UPDATE: MPSERS Health Care Presentation locations confirmed for MI and FL

The MPSERS Health Care Benefit Presentations held each year around the state and country have been scheduled for the following dates and cities. Specific locations for Michigan and Florida have been finalized; however, information for Arizona will be posted as soon MARSP has the information.

MPSERS Member Healthcare Presentations Schedule
All meetings are held from 9:00 a.m. to noon
Region Date Location
Sault Ste Marie Thursday, October 15 Lake Superior State University – Cisler Student and Conference Center
650 W. Easterday Ave
Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783
Marquette Friday, October 16 Holiday Inn Marquette
1951 U.S. 41 West
Marquette, MI 49855
Traverse City Thursday, October 22 West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort
615 E. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686
Gaylord Friday, October 23 Otsego Club & Resort
696 M-32 E. Main Street
Gaylord, MI 49734
Sterling Heights Monday, October 26 Sterling Inn
34911 Van Dyke Ave
Sterling Heights, MI 48312
Battle Creek Thursday, October 29 FireKeepers Casino Hotel
11177 E. Michigan Ave
Battle Creek, MI 49014
Grand Rapids Friday, October 30 Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids
5700 28th Street S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Livonia Monday, November 2 Laurel Manor
39000 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Lansing Tuesday, November 3 East Lansing Marriott at University Place
300 M.A.C. Avenue
East Lansing, MI 48823
Saginaw Wednesday, November 4 Bavarian Inn Lodge
One Covered Bridge Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Scottsdale Monday, November 9 To be determined
Tucson Tuesday, November 10 To be determined
Villages/Ocala Monday, December 7 The College of Central Florida –Ewers Century Center
  Klein Conference Center
  3001 SW College Road
  Ocala, FL 34474
Clearwater Tuesday, December 8 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Clearwater
  2580 Gulf to Bay Blvd
  Clearwater, FL. 33765
Sarasota Wednesday, December 9 Hilton Garden Inn Sarasota Brandenton Airport
  8270 N. Tamiami Trail
  Sarasota, FL. 34243
Fort Myers Thursday, December 10 Crowne Plaza Ft. Myers at The Bell Tower Shops
  13051 Bell Tower Drive
  Fort Myers, FL. 33907
Stuart Friday, December 11 The Kane Center
900 SE Salerno Road
Stuart, FL. 34997

Executive Director’s September Blog Post: Pension costs not a major factor in school districts credit ratings being downgraded

Very interesting to see that 43 Michigan school districts’ credit ratings have been downgraded recently by Moody’s Investors’ Service (Detroit News article Aug. 31, 2015). The article does a great job of explaining why so many districts find themselves with a lower credit rating and, not surprising to us, pension costs are not among the major factors.

I thought I could predict some of the districts on the list, but I was surprised by many of the names. The credit cuts to districts like Farmington, East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Williamston, Warren Consolidated tell us that the financial struggles of school districts are not confined to urban schools such as Detroit, Flint or Lansing, although those districts also suffered cuts. Those names tell me that the financial challenges of school districts cut across all sizes, shapes and locales of districts.

Although Michigan’s economy has improved, we’re still seeing many districts trying to deal with the residual effects of the poor economy of the last few years and a host of other issues. Districts have been fighting the financial battle for at least 15 years, due in large part to declining populations, lower birthrates and necessary technology and infrastructure upgrades in aging facilities. It’s also not an easy task to try to downsize the operations of a school district, no matter its size, and decrease budgets quickly. Couple that with the fact that the School Aid budget is about 9.5 percent lower than the 2000 budget (inflation adjusted) and the task becomes even more difficult.

It’s tempting for those on the outside to assume mismanagement of finances, “overpaid teachers” or high pension costs are the culprits, but those are old assumptions based on a lack of information, but the Detroit News article explains it fairly well.

The Detroit News

A credit downgrade hits hardest the districts that have to borrow large amounts. … Shawn D. Lewis, The Detroit News 10 a.m. EDT August 31, 2015 … The credit ratingsof 43 school districts in Michigan have been downgraded so far this year  …

MARSP updates chapter legislative ambassadors around the state

MARSP recently held three Legislative Ambassador Updates to keep our chapter legislative ambassadors updated on what is happening in Lansing. The first event was held on August 19, 2015, at the Marquette/Alger RESA with Senator Tom Casperson (R) presenting.  The next event was held on August 25, 2015, at Wayne Community College, West Campus with Representative Pat Somerville (R) presenting. The final events was held on August 27, 2015, at Kalamazoo RESA with Representatives Jon Hoadley (D) and Aric Nesbitt (R), and Senator Margaret O’Brien (R) presenting.  MARSP Executive Director Mark Guastella, MARSP Legislative Committee Co-Chairman Chuck Abshagen, and MARSP Lobbyist Matt Kurta from Karoub Associates were also in attendance at each event.

We would like to thank all of the legislators for their generous amounts of time spent with the ambassadors and the nearly 70 chapter ambassadors who came out to support MARSP.

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MARSP Foundation hosts golf outing to raise scholarship funds

Moeggenborg familyThe 6th Annual Bruce H. Moeggenborg Memorial Golf Outing, the first of two outings this year, was held on August 13th at Maple Creek Golf Club in Shepherd, Michigan. We had 44 MARSP members and friends, including the foursome of Dave and Jill Ouellette and the Gus and Peggy Theodore, come out and golf on a sunny summer day. The Ouellette’s and the Theodore’s were randomly paired together as a team at a MARSP golf outing several years ago and have been playing together ever since! The level of play was great and no matter the outcome all had fun and enjoyed the chance to catch up and meet new people. The clubhouse, restaurant, and staff at Maple Creek were terrific to work with.

To date, the MARSP Foundation has awarded over 80 scholarships, in amounts ranging from $300 to $1000. The first scholarships were awarded in 1996. The scholarship is available for all public school employees, no matter what their current position is, as long as they are furthering their education in an area that will be beneficial to working in the public school arena. The MARSP Foundation is now hosting the annual golf outings with the goal of increasing the scholarship fund.

We want to thank everyone who participated and especially thank the many sponsors who made these outings so successful! Check out the photo album below!

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Saginaw County Chapter awards scholarships to future teachers

Each year the Saginaw County Chapter awards at least two, but usually three, scholarships of $1000 each to young people planning on a teaching career. Their policy is to award two of the scholarships to graduating high school seniors and the third to a college junior who has been admitted to the teacher education program at the university. This year’s winners were Kendra Samson and Rebecca Bell.

Students apply online for the scholarships at the Saginaw Community Foundation. The scholarship committee at the Foundation evaluates the applicants according to the qualifications that the chapter has specified to them. They present the chapter with the three recipients and also are responsible for sending the checks to the colleges where the students have enrolled. The Foundation then hosts an event where recipients’ names are announced and the awarding organizations are highlighted by calling representatives of the organizations to the stage. Several hundred people are present at this event so it’s a nice opportunity to spread the name of the Saginaw Chapter of Retired School Personnel around the community.

The scholarships are funded in two ways. The first is by the income earned by the chapter’s fund at the community foundation. Any funding shortfall, usually about $1,000, is supplied by the chapter treasury. That money is supplied by contributions from members, from proceeds of a 50/50 drawing done at each chapter meeting and by proceeds from a yearly casino trip. The drawings and the casino trip are done by their very ambitious fundraising chair, Willie Allen. His generous donation of his time and hard work have helped to fund the scholarships for many years.


ORS walk-in center moves downtown

Stevens T. Mason Building

The Office of Retirement Services has moved their walk-in customer service center to the Stevens T. Mason Building in downtown Lansing.


Their new address is:

Stevens T. Mason Building

503 W. Allegan Street

Lansing, MI 48933

Street parking is available all around the area. There is also a public lot just east of Constitution Hall on Allegan Street across the road (south side) from the building.

The ORS walk-in office is located on the first floor through the security gates. You should then take a left past the elevators and it will be straight ahead.


Greater Daytona Chapter donates S.T.U.F.F.

S.T.U.F.F. bus

S.T.U.F.F. bus

Elizabeth Snider, President of the Greater Daytona Area of MARSP, made the chapter’s donation of school supplies for the “SUPPLYING THINGS YOU FIND FUNDAMENTAL (S.T.U.F.F.) Bus of the Flagler County Education Foundation in Flagler County, Florida.  The donation was made on May 11, 2015, on behalf of the chapter’s members.

Betsy Snider donation

Betsy Snider, president of the Greater Daytona Chapter in Florida, donates school supplies on behalf of chapter members.

BCBSM PPO Verification of coverage forms due July 15

The Verification of Coverage (VOC) was sent to all MPSERS retirees in May who are on the Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plan. Members who are on HMO plans will not receive this form. Remember to complete the form on behalf of all members on your contract for your medical and prescription drug coverage. The deadline is July 15. You must respond even if you don’t have any other coverage. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of your coverage. There is up to a six-month wait to be reinstated by the Office of Retirement Services. The simplest way to respond is by calling 1-877-445-2192 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You must respond, even if you don’t have any other coverage. If you don’t respond, your Retirement System coverage will be cancelled on September 1, 2015.

Be sure to complete all areas of the form that apply and return no later than July 15, 2015. One form will be mailed to the contract holder to complete for all members on the contract.  For the majority of members, only question 1 will apply if you have no other coverage. You will need to simply indicate that you have no other coverage, sign, date, and return the form, or reply via phone, online, or fax.


You have four ways to reply.

  1. Sign and return the completed form in the envelope provided.
  2. Go online to https://mpsers.coverageupdatecenter.com to complete the form.
  3. Call Blue Cross Blue Shield at 1-877-445-2192; TTY number 1-800-735-2929. If you have no other coverage, your response will be collected via the automated telephone system. If you have other coverage to report, you will be connected to a customer service representative to provide your other coverage information.
  4. Sign and fax the completed form to 1-402-384-6310.

If you did not receive a form, call 1-877-445-2192 and dial “0” when asked for you VOC reference number. It will cycle through this prompt twice, however, choosing “0” each time will send you to a customer service representative.