Senate Hearing Thank you for your time in reading this letter, as well as for your aspirational guidance in the matter at hand. My formal studies as an undergraduate, Graduate and PhD have focused on cannabis, cannabinoids and their impact on health. My education, and through a decade of experience presenting at conferences and interacting with other medical professionals on this particular subject matter, have given me a wealth of knowledge. I've been blessed and honored to have been surrounded by great scientific minds in the field of cannabinoid research. As such I have the honor of occasionally standing on those same shoulders to report their findings. In doing so, it is my personal hope that I might be able to confer some greater understanding of a misunderstood subject, to individuals like you who might make a real difference in the lives of severely ill residents. The way that humans tend to externally stimulate their endocannabinoid systems is by taking (or applying) compounds produced by the Cannabis plant. First, unlike most other drugs and even a substance like water, these naturally-occurring phytocannabinoid compounds have no achievable lethal dose. They are amongst the safest compounds known to science. They are amongst the least physically addictive substances known. For the State of Pennsylvania and it's esteemed legislators – A quick pharmacology lesson:
Layoutapril 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:49 AM Page 1 Publication of New Jersey Carpenters Funds cobra rates revised nj carpenters annuity for active members fund achieves powerful COBRA provides continued health care coverage at group rates to 13 percent return in 2013 eligible employees and family members who have lost coverage due to certain qualifying events or reasons "other than gross misconduct." The The trustees and money managers of the NJ Carpenters Annuity Fund cost of this continuation coverage is on a self-pay basis, meaning that took advantage of a vigorous stock market in 2013 by achieving a power-
you must pay the cost each month to be covered for that month.
ful 13% return on investments for our members' savings and retirement
In the past, the NJ Carpenters Health Fund was able to offer a uni- portfolios. The gains were the fund's largest since the market col apse of versal COBRA rate to al members in both the Active and Retiree Plans.
2008 and outpaced the strong 9% returns of 2012 by nearly 50 percent.
However, in response to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act Administrative Manager George R. Laufenberg said the fund's (ACA), the trustees have been forced to revise coverage and establish superior performance was al the more remarkable, given the continuing separate COBRA rates for: a) active members who have lost coverage high unemployment rates within the construction industry and the more due to a qualifying event, and for b) early retirees who do not qualify conservative investing approach that the trustees adopted following the for the retired health benefit.
crash of 2008.
Beginning with the Benefit Plan Year that started April 1, 2014,
"The Annuity Fund has been trustee-directed since January 1, 2010 COBRA rates for active members purchasing Level #1 coverage is
with all participants receiving a proportionate share of the investment $8,000 per year. Level #2 COBRA coverage wil cost active members
income of the fund as a whole," Laufenberg noted. "This policy was $12,000 a year. Both figures represent a $500 increase over the previous
initiated to neutralize the potential for the significant losses that some rates and are largely at ributable to newly enacted ACA mandates.
of our members suf ered by overextending themselves prior to the sudden Meanwhile, Level #1 and Level #2 COBRA rates will remain the stock market crash. same for retirees/pensioners who do not qualify for the Retired Health "While we can never guarantee against losses, this new policy at least Benefit Plan (must have had at least 25 years of active health benefits erects barriers against the type of setbacks experienced during the Great with the Fund to qualify): $10,000 a year ($833 monthly) for Level #1, Recession. Our Carpenters Annuity Fund is now firmly established as and $16,000 a year ($1,333 monthly) for Level #2. one of the best performing union benefit funds in the nation. If properly A ful explanation of the COBRA program – including member/family utilized, it wil serve as an invaluable source of future financial security eligibility, qualifying standards, benefits and the application process – for our members and their families." can be found on pages 26-30 of the NJ Carpenters Health Plan Sum- A $10 a month fee is assessed on each account for administering the mary Plan Description (SPD), and pages 45-47 of the NJ Carpenters various activities related to managing the annuity/profit sharing fund.
Retired Health Plan SPD. For more information on the NJ Carpenters There are no additional fees charged for any loan or withdrawal activity COBRA program, contact the Funds Office at 1-800-624-3096.
when members access their individual accounts.
funding status of pension plan improves As can be seen in the Annual Funding Notice on pages six and seven While the Plan is stil a single percentage of this newslet er, our NJ Carpenters Pension Plan has experienced a dra- point short of emerging from the so-cal ed "en- matic improvement in its funding status over the past two years. From dangered status," the increase does demonstrate January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2014, the Plan's funded percentage has the success of the funding improvement plan increased by nearly 10%, from 69.1% to 79%. It should be noted that which the trustees adopted to counteract the over the same time period, the Pension Plan paid-out some $200 Mil ion loss of reserves caused by the widespread in benefits while taking-in only $100 Mil ion in employer contributions, financial collapse of 2008. If the Plan can maintain similar progress due to continued high unemployment. Strong investment returns made- in the coming year, it should enter the so-called "green zone" (funded up the difference. percentage of 80% or more).
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:49 AM Page 2 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch EMPLOYER TRUSTEES: EMPLOYEE TRUSTEES: Robert Epifano, Co-Chairman Michael Capel i, Co-Chairman Alfonso Daloisio, Jr., Robert Gariepy, Glenn Garlat i, Mark Hal , John Ballantyne, William Buttino, Andrew Pacifico, Michael DeRosa, Eric Jensen, Brad Jorrey, Jack Kocsis, Brian McGlone, Dennis Garbowski, William Michalowski, Leonard Pennucci, Robert Partyka, Jr., Robert Polisano, Darlene Regina Frank Spencer, Wil iam Sproule, Robert Tarby, Anthony Verrel i new SMMs adopted for nj carpenters health plans At its March 2014 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the NJ Carpenters employer's Plan shal be primary to this Plan with respect to the
Funds approved several Summary Material Modifications (SMMs) that member and/or his or her eligible dependents."
affect each of the funds' three health care plans: the Commercial/Active The following SMM, regarding the coordination of benefits for adult Carpenters Plan, the Shop Carpenters HRA Plan, and the Retired Carpen- dependents, will now apply to all three of the Carpenters Health Plans ters Plan. The SMM's are effective immediately and wil be added to the Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) of each appropriate plan when new "If a dependent child has coverage under this Plan and also has
SPDs are published and distributed to the membership. Until then, please coverage as a dependent under his or her spouse's Plan, the spouse's
keep this article with your existing SPD.
Plan pays first.
"When a dependent child is covered as a dependent under this
"Upon retirement, a member in the Commercial Plan wil no longer
Plan, and as an employee under another group health Plan, the Plan
be eligible to receive reimbursement or otherwise access any account
covering the dependent child as an employee pays first."
balance maintained in the Supplemental HRA benefit of the Commer-
Final y, a pair of SMMs were approved at the trustees' December 2013 cial Plan. However, such a member wil be eligible for an HRA benefit
meeting, one of which amends Exclusion #59 in al three SPDs and another from the Retiree Plan equivalent in the amount to the account balance
which creates a new exclusion in al three SPDs: he or she maintained in the Supplemental HRA at the time of retire-
• The amendment to Exclusion #59 states: "Drug testing (urine or ment. Please refer to the SPD for the Retired Plan. The Retired Health
blood tests) more than once per quarter for pain management,
Plan maintains the same terms and conditions for access to and reim-
substance abuse, or when included as part of a structured behavioral
bursements from HRA accounts as set forth in the Commercial Plan
treatment program i.e: intensive outpatient program, partial hospital- SPD and its previously published SMMs."
ization program." SHOP HRA PLAN
• The new exclusion pertains to al SPDs: "Any and al water circulat-
"Upon retirement, a member in the Shop HRA Plan wil no longer
ing pads with pumps (hot or cold), including but not limited to
be eligible to receive reimbursement or otherwise access any account
Electronic Control ed Thermal Therapy, Ice Man, Cyro Cuff, Auto
balance maintained in the Plan. However, such member wil be eligible
Chil , etc., regardless of whether they are ordered by your physician."
for an HRA benefit from the Retiree Plan equivalent in amount to the
account balance he or she maintained in the Shop HRA at the time of
retirement. Please refer to the SPD for the Retired Plan. The Retired
changing banks? update Health Plan maintains the same terms and conditions for access to and
reimbursements from HRA accounts as set forth in the Shop HRA
your direct deposit info SPD and its previously published SMMs."
It is recommended that when Pensioners decide to change banks they "If a retired participant maintained an account balance in the Sup-
should follow these important steps to avoid any delays in receiving the plemental HRA benefit of the Commercial Plan or in the Shop HRA
direct deposit of their monthly pension or annuity payment. Plan (which account balance terminated upon his or her retirement),
• If possible, keep your existing account open while you are then such participant is eligible for an HRA benefit from the Retired
establishing your new account. Plan equivalent to the amount in the account balance maintained in
• Fil out and submit a direct deposit form from your new bank or use the Supplemental HRA or the SHOP HRA at the time of retirement.
the NJ Carpenters Funds direct deposit form.
This rule applies regardless of whether such retired participant quali-
• When fil ing out the form make sure you are supplying the correct fies as an Eligible Retired Participant in this Plan. The HRA provided
routing and account numbers. These numbers are on your check, not by this Plan shal be subject to al the same requirements, obligations,
deposit slips. If you are unsure, contact your bank.
limitations, deductions, and conditions as set forth in the Commercial
The NJCF direct deposit form can be printed from our website at, SPD and its previously published SMMs and/or the Shop HRA SPD
www.njcf.org, or you may request a form by mail. Whatever option and its previously published SMMs."
you select, your direct deposit form will be accepted by return mail or Another SMM approved at the March meeting of the trustees also by fax at 732-225-6187. For security purposes, banking information applies to the Retired Plan: will not be accepted verbally over the phone. By submit ing your new "A retired member who returns to work with a non-signatory
direct deposit information by the 15th day of the month, you increase the employer must enrol in any health plan made available to the member
opportunity of transitioning your benefit payment into your new account and/or his eligible dependents by the member's employment. The
in time for the next month.
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:49 AM Page 3 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch3 parry cited for service to carpenters benefit funds The board of trustees of the NJ Carpenters Funds feted outgoing em- in a plaque presented to Mr. Parry by the combined labor and manage- ployer co-chairman James F. Parry for his long and faithful service to the ment trustees.
benefit plans, during a luncheon reception in Woodbridge, January 8, 2014.
"In gratitude for his exemplary service, the board of trustees of the The president and owner of John D. Lawrence, Inc., a prominent con- New Jersey Carpenters Funds holds him in the highest esteem and wishes tracting firm, Parry was cited for his 20 years of volunteer service to him many happy and healthy years of retirement in the comfort of his the funds as both a management trustee and as co-chairman since loving family." Robert Epifano, founder and president of EPIC, Inc., and former president "By his insightful and compassionate leadership, both as a trustee and of the Building Contractors Association of NJ, succeeds Parry as management as a concerned and caring employer, he has made significant contributions co-chairman of the board. Michael Capelli, executive secretary-treasurer to the financial security of our benefit funds and has helped improve of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, remains as labor co- the quality of life of our participants," were the sentiments expressed chairman of the board.
James Parry (2nd left) is presented with plaque commemorating his years as a trustee MANAGEMENT TRUSTEES – James Parry (seated center), retiring co-chairman of
and co-chairman of the board of the NJ Carpenters Funds. Making the presentation the NJ Carpenters Funds, is joined by other management trustees during a luncheon are Michael Capelli (l), EST of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters; Robert reception in his honor, January 8th. Seated with Parry are Robert Epifano (l), newly Epifano (2nd r) who succeeds Parry as management co-chairman of the funds, and appointed management co-chairman of the funds, and Jack Kocsis (r), CEO of the Jack Kocsis, trustee and CEO of the Associated Construction Contractors of NJ. ACC of NJ. Standing (l to r): Robert Gariepy, Alfonso Daloisio, Jr., Brian McGlone, Robert Polisano and Glenn Garlatti. scholarship applications due by april 15th Al eligible members are reminded that the the long-time President of the New Jersey deadline for submit ing applications for the 2014 State Council of Carpenters, and Business George H. Laufenberg Scholarship Program is Manager of the old Madison Carpenters Local April 15, 2014. The Scholarship Program wil hold Union #620.
its 19th Annual Awards Luncheon, Wednesday, A separate Awards Luncheon will be held for June 18, 2014 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in dependent/recipients of New York-based local unions on Wednesday, June 4th in Albany, NY. It The scholarship program is open to the chil- will also be open to any dependent/recipients of dren and grandchildren of members of the North- New Jersey-based carpenters who find it more east Regional Council of Carpenters, including the convenient to attend the Albany function. New York-based local unions that participate in the Please contact the Fund's office for more Empire State Carpenters Funds. The program's information on eligibility and application namesake, the late George H. Laufenberg, was requirements at 1-800-624-3096, ext. #322.
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:49 AM Page 4 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch changes to EXPRESS SCRIPTS national preferred formulary: effective april 1, 2014 The New Jersey Carpenters Health Plan uses EXPRESS SCRIPTS,
If you are currently taking one of the medications listed in the table INC., as its prescription drug benefit manager, or PBM vendor. ESI has
below, it will not be covered as of April 1, 2014. In addition, you should negotiated directly with drug manufacturers to increase rebates and have received notification regarding these changes from ESI directly if savings for the health fund. These negotiations have led to changes to you are taking one of these medications.
the formulary status of certain drugs previously covered by NJCHF. A national panel of physicians and pharmacists (Independent UBC Clin- By excluding these drugs, the health fund can expect to save approximately ical Advisory Commit ee) continual y reviews and compares prescription $750,000 annual y. drugs to ensure that your preferred drug list includes proven medications Prior to adopting these changes, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters that are clinical y acceptable and safe alternatives for the conditions previ- Clinical Advisory Committee, an independent group of physicians and ously treated by the excluded medications. Al the alternative medications clinical pharmacists, reviewed each of the drugs and their alternatives.
are covered by the Carpenters Plan as preferred medications. Please discuss They have determined that in each case, there are clinically appropriate and have your physician consider writing a new prescription for one of the and effective treatment alternatives available. fol owing safe and effective covered preferred alternative medications.
Cimzia, Simponi, Stelara, Xeljanz Long Acting Opioid Avinza, Exalgo, Kadian Morphine Sulfate ER, Oxymorphone ER, Nucynta ER Opana ER, Oxycontin Edarbi/Edarbyclor, Micardis HCT, Teveten/Teveten HCT Diabetes (Meters & Strips) (Abbot) Freesyle, Precision, LifeScan (One Touch) (Bayer) Breeze, Contour, (Nipro) TRUEtrack, TRUEtest, (Roche) Accu-Check Diabetes (Dipeptidyl Pepidase-IV Jentadueto, Kazano, Nesina, Janumet, Janumet XR, Januvia, Inhibitors & Combo) Kombiglyze, Onglyza Diabetes - Incretin Mimetics (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Agonists) Diabetes – Insulins Novolin, Apidra, NovoLog Ear/Nose Nasal Steroids Beconase AQ, Omnaris, Veramyst, Rhinocort Aqua, Zetonna Acetonide, Nasonex, Qnasi Endocrine (Other) april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:49 AM Page 5 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch5 EXPRESS SCRIPTS formulary DRUG CLASS
Nutropin/Nutropin AQ, Genotropin, Humastrope, Omnitrope, Saizen, Tevtropin Autonomic and Central Nervous System Avonex, Extavia, Rebi Iatanoprost, Travoprost, Lumigan, Travatan Z EpiPen, EpiPen Jr.
Alvesco, Flovent Diskus/HFA Asmanex, Pulmicort Flexhaler, Inflammatory Inhalers Advair Diskus/HFA, Breo Dulera, Symbicort Combination Inhalers Beta-2 Adrenergics Maxair Autohaler, Proventil HFA, Proair HFA, Ventolin HFA (Short Acting Inhalers) PLEASE NOTE: If you continue to obtain the excluded medica-
To initiate a formulary exception appeal, your doctor can cal ESI directly tion after April 1, 2014, you wil be responsible for the ful cost of
If you have any questions, please contact the NJ Carpenters Health If your doctor feels that it is medical y necessary for you to stay on Plan offices at 1-800-624-3096, or EXPRESS SCRIPTS, INC., at
one of the excluded drugs, a formulary exception appeal can be made. return working spouse program forms Members are again reminded about the NJ Carpenters Health Plan's in their employer's plan. Although some families may find it beneficial to Working Spouse Program, which requires eligible spouses to enroll in
purchase coverage for dependents under an employer's plan, it is totally employer-sponsored benefits plans as their primary coverage when available. a voluntary choice." All spouses receive a verification form prior to the start of each
Exemptions: Spouses are not subject to the requirements of the program
plan year (April 1st) to confirm their employment status, which they
under the following conditions: must complete and return to the Funds Office before any health care
• Spouses who are not employed.
claims submitted on their behalf will be considered for payment.
• Spouses who are self-employed.
Implemented in April 2010, the program is one of several steps taken by the trustees in order to restore the Health Fund to a strong financial condition.
• Spouses who work part-time (less than 24 hours a week).
"We want to emphasize that all spouses eligible for primary coverage • Spouses whose employer does not offer health care coverage.
under their employer's plan will continue to receive secondary coverage • Spouses whose employer requires employees to pay 100% of their through the Carpenters' Plan, said Carpenters Health Fund Administrator health care premium with no employer contributions.
George R. Laufenberg.
If you have any questions regarding the Working Spouse program, please "Also, working spouses will not be required to enroll their dependents contact the Fund's Office at 1-800-624-3096 at your earliest convenience.
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 6 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch annual funding notice for of the pay rate) effective January 1, 2011, and eliminates the supplemental This notice includes important information about the funding status of pension for retirements after January 1, 2011. You may obtain a copy of your pension Plan ("the Plan") and general information about the benefit the Plan's funding improvement or rehabilitation plan and the actuarial payments guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and financial data that demonstrate any action taken by the Plan toward ("PBGC"), a federal insurance agency. All traditional pension Plans fiscal improvement by contacting the Plan administrator.
(called "defined benefit pension Plans") must provide this notice every If the Plan is in endangered or critical status for the Plan Year ending year regardless of their funding status. This notice does not mean that the December 31, 2014, separate notification of that status has or wil be provided. Plan is terminating. It is provided for informational purposes and you are not required to respond in any way. This notice is for the Plan Year be- The total number of participants in the Plan as of the Plan's valuation ginning January 1, 2013 and ending December 31, 2013 ("Plan Year").
date was 19,217. Of this number, 5,955 were active participants, 7,378 How Well Funded Is Your Plan
were retired or separated from service and receiving benefits, and 5,884 Under federal law, the Plan must report how well it is funded by using were retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits.
a measure called the "funded percentage." This percentage is obtained by Funding & Investment Policies
dividing the Plan's assets by its liabilities on the Valuation Date for the Every pension plan must have a procedure for establishing a funding Plan Year. In general, the higher the percentage, the better funded the Plan. policy to carry out Plan objectives. A funding policy relates to the level of Your Plan's funded percentage for the Plan Year and each of the two pre- assets needed to pay for benefits promised under the Plan currently and ceding Plan Years is set forth in the chart below, along with a statement of over the years. The funding policy of the Plan is to meet the requirements the value of the Plan's assets and liabilities for the same period. of federal pension plan law by having sufficient assets to pay for benefits accrued under the Plan.
Once money is contributed to the Plan, the money is invested by Plan of- 2013 2012 2011
ficials cal ed fiduciaries, who make specific investments in accordance with the Plan's investment policy. Generally speaking, an investment policy is a Date 1/1/2013 1/1/2012 1/1/2011 written statement that provides the fiduciaries who are responsible for Plan investments with guidelines or general instructions concerning investment Percentage 72.2% 69.1% 72.9% management decisions. The investment policy of the Plan is to, general y, invest the assets of the Plan among several asset classes and within permit ed Assets $1,015,623,865 $951,587,626 $960,955,028 allocation ranges. The long-term goal of the Plan is to: 1) generate a net of fee return in excess of the Plan's actuarial assumed rate of return within acceptable levels of volatility, 2) maintain sufficient liquidity to fund benefit Liabilities $1,407,538,963 $1,378,526,071 $1,318,019,074 payments, and 3) preserve the principal value of the Plan.
Year-End Fair Market Value of Assets
Under the Plan's investment policy, the Plan's assets were al ocated The asset values in the chart above are measured as of the Valuation Date among the following categories of investments, as of the end of the Plan for the Plan Year and are actuarial values. They are the same as market values. Year. These al ocations are percentages of total assets: The fair market value of the Plan's assets as of the last day of the Plan Year and each of the two preceding Plan Years is shown in the following table: Asset Al ocations Percentage
1. Cash (Interest bearing and non-interest bearing) 2.27% Date 12/31/2013 12/31/2012 12/31/2011 2. U.S. Government securities 2.12% 3. Corporate debt instruments (other than employer securities): Value of $1,134,815,512 $1,015,623,865 $951,587,626 4. Corporate stocks (other than employer securities): Critical or Endangered Status
Under federal pension law a Plan generally will be considered to be in "endangered" status if, at the beginning of the Plan Year, the funded percent- 5. Partnership/joint venture interests 11.20% age of the Plan is less than 80 percent, or in "critical" status if the percentage 6. Real estate (other than employer real property) 17.10% is less than 65 percent (other factors may also apply). If a pension plan 7. Loans (other than to participants) enters endangered status, the trustees of the Plan are required to adopt a 8. Participant loans 9. Value of interest in common/col ective trusts 15.21% funding improvement plan. Similarly, if a pension plan enters critical status, 10. Value of interest in pooled separate accounts 3.63% the trustees of the Plan are required to adopt a rehabilitation plan. Rehabilita- 11. Value of interest in master trust investment accounts tion and funding improvement plans establish steps and benchmarks for 12. Value of interest in 103-12 investment entities pension plans to improve their funding status over a specified period of time.
13. Value of interest in registered investment companies (e.g., mutual funds) The Plan was in endangered status in the Plan Year ending December 31, 14. Value of funds held in insurance co. general account (unal ocated contracts) 2013 because the Plan had a funded percentage of less than 80%. In an effort 15. Employer-related investments: to improve the Plan's funding situation, the trustees adopted an updated Employer Securities funding improvement Plan on September 26, 2013 that increases the employer Employer real property contribution rate to 14% of the pay rate effective June 1, 2010, reduces the 16. Buildings and other property used in plan operation 1.09% benefit accrual rate to $1.00 for each $100 of employer contributions (at 10% april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 7 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch7 new jersey carpenters pension plan For information about the Plan's investment in any of the types of invest- benefit accrual rate, plus 75 percent of the next $33 of the accrual rate, times ments as described in the Asset Al ocations chart – common/col ective trusts, each year of credited service. The PBGC's maximum guarantee, therefore, pooled separate accounts, master trust investment accounts, or 103-12 is $35.75 per month times a participant's years of credited service.
investment entities – contact the Plan administrator, George R. Laufenberg, Example 1: If a participant with 10 years of credited service has an accrued New Jersey Carpenters Funds, Raritan Plaza II, P.O. Box 7818, Edison, NJ monthly benefit of $500, the accrual rate for purposes of determining the 08818-7818. (telephone (732) 417-3900).
PBGC guarantee would be determined by dividing the monthly benefit by the Right to Request a Copy of the Annual Report
participant's years of service ($500/10), which equals $50. The guaranteed A pension plan is required to file with the US Department of Labor amount for a $50 monthly accrual rate is equal to the sum of $11 plus $24.75 an annual report called the Form 5500 that contains financial and other (.75 x $33), or $35.75. Thus, the participant's guaranteed monthly benefit information about the Plan. Copies of the annual report are available from is $357.50 ($35.75 x 10).
the US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration's Example 2: If the participant in Example 1 has an accrued monthly benefit Public Disclosure Room at 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-1513, of $200, the accrual rate for purposes of determining the guarantee would Washington, DC 20210, or by calling 202.693.8673. For 2009 and subse- be $20 (or $200/10). The guaranteed amount for a $20 monthly accrual rate quent Plan Years, you may obtain an electronic copy of the Plan's annual is equal to the sum of $11 plus $6.75 (.75 x $9), or $17.75. Thus, the par- report by going to www.efast.dol.gov and using the Form 5500 search func- ticipant's guaranteed monthly benefit would be $177.50 ($17.75 x 10).
tion. Or you may obtain a copy of the Plan's annual report by making a The PBGC guarantees pension benefits payable at normal retirement written request to the Plan administrator. Individual information, such as age and some early retirement benefits. In calculating a person's monthly the amount of your accrued benefit under the Plan, is not contained in payment, the PBGC will disregard any benefit increases that were made the annual report. If you are seeking information regarding your benefits under the Plan within 60 months before the earlier of the Plan's termina- under the Plan, contact the Plan administrator identified below under tion or insolvency (or benefits that were in effect for less than 60 months "Where To Get More Information." at the time of termination or insolvency). Similarly, the PBGC does not Summary of Rules Governing Plans
guarantee pre-retirement death benefits to a spouse or beneficiary (e.g., a in Reorganization and Insolvent Plans
qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity) if the participant dies after the Federal law has a number of special rules that apply to financially Plan terminates, benefits above the normal retirement benefit, disability troubled multiemployer plans. The Plan administrator is required by law benefits not in pay status, or non-pension benefits, such as health insur- to include a summary of these rules in the annual funding notice. Under ance, life insurance, death benefits, vacation pay, or severance pay.
so-cal ed "Plan reorganization rules," a Plan with adverse financial experi- Where to Get More Information
ence may need to increase required contributions and may, under certain For more information about this notice, you may contact the Plan admin- circumstances, reduce benefits that are not eligible for the PBGC's istrator, George R. Laufenberg, New Jersey Carpenters Funds, Raritan Plaza guarantee (generally, benefits that have been in effect for less than 60 II, P.O. Box 7818, Edison, NJ 08818-7818. (telephone (732) 417-3900). For months). If a Plan is in reorganization status, it must provide notification identification purposes, the official Plan number is 001 and the Plan sponsor's that the Plan is in reorganization status and that, if contributions are not name and employer identification number or "EIN" is Board of Trustees increased, accrued benefits under the Plan may be reduced or an excise tax of the New Jersey Carpenters Pension Plan, EIN 22-6174423. For more may be imposed (or both). The Plan is required to furnish this notification information about the PBGC, go to PBGC's website, www.pbgc.gov.
to each contributing employer and the labor organization. Despite these special Plan reorganization rules, a Plan in reorganization could become insolvent. A Plan is insolvent for a Plan Year if its available notice of endangered status financial resources are not sufficient to pay benefits when due for that Plan for new jersey carpenters pension plan Year. An insolvent Plan must reduce benefit payments to the highest level that can be paid from the Plan's available resources. If such resources are not enough to pay benefits at the level specified by law (see Benefit Payments Guaranteed by the PBGC, below), the Plan must apply to the PBGC for financial assistance. The PBGC will loan the Plan the amount necessary to pay benefits at the guaranteed level. Reduced benefits may be restored if the Plan's financial condition improves.
A Plan that becomes insolvent must provide prompt notice of its status problems. More specifically, the plan's actuary determined that the plan's problems. More specifically to participants and beneficiaries, contributing employers, labor unions representing participants, and PBGC. In addition, participants and bene- ficiaries also must receive information regarding whether, and how, their benefits will be reduced or affected, including loss of a lump sum option.
This information wil be provided for each year the Plan is insolvent.
Benefit Payments Guaranteed by the PBGC
The maximum benefit that the PBGC guarantees is set by law. Only benefits that you have earned a right to receive and that can not be forfeited (called vested benefits) are guaranteed. Specifical y, the PBGC guarantees a monthly benefit payment equal to 100 percent of the first $11 of the Plan's monthly
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 8 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch New Jersey Carpenters Apprentice T executive director's report: ridgeley g. hutchinson As we enter 2014, the Thomas C. Ober and Joseph D'Aires Training look forward to holding it on an annual basis (see photos below).
Centers in Hammonton and Kenilworth are busy training the more than 850 Another successful and informative initiative is the Third Year Apprentice apprentices now enrol ed in our program. In our constant effort to keep our Program being conducted by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters at the training program a step ahead of the industry, we have introduced one new International's Training Center in Las Vegas, NV. This motivational, four-day training initiative and upgraded several of the certification courses we offer. program emphasizes the value of quality training and the importance of The Best Practices in HealthCare Construction (ICRA training) cer-
instil ing a strong work ethic in today's union carpenter. tification is now part of our regular apprentice-training curriculum and is also Apprentices participating in the Third Year Program also get a view of available to our signatory contractors and their employees. Additional y, al the industry from a union contractor's perspective and hear a presentation journeymen are strongly encouraged to update their training with this from UBC General President Douglas McCarron. The program concludes valuable new certification that qualifies them to work in occupied health care with a section dealing with the history and structure of the Carpenters Union.
facilities. (See the accompanying article in this publication.) To date, New Jersey has sent some 111 apprentices through the pro-
The Rigging Qualification has been upgraded from a qualification to
gram. Ultimately, the International hopes to have al eligible and future
a certification course and has strict guidelines that must be adhered to in third year apprentices nationwide take advantage of the program.
order to be recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
I am also pleased to report that the solar power system instal ed on the Anyone already possessing a qualification can upgrade to certification status roof of our Hammonton Training Center is beginning to pay dividends.
by taking a two-day course and the new final writ en and hands-on exams. Our training program saved some $19,000 in electrical utility costs in 2013, Once your certification expires, you must take the new four-day, 10 hour compared to the previous year before we instal ed the system. In addition, per day class. There is a one-year grace period from the time your certifica- we sold a year's worth of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC's) tion expires, which al ows ample time for scheduling the refresher course. generated by the system for $27,000. The installation is proving to be a The Hammonton Training Center is offering Built Rite/Palm Certifica-
win-win situation for our NJ Carpenters Training Program.
tion classes every Friday. Those who wish to renew their certification or
would like to work in oil refineries or chemical plants should cal the train- ing center to schedule classes.
It is also important to remember that Training Verification Cards are
used to verify all current training, certifications and qualifications. UBC members and contractors can use a QR code reader application on a smart- phone to review their records and update them if necessary. If you do not have the scanner app, you can download it free of charge at your mobile devices APP store. Members who have trained at one of the training centers, either for certifications or qualifications and have not received a new TVC,
should contact their local training center.
We have also enhanced our training program recently with two new substantial pieces of training equipment: a laser shaft alignment tool for the Millwright training program in Kenilworth and a virtual reality welding machine for the welding program in Hammonton. The shaft alignment tool is a high tech, precision tool used to align rotational equipment such as turbines, generators and shaft motors in industrial set ings. The welding Frank Spencer, UBC Eastern District Vice President machine provides an actual welding experience without the hazards and costs of using a real welding machine. During the welding session, the welding student receives real time correctional feedback from the machine and the instructor. This sophisticated equipment keeps our training program ahead of the curve and bet er prepares our members to handle techno- logical advances in our industry.
In October, our training program held its first-ever statewide, appren- ticeship graduation ceremony at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel. Over 250 people at ended the ceremonies, including UBC Eastern District Vice President Frank Spencer; Northeast Regional Council Executive Secretary- Treasurer Michael Capelli; Northeast Regional Council President John Ballantyne; NJ Carpenters Funds Administrator George R. Laufenberg; Jack Kocsis, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Construction Contractors of NJ, and James Parry, former management co-chairman of the NJCF Board of Trustees and president/owner of John D. Lawrence, Inc.
It was a very successful event for both the graduates and the guests and we Jack Kocsis, CEO of Associated Construction Contractors of NJ
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 9 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch9 e Training and Education News nrcc implements "best practices" in healthcare construction The New Jersey Carpenters "Best Practices in HealthCare Construction" Hutchinson adds, "We are not only providing technical training, we are training program is now in full swing. Ridgeley Hutchinson, executive teaching the human aspect of this. We want al of our carpenters to be aware director of the NJ Carpenters Apprentice Training and Educational that when they go on a job site, their actions could have a severe impact Fund, announced that more than 100 members gained new certifications in on a patient or hospital staff member's life." 2013 by completing the 32-hour course at our training facilities in Kenil- New Jersey BUSINESS magazine publicized the training program
worth and Hammonton.
in its January 2014 issue in an article written by Anthony Birritteri, The new curriculum is available to all apprentices, journeymen and signatory contractors. It was instituted by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters with an eye towards reducing the threat of hospital-acquired infections and keeping hospital patients healthy and at ease during the The Centers for Disease Control estimates that of the more than two million hospital-acquired infections and related 88,000 deaths annually, nearly 3,000 deaths are due to infections with airborne microbes released during renovation, construction or maintenance projects at these facilities.
Hutchinson said Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (NRCC) training centers are now implementing the "Best Practices" program which consists of two parts: • 8-Hour Awareness Certification – This class provides the foundation
of the program and teaches participants awareness of construction haz- ards, how to minimize exposure to hazards, and the appropriate safety practices to use when working in an occupied health care facility.
• 32-Hour Certification – Involves an in-depth hands-on instruction,
designed to teach participants the recognized methods of performing specific tasks such as: isolating rooms by assembling enclosures, setting-up HEPA machines, and installing and monitoring air pressure gauges. 9/11 Memorial Plaza in Avalon, NJ - Apprentices and journeymen from Local
Kevin McCabe, president of the Carpenter Contractor Trust of #255 spent three weeks volunteering their skil s in Avalon, NJ, helping to erect a NY/NJ, says the training program is flexible and often supplemented by memorial to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. The beam was salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and stands 9' 11' above the plaza and leans interactions between hospital staff and contractors. "We are more than 9 degrees, 11 minutes toward Manhat an. Pictured left to right are #255 members wil ing to put into play any of the added precautions hospitals may have," Wil iam Paulhamus and Wil iam Wesper; Council Representative Andrew he said. "We actively work with their infectious control administrators to Bulakowski; #255 member Christopher Vassar and project foreman Edward String. Also assisting in construction but not pictured was Anthony Dimercurio bet er understand what their needs are." important reminder for medicare eligible participants As a reminder, the Carpenters Health Fund does not cover the cost of
In such cases, the member wil claims submitted by members who have Medicare as their primary payer, now be responsible for the if Medicare itself does not cover a specific service, procedure or supply.
entire amount charged by This policy, enacted by the trustees in March 2011, applies to, but is the provider.
not limited to procedures, services and items such as acupuncture, orthotics and receiving medical treatment when out of country.
provider's office to Also, members who have Medicare as their primary payer are re- make sure they are a minded that it is imperative to use a Medicare participating provider, Medicare provider. if you want to avoid out-of-pocket costs. The Carpenters Health Fund To locate a Medicare no longer reimburses members 20% of the Medicare-approved amount
assigned provider, of charges, if they use a non-Medicare provider. This is in response to either contact Medicare a Medicare policy not to reimburse providers or patients for services at 1-800-633-4227, or rendered, if the provider has opted-out of the Medicare program.
on-line at www.medicare.gov.
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 10 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch voluntary dental, vision & hearing aid programs While the NJ Carpenters Health Plan's Level III benefits remain suspended, the voluntary dental, vision and hearing aid programs that have
been offered to our members over the past four years are being continued for the Plan Year that begins April 1, 2014.
Members are reminded that these are voluntary programs, meaning you may or may not wish to participate. The programs are not administered
by the Carpenter Funds, nor are the Funds responsible for the services these programs provide. All administration and payments for these benefits, including the enrol ment process, are transacted directly between the member and the carrier.
It is your responsibility to make sure you understand the guidelines of any program, prior to your enrol ment. These programs have been reviewed by the Health Fund, and we believe they offer substantial value to members who wish to enrol . Please evaluate them careful y to ensure they provide coverage that is appropriate for your family.
Members are also advised that many former Carpenter dental providers have agreed to accept our previous fee schedule, while Level III benefits are suspended. If you are using one of these former in-network dental providers, please confirm their willingness to accept our previous fee schedule, prior to beginning your treatment. Remember, members are responsible for the entire cost of this voluntary coverage. Listed below is contact
information for these voluntary benefit programs: Cigna Dental – Contact – John Blasch at 917-439-9173 (cell)
Delta Dental – Contact – Toll Free Customer service at 877-307-5923
Website – www.njcfdelta.com Smile Solutions – Contact – Jeff Motto at 800-982-5529
Davis Vision – Contact – Toll Free Customer Service at 888-444-5616
HEARING AID BENEFIT
Epic Hearing – Contact – Toll Free Customer Service at 866-956-5400
When inquiring about any of these programs, please indicate that you are a member of the NJ Carpenters Health Fund. Also, please be aware that the Delta Dental Program has a limited enrollment period, beginning March 1st and ending May 15th. laufenberg listed among state's top healthcare experts NJ Carpenters Funds administrative manager George Laufenberg is a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Monmouth R. Laufenberg has been listed among the state's Medical Center and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NJ most influential and knowledgeable, private sector Healthcare Quality Institute and the Institute for Nursing. He previously health care experts by NJSPOTLIGHT, a division
served as co-chairman of the Health Care Payers Coalition of NJ (HCPC).
of New Jersey BIZ magazine.
David Knowlton, a founder of the now disbanded HCPC and current Published in the magazine's January 2014 president and CEO of the NJ Healthcare Quality Institute, was ranked #1 issue, the list of top healthcare policy analysts and on the NJ SPOTLIGHT list of experts and analysts. He was a former
experts includes representatives from New Jersey's deputy health commissioner in Gov. Thomas H. Kean's administration.
academic, medical facility, health insurance Other members of the list include: and trade association communities. Ranked 9th among New Jersey's most • Joel Cantor, director, Rutgers Center for State Health Policy prominent policymakers, Laufenberg is the sole representative from • Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, director, Cooper University's Institute of Urban organized labor on the list.
Health & executive director, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers "Laufenberg has been a major policy voice for organized labor in • Amy Mansue, president and CEO, Children's Specialized Hospital some of the significant policy debates of the past decade," according to the NJSPOTLIGHT analysis. "He was cited as a font of knowledge
• John V. Jacobi, health law & policy professor, Seton Hal University on how policy will affect his members, and labor more broadly." In addition to his responsibilities with the NJ Carpenters Funds, • Linda J. Schwimmer, vice president, NJ Healthcare Quality Institute Laufenberg recently completed a year-long stint as chairman of the • Uwe E. Reinhardt, professor of political economy, Princeton University board of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans • Larry Altman, vice president, Horizon BCBS of NJ, Office of Health (IFEBP), the largest global association serving the employee benefits and compensation industry.
• Sarah McLal en, vice president, NJ Association of Health Plans april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 11 new jersey CARPENTERS benefits watch11 obama administration again delays implementation of generic drug costs The Obama Administration has once again delayed enforcement of key The growing reliance on generic over brand-name medications, long thought to be a money-saver for consumers, now seems, in some cases provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the "employer
at least, to be having the opposite effect. Recent reports indicate that the mandate" and the requirement for certain consumers in the individual and
cost of generic drugs is soaring, up 1000 percent in some cases for drugs smal group markets to transition to ACA-compliant insurance policies. that were once sold at moderate costs.
Under the changes announced by the Administration, enforcement of the A National Journal report published in January reveals that phar-
"employer mandate" for medium-size employers is now delayed until 2016.
macists are becoming increasingly perplexed about the spiraling costs The delay is the latest in a series of policy changes, extensions and clarifica- and are urging Congress to hold hearings on the mat er. A survey by the tions by the Administration. The "employer mandate," original y intended to National Community Pharmacists Association found that the cost of take effect in January 2014, had already been delayed until January 2015.
generic drugs such as Pravastatin, which treats high cholesterol, and the Another change in regulations will now allow consumers in the antibiotic Doxycycline rose upwards of 1000% in 2013.
individual and smal groups market to remain in their current health care The survey also indicated that Pembroke Consulting, a health care and plan until October 2016, if they claim that transitioning to a new ACA- pharmaceutical consulting firm, found that within the last year the cost of endorsed marketplace plan would cost them economic hardship. However, more than a dozen drugs increased some ten times their standard rate.
the opportunity to remain in their current plan is dependent upon the Many experts attribute the price hikes for generics to rising demand approval of both their insurers and the state's insurance commissioner. and Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates. "This is an unregulated mar- The transition was original y scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014 ket in that no one is telling them (pharmaceutical companies) what to and has already resulted in the cancel ation of several mil ion policies.
charge," said Dan Mendelson, CEO of consulting firm Avalere Health.
In addition, the following regulations have been issued by the US "You're going to see them cozy up to the price of brand name products Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding for competition purposes. implementation of the employer responsibility provisions under the ACA: "There's no question in my mind that demand • Employers with 50 to 99 employees wil not have to comply with the is going to go up because of the Affordable Care coverage requirement until 2016 but wil have reporting requirements.
Act, and these markets respond to demand." The ACA requires that all health insurance • Employers with 100 or more employees wil need to offer coverage to plans in the newly instituted Health Care 70% of ful -time employees in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and later years, Exchanges provide coverage for prescription or be subject to tax penalties.
drugs, which will naturally increase the demand • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the re- for generic drugs and lead to future price hikes.
quirement to offer coverage or fil -out any forms under the ACA.
threat of antibiotic resistance grows Most bacteria in the human body are kept in check by the body's immune 23,000 people annually in the U.S. and cost the health care system $20 system. But bacteria are constantly evolving to survive and reproduce. Either Billion per year.
the immune system successfully adapts to new threats, or the body risks Unfortunately, research into antibiotics remains costly. One estimate being overrun. Sometimes the immune system wil fail to respond to a novel suggests that the cost of bringing a new antibiotic to market is over bacterial threat, al owing the bacteria to kil the host.
$1 Bil ion, and that new antibiotics lose $50 Mil ion on average. Compared Before antibiotics were widely available, any accident, injury, or medical to usual y single-serve antibiotics, drugs for long-term chronic conditions procedure that allowed pathogenic bacteria into the body was potentially tend to be more profitable for pharmaceutical companies. The incentives deadly. One in nine skin infections was fatal. One in three cases of pneumo- to produce more and better antibiotics only kick-in under the worst nia led to death.
circumstances, when tens of thousands or even mil ions of people are In light of these dismal statistics, the discovery of the first antibiotic – dying from antibiotic-resistant infections.
penicil in – by Alexander Fleming in 1928 must be considered one of the In 2012, President Obama signed the GAIN (Generating Antibiotic high points in medical history. Antibiotics kil bacteria, which meant Incentives Now Act), a bipartisan bil to fast-track the creation of new wounds were no longer a death sentence. Yet, Fleming himself warned antibiotics. Some 12 new antibiotics now in development have received of the dangers of antibiotic resistance, stating: fast-track status, which could speed-up the approval of new drugs for "It is not dif icult to make microbes resistant to penicil in in the labora- tory by exposing them to concentrations not suf icient to kil them … There is But developing antibiotics is stil expensive and whether the GAIN law a danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by expos- wil be sufficient to create new antibiotics to win the evolutionary arms ing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant." race remains to be seen. If the problem continues to grow, the U.S. and Fleming's prediction was right. Scientists are now fighting a running other countries wil either have to invest more in antimicrobial technologies, evolutionary battle with the bugs. The Centers for Disease Control and or create incentives for Big Pharma to do so. A post-antibiotic world would Prevention recently warned that drug-resistant bacteria kill at least not be a pret y place to live in.
april 2014_Layout 1 3/26/14 10:50 AM Page 12 New Jersey CARPENTERS Benefits Watch Raritan Plaza II, P.O. Box 7818 Edison, New Jersey 08818-7818 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED retiree health care costs higher You know the feeling – sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, an than general y assumed upset stomach. This is stress, and it's how your body responds to physical dangers. The hormones that are released once In 2012, fewer than one-half of baby boomers said they were "terrified" helped people face physical threats. But since we don't of what their health care costs would be in retirement. By late 2013, a fight saber-toothed tigers anymore, the hormones are not Nationwide Financial survey found that a stunning 61% of respondents as helpful. Today, stress tends to last for weeks or longer due were now "terrified" about their future health care costs. Maybe with to the demands of modern life. • On average, pre-retirees estimate that they'l spend some $4,300
How to tame your stress
annual y on health care in retirement.
• Get out & exercise – Consider walking, jogging, biking
• In contrast, in 2012 the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated or anything else that gets you active.
that a 65-year-old couple retiring and living another 25 years wil • Laugh out loud - Laughing lightens your mental load
spend a total of $283,000 on health care.
and does good things for your body.
SOME OTHER DISTURBING STATISTICS
• Talk to friends and family – They can distract you, pro-
• 65% of pre-retirees have not discussed retirement plans at al with vide support, help you weather life's ups and downs.
a financial advisor.
• Do yoga – Yoga uses both physical and mental moves to
• 22% of those pre-retirees who have discussed their retirement plans create peace of body and mind. This helps you relax have not estimated what their health care costs not covered by and manage stress. Try yoga on your own or find a Medicare wil be.
class in your area.
• Two in five baby boomers expect to delay their retirement to avoid • Get more rest – Sleep is when your brain and body
having to buy their own health insurance.
recharge. Get the right amount and you'l improve your • One in four baby boomers expect to delay their retirement in order mood and energy level.
to keep adult children on their employer-based health insurance.
• See a counselor or therapist – They can help you find
• Americans who plan to enrol in Medicare estimate that 69% of their
your sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.
health care costs in retirement wil be covered by Medicare.
Talk to your doctor if you're feeling real y stressed. Some- • In reality, Medicare currently covers about 51% of a retiree's health
times other health problems have similar symptoms.
Di Eybike Mame The Eternal MotherWomen in Yiddish Theater and Popular Song 1905–1929 ausführliche Textversionextended text version SM 16252 (CD WERGO) Di Eybike Mame (The Eternal Mother):Women in Yiddish Theater and Popular Song, 1905–1929 The recordings presented on this anthology represent a cross-section of women's contribution to theYiddish-language popular song culture which began to develop in the urban centers of Eastern Europein the mid-19th century. The first expression of this emerging culture were the broder-zinger, soloperformers and troupes of singer-songwriters who performed songs and skits in the secular sur-roundings of the inns, wine cellars and restaurant gardens of Jewish centers in Austro-Hungary,Romania and Russia. The broder-zinger were generally maskilim, followers of the haskalah, the