to HSB, you must use secure fax # (323) 259-5295.

Please, please, please keep your beneficiary, Life & Accident Benefit, and Death Benefit information current. Direct questions to (323) 259-5204.

2018 LAFD Invitational Golf Tournament
The 21st annual LAFD Invitational will be held on September 24, 2018 at Mountain Gate Country Club. Spots are limited and it’s first come, first serve, so sign up early. All proceeds benefit our official charity, the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association’s Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund. This, one of our largest fundraiser of the year, and assists firefighter families in need after experiencing serious life altering events.

Be safe and be kind to each other!

Robert D. “SteinTalker” Steinbacher
president@lafra.org
323.259.5200

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