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At the Board of Supervisors' meeting on Tuesday, July 23, 2014, items 35 and 37, the new Health Plan Rates, were approved on a 5-0 vote by the Board members.  Although the majority of plans will have increased rates for 2015, there are some plans with decreased rates.

The rates for 2015 no longer have a positive impact due to special funding applied to the rates for the year 2014 only.  These special funds, known as Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP), consisted of a short-term federal reimbursement program, authorized as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to encourage employers to continue to provide insurance coverage to “early retirees” (ages 55 – 64) who were not eligible for Medicare. The County of Orange received $2.4 million in ERRP funds for Retiree Insured Health Plans. These funds were generated as reimbursement for actual medical and pharmacy services incurred by County early retirees in these plans and were used as required by law by December 31, 2014. 
Please click on the links below for the charts provided by the County for the 2015 Health Plan rates:

Operation Santa Claus Needs Your Help
Operation Santa Claus is currently facing a dire shortage of toys, especially gifts for toddlers and girls. The Board of Supervisors has invited all County employees to join in brightening the lives of some of Orange County’s most vulnerable residents by purchasing a toy for Operation Santa Claus’ Mid-year Toy Drive.
Over the past 52 years, County of Orange employees and community volunteers have generously supported and provided toys and gifts to Operation Santa Claus. Last year, 42,000 toys, stuffed animals and books were distributed to children in Orange County. In addition to the holiday season, gifts are distributed throughout the year for foster children’s birthdays and to help children get through times of despair due to abuse and neglect.
To the County’s many loyal supporters, Operation Santa Claus says, “Thank you!” To others who might wonder, “What difference does a gift make?” the answer is “Hope” for the children and others in need.
New, unwrapped toys, gift cards and checks are all appreciated to ensure Orange County’s most vulnerable children, teens and low-income families are not forgotten.We are desperately in need of toddler & girl toys but appreciate all gifts!  Here are a few suggestions:

Toddler:  Musical, alphabet & counting interactive toys
Girls: Dolls, kitchen bake sets, educational, sporting goods
Boys: Trains, Lego, educational, sporting goods
Teens: Watches, cologne sets, make-up, flat irons, dryers.
NOTE:  Gift cards are great for all ages
Are you too busy to shop?  Donate online at:
For more information and to find out how you can deliver/send your donation, contact Mona Gustafson at mona.gustafson@ssa.ocgov.com.
News, week of August 11, 2014

Ventura pension vote blocked, summit this fall?

Backers of a Ventura County pension reform initiative, which was removed from the November ballot by a judge last week, are not appealing the ruling. But they may meet with other reformers after the elections this fall to discuss a statewide pension reform initiative. The Ventura reformers, including Supervisor Peter Foy, are talking about meeting with the leaders of pension reform measures in San Diego and San Jose approved by voters two years ago — former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.  “I think we are going to get some large donors if we can all agree on something that’s workable,” said David Grau, chairman of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association and a leader of the county initiative drive.------------ Among several things influencing the decision of initiative backers not to appeal, Grau said, was being told they could be liable for the opposition’s legal costs if they lost a quick appeal. (More)

Federal OPM finalizes phased retirement

Federal employees will soon be able to work part time while also drawing on partial retirement benefits under a final rule issued by the Office of Personnel Management Aug. 8.  Phased retirement comes more than two years after the provision was signed into law and feds will be able to start applying for the program Nov. 6, the rule says.  "To me, this program is a win-win, for employees who want to design a smooth transition into the next phase of their lives, and agencies across government can also work together to get a head start on succession planning," OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in an Aug. 7 statement.  To be eligible will be able to draw from their retirement while working part time, but will still be considered federal employees. As part of the deal, they must also spend at least 20 percent of their time mentoring federal employees, the rule says.  Feds who get benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System must be 55-years-old and have 30 years of government work under their belts or be 60 and have 20 years of service. Those under the Federal Employee Retirement System must be at minimum retirement age and have had 30 years or be 60 and put in 20 years of government work, the rule says. (More)
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