Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno  
The Official Web Site For The State of New Jersey - Department of Treasury
Global Navigation
FAQs Departments/ Agencies Services A to Z NJ Home Page
Disclaimer
Twitter YouTube Facebook
Pensions and Benefits
CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS 2013

Also available: Archived E-Messages to Certifying Officers and EPIC Users

SUBJECT DATE
Health Benefits Coverage for Legally Married Same-sex Couples - All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program December 5, 2013
Open Enrollment for the New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014) - State Department Certifying Officers, State Department Human Resource Directors, State Biweekly Payroll Locations Benefits Administrators October 7, 2013
Open Enrollment For The New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014) - State University and College Certifying Officers, State University and College Benefits Administrators, State Monthly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Benefits Administrators October 7, 2013
SHBP Open Enrollment State Department Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators October 1, 2013
SHBP Open Enrollment State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators;  State Monthly Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators October 1, 2013
SHBP Open Enrollment Local Government Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program October 1, 2013
SEHBP Open Enrollment Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program October 1, 2013
Required for Annual Membership Certification Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers September 6, 2013
PERS Notice of Election Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) September 5, 2013
PFRS Notice of ElectionCertifying Officers of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) September 5, 2013
Affordable Care Act — Notice of Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options - State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers August 29, 2013
Affordable Care Act — Notice of Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options - Local Government and Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) August 29, 2013
Personal Benefit Statement Available Online Through MBOS - Certifying Officers June 27, 2013
Affordable Care Act - Classification of Full-time Employees - State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) June 24, 2013
New Application on MBOS — Purchase Estimate Calculator - Certifying Officers June 19, 2013
Alternate Benefit Program Default Investment Provider - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities June 6, 2013
Pension Contribution Rate Change for the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund May 28, 2013
Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for State Employees - State Biweekly Certifying Officers,
State Monthly Certifying Officers
May 28, 2013
Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change for Local Government Employees and Local Education Employees - Certifying Officers of Local Government Employers Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP), Certifying Officers of Local Education Employers Participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) May 28, 2013
Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for Certain Judiciary Employees - State Judiciary Certifying Officers May 28, 2013
Pension and Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) - Officers of the Judicial Retirement System May 28, 2013
Closure of ABP Pre-1995 Annuity Contracts - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities May 16, 2013
Ten-Month Employee Policy - Reminder - SHBP/SEHBP Participating Certifying Officers May 10, 2013
Part-time Coverage – System Update for Prescription Coverage - Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers of SHBP/SEHBP Employers with Participating Part-time Employees March 26, 2013
Annual Membership Certification – Required under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011 - Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers March 14, 2013
ABP & ACTS Common Remitter Services - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities February 26, 2013
Final Request – Transition to Retirement Programs and Rescinding ABP Retirement - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities January 24, 2013
Professional Services Contracts and Review of PERS Enrollment - Certifying Officers of Local Government and Local Education Employers participating in the Public Employees’ Retirement System or the Defined Contribution Retirement Program January 18, 2013

CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS FROM OTHER YEARS

2014 CO Letters 2013 CO Letters 2012 CO Letters 2011 CO Letters 2010 CO Letters
2009 CO Letters 2008 CO Letters 2007 CO Letters 2006 CO Letters 2005 CO Letters
2004 CO Letters 2003 CO Letters 2002 CO Letters 2001 CO Letters 2000 CO Letters
1999 CO Letters 1998 CO Letters 1997 CO Letters    

Also available Archived E-Messages to Certifying Officers and EPIC Users.

 


December 5 , 2013

TO: All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program
FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Health Benefits Coverage for Legally Married Same-sex Couples

OVERVIEW

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.  The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage. Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory, or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling.

Please note that this ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

IMPACT ON HEALTH BENEFITS COVERAGE

This ruling extends health benefits eligibility to same-sex spouses of employees and retirees enrolled in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) in the same manner as opposite-sex spouses. This includes:

  • Employees and retirees of Local Government and Educational employers that participate in the SHBP and the SEHBP, and
  • Employees and retirees of State Employers including State employees paid through the State Centralized Payroll Unit, the State colleges and universities, the Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission, the New Jersey Building Authority, and the State Library.

Employees who previously added a same-sex spouse to their health insurance coverage should send a copy of their marriage certificate to the attention of Kevin Gribbon at the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ address at the top of the page so their health insurance coverage can be updated. Employees should include their name and the last four digits of their Social Security number on the copy of the marriage certificate for identification purposes. 

IMPACT ON TAX$AVE PROGRAM & IMPUTED INCOME RULES

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS ruling allows employees who have added a same-sex spouse to their health and/or dental insurance coverage to pay the member share of the additional coverage on a pre-tax basis under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan.  Previously, the member’s share of the added coverage for the same-sex spouse was required to be made on an after-tax basis unless the same-sex spouse was a qualified tax dependent of the employee.

In addition, as a result of this ruling, medical expenses incurred by a same-sex spouse can now be reimbursed from the employee’s FSA account.  Prior to the ruling, medical expenses incurred by a same-sex spouse could only be reimbursed from an FSA account if the spouse was recognized as the employee’s tax dependent for federal tax purposes.

The marriage of a same-sex couple also qualifies as a change marital status allowing an employee to change his or her FSA election.

This ruling also eliminates the imputed income requirement when a same-sex spouse is added to an employee’s health and/or dental coverage.  Prior to the ruling, unless the same-sex spouse qualified as the employee’s tax dependent, the value of the added spousal coverage was considered imputed income and was subject to federal income tax, social security tax and Medicare tax. 

PAYROLL AND WITHHOLDING CHANGES REQURED

If an employee paid income taxes on the health and/or dental coverage for their same-sex spouse, the employee is now entitled to a tax refund.   To obtain a refund of the income and employment taxes paid on the spousal coverage, the employee should contact their employer’s payroll office. If the employee paid income taxes in a prior tax year on his/her same-sex spouse’s coverage, the employee must file an Amended Tax Return in order to obtain a refund of the federal income taxes paid.    Information on how to file an amended return can be found in Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns at http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308.html. Generally, a taxpayer may file a claim for refund for three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. 

Employees who are entitled to a prior year refund should request a corrected W-2 from their employer.

PENSION IMPLICATIONS

The impact of this ruling on pension benefits is still under review and will be communicated in a separate Certifying Officer letter.

INFORMATION RESOURCES

Employers and employees should consult with the Internal Revenue Service or their tax advisor if they have any questions regarding the tax implications of this ruling or procedures that must be followed in order to obtain a tax refund.

For additional information, please refer to the IRS’s website at www.irs.gov, Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Answers-to-Frequently-Asked-Questions-for-Same-Sex-Married-Couples, Revenue Ruling 2013-17 and IRS Notice 2013-61

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact the Division at the address above or email us.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (57K)

Return to Top


October 7, 2013

TO: State Department Certifying Officers, State Department Human Resource Directors, State Biweekly Payroll Locations Benefits Administrators
FROM: John D. Megariotis, Deputy Director, Finance
SUBJECT: Open Enrollment For The New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2014 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014) will begin October 1 and ends on November 1, 2013. A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$ave offers eligible employees the opportunity to increase their available income by reducing their federal tax liability. 

Full-time employees of the State who are eligible for participation in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) may participate in Tax$ave. 

Note: Chapter 78, P.L. 2013, the Pension and Health Benefit Reform Law, requires local government and local education employers to offer Section 125 plans to their employees. Because Tax$ave is only available to State employees, local employers are required establish their own Section 125 programs. Local government and local education employees can contact their human resources office or benefits administrator to determine the specific plans and benefits that are available.

ABOUT TAX$AVE

Tax$ave consists of three components:

1. The Premium Option Plan (POP);

2. The Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account; and

3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. 

Each year eligible employees should review their personal financial circumstances and decide if they wish to participate or not. Open Enrollment offers employees the opportunity to conduct this review and then act on their decision. 

Note: Tax savings on commuter mass transit and parking expenses are available at any time as a separate benefit to State employees under the Commuter Tax$ave Program and are not tied to this open enrollment period.  See Fact Sheet #67, Commuter Tax$ave Program Adobe PDF (35K), for details.

PREMIUM OPTION PLAN

Enrollment in the Premium Option Plan is automatic. This plan saves your employees money by paying health and dental premiums from pre-tax dollars and reducing their tax liability. If an employee does not wish to take advantage of the Premium Option Plan in 2014 (and therefore pay more in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes) he or she should file a Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form. 

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

The Unreimbursed Medical and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow employees to set aside money to pay for out-of-pocket medical, dental, and dependent care expenses while saving on taxes because the money contributed to the account is free from federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes and remains tax-free when an employee receives it. WageWorks, Inc. administers the Tax$ave Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care FSAs for the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

Unlike the Premium Option Plan or the health plans of the SHBP, prior participation in a Tax$ave FSA in 2013 does not carry over automatically into 2014. Employees must enroll each year with WageWorks to participate in an FSA for calendar year 2014.

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum. For the Tax$ave 2014 plan year, the maximum annual allowance that can be set aside for an Unreimbursed Medical FSA is $2,500 and the maximum annual allowance that can be set aside for a Dependent Care FSA is $5,000. Employees may save federal income, Medicare and Social Security taxes on up to $7,500 of combined unreimbursed medical and dependent care expenses. It makes sense to enroll and use a Tax$ave FSA plan when paying for doctor and prescription copayments, health plan deductibles, orthodontics, eyeglasses, Lasik surgery, uncovered dental fees, certain over-the-counter items (see page 3), or dependent care.
  • Medical FSA Eligibility includes Adult Children until Age 26. Qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by eligible adult children can be reimbursed through the Unreimbursed Medical FSA. Coverage applies until the end of the year in which a child turns age 26, regardless of the child’s marital or student status.
  • Grace Period Extension for Eligible Expenses and Extended Claim Filing Period. Employees enrolled in the Unreimbursed Medical or Dependent Care FSAs have until March 15 of the following year to incur eligible expenses for the current plan year.  In addition to claiming eligible expenses through March 15 of the following year, the period that employees enrolled in the UMSA or DCSA have for submitting claims for reimbursement extends to April 30 of the following year.  While this does not eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it rule completely, employees have an extended period to obtain reimbursement for eligible expenses and avoid forfeiting unused funds.  Under the Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, any contributions that remain unclaimed after the April 30 extended deadline are forfeited.
  • Unreimbursed Medical FSAs feature the WageWorks Health Care Card® that draws on the value of the employee’s annual Medical FSA election amount. The WageWorks Health Care Card is included free when you sign up for the Unreimbursed Medical FSA during Tax$ave Open Enrollment. Employees can use the WageWorks Health Care Card for qualifying expenses, such as covered prescription copayments, health plan deductibles, orthodontics, doctor and emergency room copayments, eyeglasses, Lasik surgery, and uncovered dentist or other provider fees. The WageWorks Health Care Card can also be used for certain eligible over-the-counter medical expenses (see below) at grocery stores, drugstores, and discount stores that are IIAS (Inventory Information Approval Systems) certified merchants.
  • Look Back Feature. The WageWorks Health Care Card also contains a “look back” feature during the 2 ½ month grace period extension that will access any unused 2013 Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds to reimburse eligible expense incurred prior to March 15, 2014 before using funds contributed in the 2014 plan year.

Prescription Required for Reimbursement of Over-the-Counter Items.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires a prescription for any eligible Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug or medicine (except diabetic supplies) before it will qualify for reimbursement under the Unreimbursed Medical FSA.  This includes OTC items like: allergy drugs, pain relievers, cold and cough medicines, sleep aids, digestive aids, anti-gas medications, baby rash creams, and insect bite treatments. To be reimbursed for these types of OTC items through the Unreimbursed Medical FSA, you must submit a copy of your doctor’s prescription along with your Claim Form for verification (eligible items requiring a prescription may be purchased using the WageWorks Health Care Card if the prescription is used to purchase it). OTC items like eyeglasses, wrist splints, and bandages, as well as durable medical items such as crutches and canes continue to be reimbursed without a prescription.

Enrolling in a Flexible Spending Account

Employees have three ways of enrolling in the Tax$ave FSA accounts during the Open Enrollment: mail, fax, and Internet. WageWorks will inform employees currently participating in a Tax$ave FSA plan of this enrollment opportunity through e-mail or direct mailing in September.  The Tax$ave publications also provide the following enrollment instructions to employees:

  • Internet: Employees can enroll in the Unreimbursed Medical and/or Dependent Care FSA plans over the Internet at: www.wageworks.com The deadline for enrollment over the Internet is midnight, November 1, 2013.
  • Fax: FSA Enrollment Forms Adobe PDF (70K) may be faxed by the employee to 1-866-672-4780.  The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, November 1, 2013. 
  • Mail:FSA Enrollment Forms Adobe PDF (70K) can be mailed by the employee directly to WageWorks, Enrollment Processing, PO Box 1840, Tallahassee, FL, 32302-1840. To be accepted, enrollment forms must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2013.  Forms postmarked after November 1, 2013 will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSA Enrollment Forms Adobe PDF (70K).

For more information about the FSA plans see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  or contact WageWorks Customer Service at 1-855-428-0446.

Special Rules for Enrolling Newly Hired Employees — New employees can enroll in Tax$ave FSA plans when hired but must complete an FSA Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (70K) within 30 days of the date of hire to participate in either the Unreimbursed Medical FSA or the Dependent Care FSA. 

  • There is a 60 day waiting period for Unreimbursed Medical FSA eligibility. 
  • There is a 30 day waiting period for Dependent Care FSA eligibility. 

The effective date will be the first day of the month following eligibility. If the employee misses the 30 day enrollment window, they must wait to enroll during the Tax$ave Open Enrollment.

TAX$AVE AND CIVIL UNION PARTNERS OR DOMESTIC PARTNERS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now recognizes a marriage of same-sex spouses for federal tax purposes — including the tax saving benefits available through Tax$ave. 

This recognition, however, does not include a civil union partner or same-sex domestic partner.  Before any payroll contributions or premiums that an employee pays for a partner’s SHBP medical or dental coverage can be made on a pre-tax basis under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan, the civil union partner or domestic partner must be able to qualify as a “tax dependent” of the employee for federal tax filing purposes under Internal Revenue Code Section 152.

Similarly, the civil union partner or domestic partner must qualify as the employee’s tax dependent before an out-of-pocket medical expense incurred by the partner can be reimbursed under the Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account. 

If the civil union partner or domestic partner is not a “qualified tax dependent” of the employee, any premium deductions made for the partner’s coverage must be made on an after-tax basis and funds in the Unreimbursed Medical Spending Account cannot be used to cover the partner’s medical expenses.

See IRS Publication #503, Dependents, at: www.irs.gov for information on the requirements for establishing dependent status for federal tax purposes. 

Information about New Jersey Civil Unions can be found in Fact Sheet #75, Civil Unions Adobe PDF (51K)Information about New Jersey Domestic Partners can be found in Fact Sheet #71, Benefits under the Domestic Partnership Act Adobe PDF (57K). Both fact sheets are available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

TAX$AVE AND CHILDREN AGE 26 TO 31

Chapter 375, P.L. 2005, permits continued SHBP medical plan coverage for certain children until their 31st birthday.  However, contributions or premiums that an employee pays for coverage of an over age child cannot be made on a pre-tax basis under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan, nor can an out-of-pocket medical expense incurred by the over age child be reimbursed under the Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account, unless the child qualifies as a “tax dependent” of the employee for federal tax filing purposes under Internal Revenue Code Section 152.  See IRS Publication #503, Dependents, at: www.irs.gov for information on the requirements for establishing dependent status for federal tax purposes.  

Information about continued coverage for children age 26 to 31, can be found in Fact Sheet #74, Health Benefits Coverage of Children Until Age 31 Under Chapter 375 Adobe PDF (25K).

TAX$AVE SUPPORT MATERIALS

The remainder of this letter provides information on the Tax$ave Open Enrollment publications and support available to assist you in explaining this important benefit program to your employees.  Please do your best to make a concerted effort to inform your employees of the open enrollment and to educate them on the valuable benefits that Tax$ave offers them.  We believe that more employees will participate in Tax$ave if they are made aware and understand the value of the tax savings offered by the program. 

Milestones

Enclosed is the Tax$ave Open Enrollment Milestones Adobe PDF (9K) chart that lists the critical dates of the Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment and outlines the efforts being made to educate employees.  Please use this chart as a checklist to guide your activities during the open enrollment.

Check Messages

Announcement of the open enrollment to employees paid through Centralized Payroll will be made with a paycheck messages on the September 13 and September 27 payroll statements.

An additional “reminder message” will be provided to employees through a paycheck message on October 25. The text of the check message announcements and preview copies of the Tax$ave publications are enclosed with this letter.

Online Distribution of Tax$ave Newsletter and Open Enrollment Fliers

In compliance with State initiatives to provide paperless services, the Tax$ave 2014 Newsletter Adobe PDF (103K), Premium Option Plan (POP) Flier Adobe PDF (44K), and FSA Plan Flier Adobe PDF (986K) are only available in electronic format for this year’s Open Enrollment. 

  • The Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment News Adobe PDF (103K) announces the open enrollment, outlines the components of the program with an emphasis on its tax saving advantages, and identifies the November 1, 2013 deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;
  • The FSA Plan Flier Adobe PDF (986K) describes the Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts administered by WageWorks.

Access to the Tax$ave publications is available through links at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml or as PDF attachments provided with the distribution of this letter.

Employers should inform employees to access the Open Enrollment information online or provide the PDF versions via e-mail attachment or your Departmental Intranet.

For cases where online or e-mail notification is not possible, a paper flier giving instructions on accessing the Open Enrollment publications is provided with this letter and can be copied and distributed as required.

Other open enrollment materials available to you are the FSA Reference Guides Adobe PDF (215K) and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form. 

The FSA Reference Guide Adobe PDF (215K) and Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (70K) are also available online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  

  • This letter includes the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form — which can be copied for use by those few employees who do not wish to participate in the POP and, therefore, pay more in tax. Please do not distribute POP declination forms to employees unless they ask for one. If an employee chooses not to save tax dollars under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan and wants to pay more federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on the salary used to pay their medical and dental premiums in 2014, they must complete the form declining the federal tax break they could receive. Employees should request these forms from benefits administrators and return theDeclination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) forms to benefits administrators by November 1, 2013. Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to Centralized Payroll by November 15, 2013. 

As we do every year, the Division of Pensions and Benefits appreciates your cooperation in the Open Enrollment. Your involvement in the Tax$ave Open Enrollment is key to your employees receiving the valuable benefits offered by this program. 

If you have any general questions about Tax$ave 2014, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Internet site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  call the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or send an e-mail.  

For more information about the Unreimbursed Medical or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, contact WageWorks at: www.wageworks.com  or call WageWorks Customer Service at 1-855-428-0446.

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment Milestones Adobe PDF (9K)
Open Enrollment Check Messages Adobe PDF (7K)
Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment News Adobe PDF (103K)
The Premium Option Plan 2014 Flier Adobe PDF (44K)
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier Adobe PDF (986K)
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access to Publications Adobe PDF (29K)
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (70K)
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2014 Adobe PDF (14K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (71K)

Return to Top


October 7, 2013

TO: State University and College Certifying Officers, State University and College Benefits Administrators, State Monthly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Benefits Administrators
FROM: John D.  Megariotis, Deputy Director, Finance
SUBJECT: Open Enrollment For The New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2014 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2014) will begin October 1 and ends on November 1, 2013. A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$ave offers eligible employees the opportunity to increase their available income by reducing their federal tax liability. 

Full-time employees of the State or a State college or university who are eligible for participation in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) may participate in Tax$ave. 

ABOUT TAX$AVE

Tax$ave consists of three components:

1. The Premium Option Plan (POP);

2. The Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account; and

3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. 

Each year eligible employees should review their personal financial circumstances and decide if they wish to participate or not. Open Enrollment offers employees the opportunity to conduct this review and then act on their decision. 

Note: Tax savings on commuter mass transit and parking expenses are available at any time as a separate benefit to State employees under the Commuter Tax$ave Program and are not tied to this open enrollment period.  See Fact Sheet #67, Commuter Tax$ave Program Adobe PDF (35K), for details.

PREMIUM OPTION PLAN

Enrollment in the Premium Option Plan is automatic. This plan saves your employees money by paying health and dental premiums from pre-tax dollars and reducing their tax liability. If an employee does not wish to take advantage of the Premium Option Plan in 2014 (and therefore pay more in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes) he or she should file a Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form. 

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

The Unreimbursed Medical and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow employees to set aside money to pay for out-of-pocket medical, dental, and dependent care expenses while saving on taxes because the money contributed to the account is free from federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes and remains tax-free when an employee receives it. WageWorks Inc. administers the Tax$ave Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care FSAs for the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

Unlike the Premium Option Plan or the health plans of the SHBP, prior participation in a Tax$ave FSA in 2013 does not carry over automatically into 2014.  Employees must enroll each year with WageWorks to participate in an FSA for calendar year 2014. 

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum. For the Tax$ave 2014 plan year, the maximum annual allowance that can be set aside for an Unreimbursed Medical FSA is $2,500 and the maximum annual allowance that can be set aside for a Dependent Care FSA is $5,000. Employees may save federal income, Medicare and Social Security taxes on up to $7,500 of combined unreimbursed medical and dependent care expenses. It makes sense to enroll and use a Tax$ave FSA plan when paying for doctor and prescription copayments, health plan deductibles, orthodontics, eyeglasses, Lasik surgery, uncovered dental fees, certain over-the-counter items (see page 3), or dependent care. 
  • Medical FSA Eligibility includes Adult Children until Age 26. Qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by eligible adult children can be reimbursed through the Unreimbursed Medical FSA. Coverage applies until the end of the year in which a child turns age 26, regardless of the child’s marital or student status.
  • Grace Period Extension for Eligible Expenses and Extended Claim Filing Period. Employees enrolled in the Unreimbursed Medical or Dependent Care FSAs have until March 15 of the following year to incur eligible expenses for the current plan year. In addition to claiming eligible expenses through March 15 of the following year, the period that employees enrolled in the UMSA or DCSA have for submitting claims for reimbursement extends to April 30 of the following year. While this does not eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it rule completely, employees have an extended period to obtain reimbursement for eligible expenses and avoid forfeiting unused funds. Under the Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, any contributions that remain unclaimed after the April 30 extended deadline are forfeited.
  • Unreimbursed Medical FSAs feature the WageWorks Health Care Card® that draws on the value of the employee’s annual Medical FSA election amount. The WageWorks Health Care Card is included free when you sign up for the Unreimbursed Medical FSA during Tax$ave Open Enrollment.  Employees can use the WageWorks Health Care Card for qualifying expenses, such as covered prescription copayments, health plan deductibles, orthodontics, doctor and emergency room copayments, eyeglasses, Lasik surgery, and uncovered dentist or other provider fees. The WageWorks Health Care Card can also be used for certain eligible over-the-counter medical expenses (see below) at grocery stores, drugstores, and discount stores that are IIAS (Inventory Information Approval Systems) certified merchants. 
  • Look Back Feature. The WageWorks Health Care Card also contains a “look back” feature during the 2 ½ month grace period extension that will access any unused 2013 Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds to reimburse eligible expense incurred prior to March 15, 2014 before using funds contributed in the 2014 plan year.

Prescription Required for Reimbursement of Over-the-Counter Items.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires a prescription for any eligible Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug or medicine (except diabetic supplies) before it will qualify for reimbursement under the Unreimbursed Medical FSA. This includes OTC items like: allergy drugs, pain relievers, cold and cough medicines, sleep aids, digestive aids, anti-gas medications, baby rash creams, and insect bite treatments. To be reimbursed for these types of OTC items through the Unreimbursed Medical FSA, you must submit a copy of your doctor’s prescription along with your Claim Form for verification (eligible items requiring a prescription may be purchased using the WageWorks Health Care Card if the prescription is used to purchase it). OTC items like eyeglasses, wrist splints, and bandages, as well as durable medical items such as crutches and canes continue to be reimbursed without a prescription. 

Enrolling in a Flexible Spending Account

Employees have three ways of enrolling in the Tax$ave FSA accounts during the Open Enrollment: mail, fax, and Internet. WageWorks will inform employees currently participating in a Tax$ave FSA plan of this enrollment opportunity through e-mail or direct mailing in September.  The Tax$ave publications also provide the following enrollment instructions to employees:

  • Internet: Employees can enroll in the Unreimbursed Medical and/or Dependent Care FSA plans over the Internet at: www.wageworks.com The deadline for enrollment over the Internet is midnight, November 1, 2013.
  • Fax: FSA Enrollment Forms Adobe PDF (71K) may be faxed by the employee to 1-866- 672-4780. The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, November 1, 2013. 
  • Mail: FSA Enrollment Forms Adobe PDF (71K) can be mailed by the employee directly to WageWorks, Enrollment Processing, PO Box 1840, Tallahassee, FL, 32302-1840.  To be accepted, enrollment forms must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2013.  Forms postmarked after November 1, 2013 will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSA Enrollment Forms.

For more information about the FSA plans see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml or contact WageWorks Customer Service at 1-855-428-0446.

Special Rules for Enrolling Newly Hired Employees — New employees can enroll in Tax$ave FSA plans when hired but must complete an FSA Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (71K) within 30 days of the date of hire to participate in either the Unreimbursed Medical FSA or the Dependent Care FSA. 

  • There is a 60 day waiting period for Unreimbursed Medical FSA eligibility. 
  • There is a 30 day waiting period for Dependent Care FSA eligibility. 

The effective date will be the first day of the month following eligibility. If the employee misses the 30 day enrollment window, they must wait to enroll during the Tax$ave Open Enrollment.

TAX$AVE AND CIVIL UNION PARTNERS OR DOMESTIC PARTNERS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now recognizes a marriage of same-sex spouses for federal tax purposes — including the tax saving benefits available through Tax$ave. 

This recognition, however, does not include a civil union partner or same-sex domestic partner. Before any payroll contributions or premiums that an employee pays for a partner’s SHBP medical or dental coverage can be made on a pre-tax basis under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan, the civil union partner or domestic partner must be able to qualify as a “tax dependent” of the employee for federal tax filing purposes under Internal Revenue Code Section 152.

Similarly, the civil union partner or domestic partner must qualify as the employee’s tax dependent before an out-of-pocket medical expense incurred by the partner can be reimbursed under the Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account. 

If the civil union partner or domestic partner is not a “qualified tax dependent” of the employee, any premium deductions made for the partner’s coverage must be made on an after-tax basis and funds in the Unreimbursed Medical Spending Account cannot be used to cover the partner’s medical expenses.

See IRS Publication #503, Dependents, at: www.irs.gov for information on the requirements for establishing dependent status for federal tax purposes. 

Information about New Jersey Civil Unions can be found in Fact Sheet #75, Civil Unions Adobe PDF (51K)Information about New Jersey Domestic Partners can be found in Fact Sheet #71, Benefits under the Domestic Partnership Act Adobe PDF (57K)Both fact sheets are available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

TAX$AVE AND CHILDREN AGE 26 TO 31

Chapter 375, P.L. 2005, permits continued SHBP medical plan coverage for certain children until their 31st birthday. However, contributions or premiums that an employee pays for coverage of an over age child cannot be made on a pre-tax basis under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan, nor can an out-of-pocket medical expense incurred by the over age child be reimbursed under the Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account, unless the child qualifies as a “tax dependent” of the employee for federal tax filing purposes under Internal Revenue Code Section 152. See IRS Publication #503, Dependents, at: www.irs.gov for information on the requirements for establishing dependent status for federal tax purposes. 

Information about continued coverage for children age 26 to 31, can be found in Fact Sheet #74, Health Benefits Coverage of Children Until Age 31 Under Chapter 375 Adobe PDF (25K).

TAX$AVE SUPPORT MATERIALS

The remainder of this letter provides information on the Tax$ave Open Enrollment publications and support available to assist you in explaining this important benefit program to your employees.  Please do your best to make a concerted effort to inform your employees of the open enrollment and to educate them on the valuable benefits that Tax$ave offers them.  We believe that more employees will participate in Tax$ave if they are made aware and understand the value of the tax savings offered by the program. 

Milestones

Enclosed is the Tax$ave Open Enrollment Milestones Adobe PDF (9K) chart that lists the critical dates of the Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment and outlines the efforts being made to educate employees. Please use this chart as a checklist to guide your activities during the open enrollment.

Online Distribution of Tax$ave Newsletter and Open Enrollment Fliers

In compliance with State initiatives to provide paperless services, the Tax$ave 2014 Newsletter Adobe PDF (103K), Premium Option Plan (POP) Flier Adobe PDF (44K), and FSA Plan Flier Adobe PDF (986K) are only available in electronic format for this year’s Open Enrollment. 

  • The Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment News Adobe PDF (103K) announces the open enrollment, outlines the components of the program with an emphasis on its tax saving advantages, and identifies the November 1, 2013 deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;
  • The FSA Plan Flier Adobe PDF (986K) describes the Unreimbursed Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts administered by WageWorks.

Access to the Tax$ave publications is available through links at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml or as PDF attachments provided with the distribution of this letter.

Employers should inform employees to access the Open Enrollment information online or provide the PDF versions via e-mail attachment or your Departmental Intranet.

For cases where online or e-mail notification is not possible, a paper flier giving instructions on accessing the Open Enrollment publications is provided with this letter and can be copied and distributed as required.

Other open enrollment materials available to you are the FSA Reference Guides Adobe PDF (215K) and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form. 

  • A small supply of the 2014 FSA Reference Guide and Enrollment Form will be sent directly to benefits administrators by WageWorks.  Please provide the FSA Reference Guides or Enrollment Forms to employees who request them.

The FSA Reference Guide Adobe PDF (215K) and Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (71K)are also available online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  

  • This letter includes the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) form — which can be copied for use by those few employees who do not wish to participate in the POP and, therefore, pay more in tax. Please do not distribute POP declination forms to employees unless they ask for one. If an employee chooses not to save tax dollars under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan and wants to pay more federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on the salary used to pay their medical and dental premiums in 2014, they must complete the form declining the federal tax break they could receive. Employees should request these forms from benefits administrators and return the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) Adobe PDF (14K) forms to benefits administrators by November 1, 2013. Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to Centralized Payroll by November 15, 2013. 

As we do every year, the Division of Pensions and Benefits appreciates your cooperation in the Open Enrollment. Your involvement in the Tax$ave Open Enrollment is key to your employees receiving the valuable benefits offered by this program. 

If you have any general questions about Tax$ave 2014, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Internet site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  call the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or send an e-mail.  

For more information about the Unreimbursed Medical or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, contact WageWorks at: www.wageworks.com  or call WageWorks Customer Service at 1-855-428-0446.

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment Milestones Adobe PDF (9K)
Tax$ave 2014 Open Enrollment News Adobe PDF (103K)
The Premium Option Plan 2014 Flier Adobe PDF (44K)
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier Adobe PDF (986K)
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access to Publications Adobe PDF (29K)
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form Adobe PDF (70K)
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2014 Adobe PDF (14K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (71K)

Return to Top


October 1, 2013

TO: State Department Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: SHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment period for State biweekly employees will begin on October 1, 2013, and end on November 1, 2013.

During the Open Enrollment period employees can make general changes (adding or deleting dependents, changing coverage levels, etc.) or enroll in a different medical or dental plan.  All changes to coverage made during this Open Enrollment period will be effective on December 28, 2013 with any required deductions taken beginning with pay period 1 (pay check of January 3, 2014).

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 15, 2013, to ensure processing for the start of the 2014 plan year. 

Note: Employers should submit completed Health Benefits Applications as they are received from employees rather than holding applications for submission at the end of Open Enrollment.

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For State employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2014 plan year.  Both Aetna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey offer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, and High Deductible Health Plans.

New 2035 Plan Design — included in the plan offerings for State employees this Open Enrollment are new 2035 medical plan designs.  The new 2035 plans feature a $20 copayment for a primary care visit, $35 copayment for a specialist visit, and a new prescription drug plan: all designed to reduce premium costs and lower employee contributions.

The full list of medical plans available to State employees are:

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom15; Aetna Freedom1525; Aetna Freedom2030; Aetna Freedom2035; NJ DIRECT15; NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035.
  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Aetna HMO 1525; Aetna HMO2030; Aetna HMO 2035; Horizon HMO; Horizon HMO1525; Horizon HMO2030 Horizon HMO2035.
  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; Aetna Value HD4000; NJ DIRECT HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD4000. 

Note: The service areas for the Horizon HMOs are limited to New Jersey, Delaware, and bordering counties of Pennsylvania and New York.

SHBP WELLNESS PROGRAM

Beginning with the 2014 plan year, the SHBP will launch NJWELL — a new wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle.  NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SHBP.  Spouses and eligible partners can also participate, as long as they are covered by the SHBP plan. 

Through NJWELL, employees receive incentives for participating in simple screenings, health assessments, and participating in other wellness and healthy lifestyle activities.  And since healthier individuals typically require less-costly health care, the NJWELL program can help the SHBP contain health care costs and pass those savings to you, the employer, through lower premium rates in the future.

Watch your mail and e-mail for more information to introduce NJWELL throughout the fall.  Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

Detailed information about the SHBP’s medical plans is available through the Summaries of Benefits and Coverage which are posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/hb-sbc-home.shtml

A direct mailing is being sent to all SHBP members to announce the availability of the summaries, however, employers are also asked to provide notice of this information to their employees.  A sample of the mailer is included with this letter.

PLAN RATES

Plan rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the State Biweekly Group are attached and are also posted online at:  www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to the Pension and Health Benefit Reform (Chapter 78, P.L. 2011), employees must pay a percentage of the medical and prescription plan premiums (or 1.5% of annual salary if greater). 

Most State employees are currently subject to a four-year phase-in of contribution rates, and pay at the “Year Three” contribution level.  “Year Three” contribution rates apply for the period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. “Year Four” full contribution rates will become effective July 1, 2014 and thereafter.

The increase in plan premiums also increases the required employee contribution for medical and prescription coverage.  Employees who are considering a change of medical plan based on cost should review the contribution amounts for both “Year Three” and “Year Four” contributions. 

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2014 rates, and are available through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

WAIVING SHBP COVERAGE

State employees are permitted to waive SHBP medical and prescription coverage — and avoid the required employee contribution — provided that they have other health care coverage.  To waive coverage a SHBP State Waiver form and a Health Benefit Application must be completed during Open Enrollment.  To waive coverage effective January 1, 2014, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

DENTAL PLANS

Dental coverage is offered to all eligible State employees through the Employee Dental Plans. Seven different dental plans are offered based on one of two different plan designs — Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (PPO).

  • Six DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; BeneCare; CIGNA DHMO; Community Dental Associates; Healthplex; and Horizon Dental Choice. 

DPOs contract with a network of providers for dental services. When an employee or dependent uses a DPO dentist, diagnostic and preventive services are covered in full. Most other eligible expenses require a small copayment. Members must use a provider that participates with the DPO selected to receive coverage. Be sure to confirm that the dentist or dental facility selected is taking new patients and participates with the SHBP Employee Dental Plans, since DPOs also service other organizations.

  • The Dental Expense Plan is a PPO plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, as a PPO, using an in-network provider will reduce an employee’s costs.  After satisfying an annual deductible (no deductible for preventive services), members are reimbursed a percentage of the reasonable and customary charges for eligible services.

Employees must remain enrolled in a dental plan for a minimum of 12 months before they will be allowed to change plans.  This means that an employee who was not enrolled in a dental plan as of January 1, 2013, will not be permitted to change dental plans during this Open Enrollment.

The employee cost for coverage under a dental plan is 50 percent of the actual dental plan premium. Therefore, the employee cost varies depending on which dental plan an employee chooses; however, the rate for coverage under a DPO remains considerably less expensive than the Dental Expense Plan. 

Dental Plan Rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the State Biweekly Group are attached and also posted online for the Open Enrollment through links at:  www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

TAX$AVE AND THE SHBP

The State Employees’ Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave) Open Enrollment Period begins October 1, 2013 and ends on November 1, 2013 (to coincide with the SHBP Open Enrollment Period).  Tax$ave is a benefit program available to full-time State employees who are eligible for the SHBP.  Tax$ave can save your employees tax money by paying health and dental benefit premiums and eligible unreimbursed medical and/or dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars.

Separate Tax$ave Open Enrollment materials were distributed to employers and contain more information about these valuable benefits.  Please also note the items detailed below that relate to both Tax$ave and SHBP medical and dental plan enrollment.

  • Limitations on Plan Changes if Enrolled in POP — Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules require that for an employee covered by the Premium Option Plan, payroll deductions for health and dental plan benefits remain the same for the entire plan year.  Therefore, no coverage level changes can be made which result in a change in the amount of an employee’s health and/or dental plan deduction unless a Qualifying Event has occurred.  Employees should consider the July 1, 2014 increase to the full required contribution level effective in their 2014 plan selection and Tax$ave decisions.
  • Tax$ave, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partners — SHBP members need to be aware of the federal tax implications for a civil union partner or domestic partner under SHBP benefits.  While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now recognizes a marriage of same-sex spouses for federal tax purposes, this recognition does not extend to a civil union partner or same-sex domestic partner.  Since the federal tax code does not view civil union or domestic partners in the same manner as spouses, an employer may have to treat the civil union or domestic partner SHBP benefit as taxable to the employee and withhold federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on its value. Similarly, since the partner's coverage is a federally taxable benefit, an employee who participates in the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan cannot make pre-tax payments for the cost of a civil union or domestic partner's coverage. Pre-tax dollars may still be used to pay for the employee's portion of the cost of his or her own and dependent children's coverage. If an employee wants to claim a federal tax dependency exemption for a civil union or domestic partner, he or she should contact the Internal Revenue Service or see IRS Publication #503, Dependents.

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site for the October 1st Open Enrollment starting date. 

As most Open Enrollment items are available in electronic format only, employers should direct their employees to the Open Enrollment information online at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site. Included with this letter is an announcement flier with directions to the Division’s Web site that can be distributed to employees.

Items available on our Web site for Open Enrollment include the Health Capsule newsletter which details plan changes and other Open Enrollment news, Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (discussed earlier in this letter), rate information for plan year 2014, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the separate State employee Health Benefits Program Applications for Medical and Dental plans, a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans (provide the HSA Contribution Form to Centralized Payroll for any HDHP enrollments).  Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to, all three types of application

Plan Marketing Contacts — included with this letter you will find a listing of employer marketing contacts for the medical and dental plans.  Use these contacts to obtain plan specific information and literature for your employees. These telephone numbers are not for member services. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

Certifying Officers should check the Division’s Web site and watch for further e-mail notification of any updated information or publications and forward the information to their Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Division of Pensions and Benefits will launch official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. These social media accounts have been created for the limited purpose of generally discussing NJDPB pension plans, health benefit programs, and NJDPB administration and operations. These sites are not intended nor created to be a general public forum, or to discuss individual member or annuitant specific information. We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division through the new social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB
www.twitter.com/NJDPB1
www.youtube.com/user/DPBNJ

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about the SHBP Open Enrollment or the information in this letter, please contact our Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 to speak with an Employer Group representative or send an e-mail.

Thank you for your assistance in making the SHBP Open Enrollment a success for your employees.

Enclosure
State Biweekly Health Benefits and Dental Rates
State Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access
Medical and Dental Plan Marketing Contacts

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (61K)

Return to Top


October 1, 2013

TO: State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators;  State Monthly Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: SHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment period for State monthly employees will begin on October 1, 2013, and end on November 1, 2013.

During the Open Enrollment period employees can make general changes (adding or deleting dependents, changing coverage levels, etc.) or enroll in a different medical or dental plan.  All changes to coverage made during this Open Enrollment period will be effective on January 1, 2014.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 15, 2013, to ensure processing for the start of the 2014 plan year. 

Note: Employers should submit completed Health Benefits Applications as they are received from employees rather than holding applications for submission at the end of Open Enrollment.

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For State employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2014 plan year.  Both Aetna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey offer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, and High Deductible Health Plans.

New 2035 Plan Design — included in the plan offerings for State employees this Open Enrollment are new 2035 medical plan designs.  The new 2035 plans feature a $20 copayment for a primary care visit, $35 copayment for a specialist visit, and a new prescription drug plan: all designed to reduce premium costs and lower employee contributions.

The full list of medical plans available to State employees are:

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom15; Aetna Freedom1525; Aetna Freedom2030; Aetna Freedom2035; NJ DIRECT15; NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035.
  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Aetna HMO1525; Aetna HMO2030; Aetna HMO2035; Horizon HMO; Horizon HMO1525; Horizon HMO2030; Horizon HMO2035.
  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; Aetna Value HD4000; NJ DIRECT HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD4000. 

Note: The service areas for the Horizon HMOs are limited to New Jersey, Delaware, and bordering counties in Pennsylvania and New York.

SHBP WELLNESS PROGRAM

Beginning with the 2014 plan year, the SHBP will launch NJWELL — a new wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle.  NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SHBP.  Spouses and eligible partners can also participate, as long as they are covered by the SHBP plan. 

Through NJWELL, employees receive incentives for participating in simple screenings, health assessments, and participating in other wellness and healthy lifestyle activities.  And since healthier individuals typically require less-costly health care, the NJWELL program can help the SHBP contain health care costs and pass those savings to you, the employer, through lower premium rates in the future.

Watch your mail and e-mail for more information to introduce NJWELL throughout the fall.  Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in the one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to have tax deferred contributions from their paychecks to fund their Health Savings Account (HSA).  If one of your employees chooses (or is currently enrolled) in one of the HDHP, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions.  A sample of the HSA Contribution Form is included with this letter.

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

Detailed information about the SHBP’s medical plans is available through new Summaries of Benefits and Coverage which are posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/hb-sbc-home.shtml

A direct mailing is being sent to all SHBP members to announce the availability of the summaries, however, employers are also asked to provide notice of this information to their employees.  A sample of the mailer is included with this letter.

PLAN RATES

Plan rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the State Monthly Group are attached and are also posted online for the Open Enrollment through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to the Pension and Health Benefit Reform (Chapter 78, P.L. 2011), employees must pay a percentage of the medical and prescription plan premiums (or 1.5% of annual salary if greater). 

Most State employees are currently subject to a four-year phase-in of contribution rates, and pay at the “Year Three” contribution level.  “Year Three” contribution rates apply for the period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. “Year Four” full contribution rates will become effective July 1, 2014 and thereafter.

The increase in plan premiums also increases the required employee contribution for medical and prescription coverage.  Employees who are considering a change of medical plan based on cost should review the contribution amounts for both “Year Three” and “Year Four” contributions. 

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2014 rates, and are available through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

WAIVING SHBP COVERAGE

State employees are permitted to waive SHBP medical and prescription coverage — and avoid the required employee contribution — provided that they have other health care coverage.  To waive coverage a SHBP State Waiver form and a Health Benefit Application must be completed during Open Enrollment.  To waive coverage effective January 1, 2014, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

DENTAL PLANS

Dental coverage is offered to all eligible State employees through the Employee Dental Plans. Seven different dental plans are offered based on one of two different plan designs — Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (PPO).

  • Six DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; BeneCare; CIGNA DHMO; Community Dental Associates; Healthplex; and Horizon Dental Choice. 

DPOs contract with a network of providers for dental services. When an employee or dependent uses a DPO dentist, diagnostic and preventive services are covered in full. Most other eligible expenses require a small copayment. Members must use a provider that participates with the DPO selected to receive coverage. Be sure to confirm that the dentist or dental facility selected is taking new patients and participates with the SHBP Employee Dental Plans, since DPOs also service other organizations.

  • The Dental Expense Plan is a PPO plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, as a PPO, using an in-network provider will reduce an employee’s costs.  After satisfying an annual deductible (no deductible for preventive services), members are reimbursed a percentage of the reasonable and customary charges for eligible services.

Employees must remain enrolled in a dental plan for a minimum of 12 months before they will be allowed to change plans.  This means that an employee who was not enrolled in a dental plan as of January 1, 2013, will not be permitted to change dental plans during this Open Enrollment.

The employee cost for coverage under a dental plan is 50 percent of the actual dental plan premium. Therefore, the employee cost varies depending on which dental plan an employee chooses; however, the rate for coverage under a DPO remains considerably less expensive than the Dental Expense Plan. 

Dental Plan Rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the State Monthly Group are attached and also posted online at:  www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

TAX$AVE AND THE SHBP

The State Employees’ Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave) Open Enrollment Period begins October 1, 2013 and ends on November 1, 2013 (to coincide with the SHBP Open Enrollment Period).  Tax$ave is a benefit program available to full-time State employees who are eligible for the SHBP.  Tax$ave can save your employees tax money by paying health and dental benefit premiums and eligible unreimbursed medical and/or dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars.

Separate Tax$ave Open Enrollment materials were distributed to employers and contain more information about these valuable benefits.  Please also note the items detailed below that relate to both Tax$ave and SHBP medical and dental plan enrollment.

  • Limitations on Plan Changes if Enrolled in POP — Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules require that for an employee covered by the Premium Option Plan, payroll deductions for health and dental plan benefits remain the same for the entire plan year.  Therefore, no coverage level changes can be made which result in a change in the amount of an employee’s health and/or dental plan deduction unless a Qualifying Event has occurred.  Employees should consider the July 1, 2014 increase to the full required contribution level effective in their 2014 plan selection and Tax$ave decisions.
  • Tax$ave, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partners — SHBP members need to be aware of the federal tax implications for a civil union partner or domestic partner under SHBP benefits.  While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now recognizes a marriage of same-sex spouses for federal tax purposes, this recognition does not extend to a civil union partner or same-sex domestic partner.  Since the federal tax code does not view civil union or domestic partners in the same manner as spouses, an employer may have to treat the civil union or domestic partner SHBP benefit as taxable to the employee and withhold federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on its value. Similarly, since the partner's coverage is a federally taxable benefit, an employee who participates in the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan cannot make pre-tax payments for the cost of a civil union or domestic partner's coverage. Pre-tax dollars may still be used to pay for the employee's portion of the cost of his or her own and dependent children's coverage. If an employee wants to claim a federal tax dependency exemption for a civil union or domestic partner, he or she should contact the Internal Revenue Service or see IRS Publication #503, Dependents.

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site for the October 1st Open Enrollment starting date. 

As most Open Enrollment items are available in electronic format only, employers should direct their employees to the Open Enrollment information online at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site. Included with this letter is an announcement flier with directions to the Division’s Web site that can be distributed to employees.

Items available on our Web site for Open Enrollment include the Health Capsule newsletter which details plan changes and other Open Enrollment news, Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (discussed earlier in this letter), rate information for plan year 2014, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the separate State employee Health Benefits Program Applications for Medical and Dental plans, a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans.  Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to, all three types of application

Plan Marketing Contacts — included with this letter you will find a listing of employer marketing contacts for the medical and dental plans.  Use these contacts to obtain plan specific information and literature for your employees. These telephone numbers are not for member services. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

Certifying Officers should check the Division’s Web site and watch for further e-mail notification of any updated information or publications and forward the information to their Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Division of Pensions and Benefits will launch official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. These social media accounts have been created for the limited purpose of generally discussing NJDPB pension plans, health benefit programs, and NJDPB administration and operations. These sites are not intended nor created to be a general public forum, or to discuss individual member or annuitant specific information. We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division through the new social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB
www.twitter.com/NJDPB1
www.youtube.com/user/DPBNJ

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about the SHBP Open Enrollment or the information in this letter, please contact our Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 to speak with an Employer Group representative or send an e-mail.

Thank you for your assistance in making the SHBP Open Enrollment a success for your employees.

Enclosure
State Monthly Health Benefits and Dental Rates
State Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access
Medical and Dental Plan Marketing Contacts

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (62K)

Return to Top


October 1, 2013

TO: Local Government Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: SHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment period for Local Government employees will begin on October 1, 2013, and end on November 1, 2013.

During the Open Enrollment period employees can make general changes (adding or deleting dependents, changing coverage levels, etc.) or enroll in a different medical or dental plan.  All changes to coverage made during this Open Enrollment period will be effective on January 1, 2014.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 15, 2013, to ensure processing for the start of the 2014 plan year. 

Note: Employers should submit completed Health Benefits Applications as they are received from employees rather than holding applications for submission at the end of Open Enrollment.

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For Local Government employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2014 plan year.  Both Aetna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey offer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, and High Deductible Health Plans.

New 2035 Plan Design — included in the plan offerings for Local Government employees this Open Enrollment are new 2035 medical plan designs.  The new 2035 plans feature a $20 copayment for a primary care visit, $35 copayment for a specialist visit, and a new prescription drug plan: all designed to reduce premium costs and lower employee contributions.

The full list of medical plans available to Local Government employees are:

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom10; Aetna Freedom15; Aetna Freedom1525;
    Aetna Freedom2030; Aetna Freedom2035, NJ DIRECT10; NJ DIRECT15; NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035.
  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Aetna HMO 1525; Aetna HMO 2030; Aetna HMO 2035; Horizon HMO; Horizon HMO 1525; Horizon HMO 2030; Horizon HMO 2035.
  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; Aetna Value HD4000; NJ DIRECT HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD4000. 

Note: The service areas for the Horizon HMOs are limited to New Jersey, Delaware, and bordering counties of Pennsylvania and New York.

SHBP WELLNESS PROGRAM

Beginning with the 2014 plan year, the SHBP will launch NJWELL — a new wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle.  NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SHBP.  Spouses and eligible partners can also participate, as long as they are covered by the SHBP plan. 

Through NJWELL, employees receive incentives for participating in simple screenings, health assessments, and participating in other wellness and healthy lifestyle activities.  And since healthier individuals typically require less-costly health care, the NJWELL program can help the SHBP contain health care costs and pass those savings to you, the employer, through lower premium rates in the future.

Watch your mail and e-mail for more information to introduce NJWELL throughout the fall.  Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in the one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to have tax deferred contributions from their paychecks to fund their Health Savings Account (HSA).  If one of your employees chooses (or is currently enrolled) in one of the HDHP, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions.  A sample of the HSA Contribution Form is included with this letter.

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

Detailed information about the SHBP’s medical plans is available through new Summaries of Benefits and Coverage which are posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/hb-sbc-home.shtml

A direct mailing is being sent to all SHBP members to announce the availability of the summaries, however, employers are also asked to provide notice of this information to their employees.  A sample of the mailer is included with this letter.

PLAN RATES

Plan rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the Local Government Group are attached and are also posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to the Pension and Health Benefit Reform (Chapter 78, P.L. 2011) and with the expiration, renewal, or extension of collective negotiations agreements, employees must pay either a percentage of the medical and prescription plan premium or 1.5% of annual salary, whichever is greater. 

Most local government employees are currently contributing under a four-year phase-in of contribution rates.  Employers should advise their employees of the current phased-in contribution level so they can correctly determine the required contributions when considering plan choices.

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2014 rates, and are available through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

The increase in plan premiums for 2014 will increase the employee contribution for medical and prescription coverage.  Employees who are considering a change of medical plan based on cost should review the contribution amounts for both the current contribution phase-in level and for the next phased-in level — when the required contribution amount will increase. 

WAIVING SHBP COVERAGE

Local government employees are permitted to waive SHBP medical and prescription coverage if they have other employer-provided or retiree coverage, or other coverage as a dependent. 

Employers are permitted to offer an incentive to employees who waive SHBP coverage. Under Chapter 2, P.L. 2010, the incentive amount for waivers is limited to 25 percent of the amount saved by the employer or $5,000, whichever is less.  In addition, because multiple coverage under the SHBP/SEHBP is prohibited, waiver incentives are only payable if the other coverage is through a non-SHBP/SEHBP plan.

To waive coverage a SHBP Waiver Form for Local Employees and a Health Benefit Application must be completed and submitted during Open Enrollment.  To waive coverage effective January 1, 2014, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

DENTAL PLANS AND EMPLOYEE COSTS

The following information is for local government employers who provide employee dental coverage through the Employee Dental Plans:
Seven different dental plans are offered to eligible employees based on one of two different plan designs — Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (PPO).

  • Six DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; BeneCare; CIGNA DHMO; Community Dental Associates; Healthplex; and Horizon Dental Choice. 

DPOs contract with a network of providers for dental services. When an employee or dependent uses a DPO dentist, diagnostic and preventive services are covered in full. Most other eligible expenses require a small copayment. Members must use a provider that participates with the DPO selected to receive coverage. Be sure to confirm that the dentist or dental facility selected is taking new patients and participates with the SHBP Employee Dental Plans, since DPOs also service other organizations.

  • The Dental Expense Plan is a PPO plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, as a PPO, using an in-network provider will reduce an employee’s costs.  After satisfying an annual deductible (no deductible for preventive services), members are reimbursed a percentage of the reasonable and customary charges for eligible services.

Employees must remain enrolled in a dental plan for a minimum of 12 months before they will be allowed to change plans.  This means that an employee who was not enrolled in a dental plan as of January 1, 2013, will not be permitted to change dental plans during this Open Enrollment.

The employee cost for coverage under a dental plan is 50 percent of the actual dental plan premium. Therefore, the employee cost varies depending on which dental plan an employee chooses; however, the rate for coverage under a DPO remains considerably less expensive than the Dental Expense Plan. 

Dental Plan Rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the Local Government Group are attached and also posted online at:  www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site for the October 1st Open Enrollment starting date. 

As most Open Enrollment items are available in electronic format only, employers should direct their employees to the Open Enrollment information online at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.  Included with this letter is an announcement flier with directions to the Division’s Web site that can be distributed to employees.

Items available on our Web site for Open Enrollment include the Health Capsule newsletter which details plan changes and other Open Enrollment news, Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (discussed earlier in this letter), rate information for plan year 2014, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the separate State employee Health Benefits Program Applications for Medical and Dental plans, a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans.  Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to, all three types of application

Plan Marketing Contacts — included with this letter you will find a listing of employer marketing contacts for the medical and dental plans.  Use these contacts to obtain plan specific information and literature for your employees. These telephone numbers are not for member services. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

Certifying Officers should check the Division’s Web site and watch for further e-mail notification of any updated information or publications and forward the information to their Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Division of Pensions and Benefits will launch official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. These social media accounts have been created for the limited purpose of generally discussing NJDPB pension plans, health benefit programs, and NJDPB administration and operations. These sites are not intended nor created to be a general public forum, or to discuss individual member or annuitant specific information. We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division through the new social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB
www.twitter.com/NJDPB1
www.youtube.com/user/DPBNJ

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about the SHBP Open Enrollment or the information in this letter, please contact our Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 to speak with an Employer Group representative or send an e-mail.

Thank you for your assistance in making the SHBP Open Enrollment a success for your employees.

Enclosure
Local Government Health Benefits and Dental Rates
Local Government Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access
Medical and Dental Plan Marketing Contacts

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (61K)

Return to Top


October 1, 2013

TO: Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: SEHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT

The School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Open Enrollment period for Local Education employees will begin on October 1, 2013, and ends on November 1, 2013.

During the Open Enrollment period employees can make general changes (adding or deleting dependents, changing coverage levels, etc.) or enroll in a different medical or dental plan.  All changes to coverage made during this Open Enrollment period will be effective on January 1, 2014.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 15, 2013, to ensure processing for the start of the 2014 plan year. 

Note: Employers should submit completed Health Benefits Applications as they are received from employees rather than holding applications for submission at the end of Open Enrollment.

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

Both Aetna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will offer Local Education employees Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, and High Deductible Health Plans for the 2014 plan year.

New 2035 Plan Design — included in the plan offerings for Local Education employees this Open Enrollment are new 2035 medical plan designs.  The new 2035 plans feature a $20 copayment for a primary care visit, $35 copayment for a specialist visit, and a new prescription drug plan: all designed to reduce premium costs and lower employee contributions.

The full list of medical plans available to Local Education employees includes:

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom10; Aetna Freedom15; Aetna Freedom1525;
    Aetna Freedom2030; Aetna Freedom2030; NJ DIRECT10; NJ DIRECT15;
    NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035.
  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Aetna HMO 1525; Aetna HMO 2030; Aetna HMO 2035; Horizon HMO; Horizon HMO 1525; Horizon HMO 2030; Horizon HMO 2035.
  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD1500. 

Note: The service areas for the Horizon HMOs are limited to New Jersey, Delaware, and bordering counties of Pennsylvania and New York.

SEHBP WELLNESS PROGRAM

Beginning with the 2014 plan year, the SEHBP will launch NJ WELL — a new wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle.  NJ WELL is open to Local Education employees who are enrolled in the SEHBP.  Spouses and eligible partners can also participate, as long as they are covered by the SEHBP plan. 

Through NJ WELL, employees receive incentives for participating in simple screenings, health assessments, and participating in other wellness and healthy lifestyle activities.  And since healthier individuals typically require less-costly health care, the NJ WELL program can help the SEHBP contain health care costs and pass those savings to you, the employer, through lower premium rates in the future.

Watch your mail and e-mail for more information to introduce NJ WELL throughout the fall.  Information about NJ WELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in the one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to have tax deferred contributions from their paychecks to fund their Health Savings Account (HSA).  If one of your employees chooses (or is currently enrolled) in one of the HDHP, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions.  A sample of the HSA Contribution Form is included with this letter.

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

Detailed information about the SEHBP’s medical plans is available through new Summaries of Benefits and Coverage which are posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/hb-sbc-home.shtml

A direct mailing is being sent to all SEHBP members to announce the availability of the summaries, however, employers are also asked to provide notice of this information to their employees.  A sample of the mailer is included with this letter.

PLAN RATES

Plan rates for 2014 were approved by the School Employees’ Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the Local Education Group are attached and are also posted online at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SEHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to the Pension and Health Benefit Reform (Chapter 78, P.L. 2011) and with the expiration, renewal, or extension of collective negotiations agreements, employees must pay either a percentage of the medical and prescription plan premium or 1.5% of annual salary, whichever is greater. 

Most local education employees are currently contributing under a four-year phase-in of contribution rates.  Employers should advise their employees of the current phased-in contribution level so they can correctly determine the required contributions when considering plan choices.

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2014 plan selections and rates, and are available through links at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

The increase in plan premiums for 2014 will increase the employee contribution for medical and prescription coverage.  Employees who are considering a change of medical plan based on cost should review the contribution amounts for both the current contribution phase-in level and for the next phased-in level — when the required contribution amount will increase. 

WAIVING SEHBP COVERAGE

Local education employees are permitted to waive SEHBP medical and prescription coverage if they have other employer-provided or retiree coverage, or other coverage as a dependent. 

Employers are permitted to offer an incentive to employees who waive SEHBP coverage. Under Chapter 2, P.L. 2010, the incentive amount for waivers is limited to 25 percent of the amount saved by the employer or $5,000, whichever is less.  In addition, because multiple coverage under the SHBP/SEHBP is prohibited, waiver incentives are only payable if the other coverage is through a non-SHBP/SEHBP plan.

To waive coverage a Waiver Form for Local Employees and a Health Benefit Application must be completed and submitted during the Open Enrollment.  To waive coverage effective January 1, 2014, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

DENTAL PLANS AND EMPLOYEE COSTS

The following information is for local government employers who provide employee dental coverage through the Employee Dental Plans:
Seven different dental plans are offered to eligible employees based on one of two different plan designs — Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (PPO).

  • Six DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; BeneCare; CIGNA DHMO; Community Dental Associates; Healthplex; and Horizon Dental Choice. 

DPOs contract with a network of providers for dental services. When an employee or dependent uses a DPO dentist, diagnostic and preventive services are covered in full. Most other eligible expenses require a small copayment. Members must use a provider that participates with the DPO selected to receive coverage. Be sure to confirm that the dentist or dental facility selected is taking new patients and participates with the SHBP Employee Dental Plans, since DPOs also service other organizations.

  • The Dental Expense Plan is a PPO plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, as a PPO, using an in-network provider will reduce an employee’s costs.  After satisfying an annual deductible (no deductible for preventive services), members are reimbursed a percentage of the reasonable and customary charges for eligible services.

Employees must remain enrolled in a dental plan for a minimum of 12 months before they will be allowed to change plans.  This means that an employee who was not enrolled in a dental plan as of January 1, 2013, will not be permitted to change dental plans during this Open Enrollment.

The employee cost for coverage under a dental plan is 50 percent of the actual dental plan premium. Therefore, the employee cost varies depending on which dental plan an employee chooses; however, the rate for coverage under a DPO remains considerably less expensive than the Dental Expense Plan. 

Dental Plan Rates for 2014 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the Local Education Group are attached and also posted online at:  www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site for the October 1st Open Enrollment starting date. 

As most Open Enrollment items are available in electronic format only, employers should direct their employees to the Open Enrollment information online at the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site. Included with this letter is an announcement flier with directions to the Division’s Web site that can be distributed to employees.

Items available on our Web site for Open Enrollment include the Health Capsule newsletter which details plan changes and other Open Enrollment news, Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (discussed earlier in this letter), rate information for plan year 2014, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the separate State employee Health Benefits Program Applications for Medical and Dental plans, a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans.  Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to, all three types of application

Plan Marketing Contacts — included with this letter you will find a listing of employer marketing contacts for the medical and dental plans.  Use these contacts to obtain plan specific information and literature for your employees. These telephone numbers are not for member services. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

Certifying Officers should check the Division’s Web site and watch for further e-mail notification of any updated information or publications and forward the information to their Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees.

SOCIAL MEDIA

On or about October 1, the Division of Pensions and Benefits will launch official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. These social media accounts have been created for the limited purpose of generally discussing pension plans, health benefit programs, and NJDPB administration and operations. These sites are not intended nor created to be a general public forum, or to discuss individual member or annuitant specific information. We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division through the new social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB
www.twitter.com/NJDPB1
http://www.youtube.com/newjerseydpb

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have any questions about the SEHBP Open Enrollment or the information in this letter, please contact our Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 to speak with an Employer Group representative or send an e-mail

Thank you for your assistance in making the SEHBP Open Enrollment a success for your employees.

Enclosure
Local Education Health Benefits and Dental Rates
Local Education Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access
Medical and Dental Plan Marketing Contacts

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (62K)

Return to Top

 


September 6 , 2013

TO: Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers
FROM: Florence Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Renewal Required for Annual Membership Certification

This letter is official notice to Certifying Officersand Supervisors of Certifying Officers 1 that it is time to renew of your Annual Membership Certification as required under the provisions of Chapter 52, P.L. 2011.2 

MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATION AVAILABLE ONLINE IN EPIC

The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer are both required to complete the Chapter 52 Annual Membership Certification, which is available as an online application in the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC). All certifications must be completed no later than September 30, 2013.

The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer should immediately:

  • On your EPIC Home Page you will see a button for the “Chapter 52 Annual Certification.”  Click the button and the first page of the application will show the Chapter 52 training and certification status of the Certifying Officer and the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer. To complete the Annual Membership Certification, click the “Complete Certification” button to open the certification page.

Note: If Chapter 52 training has not been completed by both individuals, it must be done immediately. The “Complete Certification” button will not be available until required Chapter 52 training is completed.

  • If you are able to certify that each member of the retirement system is properly enrolled, click “Yes.”  You will receive an online confirmation and the process is completed.
  • If you are unable to certify that each member of the retirement system is properly enrolled, click “No” and you will be shown a page with detailed instructions on how to report any improperly enrolled individuals to the Division of Pensions and Benefits — employers should also remove these individuals from the quarterly Report of Contributions. Once any instance of an improperly enrolled worker has been reported with the Division, you will receive a follow-up e-mail from the Division with instructions that you may return to EPIC and complete the Annual Membership Certification.

Immediate action is required. The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer must each complete the Annual Membership Certification no later than September 30, 2013. Failure to do so will prevent the Division from accepting any new enrollment applications from the employing location until the certifications are completed.

CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED ANNUALLY

Under the provisions of Chapter 52, Membership Certifications are due annually each September.  Employers will receive notification that memberships are again due for certification in September 20143 and each year thereafter.

IMPORTANCE OF PROPER ENROLLMENT

Improper enrollment of ineligible individuals in the retirement systems results in pension abuse and a loss of public confidence in local and state administrators.  Failure to complete the required training and/or Annual Membership Certification may also result in financial hardship for your employees and financial harm or other penalties for you, the employer.

Until Chapter 52 training and the Annual Certification is completed:

  • Your employing location cannot process enrollment applications or transfers until both the Certifying Officer and the Supervisor complete training.
  • Employees with delayed enrollments will have significantly larger back deduction amounts resulting in longer repayment schedules and in some cases, assessment of interest charges.
  • Your employing location may also be subject to a delayed enrollment liability if an employee is not properly enrolled in the pension system in a timely manner.
  • An employer who enrolls, or permits the continued enrollment of, an individual who is ineligible for membership in the retirement system will be subject to prosecution under N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15 — “any person who knowingly makes a false statement, or falsifies or permits to be falsified any record, application, form, or report of a pension fund or retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the fund or system will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”

It is essential that public employers remain up to date with the enrollment eligibility training and certification requirements.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits expects that all Certifying Officers and their Supervisors will make every effort to ensure that their location is in full compliance with this law.

ENROLLMENT AND TRANSFER FORM UPDATES

Please also note that the Division has updated its online and paper Enrollment Applications and Report of Transfer forms to reflect the Chapter 52 training and certification requirements.

While it remains a requirement that employers use the online Enrollment Applications available in EPIC whenever possible, in cases where paper Enrollment Applications or Transfer Forms need to be submitted to the Division, employers must use the most recent versions of the printable forms.  Older versions of the forms will be rejected and returned for employer compliance.

Current versions of the Enrollment Applications and Transfer Forms can be obtained from the “Forms Index” of the Employers’ Pensions and Benefits Administration Manual (EPBAM) at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have questions or require additional information about Chapter 52 or any of the information in this letter, contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or send e-mail.

1“Certifying Officer” is defined in the law as an officer or employee of the State or of an employer other than the State who is responsible for submitting information to and performing the duties relating to matters concerning the retirement system with respect to each of the employees of the employing location, as required by law, the board of trustees or commission, and the Division of Pensions and Benefits. “Supervisor of the Certifying Officer” is designated by the employing location and is required to be the immediate supervisor of the Certifying Officer as defined above.

2 Chapter 52, P.L. 2011, (N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15) requires that both the Certifying Officer and the immediate Supervisor of the Certifying Officer receive training in enrollments and annually certify for each member of the retirement system, that the enrolled person is eligible for membership in the retirement system in accordance with the statutes and regulations of the retirement system.  Visit: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/enrollment-ch52.shtml  for more about Chapter 52.

3 In the event of a change in either the Certifying Officer or the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer, the new individual must complete both Chapter 52 training in enrollments and complete a new membership certification.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (61K)

Return to Top


September 2013

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS)
FROM: Hank Schwedes, Board Secretary
Public Employees' Retirement System
SUBJECT: PERS NOTICE OF ELECTION

Once again, in an effort to support a decrease in administrative costs and to preserve resources, this certifying officer letter and the attached notice for the 2014 Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) elections are being transmitted to you electronically and will require your electronic response.

We are seeking your assistance in servicing an election for one “State” Representative position, one “County” Representative and one “Municipal” Representative position to the PERS Board of Trustees.  The State, County and Municipal representatives will be elected for a three-year terms as of July 1, 2014.  Candidates for all positions must qualify by nomination.

We are requesting that you distribute the attached election notice electronically to each PERS member employed at your location, as the information will explain the pre-election procedures.  It is most important that each individual active PERS member receives this notice.  If you are the certifying officer for multiple locations, you will only receive one certifying officer letter and will be required to distribute the attached election notice to active PERS members at all locations.  Your attention to this distribution is required as regulated by N.J.A.C. 17:2-1.4.

We ask that you distribute this notice by the preferred method of distribution, which is electronically.  If you are not able to accommodate electronic distribution, please make copies of the notice and provide to all active PERS employees.  In addition, if you maintain a Web site for your employees, you may post the notice there and in any other appropriate public place at your location.

It is very important that you confirm distribution of this notice.  To confirm distribution of the notice to your active PERS employees, please send an e-mail to NJBOT.ELECT@treas.state.nj.us

Thank you for your prompt assistance in the timely response and distribution of this notice.

Attachment: Election Notice

DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS - NOTICE OF PERS ELECTION
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (PERS)
One State Street Square - 50 West State Street - P.O. BOX 295 - Trenton, NJ 08625-0295

Nominations are being accepted to fill the position of one elected “State” position, one elected “County” position, and one elected “Municipal” position to the PERS Board of Trustees whose terms will expire as of June 30, 2014*.  If you wish to declare your interest in running for one of the positions, please send a written request to the PERS Board Secretary at pensions.nj@treas.state.nj.us or PO Box 295, Trenton, NJ 08625-0295.

The general responsibility for the operation of the PERS is vested in the Board of Trustees under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 43:15A-17.  The Board meets monthly at the Division of Pensions and Benefits in Trenton.  The statute provides that no employee shall suffer loss of salary or wages because of serving on the Board.  A member who wishes to be a candidate for one of the above positions must be an active or retired member of the PERS and must be nominated by at least 500 active PERS members.  Only State employees may petition for State Representative, only County employees may petition for County Representative, and only Municipal employees may petition for Municipal Representative.  Instructions for the nominating process are available upon receipt of a written request to the Secretary of the PERS Board of Trustees. 

After the candidates have declared their interest in becoming a PERS representative, nominations to support your choice for a candidate are now made electronically through a secure website.  The process is very easy and only takes a few minutes to support the candidate of your choice.  You just need to have access to a computer and log on to:

https://vote.election-america.com/NJPensions

and follow the simple directions.  The only information you will need to provide is the last 4 digits of your social security number, the first 4 letters of your last name, and your year/month of birth.  The list of those declaring their interest in being a candidate will then be available for your selection.

Nominations must be registered on-line on or before 4:00 p.m. Friday January 10, 2014. If an election is needed, the ballots will be mailed to the PERS employers on or about April 1, 2014.  All qualified candidates will be invited to attend the drawing by lot for position on the ballot, if necessary, on January 30, 2014.

We appreciate your assistance in supporting this transition to an electronic nominating process.  By doing so you are helping to decrease administrative costs and preserve resources!

PRESENT MEMBERS - TERM:

State Representatives:  Thomas Bruno-6/30/16; Peter Maurer-6/30/15; *William O’Brien-6/30/14;
County Representative: *Suzanna Buriani-DeSantis-6/30/14;
Municipal Representatives:  *Leon Flanagan-6/30/14;Benjamin “Max”Hurst-6/30/16;
Gubernatorial Appointments:  Edward Thomson, III; Ronald Winthers;
State Treasurer’s Representative:  Susanne Culliton, Ex Officio Member

PERS BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Render determinations regarding Disability retirement cases.
  • Review appeals pertaining to the disallowance of pension benefits.
  • Adopt rules and regulations to provide for the payment of benefits and collection of monies as required by the statute.
  • Establish rules and regulation within the limitations of statutes and opinions of the Courts and the Attorney General, designed to prevent injustices and inequities that may arise in the operation of the Retirement System.
  • Resolve individual questions on the merits of each case in terms of statutes, opinions of the Attorney General, advice of the Actuary and cases cited by counsel as deliberated by the Courts.
  • View monthly and annual reports setting forth data such as assets and liabilities, income and disbursements and statistical summarization of membership as documented by the Actuary

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (51K)

Return to Top

 


September 2013

TO: Certifying Officers of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS)
FROM: Wendy Jamison, Board Secretary, Police and Firemen’s Retirement System
SUBJECT: PFRS NOTICE OF ELECTION

In an effort to support a decrease in administrative costs and the preservation of resources, this certifying officer letter and the attached notice for the 2014 Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) election is being transmitted to you electronically and will require your electronic response.

We are seeking your assistance in servicing an election for one “Police” Representative position, and one “Firefighting” Representative to the PFRS Board of Trustees.  A Police and Fire representative will be elected for a four-year term as of July 1, 2014.  Candidates for all positions must now qualify by electronic nomination.

We are requesting that you distribute the attached election notice electronically to each PFRS member employed at your location, as the information will explain the pre-election procedures.  It is most important that each individual active PFRS Police and Firefighting member receives this notice.  If you are the certifying officer for multiple locations, you will only receive one certifying officer letter and will be required to distribute the attached election notice to active PFRS Police and Firefighting members at all locations.  Your attention to this distribution is required as regulated by N.J.A.C. 17:4-1.4.

We ask that you distribute this notice by the preferred method of distribution, which is electronically.  If you are not able to accommodate electronic distribution, please make copies of the notice and provide to all active PFRS Police and Firefighting employees.  In addition, if you maintain a Web site for your employees, you may post the notice there and in any other appropriate public place at your location.

It is very important that you confirm distribution of this notice.  To confirm distribution of the notice to your active PFRS employees, please send an e-mail to NJBOT.ELECT@treas.state.nj.us

Thank you for your prompt assistance in the timely response and distribution of this notice.

Attachment: Election Notice

DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS - NOTICE OF PFRS ELECTIONS
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE POLICE AND FIREMEN’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM (PFRS)
One State Street Square - 50 West State Street - P.O. BOX 295 - Trenton, NJ 08625-0295

Nominations are being accepted to fill the position of one elected police officer and the position of one elected firefighter to the PFRS Board of Trustee whose terms will expire on June 30, 2014*.  If you wish to declare your interest in running for one of the positions, please send a written request to the PFRS Board Secretary at pensions.nj@treas.state.nj.us  or PO Box 295, Trenton, NJ 08625-0295.

The general responsibility for the operation of the PFRS is vested in the Board of Trustees under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 43:16A-13.  The Board meets monthly at the Division of Pensions and Benefits in Trenton.  The statute provides that no employee shall suffer loss of salary or wages because of serving on the Board.  A member who wishes to be a candidate for the police position must be an active PFRS law enforcement officer and must be nominated by at least 500 active PFRS police members.  Only active PFRS police members may nominate a candidate for the PFRS police position.  A member who wishes to be a candidate for the firefighter position must be an active PFRS firefighting member and must be nominated by at least 300 active PFRS firefighting members.  Only active PFRS firefighting members may nominate a candidate for the PFRS firefighter positionInstructions for the nominating process are available upon receipt of a written request to the Secretary of the PFRS Board of Trustees. 

After the candidates have declared their interest in becoming a PFRS representative, nominations to support your choice for a candidate are now made electronically through a secure website.  Please be sure to allow sufficient time after this notification for active police and fire members to request candidacy and to have ample time for the vendor to enter the member’s name to the online system.  Afterwards, the process is very easy and it only takes a few minutes to support the candidate of your choice.  You just need to have access to a computer and log on to https://vote.election-america.com/NJPensions and follow the simple directions.  You will need to provide is the last 4 digits of your social security number, the first 4 letters of your last name, and your year/month of birth.  The list of those declaring their interest in being a candidate will then be available for your selection.

Nominations must be registered on-line on or before 4:00 p.m. Friday January 10, 2014. If an election is needed, the ballots will be mailed to the PFRS employers on or about April 1, 2014.  All qualified candidates will be invited to attend the drawing by lot for position on the ballot, if necessary, on January 30, 2014.

We appreciate your assistance in supporting this transition to an electronic nominating process.  By doing so you are helping to decrease administrative costs and preserve resources!

PRESENT MEMBERS - TERM

Police Officers: *John Sierchio-6/30/14; Wayne Hall-11/30/15;
Firefighters: Timothy Colacci-6/30/16; *Michael Postorino-6/30/14;
Retired member: Marty Barrett-12/31/16;
Gubernatorial Appointments: Laurel Brennan; Vincent Foti; Frank Leake; Richard Loccke;
State Treasurer Representative: Susanne Culliton, Ex Officio Member.

PFRS BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES

    • Render determinations regarding Disability retirement cases.
    • Review appeals pertaining to the disallowance of pension benefits.
    • Adopt rules and regulations to provide for the payment of benefits and collection of monies as required by the statute.
    • Establish rules and regulation within the limitations of statutes and opinions of the Courts and the Attorney General, designed to prevent injustices and inequities that may arise in the operation of the Retirement System.
    • Resolve individual questions on the merits of each case in terms of statutes, opinions of the Attorney General, advice of the Actuary and cases cited by counsel as deliberated by the Courts.
    • View monthly and annual reports setting forth data such as assets and liabilities, income and disbursements and statistical summarization of membership as documented by the Actuary.

    Enclosures

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (51K)

    Return to Top


    August 29, 2013

    TO: State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers
    FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Affordable Care Act — Notice of Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options

    Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide an option for individuals to purchase private health insurance coverage through Health Insurance Marketplace, a new health insurance market that is commonly referred to as the “State Exchange.” The ACA requires that all employers provide a notice to all of their employees, regardless of health benefit enrollment and full-time or part-time status, of their health insurance coverage options. In the temporary guidance issued on this requirement, the Federal Department of Labor has stated that they expect employers to distribute the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage (Notice) to current employees in the late summer or fall of 2013. Completion and distribution of the Notice is the responsibility of each employer participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE NOTICE OF COVERAGE OPTIONS

    On May 8, 2013, the Federal Department of Labor released a model Notice, which is included with this letter.  Please see the attached form, complete the fill-in areas listed below, and distribute to all employees at your location.  

    The Notice may be distributed via e-mail to the extent possible; however, paper copies should be given to all employees without access to a State e-mail account as well as any employee who requests a printed copy of the notice.  

    • On the 1st page, list the main contact person for health benefits coverage information at your location where indicated.  In most cases, this should be the Certifying Officer responsible for signing off on health benefit applications.
    • On the 2nd page, list the employer name, employer identification number (EIN), employer address and phone number.  List the main contact person for health benefits information again, including phone number and e-mail address.
    • All other sections of the form have been completed by the Division of Pensions and Benefits as appropriate for SHBP health plans.

    Please note that the Notice must be distributed to ALL employees, regardless of full-time or part-time status and regardless of their eligibility for coverage through the SHBP. Employers must complete and distribute the Notice to their current employees no later than September 15, 2013.  Any new employees hired after September 15, 2013 should receive a copy of the Notice when they begin employment.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    For more information on the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act visit the following Web site: www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-02.html

    Employers with questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter can contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (256K)

    Return to Top


    August 29, 2013

    TO: Local Government and Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)
    FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Affordable Care Act — Notice of Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options

    Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide an option for individuals to purchase private health insurance coverage through Health Insurance Marketplace, a new health insurance market that is commonly referred to as the “State Exchange.”  The ACA requires that all employers provide a notice to all of their employees, regardless of health benefit enrollment and full-time or part-time status, of their health insurance coverage options.  In the temporary guidance issued on this requirement, the Federal Department of Labor has stated that employers are expected to distribute the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage (Notice) to current employees in the late summer or fall of 2013.  Completion and distribution of the Notice is the responsibility of each SHBP or SEHBP participating employer.

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE NOTICE OF COVERAGE OPTIONS

    On May 8, 2013, the Federal Department of Labor released a model Notice that can be completed online by clicking the link above or by visiting: www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf

    An example of a completed Notice is attached with this letter.  Employers need to provide the following information on the Notice:

    • On the 1st page, list the main contact person for health benefits coverage information at your location where indicated.  In most cases, this should be the Certifying Officer responsible for signing off on health benefit applications.
    • On the 2nd page, list the employer name, employer identification number (EIN), employer address and phone number.  List the main contact person for health benefits information again, including phone number and e-mail address.
    • Employers then need to indicate whether coverage is offered to all employees, or some employees.  Both the SHBP and SEHBP require that employees work a minimum of 25 hours per week in order to be eligible for coverage.  However, some participating employers require employees to work more than 25 hours per week in order to be eligible for coverage.  Check off the box for “some employees,” and indicate the required weekly hours of service at your location in the space provided.
    • In the space marked “with respect to dependents” check the box indicating “we do offer coverage.”  In the space beneath “Eligible dependents are:” All employers should list the following: spouses, civil union partners, and children.  Some employers offer coverage to same-sex domestic partners under Chapter 246, P.L. 2003.  If your location offers coverage to same-sex domestic partners under the provisions of Chapter 246, include domestic partners in that space as well.
    • The last check box on the 2nd page states “if checked, this coverage meets the minimum value standard, and the coverage is intended to be affordable, based on employee wages.”  The “minimum value standard” requires that employers offer a health plan that covers a minimum of 60% of its members incurred health care costs.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits has determined that all plans offered by the SHBP and the SEHBP exceed the minimum value standard.  A plan is considered affordable if the cost for the least expensive available plan, at single coverage, is less than 9.5% of the gross wages on the employee’s year end W-2.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits has also determined that any employee paying a health insurance contribution based on Chapter 78, P.L., 2011 would meet the standard of eligibility for “affordable” coverage.  This is true for all four phase-in years of Chapter 78, and for all salary bands.  Any SHBP or SEHBP employer whose employees’ health contributions are based on Chapter 78, P.L., 2011 should check the box indicating that the coverage meets the minimum value standard and is intended to be affordable, based on employee wages.
    • If an employer has an agreement in place in which its employees’ contributions to their health insurance premiums is more than is required by Chapter 78, P.L., 2011, the employer will need to verify that the employee’s share of the cost for single coverage in the least expensive SHBP or SEHBP plan offered is not more than 9.5% of the employee’s salary before checking this box.

    The model Notice also includes a third page, which is optional for employers to complete. Employers are not required to complete this page. The forms that will be sent to employees of the State of New Jersey will contain the first two pages only, as required.

    The Notice may be distributed via e-mail to the extent possible; however, paper copies should be given to all employees without access to an employer-provided e-mail account as well as any employee who requests a printed copy of the notice.

    Please note that the Notice must be distributed to ALL employees, regardless of full-time or part-time status and regardless of their eligibility for coverage through the SHBP or SEHBP.  Employers must complete and distribute these forms to their current employees no later than September 15, 2013.  Any new employees hired after September 15, 2013 should receive a copy of the Notice when they begin employment.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    For more information on the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act visit the following Web site:www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-02.html

    For a copy of the model Notice, visit the following Web site:www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf

    Please note: The model Notice contains form fields that can be completed online and printed out for distribution to employees.
    Employers with questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter can contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure
    Example for completion of the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage Adobe PDF (218K)

    New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage form

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (266K)

    Return to Top


    June 27, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Personal Benefit Statement Available Online Through MBOS

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits has implemented a significant change to the Personal Benefit Statement provided for members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), and State Police Retirement System (SPRS).

    ONLINE PERSONAL BENEFIT STATEMENT

    Access to the Personal Benefit Statement is now available to retirement system members through their personal accounts on the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS)1.

    1MBOS is a set of applications that allow registered users access to their pension account information over the Internet.  Log on or register for MBOS at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/mbosregister.shtml

    The online Personal Benefit Statement provides the following benefits:

    • A secure, fast, and efficient way for employees to verify pension account information and to plan for retirement.
    • Quarterly updates using the current posted account information from the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
    • All of the information presented on the paper statement, including: pension service credit; total contributions; loan balance; estimate of retirement benefit; group life insurance value; and health benefit enrollment information.
    • Instead of waiting for an annual printing, the online statement is available when employees need it — 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week on their MBOS account; and
    • The statement can be viewed online or printed if a paper copy is needed.

    Please also note that the Division of Pensions and Benefits has discontinued the production of paper Personal Benefit Statements for all members of the PERS, TPAF, PFRS, and SPRS. These employees should be advised to access their statements online (see attachment).

    ACCESS TO THE ONLINE STATEMENT

    • Employees who are registered with MBOS have immediate access to the online Personal Benefit Statement button through their MBOS account.
    • Employees who are new to MBOS can access the online Personal Benefit Statement after they register with both the MyNewJersey Web site and MBOS. Registration is free. New users should be provided with the MBOS Registration Instructions Adobe PDF (33K).
    • If, after following the MBOS Registration Instructions Adobe PDF (33K), employees need assistance registering for or using MBOS, they should call the MBOS Help Line at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail".
    • Employers who are registered with the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) will soon be provided with access to the online Personal Benefit Statement button.  This will allow an employer to help any employee needing assistance, or who may not have computer access, with obtaining a Personal Benefit Statement for the employee’s account.

    EXCEPTIONS TO THE ONLINE STATEMENT

    New Employees

    While most members of the PERS, TPAF, PFRS, and SPRS will have immediate access to the online Personal Benefit Statement, newly hired, or recently transferred, employees who did not have full payroll reported during the fiscal quarter currently posted to pension accounts by the Division may not see the Personal Benefit Statement button on the MBOS home page. 

    These employees may contact the Division to request a Statement of Account letter, and will have access to the online Personal Benefit Statement button as of the next full quarter of payroll reported to, and posted by, the Division.

    Members Without MBOS Access

    Paper Personal Benefit Statements will continue to be provided to members of the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) and Judicial Retirement System (JRS) — who at this time do not have access to account information through MBOS.

    EMPLOYER PARTICIPATION

    Employer communication with employees is a key element for a smooth transition to the online Personal Benefit Statement through MBOS. The Division asks employers to assist with informing employees of the change by:

    • Taking all available opportunities to inform employees of the availability of the new online Personal Benefit Statement using any in-house communication channels;
    • Providing employees with the attached fliers, or similar messages, with information about the change;
    • Reminding employees that paper statements will no longer be provided; and 
    • Encouraging employees who have not enrolled to sign up for MBOS as more information is being made available and many applications are now required to be submitted online.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    For assistance registering with or using MBOS, contact the MBOS Help Line at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail".

    Enclosures

    MBOS Online Personal Benefit Statement Flier Adobe PDF (33K)
    MBOS Registration Instructions
    Adobe PDF (33K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (89K)

    Return to Top


    June 24, 2013

    TO: State College and University Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP)
    FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Affordable Care Act - Classification of Full-time Employees

    Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will require all employers with more than 50 full time equivalent employees to offer health benefits coverage to full-time employees that meet certain standards or pay a penalty. In order to make important policy decisions regarding the ACA, the Division requires that State College and University employers identify the number of full-time employees currently working at your location who are not currently offered health benefits through the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).

    DETERMINING A FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a full-time employee as those working at least 30 hours per week.  

    The IRS has stated that Colleges and Universities must use a “reasonable method” for tracking the hours of their adjunct faculty in order to determine if they qualify as full time employees. The Division has decided that, to determine hours worked per week by adjunct faculty members, State College and University employers should credit adjunct faculty with eight hours for every day the employee comes to work. For example, the employee teaches one course per semester, for 50 minutes, three days a week, the employee would be credited with 24 hours of work per week.

    EMPLOYERS MUST ACT NOW

    State College and University employers must identify the number of employees who would be considered full-time employees by the IRS definition who are not currently offered health benefits coverage through the SHBP and provide the Division of Pensions and Benefits with this figure. Please complete the enclosed form and fax it to the Division of Pensions and Benefits (609) 341-3412 by July 12.

    IMPLEMENTING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

    Under the ACA, each employee’s full-time status using a “look-back” period must be established.  The employer looks back at a defined standard measurement period of three to 12 months to determine full-time status for the subsequent “stability period.”

    If an employee worked 30 hours per week during the standard measurement period (look-back period), the employee is considered full-time during the subsequent stability period. If the employee did not work an average of 30 hours per week during the standard measurement period, the employer would classify the employee as not full-time during the subsequent stability period.  Employers may use administration periods of up to 90 days between the measurement period and stability period.

    The Division has determined that State Colleges and Universities should track their employees’ hours from January 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013 in order to determine whether they qualify as having averaged 30 hours of work per week.  Full time employees who are not currently offered SHBP coverage would then have the opportunity to enroll in coverage during the SHBP open enrollment period from October 1, 2013 through October 30, 2013.  The effective date of coverage for employees who choose to enroll would be January 1, 2014.

    For the purposes of this classification form, please indicate the number of employees who have averaged over 30 hours of work per week from January 1, 2013 through May 30, 2013.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    For more information regarding the determination of a full-time employee and employer responsibilities, see IRS Bulletin 2012-41:
    http://www.irs.gov/irb/2012-41_IRB/ar07.html#d0e322

    Employers with questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter can contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure

    Classification of Full-time Employees form Adobe PDF (14K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (48K)

    Return to Top


    June 19, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: New Application on MBOS — Purchase Estimate Calculator

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits is pleased to announce a new application available for employees through the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS)1 — the Purchase Calculator for estimating the cost of a purchase of additional service credit.
    The Purchase Calculator on MBOS:

    • Identifies the employee through pension membership, to provide only the purchase options available under that retirement system.
    • Uses the salary information currently posted to the member’s pension account for the most accurate estimates available2.
    • Calculates both shared-cost purchases (Former Membership, Leave of Absence, etc.) and full-cost purchases. (Military, US Government, etc.).
    • Is available when employees need it — 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week on their MBOS accounts.

    1MBOS is a set of applications that allow registered users access to their pension account information over the Internet.  Log on or register for MBOS at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/mbosregister.shtml

    2When the actual purchase cost is calculated by the Division, the member’s highest pensionable salary will be used.

    ACCESS TO THE PURCHASE CALCULATOR

    Employees who are registered with MBOS have immediate access to the Purchase Calculator through their MBOS account.  The Purchase Service Credit button on the MBOS home page will open a sub-menu with buttons for both the Purchase Calculator and the Purchase Application.

    Employees who are new to MBOS can access the Purchase Calculator after they register with both the MyNewJersey Web site and MBOS. Registration is free. New users should be provided with the MBOS Registration Instructions (see attachment).

    If, after following the MBOS Registration Instructions, employees need assistance registering for or using MBOS, they should call the MBOS Help Line at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail.

    Employees enrolled in the PERS, TPAF, or PFRS can hear a purchase estimate over the phone when calling the Automated Information System at (609) 292-7524. Telephone estimates are based upon current posted salary information, with the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

    Please note that the Purchase Calculator is for estimating purchase costs only!  Do not remit a payment to the Division of Pensions and Benefits based on the estimate provided. Before any service credit can be purchased, the employee must submit a Purchase Application through MBOS.  If the service is verified and eligible for purchase, the Division will issue a Purchase Cost Quotation Letter, which contains a Purchase Authorization that must be returned to the Division by the member. 

    ADDITIONAL PURCHASE INFORMATION

    Before applying to purchase service credit, employees should read and understand the information provided in Fact Sheet #1, Purchasing Service Credit; Fact Sheet #2, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PERS and TPAF); or Fact Sheet #3, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PFRS).

    EMPLOYER ACTION IS REQUESTED

    Employer communication with employees is a key element for announcing the new online Purchase Calculator on MBOS. The Division asks employers to assist with informing employees by:

    • Taking all available opportunities to inform employees of the new online Purchase Calculator on MBOS using any in-house communication channels; and
    • Providing employees with the attached fliers, or similar messages, with information about the new application. 

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Information about using MBOS applications is available in the MBOS User’s Guide at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/mboskit.htm  A link to the MBOS User’s Guide can be found on your MBOS home page.

    For assistance registering with or using MBOS, contact the MBOS Help Line at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail with the subject line "MBOS E-mail".

    Enclosure

    MBOS Online Purchase Calculator Flier Adobe PDF (27K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (75K)

    Return to Top

     


    June 6, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
    FROM: Joseph Zisa, Defined Contribution Plans Manager, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Alternate Benefit Program Default Investment Provider

    The Division has named The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), as the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) default provider for the upcoming fiscal year — July 1, 2013 thru June 30, 2014.

    Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) enrollees who do not designate an investment provider for their program contributions within 45 days of program participation are enrolled with the default investment provider designated — at the time of enrollment — by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

    The default investment provider is authorized to accept employer and employee mandatory contributions and invests the funds in a money market fund. Contributions continue to be sent to the default investment provider and invested in that money market fund until the ABP member designates a different investment provider, completes an application with that investment provider, and notifies the employer of this action.

    If the member is subject to delayed vesting, and is enrolled with the default investment provider, the member is allowed to choose an alternate investment provider during the first year and transfer the contributions deposited to that alternate investment provider.

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits considers the concerns of members, human resource managers, and the investment providers for the ABP and periodically selects an investment provider to serve as the default provider. The Division of Pensions and Benefits will provide notification of any change to the default provider each fiscal year.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (57K)

    Return to Top


    May 28, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Pension Contribution Rate Change for the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF)

    Pursuant to Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform, PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates will increase from 6.64% to 6.78% of salary with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2013. 

    State employees paid through the Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages as notification of the contribution change which will begin as of the July 5, 2013 paycheck.

    For all other employees, the increase to 6.78% is to be effective with the first paycheck to be paid on or after July 1, 2013 (which is reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2013).

    The change in the employee’s contribution rate will also increase the minimum repayment amount for new pension loans or the cost for a purchase of service credit if certified after the increased contribution rate becomes effective.

    Note: There is no additional increase for PERS Prosecutors Part members whose contribution rate increased to 10% in October 2011.

    NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

    State biweekly employees paid through the State Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages with Pay Periods #13 (June 21, 2013) and #14 (July 5, 2013) to announce the PERS/TPAF contribution change.  Copies of the check messages are attached for reference (see printable version). State biweekly employers are encouraged to provide their employees with additional reminders of the coming rate change.

    State monthly, local government, and local education employers are asked to provide payroll messages or other notifications to inform their employees of the coming rate change.

    FUTURE INCREASES

    July 2013 marks the third rate increase under the provisions of Chapter 78, which calls for PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates to increase over 7 years until the total pension contribution rate is 7.5% of salary as of July 2018. The fourth contribution rate increase to 6.92% will be effective July 2014.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure
    Centralized Payroll Check Messages — Pension Rate Change

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (59K)

    Return to Top


    May 28, 2013

    TO: State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for State Employees

    Under the provisions of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, employees are required to pay an increased contribution toward the cost of health benefits coverage based on a specified percentage1 of the medical and prescription drug plan premiums. 

    For State employees who were hired on or before June 28, 2011, the contribution increase is being phased in over four years with these employees paying ¼, ½, ¾ and the full amount of the contribution rate during the phase-in years.

    For most State employees the health benefit contribution rate change is to be effective with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2013. 

    1The amount of the contribution is calculated using the level of coverage selected and a scale of percentages that increase with the employee’s annual salary.  Single coverage and Family coverage have separate scales of percentages. Member & Spouse/Partner and Parent & Child coverage use the same scale of percentages.  The appropriate percentage is multiplied by the premium cost of the medical and/or prescription drug plans selected. The total contribution cannot be less than 1.5% of annual salary.

    CONTRIBUTION PERCENTAGE CHANGES

    Percentage rate increase levels and effective dates for specific employee groups are as follows:

    Employees Biweekly Employees (Paid Through State Centralized Payroll)

    Effective with State Biweekly Pay Period #14 (the July 5, 2013 paycheck), Executive, Legislative, and non-represented Judiciary employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Three percentage* (¾ of the full percentage) for medical and prescription drug plan premiums.

    Employees in these categories who were hired after June 28, 2011 currently pay the Year Four full percentage* amount and should not see an increase in their health benefit contribution as of July 2013.

    *Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

    State Monthly Employees

    Effective with the first paycheck to be paid on or after July 1, 2013 (reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2013), State Monthly employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Three percentage* (¾ of the full percentage) for medical and prescription drug plan premiums.

    State Monthly employees who were hired after June 28, 2011 pay the Year Four full percentage* amount and should not see an increase in their health benefit contribution as of July 2013.

    *Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

    CONTRIBUTION EXAMPLE

    As an example: An employee with an annual salary of $50,000 has a gross biweekly pay of $1,915.71 and 1.5% of that salary equals $28.73 per pay period.  The employee also has Family coverage through NJ DIRECT15 and the Employee Prescription Drug Plan with a biweekly premium of $870.92 for Plan Year 2013. 

    The current Year Two contribution is 6% of the premium, with a biweekly cost for medical and prescription drug coverage equal to $52.26.  The employee pays the percentage of premium contribution amount of $52.26 per biweekly pay period, because it is greater than 1.5% of salary ($28.73).

    For the Year Three contribution the percentage increases to 9% of the premium, or $78.38 per biweekly pay period. Therefore, effective July 2013, the employee begins to pay the Year Three percentage of the premium ($78.38).

    CALCULATING HEALTH BENEFIT CONTRIBUTIONS

    For employees who wish to estimate their expected health benefit contributions amounts, rate charts, salary based percentage scales, worksheets, and Percentage of Premium Calculators are available on the SHBP Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

    Separate worksheets and calculators are provided for both State biweekly employees and State monthly employees.

    Note: For the Premium Calculators, Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers are recommended. Safari or Chrome users may receive error messages.

    NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

    State Executive, Legislative, and non-represented Judiciary employees paid biweekly through the State Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages with Pay Periods #13 (June 21, 2013) and #14 (July 5, 2013) to announce the health benefit contribution increase. Copies of the check messages are attached for reference (see printable version). State biweekly employers are encouraged to provide their employees with additional reminders of the coming contribution increase.

    State monthly employers are asked to provide payroll messages or other notifications to inform their employees of the coming contribution increase.

    FUTURE CONTRIBUTION INCREASES

    The next phase of the health benefit contribution increase will be effective with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2014.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure
    Centralized Payroll Check Messages — Health Benefit Contribution Changes

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (68K)

    Return to Top


    May 28, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers of Local Government Employers Participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP),
    Certifying Officers of Local Education Employers Participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change for Local Government Employees and Local Education Employees

    Under the provisions of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, employees are required to pay an increased contribution toward the cost of health benefits coverage based on a specified percentage1 of the medical and prescription drug plan premiums. 

    For most employees the contribution increase is being phased in over four years with these employees paying ¼, ½, ¾ and the full amount of the contribution rate during the phase-in years. 

    This letter is being distributed as a reminder to Local Government and Local Education Employers who participate in the SHBP or SEHBP that increases to employee health benefit contributions may be due with the first payroll on or after July 1, 2013.

    1Under Chapter 78, the amount of the contribution is calculated using the level of coverage selected and a scale of percentages that increase with the employee’s annual salary. Single coverage and Family coverage have separate scales of percentages. Member & Spouse/Partner and Parent & Child coverage use the same scale of percentages. The appropriate percentage is multiplied by the premium cost of the medical and/or prescription drug plans selected. The total contribution cannot be less than the 1.5% of annual salary required under Chapter 2, P.L. 2010.

    IMPLEMENTING CONTRIBUTION CHANGES

    Due to the variation in local Collective Negotiations Agreements (CNA), it is the local employer’s responsibility to correctly identify and implement the correct level of required contributions for the next phase-in amount and to appropriately notify their employees of the increase.  In addition, the required contribution increases are implemented differently for Local Government or Education Employees who were covered under a CNA as of the effective date of Chapter 78 (June 28, 2011) and employees with agreements that were expired or who were without CNA coverage as of the effective date of Chapter 78. 

    In general, required contributions under Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, are applied as follows:

    For Local Government or Education Employees covered under a CNA that was still in effect as of June 28, 2011, the four-year phase-in was to start upon expiration of the CNA and must run for the full four years.  Existing CNAs that are extended, altered, reopened, amended, or otherwise adjusted are considered to be new CNAs.

    New Local Government or Education Employees whose positions are covered by an existing CNA who began work on or after June 28, 2011, are treated the same as employees who are already employed and covered under the CNA.  In other words, the phase-in of contributions begins upon the expiration of the CNA that was in effect on June 28, 2011.

    For Local Government or Education Employees who were covered under a CNA that was expired as of June 28, 2011, and employees not covered by a CNA, the four-year phase-in began immediately effective with Chapter 78. If an expired CNA was under negotiation as of June 28, 2011, and the final settlement included retroactive salary increases, the health care contribution must take into account increases in salary only back to the date the Year One contributions were implemented. The Year Two amount of the phase-in began July 1, 2012, and the Year Three amount of the phase-in begins July 1, 2013, regardless of when the Year One contributions began.  

    New Local Government or Education Employees whose positions were covered by an expired CNA and employees not covered by a CNA who began work after June 28, 2011, pay the full (Year Four) contribution amount specified under Chapter 78. Since these employees already pay the full contribution, there should be no increase seen in their contribution level as of July 1, 2013.

    Employees with separate individual employment agreements in effect as of June 28, 2011, paid pursuant to the agreement until it expired; after which the four-year phase-in was required to begin.

    Employment is based on the employing entity.  Changing employers to one with a different (or without a) CNA can result in the employee being considered as “new” and subject to the immediate implementation of the full (Year Four) contribution.

    Employers were expected to use due diligence in working with staff and vendors to implement the contributions required under the law. 

    CONTRIBUTION EXAMPLE

    As an example: A government employee with an annual salary of $50,000 has a gross monthlypay of $4,166.66 and 1.5% of that salary equals $62.49 per month.  The employee also has Family coverage through NJ DIRECT15 and the SHBP Prescription Drug Plan with a monthly premium of $2,141.84 for Plan Year 2013. 

    The employee’s current Year Two contribution requirement is 6% of the premium, with a monthly cost for medical and prescription drug coverage equal to $128.50.  The employee pays the percentage of premium contribution amount of $128.50 per month, because it is greater than 1.5% of salary ($62.49).

    For the Year Three contribution the percentage increases to 9% of the premium, or $192.75 per month. Therefore, effective July 2013, the employee begins to pay the Year Three percentage of the premium ($192.75).

    CALCULATING CONTRIBUTIONS

    For employees who wish to estimate their expected health benefit contributions amounts, rate charts, salary based percentage scales, worksheets,and Percentage of Premium Calculators are available on the SHBP/SEHBP Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

    Separate worksheets and calculators are provided for both local government employees and local education employees.

    Note: For the Premium Calculators, Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers are recommended. Safari or Chrome users may receive error messages.

    NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

    Local Government and Local Education employers are asked to provide any necessary payroll messages and/or other notifications to inform their employees of the upcoming contribution increase as appropriate with the employers CNAs and phase-in level.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    Employers with questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter can contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (67K)

    Return to Top


    May 28, 2013

    TO: State Judiciary Certifying Officers
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for Certain Judiciary Employees

    Under the provisions of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, employees are required to pay an increased contribution toward the cost of health benefits coverage based on a specified percentage1 of the medical and prescription drug plan premiums. 

    For State employees who were hired on or before June 28, 2011, the contribution increase is being phased in over four years with these employees paying ¼, ½, ¾ and the full amount of the contribution rate during the phase-in years.

    Effective with State Biweekly Pay Period #15 (the July 19, 2013 paycheck), Judiciary employees covered by collective negotiations agreements that expired on June 30, 2012, who were hired on or before June 28, 2011 will contribute at the Year Two percentage* (½ of the full percentage) for medical and prescription drug plan premiums.

    Employees who were hired after June 28, 2011 currently pay the Year Four full percentage* amount and should not see an increase in their health benefit contribution as of July 2013.

    *Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

    1The amount of the contribution is calculated using the level of coverage selected and a scale of percentages that increase with the employee’s annual salary.  Single coverage and Family coverage have separate scales of percentages. Member & Spouse/Partner and Parent & Child coverage use the same scale of percentages.  The appropriate percentage is multiplied by the premium cost of the medical and/or prescription drug plans selected. The total contribution cannot be less than 1.5% of annual salary.

    NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

    The Division asks that the AOC and Human Resources notify the Judiciary employee group (defined above) of the pending health benefit contribution increase.  As a convenience we have enclosed sample messages at the end of this letter that can be used for check messages, handouts or fliers, or posted to the Judiciary Intranet.

    It is also suggested that Judiciary employees receive notification on a schedule to coordinate with Centralized Payroll check messages to other State Employees for Pay Period #13 (the June 21, 2013 paycheck), Pay Period #14 (the July 5, 2013 paycheck), and Pay Period #15 (the July 19, 2013 paycheck).

    CONTRIBUTION EXAMPLE

    As an example: An employee with an annual salary of $50,000 has a gross biweekly pay of $1,915.71 and 1.5% of that salary equals $28.73 per pay period.  The employee also has Family coverage through NJ DIRECT15 and the Employee Prescription Drug Plan with a biweekly premium of $870.92 for Plan Year 2013. 

    The current Year Two contribution is 6% of the premium, with a biweekly cost for medical and prescription drug coverage equal to $52.26.  The employee pays the percentage of premium contribution amount of $52.26 per biweekly pay period, because it is greater than 1.5% of salary ($28.73).

    For the Year Three contribution the percentage increases to 9% of the premium, or $78.38 per biweekly pay period. Therefore, effective July 2013, the employee begins to pay the Year Three percentage of the premium ($78.38).

    CALCULATING HEALTH BENEFIT CONTRIBUTIONS

    For employees who wish to estimate their expected health benefit contributions amounts, rate charts, salary based percentage scales, worksheets,and Percentage of Premium Calculators are available on the SHBP Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

    Note: For the Premium Calculators, Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers are recommended. Safari or Chrome users may receive error messages.

    FUTURE CONTRIBUTION INCREASES

    The next phase of the health benefit contribution increase will be effective July 2014.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    Enclosure
    Judiciary Health Benefit Contribution Messages

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (61K)

    Return to Top


    May 28, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers of the Judicial Retirement System
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Pension and Health Benefit Contribution Rate Changes for the Judicial Retirement System (JRS)

    Pursuant to Article VI, Section VI, Paragraph 6 of the New Jersey Constitution — as authorized under Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform — employee pension and health benefit contribution rates for members of the JRS will increase as of State Biweekly Pay Period #14 of 2013 (the July 5, 2013 paycheck).

    Please notify your employees who are JRS members of the upcoming contribution rate changes.

    PENSION CONTRIBUTION RATES

    The increase in JRS pension contributions is calculated in one of two different ways depending upon when an individual was enrolled into the JRS.

    For JRS members enrolled into the retirement system on or after January 1, 1996, the pension contribution rate will increase from 5.56% to 6.84% of all compensation.

    For JRS members enrolled into the retirement system before January 1, 1996, the pension contribution is calculated using one rate for the compensation of the member’s current position as of January 18, 1982, and a separate rate for the balance of the member’s compensation in excess of the January 18, 1982, compensation. The employee contribution rates for this group will increase from 2.56% to 3.84% for the compensation as of January 18, 1982, and from 5.56% to 6.84% for any compensation exceeding the January 18, 1982, compensation.

    The change in the JRS contribution rate will also increase the minimum repayment amount for new pension loans or the cost for a purchase of service credit if certified after the increased contribution rate becomes effective.

    FUTURE PENSION INCREASES

    The 3.84% contribution rate for compensation as of January 18, 1982, and 6.84% contribution rate for any compensation exceeding the January 18, 1982, compensation contribution amount represents the third year of phased-in rate increases under the provisions of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011.  The fourth year contribution rate increase of an additional 1.28% will begin with the first payroll of July 2014.

    Overall, Chapter 78 calls for JRS employee pension contribution rates to increase by 1.28% a year over 7 years until a total additional pension contribution rate of 9% is reached as of July 2017 — making the full contribution rate 12% for JRS members enrolled into the retirement system on or after January 1, 1996. 

    EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFIT CONTRIBUTIONS

    Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, also requires that employees enrolled in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) pay an increased portion of the cost of health benefits coverage based on a specified percentage of the medical and prescription drug plan premiums. Contribution increases are being phased in over four years with employees paying ¼, ½, ¾ and the full amount of the contribution rate during the phase-in years.
    The health benefits contribution is calculated in one of two different ways depending upon when an individual was appointed to the JRS position. Effective with State Biweekly Pay Period #14 (the July 5, 2013 paycheck):

    JRS members appointed prior to June 28, 2011 — or reappointed after that date with no break in service — will pay the Year Three (¾ of the full percentage) contribution rate for health benefits coverage.

    JRS members who are newly appointed1 on or after June 28, 2011, or reappointed after that date with a break in service, pay the Year Four (full percentage) contribution rate for health benefits coverage.

    The amount paid is calculated using the level of coverage selected and a scale of percentages that increase with the employee’s annual salary. The appropriate percentage is multiplied by the premium cost of the medical and/or prescription drug plans selected.

    Rate charts, percentage worksheets, and Percentage of Premium Calculators are available on the SHBP home page at:
    www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

    The next, and final, phase of the health benefit contribution changes will be in July 2014, when employees will pay the full amount of the required percentage of premiums for medical and prescription drug coverage.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

    1State employees who were newly appointed on or after June 28, 2011 and had continuous service until the employee was appointed as a judge will pay the Year 3contribution rate (¾ of the full amount) for health benefits coverage.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (65K)

    Return to Top


    May 16, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
    FROM: Joseph Zisa, Manager, Fiscal Resources, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Closure of ABP Pre-1995 Annuity Contracts

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits, with assistance from the Office of the Attorney General, recently completed a formal process to amend the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) as it relates to the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) (N.J.A.C. 17:7-1 through 21).  The final rules were published in the New Jersey Register on March 18, 2013. 

    CLOSURE OF PRE-1995 CONTRACTS

    As part of this process it became apparent that several long-time members of the ABP continued to make voluntary contributions to the 403(b) annuity contracts available under the ABP prior to 1995.  Those contracts have been deemed to be “closed” and identified as the “ABP Pre-1995 Annuity Contracts Plan (Closed Plan)” (N.J.A.C. 17:7-1.2).  It was determined that these non-qualified contracts should be closed not just to new members but to all future contributions from all program members.  Under the newly adopted rules the only accounts approved to receive 403(b) contributions are those administered under the Additional Contributions Tax-Sheltered Program (ACTS) (N.J.A.C. 17:7-1.2). Therefore, we ask all employers to begin the process of transitioning their employees who continue to make contributions to a “Closed Plan” account to the qualified 403(b) annuities available under ACTS.  We also ask that you complete this process as soon as is administratively possible but in all cases contributions should cease to these “Closed Plan” accounts no later than June 28, 2013.

    Our plan service providers are aware of the need to transition these employees’ accounts and will work with you and your affected employees to expedite this process.  If you are in need of assistance please reach out to your campus service provider representative.  If you require additional assistance, please contact us at the Division.

    IRS DETERMINATION

    The N.J.A.C. amendment process also resulted in a favorable determination letter being issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the ABP and ACTS.  The favorable determination by the IRS means that the plan complies with federal standards as to the plan’s design.  A plan operating in compliance with these federal standards will continue to receive favorable tax treatment under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. 

    PLAN DOCUMENTATION AND ADMINISTRATION

    The IRS determination revealed that several areas of plan administration were not sufficiently defined in existing literature to allow for consistent interpretation of administration policy between educational institutions and the various service providers.  The newly adopted rules resolve that program deficiency and provide what amounts to a complete “Plan Document” that may be referred to as the reference source for determination of all facets of program benefits. The Division is also working with the ABP’s service providers to assure that the plan is administered consistently with its adopted rules. 

    The Plan Document (N.J.A.C. 17:7) has been placed on the Division’s Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/abp1.shtml  

    I encourage each of you with oversight responsibility for administration of this program to make use of this source for decision-making under the program.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (59K)

    Return to Top


    May 10, 2013

    TO: SHBP/SEHBP Participating Certifying Officers
    FROM: Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: 10-Month Employee Policy - Reminder

    This letter is being distributed to employers as a reminder of the existing policy for the effective dates of SHBP/SEHBP coverage as it applies to 10-month employees.

    As outlined in N.J.S.A. 52:14-17.32c, employees hired as of September 1st under a 10-month contract are entitled to have their health benefits effective September 1st providing they start work at the beginning of the contract year and a completed Health Benefits Enrollment Application is received in our office by October 5th (or the next business day if October 5th falls on a weekend).  Coverage for these employees and their dependents will continue during the two months of the year in which they are not paid, provided that proper payment is made for coverage as may be required by the State or participating employer.

    Applications for 10-month employees received after October 5th will be effective November 1st.  All other 10-month employees who do not start work at the beginning of the contract year (September 1st) will have benefits begin 60 days from the date of hire.

    The termination of health coverage for a 10-month employee who terminates employment at the end of a contract year will be September 1st provided the employee’s benefits were in effect September 1st of the previous year.  Terminations submitted via the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) must be processed by the 5th of the month prior to the health benefit termination date.  Please refer to the “Timetable for Terminations in the NJ SHBP/SEHBP for State and Monthly Employers” found in EPIC by clicking on 10-month termination explanation when processing terminations.

    If you have any questions about the information in this letter, please contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 to speak with an Employer Group representative or send an e-mail.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (53K)

    Return to Top


    March 26, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers of SHBP/SEHBP Employers with Participating Part-time Employees
    FROM: Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Part-time Coverage – System Update for Prescription Coverage

    Due to the expansion of health plan offerings effective January 1, 2013, part-time employees may enroll in any SHBP/SEHBP health plan that is offered by the employer (except for NJ Direct HD1500 or Aetna Value HD1500) and a SHBP/SEHBP prescription drug plan (if offered by the employer).

    Programming to align prescription drug plans with the appropriate health plan was not completed prior to January 1, 2013, and some part-time employees were enrolled in a prescription drug plan that did not align with the correct health plan. The Division of Pensions and Benefits recently completed system alignment of part-time coverage offerings with the employers who offer prescription drugs through a SHBP/SEHBP health plan. In many cases, there will be corrections to employer billed amounts in the April 2013 billing retroactive to January 1, 2013. Impacted member claims will be reprocessed and may result in an adjustment to the amount the member is required to pay. 

    Also, part-time employees of employers who offer prescription drug based upon the health plan in which the subscriber is enrolled will no longer be able to waive prescription drug coverage. If a part-time member had previously waived their stand-alone prescription coverage, their enrollment in prescription coverage through the health plan will be effective April 1, 2013.  

    Please inform your participating part-time employees of this update.

    Enclosure

    Fact Sheet #66, Health Benefits Coverage for Part-Time Employees Adobe PDF (32K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (49K)

    Return to Top


    March 14 , 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers
    FROM: Florence Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Membership Certification – Required under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011

    Chapter 52, P.L. 2011, (N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15) requires that both the Certifying Officer1 and the immediate Supervisor of the Certifying Officer receive training2 in enrollments and annually certify for each member of the retirement system, that the enrolled person is eligible for membership in the retirement system in accordance with the statutes and regulations of the retirement system.

    ONLINE MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATION NOW AVAILABLE IN EPIC

    The Division of Pensions and Benefits has completed work on the Chapter 52 Annual Membership Certification which is available as an online application in the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC).

    With the completion of programming, the Annual Membership Certification is now due from employers.  The designated and trained Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer are both required to complete the Chapter 52 Annual Membership Certification. 

    The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer should immediately:

    Log on to EPIC — go to: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/  and click the link “Log on to MBOS or EPIC.”  Then log on to myNewJersey and EPIC.

    On your EPIC Home Page you will see a button for the “Chapter 52 Annual Certification.”  Click the button and the first page of the application will show the Chapter 52 training and certification status of the Certifying Officer and the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer.  To complete the Annual Membership Certification, click the “Complete Certification” button to open the certification page.

      Note: If Chapter 52 training has not been completed by both individuals, it must be done immediately2. The “Complete Certification” button will not be available until Chapter 52 training is completed.

    If you are able to certify that each member of the retirement system is properly enrolled, click “Yes.”  You will receive an online confirmation and the process is completed.

    If you are unable to certify that each member of the retirement system is properly enrolled, click “No” and you will be shown a page with detailed instructions on how to report any improperly enrolled individuals to the Division of Pensions and Benefits — employers should also remove these individuals from the quarterly Report of Contributions.  Once any instance of an improperly enrolled worker has been reported with the Division, you will receive a follow-up e-mail from the Division with instructions that you may return to EPIC and complete the Annual Membership Certification.

    Immediate action is required. The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer must each complete the Annual Membership Certification within 30 days of receipt of this letter.  Failure to do so will prevent the Division from accepting any new enrollment applications from the employing location until the certifications are completed.

    CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED ANNUALLY

    Please note that the current certification marks the initial rollout of the Chapter 52 Annual Membership Certification.  Under the provisions of Chapter 52, Membership Certifications are due annually and will be required each September.

    Therefore, the Division will send employers an e-mail notification for September 2013 as a reminder that memberships are again due for certification.  After memberships are recertified in September, the process will be complete for the year3 until a new reminder is sent for September 2014 and each year thereafter. 

    IMPORTANCE OF PROPER ENROLLMENT

    Improper enrollment of ineligible individuals in the retirement systems results in pension abuse and a loss of public confidence in local and state administrators.  Failure to complete the required training and/or Annual Membership Certification may also result in financial hardship for your employees and financial harm or other penalties for you, the employer.

    Until Chapter 52 training and the Annual Certification is completed:

    Your employing location cannot process enrollment applications or transfers until both the Certifying Officer and the Supervisor complete training.

    Employees with delayed enrollments will have significantly larger back deduction amounts resulting in longer repayment schedules and in some cases, assessment of interest charges.

    Your employing location may also be subject to a delayed enrollment liability if an employee is not properly enrolled in the pension system in a timely manner.

    An employer who enrolls, or permits the continued enrollment of, an individual who is ineligible for membership in the retirement system will be subject to prosecution under N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15 — “any person who knowingly makes a false statement, or falsifies or permits to be falsified any record, application, form, or report of a pension fund or retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the fund or system will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”

    It is essential that public employers remain up to date with the enrollment eligibility training and certification requirements.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits expects that all Certifying Officers and their Supervisors will make every effort to ensure that their location is in full compliance with this law.

    ENROLLMENT AND TRANSFER FORM UPDATES

    In addition to the new online Annual Membership Certification, the Division has also updated its online and paper Enrollment Applications and Report of Transfer forms to reflect the Chapter 52 training and certification requirements.  PDF versions of the revised forms can be found in the Forms Index of the online Employers’ Pensions and Benefits Administration Manual (EPBAM) at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/

    If you have questions or require additional information about Chapter 52 or any of the information in this letter, contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Employer Education Unit at (609) 292-7524, or send an e-mail.

    1“Certifying Officer” is defined in the law as an officer or employee of the State or of an employer other than the State who is responsible for submitting information to and performing the duties relating to matters concerning the retirement system with respect to each of the employees of the employing location, as required by law, the board of trustees or commission, and the Division of Pensions and Benefits. “Supervisor of the Certifying Officer” is designated by the employing location and is required to be the immediate supervisor of the Certifying Officer as defined above.

    2For more information on Chapter 52 Mandatory Training Requirements see the Certifying Officer Letters of May 26, 2011, Enrollment Certification and Training Requirements Under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011, and June 17, 2011, Required Training under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011Links to these letters are at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/coltr11.shtml

    3In the event of a change in either the Certifying Officer or the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer, the new individual must complete both Chapter 52 training in enrollments and complete a new membership certification.

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (69K)

    Return to Top


    February 26, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
    FROM: Joseph Zisa, Manager, Fiscal Resources, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: ABP & ACTS Common Remitter Services

    We appreciate your efforts in preparing to launch ING’s Common Remitter services for participants in the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program and Additional Contributions Tax-Sheltered Program administered through the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
    In order to implement the Common Remitter service, we want to remind you of the plans that are within the scope for this service:

    Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) — A mandatory 401(a) retirement plan, the ABP covers primarily employees who provide instruction and/or are required to have a professional degree or designation as part of their job functions. Typically, such employees will be full-time officers, full-time professional staff, faculty, and teaching staff

    Additional Contributions Tax-Sheltered Program (ACTS) — A voluntary 403(b) plan, ACTS is available for all employees of the State’s public universities and colleges provided that the employee normally works at least 20 hours per week

    We recognize that schools and/or investment providers may have developed different naming conventions for the ABP and ACTS programs.  As a reminder, employees eligible to participate in ACTS may fall into one of two categories:

    Employees who are ABP members, and

    School employees who are not eligible to become ABP members.

    As a reminder, data related to any other plan, including the pre-1995 403(b) Alternate Benefit Plan and any other school-sponsored plan not offered under the auspices of the Alternate Benefit Program (such as a school-sponsored voluntary 403(b) plan or a school-sponsored excess plan), is not currently part of these common remitter services and should not be transmitted through ING.
    We know that you may have questions about these new common remitter services.  We intend to hold webcasts to address your concerns and assist you in transitioning to the Common Remitter services.  We will notify you of the dates for these webcasts as soon as they are available.

    In the meantime, if you have specific questions about your plan data files, please do not hesitate to contact Mala Emera at (732) 326-5613 or the ING Common Remitter team at 1-866-408-0658 or by e-mail at common.remitter@us.ing.com

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (58K)

    Return to Top


    January 24, 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Final Request – Transition to Retirement Programs and Rescinding ABP Retirement

    On May 9, 2012, we advised all Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) employers and their staff that if there was no remedial correction to statutes to permit programs that had been referred to as “Transition to Retirement” by June 30, 2012, the Division’s position as stated in its July 1, 2011, communication on this subject would be implemented; all “Transition to Retirement” programs would have to be discontinued; and corrective measures would have  to be taken with regard to your employees who had elected to participate in the program.

    As background, on July 1, 2011, the Division released guidance relating to a practice whereby some, if not all, of the State’s public colleges and universities (including county colleges) offered programs referred to as “Transition to Retirement.” Under those programs employees, typically faculty members, retired from their full-time positions with the institution, began collecting retirement benefits from the ABP, and continued employment with the institution in a reduced, part-time capacity.  In some situations this practice may have been memorialized in a collective negotiations agreement.  The ABP statutes do not authorize “Transition to Retirement” programs and, as such, the programs should not be utilized to qualify an employee for retirement benefits from the ABP.  The Division did not take corrective action at that time since amendments to New Jersey’s Statutes to permit these programs had been proposed and were pending before the Legislature.

    On October 11, 2012 we advised this same group of employers and their staff that, since no remedial correction to statutes had occurred, the Division would have to take steps to discontinue these programs and correct past actions taken by employers and employees under these programs. The Treasurer’s Office then received a request from a group representing the State’s Colleges and Universities to reconsider the “arbitrary deadline of June 30, 2012” and allow more time for corrective legislation, in the form of S-1819 and A-3024, to progress through the legislative process.

    Unfortunately, as of now, that legislation has not been enacted. To maintain the qualified status of the Alternate Benefit Program with the Internal Revenue Service, the Division must take the following corrective measures:

    First, employers are advised that ABP members participating in “Transition to Retirement” programs will not be approved to receive any retirement benefits from the retirement system, including retiree health benefit coverage (if applicable), and those employees must continue participation under the ABP if their continued employment so permits.

    Second, the Division requests a copy of all “Transition to Retirement” programs that have been in force through the employment agreements from January 2009 through December 2012. 

    Third, we are asking all employers to provide a list, in the format provided in attachment A of this notice, of all employees who have participated in a “Transition to Retirement” program since January 1, 2009.  As you will see in the provided format, the Division is interested in the original date of retirement and the position from which the employee retired under the “Transition to Retirement” program, the date and position under which the employee continued employment under the “Transition to Retirement” program, and if the subsequent employment has terminated.

    Fourth, any ABP member who elected to retire under a “Transition to Retirement” program during calendar year 2012 only who wishes to rescind that retirement and continue participation under the ABP will be permitted to do so if:

    The member submits a written request to their employer to rescind their retirement;

    The employer confirms in writing that the retirement is rescinded and employment will continue;

    The member, working through their ABP service provider, cancels any request for a benefit payment or, in the case of an account that has been withdrawn or is otherwise in payment status, returns the funds that were distributed to their investment provider to re-establish the ABP retirement account, and;

    The Division receives copies of the member’s and employer’s written confirmation of the rescinding of retirement and the ABP service provider’s confirmation of cancelation or return of benefits.

    Additional guidance will be provided concerning corrective actions that will be required for those employees who have participated in a “Transition to Retirement” program between 2009 and 2011 or in 2012 and are unable to re-establish their retirement account as outlined under the fourth step above.  That guidance will be provided after the Division is able to analyze data requested under the second and third steps above and has conferred with the Office of Employee Relations and the Office of the Attorney General.  Therefore, your prompt attention is requested to allow for corrective action to take place as soon as is possible.

    All information requested by the Division related to this matter should be forwarded to:

    Attn: ABP Transition Project
    Bureau of DB & DC Plans Reporting
    New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
    50 West State St
    PO Box 295
    Trenton, NJ 08625-0295

    The requested information must be provided to the Division of Pensions and Benefits no later than February 15, 2013.  If an institution did not offer to its employees a program commonly referred to as a “Transition to Retirement” program or if no employees participated in such a program during the period from 2009 through 2012, a statement to that effect must be filed with the Division of Pensions and Benefits and sworn to by the certifying officer for that institution no later than February 15, 2013.  Failure to file the requested information related to participants in a “Transition to Retirement” or a statement from the certifying officer may impact the timely processing of reimbursement requests for employer pension obligations for current members of the ABP.

    Any questions may be directed to this address or to the ABP Transition to Retirement Project call center at (609) 292-3440.

    Enclosure
    Attachment A - Transition to Retirement Participation List Adobe PDF (136K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (55K)

    Return to Top


    January 18 , 2013

    TO: Certifying Officers of Local Government and Local Education Employers participating in the Public Employees’ Retirement System or the Defined Contribution Retirement Program
    FROM: Florence J. Sheppard, Acting Director, Division of Pensions and Benefits
    SUBJECT: Professional Services Contracts and Review of PERS Enrollment

    On July 17, 2012, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) released its report, Improper Participation by Professional Service Providers in the State Pension System.  In the report the OSC cited continued instances of improper pension enrollment by local employers of individuals working under Professional Services Contracts.

    Individuals who meet the definition of an “independent contractor” as set forth in regulation or policy of the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the purposes of the Internal Revenue Code are not considered to be “employees” and have never been eligible for membership in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP) as a result of the contracted services.

    In 2007, the New Jersey Legislature passed Chapter 92, P.L. 2007, enacting significant reforms recommended in the Final Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Pension and Health Benefit Reform.  These reforms, specifically those codified at N.J.S.A. 43:15A-7.2 and 43:15C-2b(4) expressly provide that, effective January 1, 2008 and after, persons performing professional services 1) under a contract awarded pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5, 18A:18A-5, or 18A:64A-25.5 (no bid contracts) and/or 2) under an independent contract as determined in accord with the rules and policy of the IRS, are ineligible for membership in the PERS based on that service, and correspondingly are ineligible for participation in the DCRP (pursuant to Section 20 of Chapter 92).  

    Professional services are defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:11-2(6) to be services performed by a person authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, whose practice is regulated by law, the performance of which requires knowledge of an advanced type in a field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized instruction and also the performance of services that are original and create in character in a recognized field of artistic endeavor.  Accordingly, attorneys, physicians, engineers, architects, accountants, auditors and other individuals providing "professional services" who perform services as a result of a Professional Services Contract with a public employer are ineligible for participation in the PERS or DCRP as a result of those services. 

    EMPLOYER REVIEW REQUIREMENTS

    In its report the OSC indicates that many employing locations have apparently failed to implement Chapter 92 and remove ineligible individuals from the PERS or DCRP who are performing services under no bid Professional Services Contracts or who are performing professional services as independent contractors.  Employing locations will now be required to review the employment status with regards to these professionals and take corrective actions regarding improper pension enrollment.

    In reviewing the eligibility for membership of individuals performing professional services under no bid contracts, or as independent contractors, the employer must first review the pre-Chapter 92 service, i.e. the status of the individual prior to January 1, 2008, to determine whether the individual was an employee or an independent contractor in accord with IRS guidelines.  If the enrollment was based solely upon work as an independent contractor in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code, these individuals were not employees and therefore were not eligible for membership in the PERS (or DCRP). In these cases, the pension service is subject to review of the facts by the Division of Pensions and Benefits to determine if the individual was in fact an employee or an independent contractor. 

    There are also no “grandfathering” provisions under N.J.S.A.43:15A-7.2 to permit individuals who were already enrolled in the PERS, to remain PERS (or DCRP) members after January 1, 2008, if the enrollment was based solely upon work as a professional services provider.  All individuals with Professional Services Contracts, or who met the definition of a professional services provider, were required to be removed from PERS or DCRP membership after January 1, 2008 (June 30, 2008 for fiscal year contracts).

    In both of the situations described above, individuals found to have been improperly enrolled will be issued a return of pension contributions and any pension service based upon an ineligible position will be canceled by Division of Pensions and Benefits.

    ENROLLMENT CERTIFICATIONS

    The review and correction of these professionals’ status is of added importance under the requirements of Chapter 52, P.L. 2011 (N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15), insofar that law requires:

    “the certifying officer and the officer's immediate supervisor to certify…  …annually for each member of the retirement system, that the person enrolled is eligible for enrollment in the pension fund or retirement system in accordance with the relevant law and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto”

    and that:

    “any person who knowingly makes a false statement, or falsifies or permits to be falsified any record, application, form, or report of a pension fund or retirement system, in an attempt to defraud the fund or system as a result of such act shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”

    Beginning in early 2013, the Chapter 52 Annual Certification of Enrollments will be required of all employing locations. (Additional information about the Chapter 52 Annual Certification of Enrollments will be distributed when the certification application becomes available for use.)  However, in advance of the Annual Certification, and in order to avoid potential penalties under Chapter 52 for the improper enrollment of professional services providers or independent contractors into the retirement system, Certifying Officers should review the employee/independent contractor status of their staff and take immediate corrective action for any individuals who may be improperly enrolled.

    On the recommendation of the OSC, the Division of Pensions and Benefits has developed the accompanying Employee/Independent Contractor Checklist form to certify the PERS eligibility of employees and exclude from enrollment ineligible professional service contractors and independent contractors.  Certifying Officers should complete this checklist for each individual who has provided professional services and was reported as a member of the PERS or DCRP since January 1, 2008, regardless of whether the individual is still working at your location.  Submit the completed forms to the Division of Pensions and Benefits no later than February 15, 2013.

    In addition, upon completion of this form employing locations must take all appropriate action to remove ineligible individuals from PERS or DCRP membership, prior to completing the Chapter 52 Annual Certification of Enrollments.

    To remove an ineligible individual from PERS enrollment:

    Stop reporting pension contributions for the individual on the quarterly Report of Contributions; and

    Immediately notify the Division of Pensions and Benefits, External Audit Unit in writing or by sending e-mail with “External Audit” in the e-mail subject line. When writing, please identify your employing location, a contact name and phone number, the name of the independent contractor or professional service provider, the position held, and the original date of hire or appointment.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    For specific questions regarding the classification of employees or Independent Contractors, please refer to the information provided by the Internal Revenue Service at: www.irs.gov  or seek the advice of an attorney.

    A Certifying Officer Letter of August 2007 regarding Chapter 92, P.L. 2007, — including the ineligibility of Professional Services Contracts — can be found on the Division’s Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/coltr07.shtml

    Additional information on the ineligibility of Professional Services Contracts was provided for Local Employers by the Department of Community Affairs in the December 2007 Local Finance Notice 2007-28 at: www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/07/2007-28.doc  and the April 2008 Local Finance Notice 2008-10 at: www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/08/2008-10.doc

    Employers with general questions about this letter, PERS enrollment, or the provisions of Chapter 92, P.L. 2007 or Chapter 52, P.L. 2011, can contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Employer Education unit at (609) 292-7524, or send e-mail.

    Enclosures

    Fact Sheet #84, Professional Services Contracts, Independent Contractors, and Pension Enrollment Adobe PDF (53K)

    Employee/Independent Contractor Checklist Adobe PDF (38K)

    CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (110K)

    Return to Top


 
 
spacer

Pensions and Benefits: Home | Employer Manual | Health Benefits | Forms and Publications | Counseling Appointments
Treasury: Home | ServicesPeopleBusinesses | Divisions/AgenciesFormsContact Us
Statewide:
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996 -
This site is maintained by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.
 

Reports Accessibility Statement Legal Statement Privacy Notice Contact Us Open Public Records Act Proposed Rules and Amendments Comment or Petition for new Rule Division/Ageny Statutes and Rules Electronic Notification Twitter YouTube Facebook