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News of interest to ARCRA members

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  • 08/17/2018 3:27 PM | Anonymous

    Background: Sunday, August 19, is the UN-recognized World Humanitarian Day – a day to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and to rally support for people impacted by crises around the world. As conflict rages and families remain stuck in tragic circumstances not of their making, aid is needed more than ever. But health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

    Check out...
    Videos: 
    International Services YouTube playlist 

    Website: Redcross.org/international



  • 08/01/2018 11:50 AM | Anonymous

    The nation is facing a severe mid-summer blood shortage, and the American Red Cross is searching for donors of all blood types. 

    When you come in to donate blood, platelets, or plasma, you make a major difference. Patients who need regular transfusions, and those whose needs are unexpected, count on donors like you. And right now, there is an emergency need for blood donations. Patients are very thankful for your gift, as are we. 

    SPECIAL OFFERAs a special thank you for your generosity during this urgent time, if you donate between July 30 and Aug. 30 we will send you a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card* via email.**

    Click to schedule an Appointment.


  • 08/01/2018 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    Public Wi-Fi seems like the perfect way to keep in touch and get business done while on travel.  A Cloud security company looked at the 45 busiest U.S. airports and compiled a list of America’s most cyber insecure airports. San Diego is the worst, the most insecure. At the San Diego airport, findings showed that travelers using the public WiFi have a 30 percent chance to connect to a medium-risk network and 11 percent chance to connect to a high risk network. 

    See full list of ten most cyber insecure airports at Fortune


  • 08/01/2018 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    In Laos on July 23, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam collapsed causing unprecedented floods in neighboring towns, affecting nearly 7,000 people and displacing more than 1,000. With parts of the community still under water, Red Cross workers and first responders are doing everything possible to reach people with lifesaving aid.  More than 100 people are missing.

    Water levels reached rooftops in some areas and more than 100 homes were damaged, forcing families to seek shelter in local schools and government buildings.

    At this phase in the response, the Lao Red Cross is focused on providing immediate emergency assistance. “They are experienced in search and rescue, first aid, and have handled serious flooding in the past,” said Marwan Jilani, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC)’s office in Bangkok. “They are ready to respond to this challenging operation”. Relief efforts continue in close coordination with local officials and the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network.

    Read more at redcross.org



  • 06/27/2018 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    ARCRA provides an online directory of all Red Cross retirees who are ARCRA members.  To get to the directory, log into the ARCRA website with your email address and password. Click “More Links” at the end of the navigation bar and click on the fourth item on the drop-down menu “Directory.”  Type in the last name of the individual you are looking for and click on their name. The site will pull up a page “Member Details” where you can send an email message to the person you are seeking.  Personal information like address, phone, and email are not displayed on the site to protect member privacy.  If you want your personal information displayed, you can go to your membership profile and select information that you want to provide to other ARCRA members as part of your profile.  You can also update your profile when you move or get a new email address.

     NOTE:  If you haven’t logged into www.arcretireeassoc.org before, you will need to set a password.  To set your password, login with your email address and select “Forgot Password.” Then type in a new password.   If you have problems logging in, send a note to admin@arcretireeassoc.org.  If your email address is not listed as part of your ARCRA member portfolio, the website will not let you access “Members Only” pages on the website. Send a note to admin@arcretireeassoc.org to add your email address to your membership profile.


  • 06/27/2018 5:43 PM | Anonymous


    Research shows that strong relationships with family and friends help to preserve brain function and keep us happy.  Hearing is one of the senses that keep us connected and hearing loss is a proven precursor to social isolation.   
    Harvard studies prove the negative impact of hearing loss on the quality of a person’s relationships, health, and happiness as they age.  A study by the American Academy of Audiology proves that treating hearing loss with hearing aids improves relationships at home and work. People who wear hearing aids report increased self-confidence and socialization.

     If you or someone you know is suffering from hearing loss, consider taking advantage of free hearing consultations and discounts on hearing aids through American Hearing Benefits' nationwide network of hearing professionals. Click here for a free consult and 60-day trial.

     Set up your account at  Perkspot  and check out other discounts


  • 06/27/2018 4:48 PM | Anonymous

    Describing her decade with the Red Cross,  President and CEO Gail McGovern  said, “It has been a truly remarkable ten years with the American Red Cross. I have learned so much, not only about this storied institution, but also about the amazing generosity and resiliency of people around the world. And I am profoundly grateful for the ongoing compassion and commitment of all those who empower our lifesaving mission.”

    ARCRA congratulates Gail on her decade with the American Red Cross and thanks her for her guidance and leadership during her time with the American Red Cross. You can read Gail’s bio at  http://www.redcross.org/about-us/leadership/gail-j-mcgovern ad blog about the last ten years with the organization, check out the timeline starting on her first day to the present, read a report on the Red Cross and Gail’s contributions to the Red Cross mission and view Gail’s own words about her ten years with the American Red Cross in a new video at 

    Gail McGovern also discussed her Red Cross Career in one of the latest issues of the AARP Bulletin at https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2018/american-red-cross-gail-mcgoven.html

  • 05/30/2018 10:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Bob Howard

    Note: You must be an ARCRA member and logged on the the website to access the full primer.  Members click here for the full story. 

    The full article is, located under “Resources”, It will provide you with comprehensive information on how to develop your financial disaster preparedness plan.

    It is hard to believe that Hurricane Season is here.  We all remember last year when storm after storm hit the US and its territories one after another.  As Red Cross retirees we know the drill.  Make a plan…build a kit… and stay informed.  Often overlooked is having a sound financial plan for making it through a disaster.

    Financial Preparedness is probably the important thing for recovering after a disaster.  Ready.gov  has some great resources to help you make a financial preparedness plan.  Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • 04/30/2018 10:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Note: You must be an ARCRA member and logged on the the website to access the full primer.

    The Pension Primer, located under “Resources”, is a comprehensive review of the Red Cross pension program, defined-benefit pension programs in the U.S. overall, and the legal and public policy environment for pensions. It can be a very handy reference. For example-

    Who is in the American Red Cross pension plan?

    The American Red Cross began its defined-benefit plan in 1936. As of spring, 2017, according to American Red Cross National Headquarters staff, there are 18,600 retirees, or survivors of retirees, taking pension benefits. There are another 9,500 members of the pension system who are not yet taking benefits. About 9,000 former employees gave up their pension rights in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment, in buyouts that were offered in 2013 and 2016.

    Like many large employers in current times, Red Cross has moved away from its defined-benefit pension plan, in favor of a 401(k) defined-contribution program. The pension fund was closed to new employees in 2009, and for current employees, it was frozen in 2012 – that is, no more contributions were made, and no additional pension benefits accrued. So today, except for investment income, all of the funds in the pension plan flow outward to retirees; there is no longer a stream of regular employer contributions to the plan.

    Even though the fund has been closed to new employees, and frozen for current employees, the fund will be around for a long time. Red Cross National Headquarters officials project that the fund will be paying out benefits through 2077!

    In addition to the defined-benefit plan, and on the defined-contributions side, there are about 25,100 Red Cross employees or retirees with a 401(k) balance.

  • 09/14/2017 1:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Within the past few days, many ARC retirees have received letters describing changes in the way that their pension benefit will be paid beginning September 30. The American Red Cross Retiree Association board has been briefed on these changes and has made plans to help our members and other retirees understand these changes beginning with this initial communication.    

    If you will be affected, it is most important to note that the American Red Cross has pledged that “there will be no changes to the gross amount or timing of your monthly pension payment.” If you do not receive a letter from the Red Cross, your benefit will continue to be paid in the same way.

    It is also important that you read the materials carefully, respond to any requests, and make use of the phone numbers and email addresses provided as needed. If you get help from a family member or other advisor with your financial business, get the materials in front of them promptly.   

    Basics:

    • The Red Cross has purchased a new group annuity contract from Athene Annuity and Life Company to honor obligations to pension recipients whose monthly gross payments from the Retirement System portion of your benefit are $500 or less and who began receiving benefits on or before July 1, 2016.
    • In addition, pension recipients whose benefit has been partially backed by Aetna and John Hancock annuities purchased in 1989 will begin receiving two direct deposits or checks each month, one from Athene and one from either Aetna, John Hancock, or from the State Street Bank on behalf of the Red Cross Retirement System. Alight Solutions (formerly Aon Hewitt) will continue to support administration of Red Cross benefits.
    • Red Cross pension benefits are currently insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Going forward, the portion of your benefit paid by the annuity contracts will be backed by State Guarantee Associations. We will provide more info on State Guarantee Associations in future communications.

    We’d urge benefit recipients to note:

    • Though the timing of when your monthly pension benefit is issued will not change, if you will be receiving two payments which add up to your current benefit, it is possible that your direct deposits will not be posted on the exact same day; however in most cases it should. Likewise, your checks may not arrive in the mail on the exact same day. If you become concerned after receiving the first direct deposit or check, we’d urge you to wait a day or so before calling the appropriate support number.
    • We suspect that many pension recipients are unaware that benefits earned prior to 1989 have been covered by John Hancock or Aetna annuities though they have been combined with benefits earned after 1989 and paid through the State Street Bank in a single check or direct deposit. Though your gross total benefit may be greater than $500 per month, the portion actually coming from the Retirement System may be less than this if any portion of your total benefit has been covered by these 1989 annuities. If you fall into this category, your total pension benefit will now come directly from Athene and John Hancock or Aetna.

    Why the Changes?

    As indicated in the letters, Red Cross has concluded that purchasing the new annuity contract and changing the way in which the existing annuity contracts pay other pension recipients is the best way to secure pension benefits for current recipients, maintain a healthy plan for future retirees, and focus financial resources on the mission.

    Insurance company annuities are common and typically sound, but as with any major financial institution, there are always pros and cons to be found. In our preliminary research, however, we have found that insurance companies which hold the pension obligations for organizations like the ARC have excellent track records. For example, although many may be unaware, retirees who have been receiving pension benefits and were employed in 1989 or earlier are receiving a portion of their benefit from John Hancock or Aetna, paid through the ARC.

    Support

    • If you have questions after reviewing the Athene Welcome Packet, call them at 1-877-8134240.
    •  Direct questions regarding the portion of your benefit that will now come directly from:
      • Aetna: 1-800-952-2700
      • John Hancock: 1-800-624-5155.
    • Direct calls to Alight (formerly Aon Hewitt): 1-877-860-7526 regarding the portion of your benefit still being paid by the Red Cross Pension Plan through the State Street Bank. Alight will also continue to provide customer support for the Red Cross Savings Plan 401(k), retiree health insurance and other benefits. 
    • If, after making these calls, you have questions or concerns, contact ARCRA at 1-888-738-2724 or ARCRA@redcross.org. We’ll help you navigate the basics of the changes and help you get your questions to the right place. (We’ll make every effort to respond within 24 hours.)

    ARCRA Support Going Forward

    Regardless of the source of your pension benefit, ARCRA will continue to advocate for all Red Cross retirees and educate our members on important and relevant issues. Given the impending changes, our research and education efforts will now include pensions backed by annuity contracts and the State Guaranty Associations which insure them and be communicated through our monthly eNewsletters, print newsletter The Retiree, and website. In addition, we’ll continue to help retirees to stay connected.  Our ability to continue this work depends on the continued support of our members.

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