We hope everyone had a relatively Happy New Year, although we are sure it was a very subdued celebration. What a year 2020 was. Is 2021 going to be any better? We truly hope so.
This pandemic has been unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes, at least when it comes to severity. We’ve had some dealings with viruses in the past, but nothing like this. I know that Maryland is on the downward curve with this virus, and I pray that other States are also on the downslide. The only good thing to say about this is that chances for survival have risen significantly as new treatments have emerged and all medical personnel learn more about the virus and how to treat it. In the beginning, it was all guinea pig treatment.
· The new Healthcare (Aetna) surely hasn’t made 2021 any better of a year so far. Many people have had issues. We have been in contact with Aetna constantly regarding the problems. Getting ahold of the City has been a bit problematic for many, but we can’t help you with that. We are also having our share of trouble.
Presently, we are receiving about 2-3 calls a day ask- ing for help and about 95% of the problems have been resolved. The rest are being worked on. If you are still having issues, please feel free to call me and I will do all I can to help you. My number is 410-803-2293. If I don’t answer, please leave a message and I will get back to you. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I will help you get the proper answer.
We know that no one is crazy about change and for those of us who have had BC/BS for many years, it’s been especially difficult.
A special thank you goes out to Kathy Conrad and Dan Fickus for all the help they have given to not only the BRPBA but to its members during this transition.
At our January 19, 2021 General Meeting, a repre- sentative from Aetna and the Director of Human Resources in Baltimore City were available via phone to take questions. Our FOP President, Mike Mancuso, Firefighter President, Tom Nosek, and retired firefighter President, Charlie Williams, joined us in person to also help answer our members ques- tions. Unfortunately, our attempt to have Zoom set up proved to be difficult and it was canceled. We are very sorry and we will work on that.
Here are some phone numbers to keep:
Aetna Customer Service: 1-833-596-0868
Prescription Drugs: 1-833-596-0868
Behavioral Health: 1-833-424-5679
One note: This change was done by the City of Baltimore, not the BRPBA or the FOP.
· Last year, the Board passed a $50.00 finder fee bonus for anyone who brought in a new member. This is still in effect. We need new members, and we need your help. We have lost so many members these past few years due to aging and/or illness, and as a result of changes within the City we are no longer receiving the lists of retirees each month. Therefore, we cannot market to them. Please consider talking to other retirees about our organization.
Bill Narango signed up two new members and donated his finders fee to United States Vets. Thank you, Bill.
We encourage all members to help us build our membership, and that of the FOP. There is strength in numbers. Let us all work together to fight for our
benefits and pension. We have witnessed firsthand what happens when the city is in control of our healthcare. We have to band together in order to have a voice in the future.
· We thought we would pass along this letter we received from one of our widows:
Dear Mr. Buhrman;
My husband, Robert J. Hall, Sr., passed away in January 2015. He was a retired police Sargeant out of the NE District and that was how we met. He joined the force in 1954 and was there for 34 years. I am sharing this with you because, after 30 years of marriage, I feel he is still caring for me with the help and hard work of all the people involved in the Benevolent Association.
May God continue to bless each and every one of you.
From a grateful widow,
Laura A. Hall
(May you continue to Rest in Peace Sgt. Hall, and thank you for the kind words, Mrs. Hall.)