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begin to wake up. We see new attitudes developing toward employment and new devices developing which will give employment to older people. We see a revolution in the idea of how older people should be housed.
These new homes for senior citizens are evolving into an entirely better and different type of thing from what we have had in the past.
We see a new attitude developing among doctors toward the care of older people. We see the schools beginning to awaken to the possibilities of education in this field.
Basically this is an educational problem. As we face the years ahead, there is nothing we can do unless somebody learns something now. Whether it is in labor or education or politics or world affairs, our hope, our main hope must be in education.
I am glad to see on this program the Adult Education Association because I think they carry a very large measure of responsibility:
We see the different attitude that is represented here in the hearing before this congressional committee. We believe that the problems, or what we define as problems, can all be solved. We can properly provide for the financing of the later years—in our rich country we cannot afford not to do so. We can provide for proper housing. We can provide a health protection, and probably the most urgent problem is to provide the kind of health protection that will remove the fear of the later years.
We believe that when we have done all of those things we still have to move ahead into a program which will make the later years significant and full of meaning and worth while.
We believe that the richest opportunity is in devoting these later years largely to voluntary civic service. I think that, Mr. Chairman, will be the major contribution of Senior Citizens of America. With what is in my typewrittten statement this covers our testimony.
Senator MCNAMARA. Thank you very much, Doctor. I am sure that your statement will be very helpful to us.
I want to congratulate you on the long service that you have put in in the formation and operation of the Senior Citizens of America. Your work is going to make it a little easier for us because we will profit from your experience in this area.
We would be glad to have you stay, if you have time, and enter into the questions or discussions that might follow.
We have from the National Association of Retired Civil Employees, Mr. Joseph Spilman, first vice president.
Mr. Spilman, we will be glad to hear from you. .
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH L. SPILMAN, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED CIVIL EMPLOYEES Mr. SPILMAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Joseph L. Spilman. I am first vice president of the National Association of Retired Civil Employees.
I am not a specialist in the field of gerontology, as Dr. Cowan has said before me. Most of my experience has come in the field of personnel administration. I spent some 43 years of my life working for the Federal Government and in the course of that time I have had considerable opportunity to observe some of the problems in this particular field.
Now I have prepared a short statement which I will use as the basis: of my remarks and which I wish would be incorporated in the record.
First, briefly, our Association of Retired Civil Employees has the primary objective of promoting the general welfare of annuitants and potential annuitants of the Federal Government. It was organized early in 1921, shortly after the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 became effective, with 14 charter members here in the District of Columbia. Our present membership is over 98,000, organized into 730chapters and 25 State federations. These chapters are located in every State, the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Republic of the Philippines. Individual members also reside in 40 foreign countries.
Although originally our objectives were largely confined to promoting the general welfare of annuitants and potential annuitants of the civilian public service, particularly in the field of legislation, we have enlarged them in recent times to include the problems, welfare, and status of all the aged and aging in our Nation and cooperation with public agencies, private organizations and individuals devoted to those aims.
NARCE'S HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY Recognizing the need for adequate health insurance, our association negotiated a contract more than 2 years ago, after much effort, with the Continental Casualty Co. of Chicago, whereby at a cost of $6: per month per individual or $12 per month for hushand and wife, our members received the benefits of a hospital-surgical plan providing room and board benefits at $10 a day for 31 days; miscellaneous hos-pital expenses up to $120; outpatient emergency care up to $120;and surgical benefits up to $200. At the request of our association, in the light of experience during the past 2 years, a review has been made recently of the rates and an increase has been granted in the first named benefit from $10 to $13 per day, and in the second and third benefits from $120 to $130 without any increase in the premiums.
The claims filed in the 23 months have averaged about 860 per month. The average claim has been modest-less than $200. The fact that 39,000 of our members and 13,000 dependents are members of our hospital-surgical plan certainly points up the need for it. We assume that the experience with probably the largest single group of senior citizens gathered in one association has influenced the Continental and other large companies in soliciting, through almost nationwide advertising campaigns, those over 65 years of age to buy policies similar to ours and with benefits and rates similar but less favorable.
Senator McNAMARA. Let me interrupt you at that point. You make reference here to other companies as well as Continental entering this insurance field. We are very much interested in that phase of it.
You say that these other companies are coming out with plans now for people 65 and over. That raises the question: What is the average age of the group that is covered?
Mr. SPILMAN. That would be a very difficult question to answer. We have no figures on that, Senator, but, of course, most of our folks are over 60 years of age. We are satisfied with our contract. One of the reasons why we found it so urgent to do this was that so few of oir folks could get the advantage of health insurance. There is no physical examination. The policy is noncancelable, and it has been:
our experience that the Continental Casualty pays very, very promptly.
Senator McNAMARA. Are these group policies for retired people only or do they cover your membership?
Mr. SPILMAN. Our membership are only retirees.
Senator McNAMARA. The same policy did not apply to these people before they reached retirement age. That is a different group policy?
Mr. SPILMAN. That is right.
Mr. SPILMAN. Although we think that the contract is a very advantageous one for our membership, we felt that it would be to our advantage to have the coverage of S. 2162 enlarged to include persons already retired under the Civil Service Retirement Act, subject to the same conditions as were set forth for future retirees. In hoping for this action and being ever mindful of the importance placed upon the cost of such legislation, we were pleased and encouraged by our experience with the Continental Casualty Co.
The Senate, acting on the recommendation of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee which "explored the matter in great detail,” did not include present retirees. We understand that a study of this problem is underway and we hope that it will be possible to to enact legislation by a separate bill covering present retirees to be effective July 1, 1960. In the event present civil service retirees are not covered by legislation making available health insurance for them on the same basis or substantially the same basis as future retirees under S. 2162, large groups of these employees already retired may be penalized by that proposed bill because they may lose such health insurance as they now have, or if they do not lose it, the premium for continuing this insurance may be greatly increased and become so high that it will be difficult to continue it. Furthermore, new employees would not be interested in joining the previously established groups and such groups would retain only the retirees as members.
Next to the question of health, we consider the most important factor to be considered in problems affecting the aged and the aging is that of income. According to the U.S. Civil Service Commission's Annual Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1958, the average annual annuity for all retirees was $153 per month. In the present inflationary era, this means that many older folks must augment their income by employment or deprive themselves of things which are today considered necessities of life.
Although public officials strongly urge, particularly around Labor Day, full employment of older people over 45 generally, not only as a humanitarian measure but also as a practical matter to utilize the full skills of our population, they quite often do not practice what they preach. The number of older employees promoted even in the Government service becomes less and less and primary emphasis on academic achievement, speaking ability, and youthful agility becomes more pronounced. It may be true that the space age pect of early efforts for an ascent to the moon understandably call for the optimum in physical capacity. However, there is no indication at the present time that a large part of our population will be included in such an expedition in the near future. There are still problems on the earth to be solved in which senior citizens by reason of their experience can render worthwhile service.
and the pros
Several years ago, the Congress deemed it advisable to pass specific legislation prohibiting discrimination in civil service appointments by reason of age. Perhaps consideration should be given to amending this act to cover promotions in order to insure just treatment of older employees and at the same time to make possible the utilization of their highest skills. It should be assumed that a qualified person in reasonably good health is not a liability in a job requiring one with his qualifications and that he should be so placed regardless of his age.
Our association publishes a booklet, "Once in a Lifetime,” in order to help potential retirees prepare for the sudden change in their lives on the day when they finally pack up the tools on their workbenches or close their desks and become senior citizens in retirement. This booklet is furnished gratis to Federal employees approaching retirement and other interested persons. We also publish a 48-page monthly magazine, Retirement Life, full of interesting and educational articles relating to our activities, the activities of our chapters, our retirees, and problems of the aging generally. Our contributors have included Senators and Representatives of the U.S. Congress, Governors of States, high Government officials, and the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Our 730 chapters generally have monthly meetings at which the various problems of retirees and senior citizens are discussed. Members of Congress and other public officials address the members at their meetings. Lonesome retirees enjoy social activities with fellow retirees at the meetings, at chapter picnics, Christmas parties, and other socials. The chapters have sunshine committees which are charged with the function of spreading sunshine among the sick, disabled, bedridden, and aged retirees. The chapters support such activities as Crusade for Freedom, local anniversary celebrations, and generally all civic movements warranting the support of good citizens.
The National and State officers of NĂRCE participate in various State conferences called by Governors to plan activities relating to problems of the aging, adult education, et cetera. For many years, our association has had a legislative committee of national officers contacting Senators, Representatives, members of the Cabinet, and other Government officials in order to promote interest in the welfare of senior citizens.
The association renders various membership services to retirees residing long distances from Washington and who need assistance in connection with their individual problems; for example, advice re preparation of income tax returns and direct contact with Government departments and Commissions to obtain information concerning matters of special interest to the members. Our most frequent contacts on these cases are with the U.S. Civil Service Commission and the Veterans' Administration.
I will say that in connection with these claims that they not only run from the standpoint of trying to get annuity claims straightened out but to such matters as having teeth adjusted, taking care of relatives and friends, and so forth, practically the whole gamut of aid and assistance.
Generally, we realize that while many of the problems of the aged and the aging should be handled at the State and county or municipal levels, there are some matters, such as medical research, health insurance, and housing, which, because of their nature and cost, could very likely be handled better on a national basis.
Even though the major factors affecting the aging and the aged must be handled generally on a local basis, it is worthwhile, in our opinion, to have periodic national conferences on these matters to exchange ideas and pool resources in order to make available to all interested parties the latest and best known methods and procedures to reach our common objectives by providing appropriate solutions. We must take cognizance of the latest developments in all those items affecting these classes of our population. In our opinion, the Federal Government can act as a catalytic agent and as the clearinghouse for all the latest developments in those fields of endeavor which are of particular concern to the aged and the aging.
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the privilege of appearing before you. Our national headquarters, our field vice presidents, our State federations, and our 730 chapters located throughout the length and breadth of our great country stand ready to aid and assist you in any manner possible in this study being made pursuant to Senate Resolution 65, 86th Congress.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator McNAMARA. Thank you very much, sir. Your testimony here and the experience of your organization will be most helpful to the committee, I am sure. We appreciate very much having it.
I see that we have a representative of the Communications Workers of America, who is the assistant to the president, Mr. William Dunn. I understand he has a statement prepared for the president, who has been unexpectedly called out of town.
Mr. Dunn, we would be glad to have you come up.
STATEMENTS OF WILLIAM DUNN, ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT
JOSEPH A. BEIRNE, AND MRS. HELEN BERTHELOT, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE, COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO
Mr. Dunn. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I want to apologize for President Beirne. He certainly wanted to be here and anticipated being here.
At the outset, you have two statements that were filed, one which we are filing in behalf of the community services activities, a department of the AFL-CIO. President Beirne is chairman of Community Services Committee. The other statement is President Beirne's own statement as president of CWA.
Senator MCNAMARA. We will be glad to make both of these statements part of the record at this point.
(The statements referred to follow :)
PREPARED STATEMENTS OF JOSEPH A. BEIRNE, PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS
WORKERS OF AMERICA My name is Joseph A. Beirne and I am president of the Communications Workers of America and also chairman of the AFL-CIO community services committee. It is in my capacity as chairman of the CSC that I submit this brief.