Annual AERA district meeting takes place in Russellville
The Alabama Education Retirees Association held its 2023 District I annual meeting Aug. 1 at the Russellville Methodist Church. Melba Wiegand, AERA District I Director, presided over the meeting, which included more than seventy retirees from counties in Northwest Alabama.
Ten AERA annual district meetings take place in Alabama. The meetings are conducted during the summer to coincide with PEEHIP’s open enrollment period, as well as to present timely information from the state office. The Franklin County Education Retiree officers arranged serving tables for refreshments and served as hosts.
Rex Cheatham, AERA Vice President, presented comments on the state committee orientation meetings, including the AERA board and legislative committee legislative reception held at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery for all newly elected and re-elected Alabama legislators and other dignitaries.
Cheatham also spoke on AERA president, Sarah S. Horton’s, community service initiative program for this administration which is “Increase AERA Membership Locally and Statewide.” Each member has been asked to recruit two new members into AERA within the next two years.
Jill Jackson, executive director, emphasized the AERA mission which is to protect the retirement benefits that are in place and to seek out additional benefits through legislative advocacy. She stated that during this past session, AERA advocated “for monies to be placed into the Education Retirees’ Trust Fund (ERTF).”
“However, the legislative decision-makers did not fund the ERTF,” Jackson added. “This is unacceptable, and AERA will keep marching on until we accomplish what is needed and expected for our members.”
Eric Thomas provided each attendee with a printed PowerPoint presentation on Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Plan (PEEHIP). She briefly discussed the PEEHIP enrollment stats — 374,876 total covered members and dependents; no new premium increases; a review of the wellness program; medical enrollment and turning 65; UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage; Open Enrollment; and more, as well as contact information.
Other speakers included Corrine Abrams from United Healthcare; Jeff Collins of the Association Member Benefits Advisors; and AARP’s “Wish of a Lifetime.”
Melba Wiegand gave the closing remarks on the topic of why membership matters. The meeting closed with a drawing for several gift cards and door prizes. Each attendee received an AERA mug, AERA bag, edible treats, 2023-2024 Member Handbook, other printed information; and a United Healthcare bag.