Rate Hike Proposed in 2024 for Homeowner’s Insurance

NCRGEA urges you to let North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey know your comments concerning the North Carolina Rate Bureau asking for an average statewide increase in homeowners’ insurance rates of 42.4%, with some rates as high as 99.4%. To see a specific table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases across the state, please click here.

You can provide your comments four ways:

  • A public comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s rate increase request at the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Jim Long Hearing Room on Jan. 22, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Jim Long Hearing Room is in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. 27603.
  • A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously with the in-person forum on Jan. 22, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The link to this virtual forum will be: https://ncgov.webex.com/ncgov/j.php?MTID=mb3fe10c8f69bbedd2aaece485915db7e
  • Emailed public comments should be sent by Feb. 2 to: 2024Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.
  • Written public comments must be received by Kimberly W. Pearce, Paralegal III, by Feb. 2, 2024 and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.

All public comments will be shared with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If Department of Insurance officials do not agree with the requested rates, the rates will either be denied or negotiated with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, the Commissioner will call for a hearing.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau represents companies that write insurance policies in the state and is a separate entity from the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

This rate filing follows the homeowners’ insurance rate filing that the Department of Insurance received from the North Carolina Rate Bureau in November 2020, where the Rate Bureau requested an overall average increase of 24.5%. That filing resulted in a settlement between Commissioner Causey and the Rate Bureau for an overall average rate increase of 7.9%.

The Rate Bureau has asked for the rates to become effective Aug. 1, 2024.

For a video from Commissioner Causey, on this rate increase, click the following link: https://ncdoi.sharefile.com/share/view/s5c733a53111e4cf68ff490ff5bd0f737

Rate increases affect everyone living in North Carolina; either directly for homeowners, or in increased rents as landlords pass the cost to renters. Don’t think that someone else will speak for you. Take action and let Commissioner Causey know how this will affect you.

Meetings Designed to Meet Your Needs

NCRGEA’s Local Outreach was back on the road in September and October, and we held seven meetings throughout the state to provide information about open enrollment. As you all know, this is a very busy and sometimes confusing time with questions about medical, dental, and vision plans. Our goal was to provide members with helpful resources they may need to navigate the process.

Our meetings included representatives from Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), Humana, and our partner, AMBA. We value these relationships and the help they provide to the retirees in our state. All who attended said they learned something beneficial and enjoyed the meetings.

Please plan to attend future events, and be on the lookout for all the ways we communicate upcoming meetings:

  • Meeting announcements in Living Power
  • Postcard registration invitations
  • Online (www.ncrgea.com) and phone (919-834-4652) registration options
  • Email reminders for those who register

Our next meetings will be held in the spring of 2024 at a location near you. Check out the January edition of Living Power for dates, times, and locations, or go to our website for meeting details and how to register. You can also reach out if you have a group of state or local retirees and would like us to plan a meeting in your area. We’d be happy to arrange one!

Healing Begins with the Food We Eat

by Humana, Living Power Nov/Dec 2023

After spending time in the hospital, eating balanced, nutritious meals may make a difference in your recovery and your overall health. The Humana Well Dine® program provides 28 meals after an inpatient stay in a hospital or nursing facility. That’s why Humana has teamed up with Mom’s Meals® to deliver nutritious, tasty meals right to your home when you need them most—at no additional cost to you.

Mom’s Meals, a leading provider of home delivered meals nationwide, offers a variety of nutritional and condition-specific meals delivered to the homes of Humana’s eligible members as part of their Medicare Advantage Individual, Group, and Medicare Supplement plans throughout North Carolina. Humana is providing the meals to eligible members as part of their benefit plan and at no additional cost.

Studies consistently show that medically tailored meals support patient recovery after hospitalization and reduce instances of readmission, as well as help patients manage chronic conditions, avoid hospitalizations, and preserve health and independence. Programs implemented through Mom’s Meals have seen up to 80% reduction in inpatient stays 30 days after discharge, and over a 40% reduction in visits to the Emergency Department 30 days post-discharge.

Humana eligible members can receive 28 fully prepared meals made with high-quality ingredients, packed in coolers with gel bags and delivered directly to their home. The menus are designed by dietitians, offering something for everyone, including diabetic-friendly, gluten-free, heart friendly options, as many others. The tasty meals that are ready to heat and eat and last for 14 days in the refrigerator.

“We know nutritious food has a strong impact on overall health,” said Mike Anderson, the president of Mom’s Meals. “We look forward to helping Humana’s members recover after a hospital stay, avoid readmission, and manage chronic conditions – all in the comfort of their own homes.”

To find out more about your Humana Well Dine meal benefit, call the number on the back of your
Humana member ID card.

Loyalty and Duty of Care to Our Members

By Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, LivingPower Newsletter Nov/Dec 2023

Department of State Treasurer (DST) focuses on loyalty and duty-of-care for public servants like you who teach, protect or otherwise serve the citizens of North Carolina. This is what drives DST and the North Carolina Retirement Systems (NCRS) to fulfill their mission to protect and preserve the state’s pension system and health care plans, while reducing fees and maximizing value.

Though we have had to navigate some uncharted waters over the last few years with stock market volatility and COVID, NCRS has been consistently in the check-delivery business. At our very core, we ensure benefits due to members are delivered as promised and on time, and that members and their families who are impacted by a life event are taken care of in a timely, efficient manner. I want to recognize our staff that works diligently with a member-first mentality to not only get business done but listen to what is needed to do good business.

Over the last year we launched a new phone system that allows easier access to information through an automated, self-service phone menu. Over 30% of members calling in now find what they need, on their own, through this system. Those that need to speak to a retirement counselor are holding on the line less than two minutes on average. Chat was recently implemented in ORBIT as an additional way to get the information you need. Users who participated in the soft launch of this service have given it a nearly perfect rating. We realize every member’s situation is different, so our counselors are dedicated to taking the time you need to provide value and service.

Recent legislation has brought positive changes impacting NCRS. Members with a retirement date on or after January 1, 2024, will see their first benefit payment made by direct deposit. Traditionally, a retiree’s first payment has been sent by paper check. New retirees will be able to lock in their retirement options earlier and NCRS will be able operate more efficiently as we continue to see record numbers of retirements each month.

For the second time in as many years, the state will pay a one-time supplement for benefit recipients who retired on or before October 1, 2023, are living as of October 1, 2023, and are members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, and the Legislative Retirement System. This one-time supplement will be issued on or before November 30 and is equal to 4% of the annual retirement allowance, where the annual retirement allowance is 12 times the monthly allowance payable for October 2023.

These funds did not come from the Plan itself and were appropriated by the General Assembly as a part of the budget passed on October 3, 2023. This does not apply to benefit recipients of the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS), where a benefit increase may be granted by the LGERS Board of Trustees within certain statutory limitations.

Whether you are planning for or in retirement, there has been a seismic shift in this life phase. People are living longer, and this requires a revised budget strategy for income, expenses, and health care costs. The fact is you have a solid foundation in retirement with your monthly pension benefit and this should serve as your motivation. The NC Pension is widely regarded as one of the most secure and best-funded pensions in the United States. Additional savings in the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans, coupled with Social Security Income and outside assets, will also help in meeting a gap in retirement income. Each of you has navigated a change towards retirement and I encourage you to talk with someone younger than you to share your lessons learned.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” As we move to a new year, I wish each of you success in health and purpose and thank you for your service to the citizens of North Carolina.

NCRGEA Virtual Lunch and Learn Webinar: January 2024

January 10 @ 12:30 pm 1:30 pm

Free virtual webinar Lunch & Learn Series: Navigating NC’s Local Government Retirement System, with panelist Tim O’Connell, Executive Director of NCRGEA and NCRGEA’s lobbyist Jessica Kozma Proctor.

This Lunch and Learn will cover:
• the founding of the local government retirement plan
• its current status
• the laws and rules related to cost of living adjustments, bonuses and more

Registration by Friday | January 5 is required for this FREE event. You will receive the Zoom link by email on Monday, January 8 and you don’t need a computer to participate! Join the virtual session using either the Zoom link, or the Zoom long distance phone number provided. If you have any questions, please email info@NCRGEA.com or phone 919.834.4652 or 1 800.356.1190.

Previous NCRGEA 2023 Lunch and Learn Series recordings can be found on our YouTube channel.

(919) 834-4652

View Organizer Website

FREE

State loses their latest fight against Lake Case

In June of 2023, the State of North Carolina, including the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees and State Treasurer Dale Folwell, filed a Writ of Prohibition with the North Carolina Supreme Court seeking to overturn and prohibit the March 2022 Supreme Court decision on Lake v.  NC State Health Plan from moving forward at the trial court level.  The North Carolina Supreme Court’s March 2022 decision determined that eligible State employees have a contractually vested right in a noncontributory health plan for life, equivalent to the plan in place when a class member’s rights are vested.

On October 20, 2023, the North Carolina Supreme Court denied the Writ of Prohibition, allowing the case to continue to be adjudicated in the Gaston County, North Carolina Superior Court.

Use this link for more official NCRGEA information about the Lake Case: Lake Class Case – Gray Layton Kersh.