Updates on Telework, Bar Dues, and More

Howard Friedman, President

Good morning.  Here is an update on various matters.


Now that rating season is over, expect to see announcements soon on the new telework programs, including informational sessions.

Bar Dues

Information will also be forthcoming on the procedures for being reimbursed.

Automation Problems

As a reminder, if you are having automation problems, including slowness or other problems with X-Search, contact TWAH problems. As frustrating and time-consuming as that may be, unless  CIO and Trademark management see that there are open tickets, they assume all is fine, which is simply not the case.  We know, in particular, that X-Search is slower after 6:00 p.m. for many of you.

Heath Insurance

NTEU members will again have access to Consumers’ Checkbook’s online Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants.  All NTEU members who currently or are planning to participate in Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) plans or the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) are eligible to use this online guide.

The guide is available through NTEU’s web site, www.nteu.org, in the “Member Benefits” section throughout Open Season (November 11, 2013 – December 9, 2013).  It will remain available throughout 2014 for NTEU members who are new hires or are current enrollees with a qualifying life event change.  The online guide was developed by Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit organization that has published an annual paperback version of its guide for more than 30 years.

The online guide is an innovative way to obtain reliable, useful information about the many health plans available under the FEHB and make fast, easy, personalized plan comparisons.  The guide compares and ranks plans based on total costs including account premiums and estimated out-of-pocket costs (e.g., deductibles, co-payments, and prescription drugs); and on the yearly maximum that an enrollee could possibly have to pay out-of-pocket.  The guide will also offer comparisons of the FEDVIP dental and vision plans available to federal employees.

This online tool is available beginning the first day of the federal open season, November 11, 2013.  Attached is a flyer.

Thanking Federal Employees

Also attached are some of the remarks Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) made last week thanking NTEU and other unions for their advocacy on behalf of federal employees during the shutdown.

Quality Working Group

This group, consisting of management and NTEU 245 representatives, will be meeting soon now that rating season is over to continue tackling quality issues you have raised, including the amount of evidence required in a first action to be

considered excellent.  We have made substantial progress, including modifying examination practice for first action section 2(a) Deceptiveness refusals and  suggesting that examiners not have to dig up extrinsic evidence under certain situations to support a disclaimer (for which input is now being received).

Let us know how we can help you.


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