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UMaine retirees deserve a better plan

I recently read Nick Schroeder’s article on the new plan for Maine university retirees. I am saddened by the devastating effect the University of Maine System board of trustees’ unilateral decision is having on Nancy Wanderer and outraged that UMS spokesperson Dan Demerrit continues to tout Aon plans as providing “greater flexibility and benefit options, usually at a significant cost savings.” Not so for many of us, myself included.

I retired in 2007 from the University of Maine with the promised $0 premium group insurance, No plan Aon recommends for me matches it. Few choices exist, certainly not the 100 plans UMS claims. Finding the best plan is challenging. Only one includes my provider. Being high-risk for COVID-19, I can’t shop for a new provider during the height of this pandemic.

Furthermore, all are more expensive than my current plan and require higher co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Costs far exceed the $2,100 UMS Health Retirement Account. Retirees must front costs and wait for reimbursement.

Don’t be fooled by UMS statements that retirees will benefit from this ill-considered change. Some may find slightly better plans; many will not. I believe UMS is balancing its budget on the backs of retirees living on fixed incomes.

I believe the board of trustees broke their word and violated the contract terms under which we worked. They should halt this process, collaborate with the union and create a better plan.

Diane Haslett


No supper for the president

It is time for Congress to address voter suppression, voter intimidation, gerrymandering and other vestiges of the failures of Reconstruction after the Civil War. Both the South and North need to address systemic racism, it isn’t just some police jurisdictions that are a problem.

Secondly, we are all witnesses to the president’s infantile tantrum in response to his loss. I am concerned for the country as he throws up baseless conspiracy theories, mobilizes lawyers and heaps abuse at the process. He hasn’t just thrown the checkers on the floor, he wants to break the board. He is beyond being an embarrassment, somebody needs to send him “to his room with no supper.”

Jim Owen


Not the senior year I hoped for

With all the craziness that is going on in the world in 2020, it may be easy to overlook something like mental health, especially in students and teenagers.

As a current senior in high school, I can safely say that this year was not what I had hoped for. Not being able to see half your classmates, not having events like homecoming, and the sudden move to online learning are all harmful to our mental health.

For many, such as myself, online learning has been anything but easy. I’m someone who has never really fallen behind in school until this year. With having to stay at home and constantly check your email, as well as make sure everything is handed in properly, it’s easy to miss assignments. If you are struggling with a subject, it’s harder to reach out for help.

These stresses can be detrimental to your mental health, especially when others don’t understand why you’ve fallen behind or are struggling. On top of the whole new learning system, many sports have been canceled. For many teenagers, sports are something they love and look forward to. Also, for freshmen, it’s much harder to reach out and make friends, as there aren’t as many extracurriculars this year and you don’t see all your classmates in person.

We’re all trying to make the best out of what this year has given us, but we need to be understanding and supportive towards our younger population.

Hunter Lindsay