Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 15: What is an HRA?

Episode 15: What is an HRA?

Here at Podcast Central, we love when members give us ideas for podcasts. Today’s Episode (Number 15!!) is one of those moments when members’ frustration about health care expenses prompted us to reach out to Health Reimbursement Arrangement or HRA provider UltraBenefits for some information we think our members will be glad to know about. From there, a podcast was born.

The City of Lowell provides all City employees and retirees with a free benefit - an HRA or Health Reimbursement Arrangement. The intent of this benefit is to provide some financial relief for high-cost medical co-pays and to assist with higher out-of-pocket expenses. Knowing about this benefit is the first step, learning how easy it is to access it is another. In this week’s podcast, we speak with Marybeth Casey, one of UltraBenefits representatives who is more than happy to support City employees in learning about and in taking advantage of this benefit.

We are delighted that Marybeth will be returning to Lowell on October 11 to present information to Lowell employees and retirees from 12-2 at the Lowell Senior Center. We also know that time is not one that is convenient to many of our UTL members, so we are super excited to let you all know that Marybeth has agreed to meet with anyone interested who may be unable to attend the 12-2 meeting. We are working out the scheduling and location for this second presentation, so keep an eye out for more information through GetActive or social media. Marybeth will walk you through how to access the benefit and promises to stay to answer member questions.


The afternoon meeting with UltraBenefits will take place on October 11, 2018 at the

Stoklosa Middle School (560 Broadway Street).

The meeting will be held in the Stoklosa Auditorium from 4 pm to 6 pm.


  • The City of Lowell Human Relations website is a comprehensive listing of available benefits for all City employees and retirees (including School Department). The HR website and contact information for Human Relations staff can be found here.

  • A specific Lowell Human Relations webpage is dedicated to the HRA. Downloadable forms are found at the bottom of the page.

  • UltraBenefits is the plan administrator for the HRA. Members can create an online log-in to view the status of claims and an explanation of benefits. The Member Log-in is here. Contact information for the HRA Team that Marybeth mentions is at the top of the webpage.

  • Save the date! October 11, 2018 - we will update this webpage AND send out messages over GetActive and social media with the exact time and place.

Thanks to UltraBenefits Marybeth Casey for taking time to speak with us today. Thank you to our listeners for suggesting this important topic and to everyone for listening to this week's podcast. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you have suggestions for future podcasts, send us an email at UTLStraightTalk@gmail.comAnd if you enjoy our podcasts, be sure to spread the word - or share with a friend (or two).

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Episode 16: A Conversation and Update with Superintendent Khelfaoui

Episode 16: A Conversation and Update with Superintendent Khelfaoui

Episode 14: Spotlight on Brant Duncan, AFT-MA

Episode 14: Spotlight on Brant Duncan, AFT-MA