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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

For The Asking, A Check Is In The Mail To Help Pay For Costly Drugs
By Sarah Jane Tribble; Kaiser Health News ~ Dec 13, 2018

Opinion: Older Voters Have Favored the G.O.P. Can Democrats Pry Some Away?
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Poll: 6 in 10 say higher health care premiums are 'major concern'
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Dec 11, 2018

Opinion: 14 Tips For Making Your Charitable Gift Tax-Deductible In 2018
From Kelly Phillips Erb; Fortune ~ Dec 11, 2018

Study: Statins have low risk of side effects
By Tauren Dyson; United Press International ~ Dec 10, 2018

More blood pressure meds recalled due to carcinogen
By “HealthDay News”; United Press International ~ Dec 09, 2018

OIG: 46% of Medicare Patients in LTACs Experience Harm
By Maggie Flynn; Skilled Nursing News ~ Dec 09, 2018

Millions of Americans Could Face Surprise Emergency Room Bills in January. A contract fight means thousands of doctors may no longer be in-network.
By John Tozzi; Bloomberg ~ Dec 07, 2018

VP Mike Pence on Social Security: "Everything Has to Be on the Table"
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Nokia Sitting Pretty After Week of Turmoil for Huawei, Ericsson
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Dec 07, 2018

Column: Pfizer and Merck are raising drug prices again, showing that their price cuts were just a sham to mollify Trump
From Michael Hiltzik; Los Angeles Times ~ Dec 06, 2018

Seniors Steamed Over Cuts To SilverSneakers Fitness Program
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Opinion: Why Retirement Is Broken And Needs To Be Reinvented
From Stephen Chen; Forbes ~ Dec 06, 2018

Column: How to navigate Medicare options as Trump officials boost private plans
By Philip Moeller; PBS ~ Dec 05, 2018

Big Retirement Losses If The Market Crashes Tomorrow
From Teresa Ghilarducci; Forbes ~ Dec 05, 2018

Opinion: What To Expect From Nokia In 2019
From “Trefis Team”; Forbes ~ Dec 04, 2018

Hopeful Signs For Elder Care From Trump's HHS Secretary
By “Next Avenue”; Forbes ~ Dec 04, 2018

Physician Practice Roundup—Study finds Americans concerned about hospitals acquiring independent practices
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Nokia Gets €250M 5G R&D Boost From Nordic Lender
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GOP balks at Trump drug pricing plan
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Dem single-payer fight set to shift to battle over Medicare ‘buy-in’
By Nathaniel Weixel; The Hill ~ Nov 29, 2018

Democrats Taking Key Leadership Jobs Have Pocketed Millions From Pharma
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Trump budget director: Medicare, Social Security can be cut without eliminating benefits

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By Berkeley Lovelace Jr.; CNBC ~ Nov 27, 2018

Democrats slam 'imaginary Republican tax bill
By David Morgan; Reuters ~ Nov 27, 2018

House proposes ambitious tax package with retirement provisions
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Social Security runs short of money, and ideas fly on how to repair it
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Opinion: The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act: 3 Changes You Should Know
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Drug industry nervous about Grassley’s new role
By Nathaniel Weixel; The Hill ~ Nov 20, 2018

Volatile stock market spooking some older workers, retirees
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Why Nokia Is Up 25% in 2018
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Opinion: Never mind the Social Security increase, seniors are in trouble — here’s why
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Opinion: Small Fees Can Have A Big Impact On Retirement Accounts
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Doctors Are Fed Up With Being Turned Into Debt Collectors
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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.
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Incoming Dem chairman: Medicare negotiating drug prices is a priority
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CDC doubles recommended weekly exercise time for Americans
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Express Scripts looks to limit rebate model, lower drug costs in 2019
By Alex Kacik; Modern Healthcare ~ Nov 13, 2018

3rd blood pressure drug recalled in recent weeks over impurity
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Opinion: How The Midterm Elections May Steer Retirement Policy
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Online tool explores assumptions for pension liabilities
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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
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 09, 2018

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
By Laurence J. Kotlikoff; MarketWatch ~ Nov 08, 2018

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
From Teresa Ghilarducci; Forbes ~ Nov 02, 2018

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