Big Ten Retirees Association


Fifth Annual Business Meeting Minutes
August 26, 1996

Don Gustafson, Chair of the President's Advisory Council on Retirement, opened the meeting by welcoming the representatives from the Big Eleven Retirees Association to Purdue. Various Purdue University Retiree (PUR) publications were distributed.

  1. 1997 Meeting - Penn State University will host the sixth annual meeting August 25 and 26, l 997. Penn State representatives distributed a packet of information that included maps of the city and the University. Northwest, US Air and United Airlines service the airport at University Park. A shuttle will be provided to the University for those who fly in for the meeting. Lodging is available on campus at the Nitany Lion Inn.

  2. Discussion Topics - Notes of the discussion topics are attached.

  3. 1995 Medical Health Insurance Survey - The 1995 medical health insurance survey was requested from those who had not submitted their survey previously.

  4. 1998 Meeting Site - The University of Illinois volunteered to host the 1998 Big Eleven Retirees Association meeting. There was much discussion regarding the lack of representation from Northwestern and Wisconsin Universities. Representatives from Michigan State and Penn State agreed to contact Northwestern and Wisconsin respectively. A suggestion was also made to send a letter to the Universities from the Big Eleven Retirees Association representatives. Purdue President, Dr. Steven C. Beering agreed to assist through written messages.


Meeting August 26 & 27, 1996

Discussion Topics

  1. Louise Piranian (Michigan) presented a paper on efforts to get state and federal authorization to have their retiree organization recognized as a tax-exempt (501(C)3) organization. This would permit them to receive tax deductible contributions and expand their programs. They have received approval from the State of Michigan and have filed with the IRS. Other points:
    • depending on each retiree organization connection with their University, this may be an attractive means of organizing and getting operating funds
    • there is little concern about competing with fund raising efforts of the University
    • several schools have access to University funds, office space and staff to support their programs

  2. The topic of HMO development was raised by Don Gustafson (Purdue). It appears that the government will be steering Medicare recipients toward more managed care options. This has not been an issue for most retiree groups but will continue to be monitored.

  3. Several retiree organizations were interested in how to keep "members in the fold". Penn State recently sent out letters to perspective members. They currently have 650 members out of a total 4,300-retiree population. Dues are $6.00 for 3 years. Activities include social events, discussions on benefit programs and projects retirees can sponsor. Michigan State has 3,000 retirees (1,000 local) and out-of-area retirees don't participate very much. They have educational programs and newsletters. Dues are $5.00 per year. Other notes:

    • Purdue has 3,200 retirees and no dues. All "official retirees" receive newsletters, can participate in programs/social activities, and provide volunteer services. There are no dues.
    • The Indiana University Annuitants Association operates principally as a social group.
    • Some retiree organizations also have affiliations with the school's alumni associations. Ohio State retirees can become members of the Alumni Association, access travel programs and the association provides meeting space. Michigan State has retiree groups in Arizona and Florida, but these activities are coordinated by the development office.

  4. A discussion of 1997 Medicare supplemental plans was initiated by Don Gustafson (Purdue). Several schools do not pay for retirees medical premiums. These include Purdue, I.U., and Minnesota. Since retirees shop for health insurance plans there was some interest in developing a plan for retirees of these seven other schools which would be available to form a larger pool for medical benefits. This may be an agenda item for action at future BERA meetings.

  5. Mary Gardner (Purdue) presented information on the elderhostel programs she coordinates. These have involved choral groups and "Where the Prairie Begins". She also reviewed programs available through the Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association (WALLA).

  6. Dick McDowell (Purdue) reviewed the Faculty Fellows program and how Purdue faculty, staff and retirees can assist students living in residence halls with their Purdue experience. For retirees, this is a way to stay connected and involved in University activities.

  7. David Thompson (Purdue) provided an outline of the Wellness activities available to retirees. These include health fairs and screening procedures with interpretations, wellness newsletters and influenza immunizations. While the number of participants has been relatively small, retirees have appreciated the opportunity to be included and receive wellness benefits provided by the University. Other retiree groups reported access to health evaluations through the University or community supported organizations.

  8. Maynard Reynolds (Minnesota) reviewed work done by their retiree organization to evaluate the income levels for retirees who could be in need of financial assistance. They surveyed retirees and determined that there were 400 retirees with incomes (including Social Security) of less than $30,000 per year. They were able to negotiate with the University to supplement pensions which provide $8 per month for each year worked and $12 per month for each year retired. Cost of living adjustments are also built in. Other related activities reported were:

    • Penn State has a fund which was started in the 1950's to help retirees with financial difficulties. They notified all PSU retirees of the availability of these funds and $16,575 was awarded in 1994, $2,364 in 1995 and $826 in 1996 leaving a balance of $60,000 as of August 1, 1996. The fund has been used to help those who have difficulties with health care costs or emergency financial problems.

    • The Purdue retiree organization has received requests from three retirees for financial assistance, primarily related to health care costs. They will be determining what, if anything, can be done and how the University's administration wants to manage these situations over time.

  9. John Mount (Ohio State University) reviewed how OSU retirees work with retiree organizations of other Ohio universities. There is an Ohio Council of University Retirees that function much like BERA does. They have a $25.00 per chapter membership fee and meet regularly to discuss common topics/issues.

  10. Other items of discussion included arrangements for retiree housing. This may be included as a discussion topic for the 1997 meeting at Penn State.

  11. Iowa agreed to host the 1999 meeting. BERA meeting hosts will be:
    1997 Penn State University
    1998 University of Illinois
    1999 University of Iowa
    2000 Indiana University

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