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: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol

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