Open Enrollment For 2021

We have been informed by Laboratory benefits group that the open enrollment for Lab retirees will be a passive open enrollment this year. They stated specifically “This year’s open enrollment for our retirees will be a passive enrollment, if you have no changes, then you do not need to do anything for next year’s benefit enrollment. We will not be holding any virtual presentations for retirees this year. Open Enrollment for our retirees will run from October 26 – November 12, 2020. Letters will be mailed out to our retirees to remind them of the upcoming open enrollment event.” Therefore, if you plan to make any changes in your insurance coverage, you will need to login to the Empyrean website to make the appropriate changes. Follow the instructions that you will receive in the mail soon from Lab Benefits for the open enrollment for your insurance coverage in 2021. If you had any “life events” like death in the family, marriage or remarriage, new dependents, new eligibility for Medicare or others, you will need to contact Empyrean.

We hope all our readers are staying healthy and safe. Please be sure to get any important immunizations you may require, like the influenza shot, pneumonia and shingles shots and any required booster shots like tetanus. Consider the covid-19 vaccine when it is developed and proven effective and safe. Medicare and Lab retiree health insurance will cover most immunizations. Stay safe this Fall and Winter!

Main Gate Update on Hand Sanitizers

Important additional information and clarification about safe and unsafe hand sanitizers that were mentioned in the July 2020 Main Gate. Please note the dangers that may exist.

After the remarks about Covid-19 and hygiene precautions in the July Main Gate were sent to the printer, the FDA issued recalls and warnings about hand sanitizers that contain methanol. We want to clarify the recommendation about hand sanitizer listed under the heading “Hygiene precautions to take now”, on page 2. Methanol (wood alcohol) can be absorbed through the skin, and cause methanol poisoning. Moreover, it is extremely dangerous to ingest (drink). Methanol poisoning can cause nausea, damage to the nervous system (including blindness), and even death. Methanol is considered a contaminant in hand sanitizer, which should only contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol).

To be effective, FDA recommends that hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% ethanol. Hand sanitizer that contains methanol is dangerous to use because of the potential to cause methanol poisoning, especially in children. Unfortunately, even if it is in the hand sanitizer, it may not be listed as an ingredient. We urge caution, especially with hand sanitizer that is imported, such as from Mexico. If possible, stay with a reputable brand, and check the ingredient list. If that list includes methanol, choose a different hand sanitizer.

More information is on an FDA web page:

2021-22 Board

LRG Officers

President Dale Thompson
Vice President Leigh House
Treasurer & Membership Shelia Girard
Scribe Alan Wadlinger

Board Members

Norman Delamater Paul Elkins Sue Elkins
Richard Henderson Paul Lewis Bob Meier
David Schiferl Erika Spallitta John Stewart
Patricia Wing Joyce Wolff

LRG Monthly Breakfasts Cancelled

The Laboratory Retiree Group has decided to cancel the monthly breakfast social gatherings. This action is required because of the current COVID-19 corona virus pandemic that is sweeping our country. The breakfasts are canceled until further notice. The breakfast socials have been very popular and will be resumed as soon as possible.

Open Enrollment Q&A Sessions Nov 4&5

If you have questions about the Laboratory’s Open Enrollment (for 2020), bring them to a Q&A session with representatives from the Laboratory’s Benefits Group.

Session 1: Monday, November 4, 12:00 (noon) at the White Rock Senior Center, in the lunch room.

Session 2: Tuesday, November 5, 12:00 (noon) at the Betty Ehart Senior Center/Los Alamos, in the lunch room.

These sessions are for Laboratory retirees and/or dependents, with or without Medicare.

For lunch beforehand (11:30 AM) call the appropriate Senior Center by 10:00 AM: White Rock: 672-2034 Ehart/Los Alamos: 662-8924

Q&A sessions were organized by: LANL Benefits, LARSO (Los Alamos Retired and Seniors Organization, and LRG (Laboratory Retiree Group)

More information about Open Enrollment and the changes to retiree benefits for 2020, are described in the Open Enrollment Guide, which is available at The deadline to make any changes to your benefits for 2020 is November 7, 11:00 PM Mountain Time. Some benefit providers and premiums will change, though only by a small amount.

And, if you don’t want to make any changes, you don’t have to do anything. Your current benefit plans will be continued.

Open Enrollment 2020

Retiree Benefits in 2020: Presentations Oct 17, Open Enrollment Oct 21 to Nov 7

2020 Retiree Rates:  Medicare   Non-Medicare

2020 Open Enrollment for Los Alamos retirees has been announced.  A two-page notification has been sent via USPS in a business sized envelope to each Los Alamos retiree.  Open enrollment is October 21, 2019 to November 7, 2019.  Elections must be submitted by 11 p.m. MT (Mountain Time), November 7, 2019.  If you have no changes, then all current coverages will continue into 2020.  The following information is quoted from the Empyrean two-page announcement.

To enroll online, log on to WWW.LANLBenefitscom.  Everything you will need to make your elections for 2020, including the 2020 Open Enrollment guidebook and Required Notices, can be found online at  If you need assistance completing your online elections or have questions, please contact the Empyrean Customer Care Center for LANL at 1-844-805-0002.

Presentations will be made, for Medicare Eligible retirees only:
October 17, 2019, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road, Los Alamos NM
October 17, 2019, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Courtyard by Marriott, 3347 Cerillos Road, Santa Fe NM

LANL Workforce Retirees’ Scholarship

The LANL Workforce Retirees’ Scholarship is an endowed scholarship fund managed by the LANL foundation.  It awards a $1000 scholarship annually.  The 2019 winner was Reuben Fresquez, an undergraduate in Computer Science at UNM.

Previously the Laboratory Retiree Group has forwarded contributions received to the Foundation.  To facilitate the process the LRG now asks that you contribute directly to the Foundation, specifying that your contributions go to the LANL Workforce Retirees’ Scholarship.

Instructions for donating through the Foundation website can be found on our Scholarship page.

Monthly Breakfasts

Enjoy conversation and a great breakfast (from the menu).  Coffee or tea provided by the LRG.  First Tuesday of every month 8:30-10:30 am at Morning Glory Restaurant, 1377 Diamond Drive, across from Los Alamos High School.