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HELP FOR SURVIVORS

The LRO receives frequent requests for dealing with the passing of a retiree or surviving spouse. Consequently, we have created a document that focuses on communicating with Nokia benefits and pensions, along with links to websites with checklists for other family issues. The document is available here.

The document is printable so that you can keep it in your files for future reference.


LRO Board Meeting - Dallas, TX, October 24, 2018

The LRO Board of Directors met in Dallas, TX on October 24, 2018 to continue the evaluation of the LRO role and the execution of the Plan Forward as laid out in our final newsletter published in November of 2017.

Attending were: Joe Dombrowski, President, Frank Minter, Vice President, Dick McCauley, Treasurer, Joe Sciulli, Webmaster, Legislative Affairs Director, Bob Martina, and board members at large, Bob Janish, Andy Guarriello, Dan Lovatt, and Gary Reichow.

Unable to attend: Benefits Director, Ron Hoth, Secretary, Pam Rasmussen

In that final November 2017 newsletter, we laid out A Plan Forward for the LRO. That plan was based upon the significant decline that we were seeing in member questions and activity following the successful pension buyout offering in late 2016 and the transition to Nokia. Among the planned actions were: website simplification, cancellation of regional meetings, reductions to the size of the LRO board, cancellation of the newsletter, and suspension of annual dues. The plan was intended to reduce board workload and expense as we continued to evaluate the future relevance of the LRO. The board is now well along in executing that plan.

As of this board meeting, the decline in activity continues with no major pension or benefit issues facing our retirees. The remaining pension trust is well funded at over 110%, and Nokia continues to provide healthcare for retirees. Congress continues to wrestle with the future of the Affordable Care Act and Social Security and Medicare funding; but those issues, while important to retirees, we believe are best addressed through our lobbying partner, the NRLN. With the suspension and now cancellation of LRO dues, we urge our membership to consider supporting the NRLN directly. Visit the NRLN at www.nrln.com to gain more insight into the policy proposals of that organization.

The only other significant benefit issue that continues to fester is the funding of the Group Life Insurance Trust. That trust, which was fully funded by AT&T at divestiture, no longer has sufficient assets to cover all eligible retirees. It is estimated that the fund currently has assets to last for another four years or so. The LRO has pursued this funding issue for several years and has written the CEO of Nokia regarding the importance of this issue to our retirees. From our interaction with Nokia, we are aware that Nokia is at least examining options to find a way to deal with this funding shortfall. Time will tell if we have been successful in our efforts; but we believe we have done all we can on this issue.

Given all of the above and considering the advanced age of board members and our retiree population in general, the board is now actively planning for the dissolution of the LRO sometime in the 2020 timeframe. Dissolution of an IRS classified 501C5 organization is a fairly complex process requiring extensive documentation not only for the IRS, but also for the state of our incorporation (NY) plus our financial headquarters (NJ). To assist us, we have retained an attorney to guide us through this process. At some point in the process, we will be hosting a final membership meeting to vote on dissolution details. We will continue to keep our membership informed as we go through this process and will regularly update our website, www.lucentretirees.com which will remain active until final dissolution.

Finally, with relative stability in our pension funding and healthcare benefits, we believe we have largely accomplished the goals set forth in our incorporation to represent the interests of our retirees. We say to our members, thank you for your support over the years. We have done our best to be your advocate and to keep you informed of key issues. We believe our presence has made a difference.


LRO LETTER TO NOKIA & REPLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE


PENSION STATUS REPORT

Recently you should have received from Nokia the Annual Funding Notice (AFN) reporting the status of your pension that they are required to send you each year on April 30. In this status report we will provide some comments on the data in the AFN and also on the information Nokia reported to the SEC earlier this year. The current data in the two documents will probably be the last new current pension status data for this year.

The AFN data provides data at both the beginning of the year (2017) and the end of that year. The beginning of year data covers a three- year period and the following is for the year 2017:

Funding Target Attainment Percentage

Assets $17.628 billion     Liabilities $12.863 billion     Funding Level 137%

Two significant causes are described for the reported funding level. (Also covered in the second paragraph under plan liabilities on page 2 of the AFN). Under Federal Law which was effective in 2011, companies with defined benefit pension plans were allowed to calculate pension liabilities using a 25 year average of interest rates rather than a 2 year average. Currently the 25 year average is greater than the 2 year average, therefore the higher rate reduces the pension liabilities and increases the funding level. Nokia reports that using this average rate adds about 20.5 percentage points to the funding level. The second item is that Nokia has not yet adopted the new actuarial tables for this calculation which also overstates the funding level by about 10%.

The second funding status shown in the AFN is at 12/31/17 as follows:

Assets $18.422 billion     Liabilities $15.636 billion   Funding Level 117.8%

This calculation does not use the 25 year interest rate average but uses the PBGC interest rates. It also does not reflect the use of new actuarial tables which have about a 10% effect on funding level. This funding level is about two percentage points lower than 2016.

Earlier this year, Nokia also filed a Form 20F with the SEC that reported the funding level of our pension plans (in euros) for year end 2016 and 2017.

  2016 2017
Pension Assets  16.9 billion euros 15.3 billion euros 
Pension Liabilities  15.9 billion euros  13.8 billion euros 
Funding level  105.7 %   111.0 % 

Please note the reduction in both assets and liabilities for 2017. Since pension recording for our pension plans is done in dollars, it must be converted into euros for financial reporting by Nokia. The exchange rate from dollars to euros increased from about 1.05 to about 1.20 during this period thereby significantly reducing both reported assets and liabilities. You should also note that Nokia has adopted the new actuarial tables for financial reporting.

When Nokia reports total assets and liabilities for all US pension plans and all US post retirement benefits total pension assets (management and represented plans) exceed total liabilities by 2.4 billion euros. Post retirement benefit plans covering both healthcare and group life insurance benefits liabilities exceed assets by 2.0 billion euros. As reported on the 20F (when all plans are added together) some of the positive increase resulted from the improvement in the euro/dollar exchange rate.

The AFN also reports total participants in the pension plan, both active, retired, and entitled to future benefits. Total participants declined from 117,260 on 1/1/16 to 115,150 on 1/1/17 although active employees increased by 2006 during the year 2016. That is of interest to retirees as Nokia increased pension expense by 63 million euros in 2016 and 75 million euros in 2017 in connection with reinstatement of a cash balance pension plan for active employees. Up to now no assets have been contributed to the plan for this expense.


MEDICARE NEWS


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SPECIAL NOTICES TO MEMBERS

HEALTH, WELFARE, AND PENSION INQUIRIES

Nokia Benefits Resource Center (NBRC)1-888-232-4111
International Long Distance 1-212-444-0994
www.resources.hewitt.com/nokia    Other links here.


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RETIREE ISSUES IN THE NEWS

The Health 202: Progressive Democrats ready to push 'Medicare for all' with new House leadership
By Paulina Firozi; The Washington Post ~ Nov 16, 2018

Opinion: Small Fees Can Have A Big Impact On Retirement Accounts
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Seniors want drug prices in ads. Young people? Eh, whatever: survey
By Beth Snyder Bulik; FiercePharma ~ Nov 14, 2018

Doctors Are Fed Up With Being Turned Into Debt Collectors
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By Blake Dodge; Bloomberg ~ Nov 15, 2018

Opinion: Medicare Part D Changes: Empowering The Plan, Not Necessarily The Beneficiary
From Joshua Cohen; Forbes ~ Nov 15, 2018

Opinion: A Patient Complained About The Cost Of Her Medical Care. Here's How Her Doctor Responded.
From Peter Ubel; Forbes ~ Nov 14, 2018

Incoming Dem chairman: Medicare negotiating drug prices is a priority
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 14, 2018

CDC doubles recommended weekly exercise time for Americans
By Tauren Dyson; United Press International ~ Nov 14, 2018

Nokia to sharpen customer organization focus as the 5G era accelerates and announces changes in the composition of the Nokia Group Leadership Team
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Express Scripts looks to limit rebate model, lower drug costs in 2019
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3rd blood pressure drug recalled in recent weeks over impurity
By Clyde Hughes; United Press International ~ Nov 13, 2018

Opinion: How The Midterm Elections May Steer Retirement Policy
From Teresa Ghilarducci; Forbes ~ Nov 11, 2018

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HealthCare.gov breach compromised applicants' financial, immigration data
By Andrew Blake; The Washington Times ~ Nov 10, 2018

FACT CHECK: Are Republicans Trying To Eliminate Social Security, Medicare And Medicaid?
By Shane Devine; Check Your Fact ~ Nov 09, 2018

Opinion: Congress should broaden legislation to curb medical price gouging
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Pelosi-Trump overtures making Big Pharma sweat bullets
By Joe Williams; The Washington Examiner ~ Nov 09, 2018

Medicare expands access to in-home support for seniors
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House Dems plan key vote on pre-existing conditions
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Opinion: An economist’s policy wish list for House Democrats: Government debt, Social Security, health care
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Nokia Reveals Future X Network Project
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The Democrats took the House, here’s what that means for your retirement
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Opinion: Prescription Drug Prices: A Bitter Pill In The Midterm Elections
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GOP Candidates Are Hearing It From Constituents With Pre-Existing Conditions
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Trump, top House Republican admit there's no chance of a middle class tax cut this year
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Opinion: Republicans' Public Opposition To Social Security And Medicare
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Healthcare Experts Propose Both Market and Regulatory Changes to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs Amid the Trump Administration’s Call to Cut Medicare Drug Prices
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Trump, House GOP pledge to push middle-class tax cut next year, miss president’s promised timeline
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Nokia Builds Apps for Optical Network Monetization
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Health secretary warns pharma: Administration will push ahead with drug pricing reforms
By Jessie Hellmann; The Hill ~ Oct 26, 2018

Trump Tax Cuts Will Wait Until 2019, Brady Says in Plot Twist
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Nokia Warns of Job Cuts in €700M Shake-Up
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Database details drugmakers' contributions to Congress
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Trump says new proposal will lower some US drug prices
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar & Deb Riechmann; The Associated Press ~ Oct 25, 2018

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Opinion: How to plan for taxes in retirement
By Anna Bahney; CNNMoney ~ Oct 25, 2018

Trump insists GOP will 'totally' protect pre-existing conditions, despite ObamaCare repeal efforts
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Oct 24, 2018

Opinion: Treat Social Security the way President Roosevelt intended, as an insurance program not an entitlement
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Drug Companies, Not 'Middlemen', Are Responsible For High Drug Prices
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By Melanie Waddell; ThinkAdvisor ~ Oct 23, 2018

Trump says he will push for new round of tax cuts after midterms
By Jordan Fabian; The Hill ~ Oct 22, 2018

Opinion: Publicized drug prices will be meaningless to the average consumer
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Opinion: How to figure out Medicare and choose the right plan
From Sally Squires; The Washington Post ~ Oct 20, 2018

This retirement expense has hit $100,000 annually — and it's continuing to rise
By Darla Mercado; CNBC ~ Oct 20, 2018

Commentary: Bill Nelson, Rick Scott Mum's the Word on Social Security
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Healthcare.gov hit with data breach impacting 75,000 people
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Medicare Part B Drug Payments Vexing for Docs, CMS
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Opinion: Social Security Does Not Add To The Federal Deficit
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Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight
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Rising drug prices widen gap between have, have-not patients
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Trump set to force drugmakers to post prices in ads
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Nokia chairman reopens old wounds with new book
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Social Security Benefits Will Rise 2.8% In 2019, While Maximum Taxable Earnings Will Increase 3.5%
By Ashlea Ebeling; Forbes ~ Oct 11, 2018

Trump Signs Bills Banning 'Gag Clauses,' Helping Consumers Save on Drugs
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Dems to force health care vote weeks before Nov. midterms
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Opinion: What Older Voters Want In The Midterm Elections
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This Retiree Trap Can Send Your Social Security Benefits to the IRS
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New Era of Rising Rates Finally Dawns On U.S. Treasury Investors
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Opinion: How To Avoid A Healthcare Surrogate Tragedy
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