Federal Shutdown Mostly Spares Health Coverage, But Other Issues Loom

As the partial government shutdown drags on, about 800,000 federal employees who work for the shuttered agencies — and their families — are facing the reality of life without a paycheck.

And those workers need to consider a host of other related issues as they attempt to make ends meet.

For starters, what will happen to their health insurance?

For the most part, federal employees needn’t worry about that, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in an FAQ blog post.

Both the online FAQ and the health insurance industry’s trade association confirm that coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program will continue even if some federal agencies affected by the shutdown aren’t issuing those paychecks or paying premiums.

“The shutdown should not impact their coverage,” said Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance plans, the trade group that represents insurers, including those that offer coverage through the federal program. “It’s business as usual.”

Once the shutdown ends and those payments resume, workers should expect that their usual share of premiums plus some of the accumulated amount that wasn’t deducted during the missed pay periods will be taken out.

“Procedures may vary somewhat by payroll office, but the maximum additional deduction allowed under regulations is one pay period’s worth of premiums (in addition to the current pay period’s premium),” said an OPM spokeswoman.

What about government contract workers?

Less clear is what happens to workers under contract with the affected federal agencies — including some people working as analysts, administration assistants and janitorial staff — who are mostly excluded from the FEHB program.

Many companies that contract with the federal government offer workers insurance. The federal Office of Personnel Management recommends these contracted employees consult the human resources office at their company for answers regarding the shutdown.

“In 95 percent of cases, even if it’s not required by law, I would think most everyone would continue that coverage,” said Rachel Greszler, a senior policy analyst and research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who studies economics, budget and labor issues.

For contract workers who buy their own coverage and are struggling to pay bills without their paychecks, it’s a different story. One strategy may be to ask their insurers for a grace period in paying their premiums, similar to how the government has suggested workers seek accommodation from mortgage lenders and other creditors. But there is no requirement that insurers grant such a request.

“We are concerned about the disruption that this shutdown has caused our members and their families,” noted a corporate statement from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “We are currently exploring how to best address this issue should the shut-down continue.”

What else could be affected?

Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, dental, vision and life insurance programs may start sending bills directly to workers.

Federal workers pay the premiums for these benefits themselves, according to Dan Blair, who served as both acting director and deputy director of the OPM during the early 2000s. He is now a senior counselor and fellow the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Because workers’ checks are not being processed, the amounts usually sent to these carriers each pay period also aren’t being paid. If the shutdown lasts longer than two or three pay periods, workers will get premium bills directly from these firms and should pay them “on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage,” the OPM says in its FAQ. Blair agrees.

There also may be a delay in processing claims for flexible spending accounts. These are special accounts in which workers use pretax money deducted from their paychecks to cover certain eligible medical expenses, such as eyeglasses, braces, copayments for doctor visits or medications, including some over-the-counter products. With no paychecks going out, these deductions are not being made and transferred into FSAs. Once paychecks start up again, the amount deducted will be adjusted so the worker will get the annual total they had requested.

During the shutdown, though, reimbursement claims to these accounts also won’t be processed, the OPM says. Blair suggests holding off on big-ticket purchases during the shutdown, if possible, and always keeping paperwork on the purchases.

Another consideration: Those who changed plans before the furlough may find their paperwork wasn’t processed in time.

In those cases, the OPM says to stick with the old health plan until the shutdown ends and the new plan is processed. The new plan will pick up any claims incurred.

How will workers know if their change was processed? The OPM’s FAQ says workers who receive an ID card in the mail are enrolled.

“The new policy will be what applies and pays benefits, but there could be some administrative burdens and hassles on the part of workers if the shutdown continues much longer, if the initial bills are not going to the right insurance company,” Greszler said.

Overall, Blair says workers should continue to monitor news media sites, particularly those that focus on federal workers and issues, looking for any updates.

“We’re getting into uncharted territory and there are always things that pop up that no one has planned for,” said Blair, who did not face any shutdowns during his tenure at OPM.

Kaiser Health News

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Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019, following through on a proposal he announced earlier in the year


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Indonesia issues ‘extreme weather’ warning for tsunami-hit coast near Krakatau

Indonesian authorities warned on Wednesday of “extreme weather and high waves” around the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, urging people to stay away from the coast already devastated by a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.


Reuters: Environment

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Jimmy Dean says there’s metal in its sausage, issues immediate recall

jimmy dean sausage recall

Biting into a breakfast sausage is a treat that everyone should experience as often as possible, but if your freezer is stocked with bags of Jimmy Dean links, you might want to hold off. CTI Foods, the company behind the Jimmy Dean brand, is issuing a recall of some of its sausage products after finding metal inside of the meat.

The recall, which the company announced yesterday, affects the 23.4 oz. pouches of Jimmy Dean “Heat ‘n Serve” original sausage links with a Use By date of January 31st, 2019. If you have a bag of these on hand, don’t eat them.

Continue reading…

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Jimmy Dean says there’s metal in its sausage, issues immediate recall originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 11 Dec 2018 at 17:02:58 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Judge Issues Orders Of Protection In Cardi B Case

(AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has issued orders of protection against platinum rapper Cardi B in a case involving a melee at a New York strip club.

Cardi B appeared in court Friday after a summons was issued on Oct. 1 for misdemeanor reckless endangerment and assault.

Her lawyer has said she didn’t harm anybody.

Police said Cardi B and her entourage were at the club when she argued with a 23-year-old bartender. They say a fight broke out during which chairs, bottles and hookah water pipes were thrown, slightly injuring the woman and another employee.

Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” is among the nominees announced Friday for the 2019 Grammy Awards’ album of the year. She scored a total of five nominations.

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New Congress To Tackle Burning Health Care Issues, Including Drug Prices

Voters ranked health care as the top issue facing the country after the midterms, according to CBS News exit polling. KHN senior correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble joined “Red and Blue” anchor Elaine Quijano to discuss how Republicans and Democrats are responding to the American public’s call to action — with a focus on skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Tribble and Quijano also explored how the midterms bolstered Medicaid expansion in a handful of states.


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Rob Kardashian, Blac Chyna Have No Co-Parenting Issues Amid Child Support War

Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna might be duking it out in court over money to care for their daughter — but turns out there’s a measure of peace behind the scenes. Sources connected to both parents tell us Rob and BC are a well-oiled co-parenting…

TMZ.com

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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Oakland Mayor Candidate, Cat Brooks, On the Issues

Cat Brooks is gearing up for one of the biggest moments of her life—a race to become the new mayor in Oakland, California.

“I’m running because the people — hundreds of Oaklanders — asked me to,” said Brooks. “I am deeply concerned about the direction in which our city is headed. As the recent Equity Indicators Report demonstrates, Oakland is failing to provide all of our community members with equitable opportunities to live, work, and thrive in Oakland. It’s time to elect politicians who are truly invested in a better future for the people of Oakland, and are willing to do the work to get us there.”

Currently, Brooks serves as the executive director and co-founder of the Justice Teams Network, a network of grassroots activists providing rapid response and healing justice in response to all forms of state violence across California. She’s also the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, an organizer, and proud resident of Oakland, California. Additionally, she’s served as executive director for both Youth Together and the National Lawyers Guild.

“I am most proud of the work we have done with families who are survivors of state violence and the development of the APTP First Responders Guide that trains communities to rapidly respond to incidents of police violence,” said Brooks. “It also trains organizers how to support families through the process of fighting for justice and rebuilding their lives. This model is currently being replicated across the country and parts of Canada.”

Recently, she left her position as co-host of KPFA radio’s morning show “Upfront” to run for mayor. In this interview, she shares her plans to uplift and transform the city of Oakland.

Black Enterprise: Across the US there is a lot of voter distrust of government and election security. What would you say to the person who’s reluctant to vote?

Cat Brooks: I would tell a person who’s reluctant to vote that I understand. People in the United States, and in Oakland, in particular, have worked with very few politicians who truly represent their interests within city government. So it would be rational for them to assume that this election is no different, and to stay home from the polls.

Our campaign is trying to create an environment in which politicians are held accountable — and that starts with us. We have been working to establish a political platform that reflects the wants and needs of the people of Oakland.

With respects to our judicial system, 45’s [President Trump] work has not been exclusively at the Supreme Court level. He has packed lower courts with judges who support his views and agenda. Strong city governments must not be afraid to litigate on behalf of themselves and their people. When 45’s judges come after unions, sanctuary, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or others, cities must invest in protecting those who are made vulnerable.

When it comes to each of the issues on your political platform, what are the changes you’d like to see and how specifically are you working to make those changes?

Housing is my number one priority and in the first 100 days of my administration. I want to get the 6,000 homeless people sleeping on our streets into shelters and beds. We can ramp up for a natural disaster, and make no mistake, this is a disaster that the UN just called ‘cruel and inhumane.’ So we will open up city buildings and public lands to provide safe, dignified shelter — first and foremost — while we do the long-term work of building the housing our population needs.

I want to zero in on partnerships that create wrap-around services for students and their families, including quality after-school and job training programs and programming that would create full-service community hubs through city social services and nonprofit organizations. Schools can and should be open seven days a week, offering support with things like adult education, conflict resolution, substance abuse counseling, and more. This takes the pressure off of teachers to solve every single social ill and allows them to focus on what we want them to do best: teach.

It is critical that Oakland better support small businesses and ensures equity. I want to create one-stop shops for all permitting and zones that limit big chain stores from displacing our small mom and-pops. I want to build partnerships with our community Colleges — such as Laney and Merritt — to create technical assistance for small businesses, particularly in East Oakland, where we need to ensure economic development without displacement.

Our City spends more money on overtime pay for police officers than it does on preparing our children for successful and thriving lives from day one. As Mayor, I will conduct a complete audit of the Oakland Police Department to determine how more than $ 271 million of the city’s dollars are being spent. It is time for 21st-century solutions to public safety that are rooted in prevention and not just criminalization, rooted in community-based, equity-focused methodologies that actually protect communities.

The air quality in parts of our city is a public health crisis. My own daughter has been hospitalized multiple times due to asthma. While I believe in the critical importance of jobs, I will not allow coal to be transported through West Oakland, further sickening our children.

Ensure Oakland is a sanctuary city by providing a commitment to a policy that prevents any collusion between local law enforcement and federal agencies. Also working closely with the most impacted communities to create and strengthen rapid response networks, “know-your-rights” training, and other community safety mechanisms.

The post Oakland Mayor Candidate, Cat Brooks, On the Issues appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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Oakland Mayor Candidate, Cat Brooks, On the Issues

Cat Brooks is gearing up for one of the biggest moments of her life—a race to become the new mayor in Oakland, California.

“I’m running because the people — hundreds of Oaklanders — asked me to,” said Brooks. “I am deeply concerned about the direction in which our city is headed. As the recent Equity Indicators Report demonstrates, Oakland is failing to provide all of our community members with equitable opportunities to live, work, and thrive in Oakland. It’s time to elect politicians who are truly invested in a better future for the people of Oakland, and are willing to do the work to get us there.”

Currently, Brooks serves as the executive director and co-founder of the Justice Teams Network, a network of grassroots activists providing rapid response and healing justice in response to all forms of state violence across California. She’s also the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, an organizer, and proud resident of Oakland, California. Additionally, she’s served as executive director for both Youth Together and the National Lawyers Guild.

“I am most proud of the work we have done with families who are survivors of state violence and the development of the APTP First Responders Guide that trains communities to rapidly respond to incidents of police violence,” said Brooks. “It also trains organizers how to support families through the process of fighting for justice and rebuilding their lives. This model is currently being replicated across the country and parts of Canada.”

Recently, she left her position as co-host of KPFA radio’s morning show “Upfront” to run for mayor. In this interview, she shares her plans to uplift and transform the city of Oakland.

Black Enterprise: Across the US there is a lot of voter distrust of government and election security. What would you say to the person who’s reluctant to vote?

Cat Brooks: I would tell a person who’s reluctant to vote that I understand. People in the United States, and in Oakland, in particular, have worked with very few politicians who truly represent their interests within city government. So it would be rational for them to assume that this election is no different, and to stay home from the polls.

Our campaign is trying to create an environment in which politicians are held accountable — and that starts with us. We have been working to establish a political platform that reflects the wants and needs of the people of Oakland.

With respects to our judicial system, 45’s [President Trump] work has not been exclusively at the Supreme Court level. He has packed lower courts with judges who support his views and agenda. Strong city governments must not be afraid to litigate on behalf of themselves and their people. When 45’s judges come after unions, sanctuary, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and/or others, cities must invest in protecting those who are made vulnerable.

When it comes to each of the issues on your political platform, what are the changes you’d like to see and how specifically are you working to make those changes?

Housing is my number one priority and in the first 100 days of my administration. I want to get the 6,000 homeless people sleeping on our streets into shelters and beds. We can ramp up for a natural disaster, and make no mistake, this is a disaster that the UN just called ‘cruel and inhumane.’ So we will open up city buildings and public lands to provide safe, dignified shelter — first and foremost — while we do the long-term work of building the housing our population needs.

I want to zero in on partnerships that create wrap-around services for students and their families, including quality after-school and job training programs and programming that would create full-service community hubs through city social services and nonprofit organizations. Schools can and should be open seven days a week, offering support with things like adult education, conflict resolution, substance abuse counseling, and more. This takes the pressure off of teachers to solve every single social ill and allows them to focus on what we want them to do best: teach.

It is critical that Oakland better support small businesses and ensures equity. I want to create one-stop shops for all permitting and zones that limit big chain stores from displacing our small mom and-pops. I want to build partnerships with our community Colleges — such as Laney and Merritt — to create technical assistance for small businesses, particularly in East Oakland, where we need to ensure economic development without displacement.

Our City spends more money on overtime pay for police officers than it does on preparing our children for successful and thriving lives from day one. As Mayor, I will conduct a complete audit of the Oakland Police Department to determine how more than $ 271 million of the city’s dollars are being spent. It is time for 21st-century solutions to public safety that are rooted in prevention and not just criminalization, rooted in community-based, equity-focused methodologies that actually protect communities.

The air quality in parts of our city is a public health crisis. My own daughter has been hospitalized multiple times due to asthma. While I believe in the critical importance of jobs, I will not allow coal to be transported through West Oakland, further sickening our children.

Ensure Oakland is a sanctuary city by providing a commitment to a policy that prevents any collusion between local law enforcement and federal agencies. Also working closely with the most impacted communities to create and strengthen rapid response networks, “know-your-rights” training, and other community safety mechanisms.

The post Oakland Mayor Candidate, Cat Brooks, On the Issues appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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10.30.18 Are work surveys really anonymous; Marine housing issues; Hotel best price guarantees

Many employees are given supposedly anonymous surveys to take at work. But are they really kept anonymous and how should you approach them?; Clark is upset and housing issues that marine families face. This needs to be rectified!; Hotels are trying really, really hard to get you to book directly through their websites. But is that really the best option? 

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Are You The Breadwinner? Have You Seen Issues When Women Out Earn Their Partners?

When women out earn their partnerWomen breadwinners are more common than ever, and there have been several recent(ish) articles and studies about the issues that crop up when women outearn their male partners. So let’s discuss, ladies — are YOU the breadwinner in your relationship? What issues have you noticed when you out earn your male partner? (For those of you in same-sex relationships, have you noticed conflict or just general noise over who earns more, maybe where chores or parenting duties are concerned?) We haven’t talked about breadwinners in a few years, so let’s discuss!

To jump-start our discussion, here’s an overview of those recent articles and studies about the issues that come up when women out earn their male partners:

  • A 2018 study by the U.S. Census Bureau reported that women who out-earn their male partners are likely to downplay their salaries, or their male partners are over-reporting their own incomes, or both. The paper about the study described this as “manning up and womaning down.”
  • The New York Times recently reported on this study: “Women are now much more likely to have an education and a career. Yet across most marriages, they still do much more child care and housework than their husbands, and men still feel strong pressure to be the family breadwinner. Today, women earn more than men in almost a quarter of couples, according to the new study and previous research, up from 18 percent in the 1980s. Yet 71 percent of people say that to be a good husband, men should be able to financially support a family, a Pew Research Center survey found last year. Only one-third said that about women.”
  • Reporting on the same study, Slate added: “This study echoes others that show women earning more has far-reaching societal costs. In 2013, researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, also using census data, found that marriage rates decline when a woman has the potential to out-earn her husband. When a woman makes more than her husband, the likelihood of divorce increases by 50 percent.

The rise in woman breadwinners is partly because we are are more likely than men to extend our education into graduate school and beyond in many subject areas, including more women than ever enrolling in law school — and a higher level of education often means a higher salary. However, whether women with the same education and experience make the same as their male counterparts is a different matter. Also, since the early 1980s, women have had a lower unemployment rate than men, so even if the husband is capable and qualified to earn more, the jobs might not be there, or they might pay less than before.

To readers in relationships: Are you the breadwinner, or does your partner earn more? Either way, has it affected how you relate to each other? Have you ever felt the need to bend the truth about your salary, whether to a potential date or even friends and family members who may think your partner is earning more than you? Or would you proudly say you earned your high salary, and too bad if anyone doesn’t like it? With regard to chores — is there any link in your relationship to who does more chores and who earns more money? 

Psst: in the past we shared an excerpt from the book When She Makes More, as well as offered advice for dating a guy who makes significantly less money, as well as talked about different married money management strategies.

Further reading:

  • When Women Earn More Than Men [Psych Central]
  • Millennial Women Are ‘Worried,’ ‘Ashamed’ Of Out-Earning Boyfriends And Husbands [CNBC Money]
  • 7 Ways To Make It Work If Your Spouse Earns Less Than You [Huffington Post]
  • Women Earned Majority Of Doctoral Degrees In 2016 For 8th Straight Year And Outnumber Men In Grad School 135 To 100 [American Enterprise Institute]

Images via Stencil.

When women out earn their partners or husbands, YES, there can be relationship issues and power struggles, even in 2018. We took a look at some fun studies (including one called "manning up and womaning down") and asked the readers if THEY'RE the breadwinners in their relationship -- and if so, how their earning power has affected their marriage or partnership...

Corporette.com

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As global temperatures rise, so will mental health issues, study says

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!