Big Ten Retirees Association

Big Eleven University Retirees Association Conference

Minutes of the Third Meeting
August 29-30, 1994, Coffman Union Campus Club, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

In Attendance: William Stallman (U of Ill); Neven Raber (Indiana U); Frank Cheng, Robert and Mick Sodolfsky (U of Iowa); Fred Beutler (U of Mich); Donald Polin (Mich State); Chalmer Hixon, Geoffrey Keller, John and Ruth Mount (Ohio State U); Jack and Jane MacMillan (Penn State); Sam and Margaret Conte, Edward and Phyllis Frickey (Purdue U); Vern Ausen, Dan Bryan, Paul Cartwright, Frank DiGangi, Clara Kanun, Jeanne Lupton, Keith McFarland, George Seltzer, Willard Thompson, George Warp, Peg Wipperman (U of Minn).

Monday, Aug. 29, 1994

At 9:30 a.m. Paul Cartwright, President, University of Minnesota Retirees Association, opened the meeting with a welcome from the University and described materials in each person's folder. Luncheon arrangements were announced.

The minutes of the 1993 meeting at the University of Michigan were approved.

Big Eleven Survey: Fred Beutler (U of Mich) distributed survey results as well as comparison charts. He commented that this information could possibly stimulate others to obtain some of the same support from their institutions. It is hoped that Iowa will begin some activities. Northwestern is the single institution where we have not been able to make contact.

There is much variation in how the retiree organizations relate to their institutions in the kind of support received, ranging from no relationship, informal relationships, to good institutional support and close relationships.

Fred Beutler continued his presentations on the survey and turned next to medical benefits, and who pays. Again, there is a great deal of variation in responses, ranging from Minnesota (where the institution pays nothing), to other institutions that pay a considerable portion, including for dependent coverage: co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions again reflect a variety of situations. Dental coverage also varied, but the information is not as complete. As Fred Beutler summarized, "Medical benefit combinations are very complex, representing a bewildering array of options, deductible and co-pay schemes, exclusions and the like. . . Moreover, in some cases, descriptions of the plans are so obscure that lengthy analysis would be required to decipher the array of the plan's provisions."

The discussion turned to life insurance where, again, there were as many life insurance plans as there are institutions. Chalmer Hixon suggested a further survey on life insurance.

As far as retirement benefits are concerned, there are many variations--some with TTAA/CREFF, some through a state retirement system, some with or without Social Security.

Keith McFarland asked what degree of influence do retiree groups have on benefits. The consensus of the group was that further study be made of both medical insurance and life insurance. It was also the consensus of the group that special thanks be extended to Wilfred Kaplan for his excellent work on the survey--Paul Cartwright will write and express this to Wilfred Kaplan.

Mission Statement: John Mount distributed copies of a proposed mission statement following the Michigan State pattern, and explained he'd left the title of the organization blank because it had not yet been agreed to. The motion was made and seconded to adopt the mission statement.

There was discussion on whether to include the word "advocacy" in the statement, and a motion to amend to strike the word "advocacy" was defeated.

There were a number of titles suggested for the organization. It was moved and seconded that "Association of Big 11 University Retirees" be the title. Following many other suggestions, and in the interests of time, the subject was tabled.

University of Minnesota Employee Benefits: Jeanne Lupton, President-elect of the University of Minnesota Retirees Association, introduced Robert Fahnhorst, of the Employee Benefits Office. He distributed information on seminars conducted for retirees and explained that prior to 1984 only one retirement package was available, with no options. Now there are many options, including 150-180 funds. There is also a trend to early retirement. He sees the role of his office as one of education rather than financial planning. They now want to reach more employees at a younger age and convince them they need to plan ahead at an earlier age.

Health Care: Jack MacMillan (Penn State) described the Penn State Needy Retirement Fund, its background, reorganization and search for indigent retirees, and grants to these retirees (materials were distributed relating to the Fund).

George Seltzer, chair of the University of Minnesota Retirees Association Health Committee, gave an overview of the committee's activities, including trying to heighten the university's sensitivities to needs of retirees. He commented that for the first time health insurance vendors will send representatives to the September luncheon meeting to explain their products. The committee has had various workshops as part of its educational activities and also participated in a state and university retiree survey on the quality of health coverage.

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 1994

At 9:00 a.m. the meeting was called to order. Dan Bryan, chair of the University of Minnesota Retirees Ass'n. Volunteer Services Committee, described the committee and its operations; relationship to UMRA, and distributed copies of its annual report to the Univ. of Minnesota President and IJMRA. He commented that volunteers usually want a breathing space upon retirement before making commitments and wish to maintain freedom of scheduling for travel and pre-retirement commitments. Dan answered questions relating to: how requests come to the Volunteer Center (he estimated that a bit more than 2/3 are from within the university); operation of the Volunteer Office; management committee operations and responsibilities. He explained the National Retiree Volunteer Coalition and the ways in which it can be of help to the Volunteer Services committee.

Dan addressed the question of liability and indemnification of retirees doing volunteer work, and commented the matter is murky, indeed. When serving University of Minnesota departments the retirees are considered unpaid university people, and are covered. When working outside the university things are not so clear--agencies usually have their own insurance to cover, although laws may vary. For non-profit agencies, coverage is usually limited to their resources. The State of Minnesota has published a booklet on the subject, and his committee is going through that book now.

Mission Statement: Motions on the mission statement were removed from the table. After further discussion, it was moved and seconded that the title be "Big 11 University Retirees Association"--the motion passed. It was moved and seconded that the mission statement and objectives be approved-the motion was approved.

Future Meetings: It was moved, seconded and passed that future meetings are as follows: 1995 - Michigan State; 1996 - Purdue; 1997 - Penn State. The steering committee for 1995 will consist of representatives from Minnesota, Michigan State, and Purdue (past, present and future hosts). It was the consensus that meetings be rotated around all member institutions. Paul Cartwright collected cards from each institution designating recipients of each institution's newsletters, with a view that all newsletters are to be shared with all retiree groups.


  1. Minutes of the 1993 Big Eleven Retirees meeting at the University of Michigan.

  2. 1993 survey results and charts.

  3. University of Minnesota Employee Benefits Department information.

  4. Penn State Needy Retirement Fund information.

  5. University of Minnesota Volunteer Center 1993-94 annual report.

  6. University of Minnesota Indemnification and Defense of Employees Regents policy of March 8, 1985

  7. "The Annuitant"--newsletter of the Urbana-Champaign Chapter, State Universities' Annuitants Association, Illinois.

  8. Penn State Faculty-Staff Benefits, University Medicare Supplement, 1994.

  9. Long Term Care: Issues and Ideas, Purdue University, April, 1994.

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