As we head toward the Annual Conference of Members in Reno, I will take a moment to pause and reflect. I am chairperson for the PORAC Retiree Medical Trust yet, more significantly, I am a participant in the RMT. In other words, I contributed to the Trust during my years of employment. And now I am receiving those benefits. My testimony is real, based on my experiences.
First, allow me to provide an update on two very important developments. A goal of RMT has always been to promote growth to where we could be considered one of the larger, most prominent and premier West Coast trusts. We have grown considerably within the state. But, unlike the Legal Defense Fund, we have never expanded beyond the state lines. We are bound by some very stringent government rules when we cross the border into other states.
I am happy to report that we have, for the first time, broken that geographical barrier. The Salem Oregon Police Employees Union (SPEU) is now a participating association. Their participation is largely due to the tireless efforts of their union president, Scotty Nowning. SPEU also participates in LDF. We are excited that SPEU has chosen the RMT as their method to provide some stability for their retiree members as they address their insurance premiums and medical expense needs.
The RMT Trustees last met in Huntington Beach in late August. Two significant developments occurred at that meeting:
- The Trustees unanimously voted to raise the multiplier from $.70 to $.74. That represents an increase in benefits of just under 6%. This is the second time that the multiplier has been increased since the inception of the Trust in 2008.
- The Trustees implemented a revised startup plan for new groups. Now a new group may join the Trust with a $50 minimum monthly contribution. However, they must transition to a $100 (or more) monthly contribution within 12 months. That transition has to be memorialized in an MOU or similar labor contract.
The RMT Trustees are either working cops or those who have retired. Currently three Trustees are working police officers and two are retired. Our collective goal has been to work with the associations affiliated with PORAC and, to the best of our ability, flex and adapt when necessary and/or possible to service those associations. We believe that we are doing just that.
Now let me share a personal experience. When I retired, my out-of-pocket insurance premium (for me and my wife) was $1,325 per month — 1½ times that of my monthly mortgage. My wife and I are both healthy, so that was pretty much money down the drain. But it was necessary to keep that policy active, in case something catastrophic were to occur. We surely did not want to lose the house. Then I became Medicare-age eligible. That is when I discovered that the government-sponsored health care was far from free. Medicare does not cover dental and vision, so I had to purchase that separately. My monthly costs for medical, dental and vision add up to $325. That does not include deductibles and co-pays. And when my wife goes on Medicare, my monthly bill will be at least $650. The point is, no matter what, you will have medical expenses when you retire.
There are at least two ways to address your post-retirement health care costs. You can plan ahead or you can simply pay the costs later. One supreme advantage in planning ahead is that you can avoid forking over greenbacks to Uncle Sam. The RMT plan allows for all of your benefits to be paid to you on a tax-free basis. Affirmative, no taxes.
How is that possible, you ask? Well, there is a government code that allows us to collect your contributions on a tax-free basis. We then invest the contributions in the stock market and they forgive taxes on the gains. And then, when you retire, they allow us to pay you a benefit without taxation. Sweet!
That’s the plan. Want some of it? Let me know and we will bring a presentation to your next association meeting. Simple as that. My contact information is listed in this article.
In the meantime, check out our new and improved website at PORACRMT.org.