Newsletter Editor Needed

LRG seeks new editor for “The Main Gate” newsletter.

The March issue of LRG’s “The Main Gate” will be the last for our current editor, Joyce Wolff. We are urgently looking for someone to carry on with editing of the newsletter. Ideally, a prospective editor would be alert to subjects of interest to retirees, and be interested in pursuing these topics with interviews, photos, etc. Also ideally, they would enjoy writing, and have reasonable familiarity with word processing software on a pc or Mac.

How the Main Gate is prepared

The Main Gate is published three times a year, in March, July and November.

A typical issue has ten pages, though some recent issues have had 12 pages, with articles on particularly interesting topics.

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AD&D Insurance Changes

Retirees who have AD&D insurance through LANL: The separately billed Hartford AD&D (accidental death) insurance has been changed to MetLife.  Coverage remains the same.  The insurance is and has been billed separately and not through Empyrean.  Not everyone has this insurance.  There was no notice to retirees of this change.  By now, all subscribers should have received a billing notice from MetLife.  We have heard that the deadline for the first payment is January 13.  Please arrange with your bank for electronic transfer from your bank, or send a check.  Include your account number.  For further information, contact MetLife Subscriber Services at 1-866-492-6983.  Address is Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.,  P. O. Box 13724, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3724. 

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