2017 Documents

(see Archives Page for prior years)



Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants


Minutes of Meeting June 19, 2017

The meeting was held at the Wisconsin Education Association Council, Media Room, 33 Nob Hill, Madison, and was called to order by the Vice Chair Jerald Vreeland at 9:30 a.m.

DIRECTORS & ALTERNATES PRESENT: R. Beglinger, WFT-R; B. Brooks, CWCR; S. Drew, SWIB; B. Fendel, AFSCME; E. Frank, DNR; J. Grosklaus, West Allis; B. Holmes, ESP; C. Howard, WEAC-R; A. Knop, WEAC-R; R. Kratz, DOC; J. Lawton, ACE; J. Maydak, West Allis; F. Nepple, OCI; B. Schaefer,SEA; J. Stangl, DCAREA; J. Vreeland, Wauwatosa; A. Wallace, UWRA; C. Welch, BAREA. 

GUESTS: A. Fendel, C. Hill, M. Lamkins, C. Preisler.

EXCUSED: J. Egan, J. Miller, J. Palmer, S. Sweet.

MINUTES of the March meeting were approved as mailed.

GUEST: Chris Preisler, Communications Specialist, SWIB.

Mr. Preisler provided a copy of the Asset Allocation Summary and Performance Evaluation as of May 31, 2017. Core trust fund is at 7.3% with a benchmark of 7.2% and the variable trust fund is at 9.9% with a benchmark of 9.8%. The core fund is at $94.8 million and the variable fund is at $7.4 million. Total assets under management $110.8 million.

At last week's board meeting, Mr. Williamson gave a update of the investment strategies and building investment protections.

Jason Rector received an award from Institutional Investor magazine as one of  30 up-and-comers in the hedge fund industry.

Two present board members, David Stein and Norman Cummings, have been reappointed and approved by the Senate for six-year terms. Board member Tim Sheehy is also eligible for reappointment.

This year there was minimal reaction to the compensation of SWIB staff. The compensation plan has resulted in retention of staff even when offered very lucrative moves to Chicago, East, and West Coasts.

Mr. Preisler announced that Michael Williamson, Executive Director, will be retiring at the end of the year. The board will conduct a national search with a plan of having the position filled for a transition time before Mr. Williamson’s retirement.

GUEST: Mark Lamkins, Director, Office of Communications, ETF.

Mr. Lamkins indicated that Tara Pray, due to illness will not be available today.

His topics today are: Wellness program incentives, privacy of personal health data, Medicare Advantage, and information on the members communication/education work group.

The communication education work group works with several of the larger employers along with call staff and other related ETF staff. The group reviews communications from and to ETF as well as providing education to WRS members on topics such as open enrollment, and development of printed information.

- Last week the Joint Committee on Finance rejected self-insurance. As part of the rejection the committee identified $63.9 million GPR, within the biennium. Sources of funds will be contracts with health plans, program reserve fund $25.8 million, and plan design changes. A total of $68.8 million will be obtained from the reserve fund to place the fund at the high end of the statutory required range. Will be used to offset premiums and claims experience.

It is not clear where the program reserve funds originate. ETF will be doing an analysis. 

There were several questions; the original stated a savings of $60 million and now JFC has identified $68.8 million, why the difference, are the reserve funds actives and retirees dollars, is it legal to withdraw funds from the reserve, with the withdrawal will premiums increase, who sets policy GIB or JFC?

Question - Is it ETF’s plan to push all retirees into a Medicare Advantage plan? Will Medicare supplement plans be offered? Will the traditional Medicare plans be available?

The GIB at it's May meeting approved moving forward with a request for proposals,RFP, to add two or more Medicare Advantage plans in 2018 and beyond. Mr. Lampkins does not believe it is the intention to reduce or eliminate supplemental plans. Mr. Lamkins will obtain information from ETF for the September meeting or have information on the ETF legislative update website. It is Mr. Lamkins understanding that the intent is to expand Medicare Advantage offerings to keep the premiums down.

The JFC motion requires maintaining the present group health insurance structure, GIB will report in March 2018 on the reserve fund balances, and four additional legislative positions will be added to the GIB. Any insurance changes will be presented for passive review on April 1. In addition any GIB appointments must be Senate approved and Legislative Audit Bureau is requested to do an audit of the health insurance program and reserve fund.

Within the motion there also was a change in the domestic partnership with exceptions and ETF will develop  a consumer driven education program by January 1, 2018 for the year 2019.

Data Warehouse: A sheet showing health benefit program data flow was utilized. Data warehouse, Truven is an IBM company, will receive and share information from medical claims (health plans), pharmacy claims (Navitus), dental claims (Delta Dental), and wellness data (StayWell). Truven will remove identifiable information and forward their collection to ETF and ETFs actuaries (Segal) who will analyze individual health needs. The data warehouse is to have a centralized gathering of information to provide higher quality, more value for the members and cost-effectiveness.

Wellness Program - The GIB intention is the $150 gift card  and future premiums differential is intended as an incentive and not a penalty. There was some communication in a Segal report that implied non-participation would result in higher overall cost. There will be a wellness premium differential beginning in 2019. There will be information available this year.

Medicare Advantage programs will have consideration of wellness initiatives in the RFP.

Question - Will employers have any access to the wellness data for an individual?

Any data that ETF has will be aggregate data from the data warehouse and will not be available to employers.

Data Privacy - The ETF follows state and federal privacy laws, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the nondiscrimination act of 2008. Healthcare information has always been shared with benefit administrators of medical, pharmacy, and wellness along with ETF. However, there has never been a centralized analysis of the information which will provide participants health needs. Segal does not have access to individual data but does have access to aggregate data.

Question - Trust has been a concern for a number of our members. We have members who feel that their health information has been compromised. What is to prevent Truven or IBM from taking aggravated information and identifying a group or classes of participants with a specific health issue and then placing restrictions, limits, or higher premiums on those with specific conditions?

The data has always been available and the difference is that there are more safeguards in the warehouse system. Health care and health care costs are a common topic and concern today and aggregate data is now available to hold health plans accountable for quality health care.

Question - Since DOA is involved with the wellness program and ETF administers and contracts for the program, who establishes the parameters for the program? Does DOA have access to aggregate information from the Wellness program?

DOA would have safeguards and would have to follow the same State and Federal laws as ETF. There are many ways to get individual information besides healthcare.

Segal as ETF's actuary and consultant for healthcare has received no personal health information other than aggregate. Segal receives aggregate information for claims experience and reviews program benefit to meet the claims experience. The information available to Segal has been available for many years. Segal’s contract for actuarial services is segregated funding of approximately $500,000 for each fiscal year, $464,000 FY15 and $562,000 FY16.

WCOA Comment - Segal was selected because their expertise is self-insurance. Some of their data crunching leads to being skeptical and there is concern whether a third-party should be involved for a review of the best format for WRS health insurance. Regionalization of health insurance and the pending budget with Senator Fitzgerald saying maybe we will just go back to the Governor's budget on self-insurance, is creating many unknowns.

JFC showed concerns and have added the 21 day passive review for any program changes and four legislative positions on the GIB. The GIB has lost some of its authority.

Medicare Advantage: At the May GIB meeting a request for proposal, RFP, was made to contract with one or more vendors for Medicare Advantage, beginning in 2019. The goals are to expand Medicare offerings for greater choice, have lower and more affordable monthly premium costs, deliver high-quality and high value services, and offer excellent benefits packages. ETF will be working on a survey to determine what is most important to ETF members, what are we looking for in Medicare. Tara Pray is presently working with policy staff in developing survey questions. The goal is to make it a brief survey of 10 or less questions. Volunteers are needed to review the questions and several WCOA members signed up for contact via email. In addition there was interest in participating in development of the survey. The survey questions will be available later this summer.

Question - Will the uniform benefits be different with Medicare Advantage plans than Medicare Supplemental plans?

The plan is to expand affordable options, it is unknown if benefits will change or be different. For Segal Consulting, Medicare Advantage is a separate issue from self-insurance.

Question - Next meeting topic, are there compliance audits specifically in the wellness program?

Members Communication education-

Photos/images to be used in publications for retired members information and education were shared. The intent is to provide images to convey the lifestyle of the participants as well as diversity of participants. The group was asked to select one of two images for use in a retirement publication.



NEW BUSINESS - Annual Conference - About half of the 115 participants completed a questionnaire. Overall 85% were pleased with the conference and the presentations. As always we would have liked more retirees and actives in attendance. Discussion on options resulted in keeping the same format.

The WCOA formally recognized, John, Jean, Sandy, and Dick for their efforts.

John will contact American Family for available dates and details for number of attendees.

TREASURER'S REPORT - Accepted as presented.Check book balance $9,196.45

NEXT MEETING: Following a brief discussion it was decided to not conduct a July meeting. Our next meeting will be on Monday August 21, 2017,  9:30 a.m. Wisconsin Education Association Council, Media Room, 33 Nob Hill, Madison, WI.

The meeting adjourned by 11:40 a.m.            

Respectfully submitted – Dick Kratz