One time a very wise friend of mine asked, “What would you have done differently if you knew everything was going to turn out perfect?” The question was an interesting one for sure. I told him that although there were very few things in my personal or professional life that had turned out perfect, there were some that came closer than others.
Take, for example, the PORAC Retiree Medical Trust. We are always striving for perfection and realistically settling for pretty darn good.
This past year was pretty much a banner year for us. The Trust grew more last year than in any year since its inception in 2008. And the good news is that I anticipate 2020 will have the possibility of going bigger, better, longer and stronger than 2019. Keep your fingers crossed.
One of the things I have noticed about getting bigger is that it does seem to come with myriad growing pains — some bigger than others. The trustees are quite adept at dealing with the new issues that crop up. Sometimes we dig in and other times we flex. But we always try to keep in mind what is best for the men and women we serve. This Trust exists to help our first responder brethren in retirement. The objective, the goal, the mission is to provide a tax-free benefit to help defray the costs of health insurance premiums and medical expenses once our members walk into the sunset.
Currently, the Trust is operating in two states. It’s quite possible that we might extend into a third state by the end of the year. At Conference three months ago, the PORAC Board of Directors agreed that we could explore the option of expanding from a regional trust into a nationwide trust. The RMT trustees are excited about that possibility. But honestly, we have no idea exactly what that might look like. This is totally uncharted territory for us. We have reached out to the PORAC Legal Defense Fund to find out what their experience was like as they grew and became the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected trust for legal defense. They are the horizon that we are gazing at.
So maybe you are asking, what exactly is the RMT? We are an ERISA trust designed to help defray your medical expenses once you enter into retirement. That can happen in a variety of different ways, as there are several components designed into the plan. But each and every one of them has one commonality — a tax-free benefit.
Our plan isn’t terribly complicated, but it comes with an explanation. We would be more than happy to meet with your association and provide you with a presentation. Perhaps, the RMT would be something you are interested in working into your retirement portfolio.
Each and every year we see associations losing their previously negotiated retiree health benefits. Realistically, it’s not likely that any association will ever again negotiate and obtain fully paid medical benefits in retirement. In fact, the opposite is now the new normal. That is one pitfall that our Trust is totally immune to. The RMT is run by PORAC members for the exclusive benefit of PORAC members. Your employer has no seat at our board table. Our Board of Trustees is built upon the PORAC model of regional representation. Full-time PORAC members fill each of the five trustee seats.
Now, for those of you who are with one of our participating associations, I have a simple request. Please help us to serve you better. If you have not created your profile, I urge you to visit our website at PORACRMT.org. Once there, it’s fairly easy to get signed up. It is imperative that we have your current information. That includes a mailing address, email address, telephone number, spouse and dependents. One reminder: Please don’t use your agency address and email. Once you retire, we can’t reach
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to any of the regional trustees. As always, you should feel free to call or email me at any time. Trustee contact information is listed with this article.
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