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November 2014

Effective January 1, 2015, IRS limits on the amount that can be contributed to a 401(k) Plan per calendar year will increase. Click here to read more about the increase.

10-30-2014

The Carpenters Annuity Trust Fund for Northern California Board of Trustees announces a transition to Annuity Valuation Unitized Accounting.

09-26-2014

The Board of Trustees announces changes to the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California Pension Plan including Statute of Limitations for Legal Action Against the Plan, Eligibility and Disability Changes, Future Service Eligibility Credit for Periods of Disability, and Payment Option Name Change from "Husband-and-Wife Pension" to "Joint and Survivor Pension."

07-28-2014

Several Health and Welfare Plan Changes have been announced for Plan A & R, Plan B & Flat Rate Plan, and Retiree Plan participants.

03-01-2014

Withholding is one way for you to pay a portion of your income tax on your Pension and Annuity benefits once you’re retired. If no tax, or not enough tax, is withheld from your benefits, you may have to pay estimated taxes during the year or a tax penalty at the end of the year. Of course, whether you have to pay federal income tax on your benefit payments depends on the total amount of your taxable income. Your decision on withholding is an important one, and you may wish to discuss it with a qualified tax adviser. Read more about income taxes and your retirement benefit here.

12-20-2013

Anthem Blue Cross is pleased to announce that they have successfully renewed their Agreement with the Sutter Health System. The fully executed multi-year contract is effective January 1, 2014.

The agreement between Anthem and Sutter on a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) contract means services provided to Indemnity Participants and Dependents will continue to be covered at in-network benefit levels at all Sutter Health facilities and doctor offices.

Read more about the agreement here.

12-20-2013

The Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California sent out the Zone Status and Annual Funding Notice. See the full notices here.

12-02-2013

Indemnity Plan Participants: Anthem Blue Cross has notified the Fund Office that its Preferred Provider agreement with the Sutter Health System may be in jeopardy. Although Anthem Blue Cross and the Sutter Health System continue to engage in discussions, if both parties do not reach a mutual agreement, all Sutter Health System providers will terminate with Anthem's Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network effective January 1, 2014. For more information about the negotiations and their possible effect on your benefits read the full notice here.

How to search for non-Sutter providers in your area.

11-25-2013

The Trustees of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California and the Carpenters Annuity Trust Fund for Northern California recognize that sometimes Retirees may need to supplement their Retiree income through post-retirement employment. However, so that active non-retired Participants may continue to earn retirement benefits, Prohibited Employment rules have been part of the retirement Plans since inception. Read more about the recent restatement of the Clarification of Policy of Prohibited Employment Guidelines.

11-08-2013

The Board of Trustees recently approved changes to how the Indemnity Medical and Prescription Plans cover imaging services such as CT Scans and MRIs, as well as how they cover certain medications, including Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), opiates, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants.  These changes are effective January 1, 2014. Read the full notice for more information.

Also, the special window period for new Service Pensioners to apply for Retiree Health and Welfare using documentation of being on the “out-of-work” list at their Northern California Local Union in lieu of the standard required “hours in covered employment” was closed as of August 31, 2013.  See the full notice for more information on the closure of the window period. For more information about how to qualify for Retiree Health and Welfare please refer to the Plan Rules and Regulations.

10-18-2013

The Fund Office is currently in the process of auditing dependent enrollees of the Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund to ensure only eligible dependents are provided Plan benefits. If you received our notice regarding the Ineligible Dependents Amnesty Period, we strongly encourage you to review your dependents currently on file with the Fund Office.

Effective now through November 15, 2013, the Health & Welfare Plan is offering an amnesty period to those Participants who voluntarily remove ineligible individuals previously listed as dependents. During the amnesty period, individuals self-terminated will be removed from future eligibility, but no collection efforts will be pursued for claims paid in error. However, aggressive legal and collection efforts will be pursued to recover the money for any claims paid in error on behalf of ineligible dependents if such ineligibility is not self-reported and is discovered as a result of the Fund’s dependent audit.

Plan Participants with individuals listed as dependents that no longer meet the Plan’s definition of dependent should immediately remove those ineligible individuals from coverage by completing the Amnesty Period “Ineligible Dependent” Form that was recently sent to you.

10-04-2013

The Annuity Fee Disclosure Notice includes important information to help participants carefully compare the investment options available under their retirement Plan(s). To comply with federal regulations this notice, which contains retirement plan fee information, is being distributed for participant directed individual account plans. If you have not elected to self-direct investments in your Annuity Account or have not enrolled in the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan these investment options and fees do not apply.

08-28-2013

Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as “Obamacare,” will require U.S. citizens to have “minimum essential” medical and prescription coverage. Minimum essential coverage may be obtained through an employer sponsored plan like the Carpenters Health and Welfare Plan, an individual plan, Medicare or Medicaid. Persons without minimum essential coverage will be subject to a tax penalty.

To aid citizens in locating coverage, each state created a Marketplace where people not covered through an employer sponsored plan, Medicare or Medicaid can purchase, often federally subsidized, coverage. (The federal government is administering the Marketplace in some states.) By October 2013, every employer must provide a notice to all employees about the availability of Marketplaces. In California, the Marketplace is known as “Covered California.” The Covered California website is www.coveredca.com and is already available for obtaining information, answering questions and providing coverage premium estimates.

NOTE: If you are eligible for Carpenters Health and Welfare, you already satisfy the rules of the individual mandate and there is nothing you need to do.

Find additional information about ACA and its effect on the Carpenters’ Plan here. For general information about ACA, please visit www.coveredca.com, or www.ifebp.org.

01-31-2013

Checks have been prepared and mailed to participants who had Vacation Fund contributions for the work months of August 2011 through July 2012. If you are expecting a vacation check and do not receive it by February 13th, you can contact the Trust Fund Office at benefitservices@carpenterfunds.com or (888) 547-2054 to verify it was sent to your most current address and check the status of your check. Checks are mailed to the last valid address we have on file for the Participant. If you need to update your address you can download and submit a written change of address to the Trust Fund.

12-14-2012

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees reminds participants of upcoming changes to their coverage effective January 1, 2013. For a review of the changes, view the reminder notice here, or view the original notification of changes here.

11-16-2012

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees announces a new Hearing Aid network, HearUSA,  for Indemnity Plan Participants and Health Net Retiree Plan Participants. Eligible Participants, Retirees and dependents are now able to take advantage of services from the HearUSA Hearing Care Network. HearUSA has a network of accredited audiologists and licensed hearing aid providers with over 2,500 locations nationwide. Using the network may reduce your out-of-pocket cost when purchasing hearing aids. See the full notice for more information.

10-26-2012

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees announces several plan changes effective January 1, 2013, including a new outreach program, a Value Based Program for colonoscopies, arthroscopy, cataract surgery, and total hip and knee replacements, a 24/7 nurseline, and a change to the prescription drug plan. See the full notice for more information.

10-05-2012

The Annuity Fee Disclosure Notice includes important information to help participants carefully compare the investment options available under their retirement Plan(s). To comply with federal regulations this notice, which contains retirement plan fee information, is being distributed for participant directed individual account plans. If you have not elected to self-direct investments in your Annuity Account or have not enrolled in the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan these investment options and fees do not apply.

07-23-2012

For all Non-Medicare Retirees and their Dependents, the Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund for California Non-Medicare Indemnity Plan has a $250,000 calendar year overall maximum for all Medical benefits and a $75,000 per calendar year maximum for outpatient Prescription Drug benefits paid for each Eligible Individual. Routine physical exams for the participant and spouse are limited to $250 per 12 month period. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will prohibit annual limits beginning in 2014, but allows restricted annual limits on the dollar value of “essential” covered health benefits until January 1, 2014. For more information on how this applies to your plan, click here.

06-01-2012

The Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California provides notice to all Participants, Beneficiaries, Participating Local Unions and Contributing Employers regarding reductions being made under the Rehabilitation Plan.

07-01-2012

As a result of a new California law, and effective July 1, 2012, if you are eligible under OptumHealth, coverage is now provided for professional services and treatment programs for pervasive developmental disorders or autism. Learn More.

January 2012

A WRONG ADDRESS COULD DELAY YOUR VACATION CHECK - Please notify the Fund Office in writing if your address has changed. Please review the personal and dependent information on your most recent quarterly statement. Benefits may be delayed if personal and/or dependent information is not correct. All changes should be submitted to the Trust Fund Office in writing.

December 2011

Effective January 1, 2012, IRS limits on the amount that can be contributed to a 401(k) Plan per calendar year will be increased. Read More.

10-10-2011

Cultivating Awareness is Good Health. A message from Kaiser Permanente about Breast Cancer.

10-07-2011

Important notices regarding Creditable Coverage, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, privacy practices, Women’s Health and Cancer Rights, extension of coverage for certain dependents on a medically necessary leave of absence, Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund for California’s “grandfather” status, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program sent to all Health and Welfare plan participants.

10-10-2011

A new education option is now available for Participants who are interested in learning more about Self-Directing their funds in the Carpenters Annuity Trust Fund for Northern California. Learn more about your investment options by taking the online tutorial, available online here or contact the Trust Fund Office for more information.

September 2011

Individuals whose coverage ended, or who were denied coverage (or were not eligible for coverage), because the availability of dependent coverage of certain children ended before attainment of age 26 are eligible to enroll in the Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund for California. After September 1, 2011, such children will be effective the first day of the month following satisfaction of enrollment for more information contact the Fund Office or download forms.

07-29-2011

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees announces benefit modifications for the Retiree Plan, including the addition of Adult Child coverage. Review the notice for more information regarding upcoming plan changes.

07-15-2011

The Pension Board of Trustees announces the election of funding relief. The governmental relief will be used to overcome investment losses from 2008 and 2009. See notice for details.

07-01-2011

The Pension and Annuity Boards announce an extension to the Special Temporary Window Period for Post-Retirement Employment. See notice for further information.

06-20-2011

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees announces a special enrollment period for Adult Dependents, as well as several other benefit modifications that become effective September 1, 2011. Review the notice for more information.

05-13-2011

The Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California provides notice to all Participants, Beneficiaries, Participating Local Unions and Contributing Employers regarding reductions being made under the Rehabilitation Plan.

April 2011

The Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan started on September 1, 2008. Each year the Plan is required by law to provide a “Safe Harbor Notice" to all participants eligible to participate in the Plan. If you have an Annuity account, this year's required Safe Harbor Notice was included in your statement.

If you have any questions about the 401(k) Plan, a complete explanation of the Plan’s features and your rights under the Plan can be found in the Summary Plan Description (SPD). The SPD is available online or may be requested via phone by contacting New York Life at 1-800-294-3575 or the Trust Fund Office at 1-888-547-2054.

February 2011

If you become eligible to receive your Annuity, there may be tax consequences to consider. If your payment can be rolled over and you do not elect to do so, the Plan is required by law to withhold 20%. Furthermore, there may be an additional 10% tax if you do not roll it over or if an "exception" does not apply. Even though taxes may be withheld, you may still owe taxes and/or possible tax penalties. It is your responsibility to satisfy your tax and tax penalty obligations, and to seek appropriate advice from a qualified tax advisor.

01-27-2011

The Vacation Checks have been prepared and are queued to be mailed on Saturday, January 29, 2011 for hours worked between 8/1/2009-7/31/2010 and paid through 12/31/2010.

If you are expecting a vacation check and do not receive it by Wednesday, February 9th, you may email BenefitServices@carpenterfunds.com or call the Fund Office at (888) 547-2054.

12-10-2010

Recently, New York Life Retirement Plan Services launched its new website: mylife.newyorklife.com for Participants with Self-Directed Annuity accounts and Participants of the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan. The new site makes it easier than ever to find what you need, and it offers simple suggestions that help take the guesswork out of financial decisions. Visit the site for yourself, bookmark it, and find out how you can start living the life you want … today and tomorrow.

11-29-2010

News from your Trust Fund regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A recent article from The Northern California Carpenter newspaper regarding how PPACA may affect your adult children seeking health coverage, lifetime and annual limits and our status as a grandfathered plan. Please contact the Trust Fund Office with any questions.

06-08-2010

PacifiCare Behavioral Health and U.S. Behavioral Health Plan, California have announced a merger effective in 2010. After the merger of these two plans they will be recognized under the new name of OptumHealth, Behavioral Solutions of California. The merger and name change will have no impact on member benefits, treatment or interaction with their Customer Service department, and their website, www.liveandworkwell.com, will remain the same.

07-31-2009

The Board of Trustees announces that effective September 1, 2009, Kaiser benefits for Plan B and Flat Rate Participants will change back to a "Traditional HMO" plan. More>>

06-26-2009

Retiree Health and Welfare - Late Enrollment Rules - An additional provision is added to the Retiree Plan allowing individuals, or their dependents, that have coverage through Medicare or a State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and subsequently lose that coverage, to enroll in the Plan within 60 days of losing that coverage. Sixty days is also allowed for enrollment if a Participant or their dependent becomes eligible for a premium assistance program through Medicaid or CHIP. Late enrollment provisions apply to those Participants who were deemed eligible for Retiree Health and Welfare at the time of retirement, but chose to delay their coverage. Refer to the Plan Rules and Regulations for questions regarding the Plan. View the notice.

06-26-2009

Post-Retirement Prohibited Employment - The Boards of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California and the Carpenters Annuity Trust Fund for Northern California have applied a special temporary window period, June 1, 2009 through August 31, 2011, with modified Prohibited Employment rules. Whether or not a job will result in the suspension of benefit payments is subject to Trustee interpretation. If you are considering working and want clarification on how it may impact your benefits you may wish to submit an inquiry to the Prohibited Employment Committee.

04-17-2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law February 17, 2009, provides a temporary premium reduction subsidy of 65 percent for COBRA continuation coverage charged to eligible individuals. The subsidy, which may last up to 9 months, is available to COBRA qualified beneficiaries who elect COBRA and whose qualifying event is related to involuntary termination of covered employment. Although the subsidy will not apply to all COBRA eligible beneficiaries, it may help those who experienced a termination of employment between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. The Fund Office mailed a notice and application on April 17, 2009, to those Participants with a COBRA Qualifying Event on or after September 1, 2008. If you received the notice and feel you may qualify, please complete the Request for Treatment as an Assistance Eligible Individual. The COBRA Election Form must also be completed if you are not already on COBRA continuation coverage. Return the documents to this office as soon as possible. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive written notice regarding the outcome of your application.

12-08-2008

The Health and Welfare Board of Trustees announces a change to an in-house claims system for Participants in the Indemnity Medical Plan. There will be no change in benefits for Participants in this Plan and the preferred provider network and prior authorizations will still be through Anthem Blue Cross. Indemnity Medical Plan Participants and providers have been notified of the change effective January 1, 2009.

11-14-2008

Board of Trustees announces benefit improvements to the Carpenters Health and Welfare Plans including Indemnity Medical Plan changes, Delta Dental benefit enhancement for pregnant women and a Medicare Supplemental Benefit change for Retirees. More>>

10-30-2008

Open Enrollment for the Health and Welfare Flat Rate Plan will be November 1, through November 30. The Flat Rate plan allows, employers to offer health coverage to their full-time Non-Bargaining Agreement Employees. More>>

07-15-2008

Northern California Carpenters announces the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan to be effective September 1, 2008. Notices were sent to all Employers and Participants with more information regarding this new plan. This new plan has been introduced to give Participants the opportunity to make voluntary contributions to their retirement savings.

06-27-2008

The Board of Trustees for the Carpenters Health & Welfare Trust Fund announces changes that affect Retiree Health and Welfare Self-Payments, including a rebate for those who qualify and a change in the way subsidies are calculated.

05-30-2008

Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund announces the reinstatement of Delta Dental for Plan B Participants effective July 1, 2008 and other Plan B and Flat Rate Plan changes effective January 1, 2009. More>>

04-25-2008

Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund announces benefit changes to the Indemnity Medical and Prescription Drug Plans. More>>

01-31-2008

The vacation checks will be mailed on Thursday, January 31, 2008. If you are expecting a vacation check and you do not receive it by Thursday, February 7th, please contact the Fund Office.

10-30-2007

Open Enrollment for the Health and Welfare Flat Rate Plan will be November 1 through November 30. The Flat Rate Plan allows employers to offer health coverage to their full-time Non-Bargaining Agreement Employees. More>>

10-12-2007

Effective January 1, 2008, Health Net will no longer be available for Active Participants. Current Health Net participants will be enrolled in the Indemnity Medical Plan effective January 1st, unless they wish to enroll in Kaiser. In order to enroll in Kaiser, the participant must reside in the Kaiser service area and must submit a new enrollment form to the Trust Fund Office.

10-12-2007

Effective January 1, 2008, Retiree Health and Welfare rates are scheduled to increase substantially. Kaiser and Health Net participants will face the highest increases due to changes to the overall rate structure. A notice was mailed on October 12th indicating the rates the Fund will be paying for each Retiree. Retirees can expect to pay approximately 50% of the rates published in that notice. Retirees affected by the rate increases will receive a separate notice in November indicating their new rate.

08-27-2007

Effective October 1, 2007, Examinetics Mobile Health Testing Program (formerly Health Examinetics) will no longer be available for Indemnity Plan Participants. The Fund's adult routine physical examination benefit will still be available. Contact the Trust Fund with any questions regarding the physical benefit.

08-08-2007

Summary Annual Reports have been sent to all participants. Any questions regarding the reports can directed to the Trust Fund Office.

07-20-2007

Effective September 1, 2007, all Plan B Health and Welfare Participants will be switched from Delta Dental to UnitedHealthcare Dental for Dental Coverage. Information regarding this change has been mailed to all affected participants.

07-16-2007

Effective September 1, 2007, all Health and Welfare Participants enrolled in the Indemnity Medical Plan will be switched from Prescription Solutions to Medco.

07-01-2007

New contributions put in place. It is important to note that rates may vary depending on whether an employer's contract was extended or not.

02-13-2007

Dates announced for 2007 Annuity Trust Fund Self Direct Investment Education Meetings.

01-31-2007

The vacation checks were mailed on Wednesday, January 31, 2007. If you are expecting a vacation check and you do not receive it by Thursday, February 8th, please call the Fund Office at 1(888) 547-2054.

11-27-2006

Plan changes effective January 1, 2007

10-27-2006

Important Information about Medicare Prescription Drug Program

10-01-2006

Open Enrollment for the Health and Welfare Flat Rate Plan will be November 1 through November 30. The Flat Rate Plan allows employers to offer health coverage to their full-time Non-Bargaining Agreement Employees. More>>

09-29-2006

New Pension Benefit Calculation Formula beginning January 1, 2007. More>>

09-28-2006

The Quarterly Statements were mailed out at the end of September. Please see the Health and Welfare segment for information regarding Obtaining a HIPPA Privacy Notice & Women's Health & Cancer Rights.

02-01-2006

The vacation checks were mailed on Tuesday, January 31, 2006. If you are expecting a vacation check and you do not receive it by Thursday, February 9th, please call the Fund Office at 1(888) 547-2054.

01-23-2006

The Trustees of the Carpenters Pension Plan are addressing ongoing Pension concerns. Attend an informational meeting at a Local Union near you for more information.