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Pensions and Benefits
CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS 2014

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

SUBJECT DATE
New Report of Contributions File Transfer Method Beginning January 1, 2015 - Certifying Officers, All funds November 24, 2014
PERS Notice of Election - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) November 17, 2014
New Online PFRS Enrollment Application — Certifying Officers of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System November 5, 2014
SHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT — State Department Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators September 29, 2014
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 September 29, 2014
SHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT Local Government Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program September 29, 2014
SEHBP OPEN ENROLLMENT Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program September 29, 2014
Open Enrollment For The New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2015) - State University and College Certifying Officers, State University and College Benefits Administrators, State Monthly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Benefits Administrators September 26, 2014
New System for Reporting of Retroactive Salary Increases - Certifying Officers, All funds September 26, 2014
Renewal Required for Annual Membership Certification Required under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011 - Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers September 11, 2014
PERS Notice of Election - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) September 10, 2014
Compliance with US Internal Revenue Code — Bona Fide Severance of Employment — Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions for Individuals Covered by any New Jersey State-administered Retirement System - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), State Police Retirement System (SPRS), and Judicial Retirement System (JRS)  August 22, 2014
Behavioral Health Claim Reimbursements Reconsidered - All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefit Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees' Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) July 22, 2014
Compliance with Internal Revenue Code — Maximum Pension Loan Balances - Certifying Officers, All State-administered Retirement Systems July 21, 2014
Pension Contribution Rate Change for PERS and TPAF - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) July 21, 2014
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) July 8, 2014
Fiscal 2015 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider - Certifying Officers of State Colleges and Universities July 1, 2014
ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives - 2014 - Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) June 30, 2014
Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change - State Employees - State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers June 18, 2014
Survey ONLY for SHBP and SEHBP Participating Locations that Offer a Private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) - Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program May 29, 2014

Online Authorization of Scheduled Deductions Only for Purchase of Service Credit - Certifying Officers (PERS, TPAF, and PFRS)

May 27, 2014
Alternate Benefit Program Membership Numbers Now Seven Digits - Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities April 7, 2014

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.


November 24, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, All funds
FROM: Frank Corliss, Assistant Director, IT and Support Services, New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: New Report of Contributions File transfer Method Beginning January 1, 2015

This Certifying Officer letter contains important information concerning a change in the file transmission method used for salary file exchanges with the Division of Pensions and Benefits. 

Beginning January 1, 2015, employers must use a new method and platform called DataMotion to send or receive the following salary data files:

  • Report of Contributions (ROC)
  • Report of Salary Changes (ROSC)
  • Report of Salary Changes Error Report

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

The Secure File Transfer (SFT) channel located on the myNewJerseyportal will be operational through December 31, 2014.  As of January 1, 2015, the SFT platform will no longer be operational and employers must use DataMotion. 

NOTE: DataMotion is not located on the myNewJersey portal. The Web site address for DataMotion ishttps://ssl.datamotion.com/ 

In the coming weeks, the Office of Information Technology will be submitting DataMotion registrations for each current SFT user.  As part of the registration process, each SFT user will receive an e-mail from DataMotion with instructions on how to access DataMotion. 
 
Enclosed with this letter you will find the DataMotion User’s Guide. This reference guide has an introduction to this new platform and a “Frequently Asked Questions” section. Please forward this letter and guide to all staff members responsible for the administration of pension benefits for employees.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Should you have any questions or need additional assistance, please contact the Division's Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 or send an e-mail to pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov

Enclosed
DataMotion User Guide Adobe PDF (637K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (64K)

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November 17, 2014

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

The PERS Board of Trustees is again seeking your help in conducting an election for one “State” Representative position, and one “County” Representative position to the PERS Board of Trustees.  The State representative will be elected for a three-year term from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018.  The County representative position is to complete an unexpired term of two years, beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.  Candidates for both positions must qualify by nomination.

We are requesting that you distribute the attached election notice to each PERS member employed at your location.  The information will explain the election procedures.  It is essential that every 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.

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 website 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, 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 or
Mail to: Pensions.NJ@treas.state.nj.us
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/

Nominations are still being accepted to fill the position of one elected “State” position, and one elected “County” position, to the PERS Board of Trustees.  The State position term will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018; the County position is open to fill an unexpired term with two years remaining, July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.  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 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; and only County employees may petition for County Representative.  Instructions for the nominating process are available upon receipt of a written request to the Secretary of the PERS Board of Trustees. 

After candidates have declared their interest in becoming a PERS representative, nominations to support your choice for a candidate are made primarily through a secure website.  The process is very easy and only takes a few minutes.  Log on to: https://vote.election-america.com/NJPensions and follow the simple directions.  You only need to provide the last 4 digits of your social security number, the first 4 letters of your last name, and your year/month of birth.  You will see a list of all the candidates and you can make your choice.

Paper nominating petitions are also available upon request to the PERS Board Office at the address above, or on the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Website:  http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/

Nominations must be received on-line or arrive in the Board Office on or before 4:00 p.m. Friday January 9, 2015. If more than one candidate receives 500 or more nominations, then an election will be required.  Election ballots will be mailed to PERS employers for distribution on or about April 1, 2015.

PRESENT MEMBERS - TERM

State Representatives:  Thomas Bruno - 6/30/16; Peter Maurer - 6/30/15; William O’Brien - 6/30/17; County Representative: Vacant – 2 year term remaining; Municipal Representatives:Brian Currie - 6/30/17;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 decisions regarding Disability retirement cases.
  • Review appeals pertaining to the denial of certain 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 and appeals 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 (50K)

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November 5, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: New Online PFRS Enrollment Application

The Division of Pensions and Benefits is pleased to announce a new online application is accessible through the Employer Pension and Benefit Information Connection (EPIC). Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) members can now be enrolled online via the ‘PFRS Enrollment Application.’  When an employee is eligible to become a member of the PFRS, log on to EPIC and select the online PFRS ‘Enrollment Application’ button.  Paper Enrollment Applications mailed to the Division of Pensions and Benefits will be returned to you for processing through EPIC, with the exception of paper applications accompanied by an Application for Interfund Transfer.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITES

Under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011 (N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15), all retirement system enrollments must be certified by the Certifying Officer and the immediate supervisor of the Certifying Officer.  Once a new ‘Enrollment Application’ is entered online through EPIC, the information will be saved pending the required certifications from the employing location’s Certifying Officer and the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer.

Please note: In order to submit an ‘Enrollment Applications’ to the Division, you, the Certifying Officer and your supervisor must complete the required Chapter 52 Training and the Annual Membership Certification.

When a new ‘Enrollment Application’ is successfully submitted, a confirmation is automatically generated from the Division of Pensions and Benefits.  A PFRS membership number and start date for payroll deductions will be displayed. Please print a copy of the confirmation page for your records.  Shortly thereafter, you will receive an e-mail notification with a copy of the completed application attached for your records.  If you require a correction to an account already established, the EPIC system will not produce a corrected copy of the ‘Enrollment Application.’ The Division will mail the payroll certification to you; however, payroll certification information can be viewed on EPIC once a certification is generated.

The online PFRS ‘Enrollment Application’ does not include a designation of beneficiary page, like the paper version. Instead, once enrolled, the employee can register with Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/mbosregister.shtml and complete the online ‘Beneficiary Designation’ form.  Until the employee completes his or her designation, the employee’s “Estate” will be the beneficiary of record. It is important to urge your employees to register for MBOS and complete the online ‘Designation of Beneficiary” as soon as possible.  Members should not complete their beneficiary designation on a paper Enrollment Application since it will not be accepted.

ACCESSING NEW EPIC APPLICATIONS

Your designated EPIC Security Officer must assign access to new applications for EPIC users registered at your employing location (Note: the Certifying Officer can assign the applications to the Security Officer.).  For information about how to assign access to new applications, follow the link in the EPIC User’s Guide to the EPIC Security help pages.  The link to the User’s Guide is found on the EPIC home page or on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site at:www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions — at the home page, select “Online Employer Services – EPIC”.  Please ensure all EPIC users at your location are aware if you are a Civil Service location or a non-Civil Service location.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Additional information about using EPIC applications is available in the EPIC User’s Guide.  The link to the User’s Guide is found on the EPIC home page or on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions — at the home page, select “Online Employer Services – EPIC”.
For related topics, please refer to the Employer’s Pension and Benefits Administration Manual (EPBAM) at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epbam/

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (48K)

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September 29, 2014

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, 2014, and end on October 31, 2014.

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 27, 2014 with any required deductions taken beginning with pay period 2 (pay check of January 16, 2015).

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 14, 2014, to ensure processing for the start of the 2015 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.

DENTAL PLANS

Two Dental Plan Organizations (DPO), BeneCare and Community Dental Associates, will no longer be offered in Plan Year 2015. In addition, a new DPO, Metlife, will be available to employees beginning in January.

Dental coverage is offered to all eligible State employees through the Employee Dental Plans. Six different dental plans are offered based on one of two different plan designs — Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (PPO).
Benecare and Community Dental Associates participants must choose a new dental carrier by October 31 in order to continue dental coverage in 2015.

  • Five DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; CIGNA DHMO; Healthplex; Horizon Dental Choice; and MetLife.
    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.

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 2015 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.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For State employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2015 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.

The 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.

NJWELL PROGRAM

NJWELL — a wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle — 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. 
In 2014, the focus of NJWELL is to help participants understand their current health status by knowing your numbers. Employees and their covered spouses or partners will each receive a $100 gift card when they earn 250 Wellness Points by October 31, 2014. 

Also in 2015, Employees and their covered spouses or partners can receive a gift card worth up to $200 for earning anywhere from 300 to 500 or more points. Watch your mail and e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2015. Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.nj.gov/njwell  

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.nj.gov/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 2015 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the State Biweekly Group are attached and are also posted online at: www.nj.gov/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.  

State employees were subject to a four-year phase-in of contribution rates, and now pay the full contribution rate at the “Year Four” contribution level that became effective on July 1, 2014.

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2015 rates, and are available through links at: www.nj.gov/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, 2015, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

TAX$AVE AND THE SHBP

The State Employees’ Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave) Open Enrollment Period begins October 1, 2014 and ends on October 31, 2014 (to coincide with the SHBP Open Enrollment Period).  Tax$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. 
  • 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 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 applications

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

We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division throughout Open Enrollment via our social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB

www.twitter.com/NJDPB1

http://www.youtube.com/user/newjerseydpb

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 to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov 

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

Enclosure
State Biweekly Health Benefits Rates
State Active Employees Medical Plan Design Chart
State Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Health Capsule Newsletter
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access

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September 29, 2014

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, 2014, and end on October 31, 2014.

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, 2015.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 14, 2014, to ensure processing for the start of the 2015 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.

DENTAL PLANS

Two Dental Plan Organizations (DPO), BeneCare and Community Dental Associates, will no longer be offered in Plan Year 2015. In addition, a new DPO, Metlife, will be available to employees beginning in January.

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

Benecare and Community Dental Associates participants must choose a new dental carrier by October 31 in order to continue dental coverage in 2015.

  • Five DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; CIGNA DHMO; Healthplex; Horizon Dental Choice; and MetLife.
  • 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.

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 2015 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.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For State employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2015 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.

The 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.

NJWELL PROGRAM

NJWELL — a wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle — 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. 
In 2014, the focus of NJWELL is to help participants understand their current health status by knowing your numbers. Employees and their covered spouses or partners will each receive a $100 gift card when they earn 250 Wellness Points by October 31, 2014. 
Also in 2015, Employees and their covered spouses or partners can receive a gift card worth up to $200 for earning anywhere from 300 to 500 or more points. Watch your mail and e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2015. Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.nj.gov/njwell

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.nj.gov/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 2015 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.nj.gov/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. 

State employees were subject to a four-year phase-in of contribution rates, and now pay the full contribution rate at the “Year Four” contribution level that became effective on July 1, 2014.

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators have been revised for 2015 rates, and are available through links at: www.nj.gov/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, 2015, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

TAX$AVE AND THE SHBP

The State Employees’ Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave) Open Enrollment Period begins October 1, 2014 and ends on October 31, 2014 (to coincide with the SHBP Open Enrollment Period).  Tax$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.  
  • 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 2015, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the 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

We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division throughout Open Enrollment via the social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB

www.twitter.com/NJDPB1

http://www.youtube.com/user/newjerseydpb

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 to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov 
Thank you for your assistance in making the SHBP Open Enrollment a success for your employees.

 

Enclosure
State Monthly Health Benefits Rates
State Active Employees Medical Plan Design Chart
State Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Health Capsule Newsletter
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access

Return to Top


September 29, 2014

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, 2014, and end on October 31, 2014.

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, 2015.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 14, 2014, to ensure processing for the start of the 2015 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.

DENTAL PLANS

The following information is for Local Government employers who provide employee dental coverage through the Employee Dental Plans:

Two Dental Plan Organizations (DPO), BeneCare and Community Dental Associates, will no longer be offered in Plan Year 2015. In addition, a new DPO, Metlife, will be available to employees beginning in January.

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

Benecare and Community Dental Associates participants must choose a new dental carrier by October 31 in order to continue dental coverage in 2015.

  • Five DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; CIGNA DHMO; Healthplex; Horizon Dental Choice; and MetLife.
  • 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.

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 2015 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the Local Government Group are posted online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

AVAILABLE MEDICAL PLANS

For Local government employees, the selection of medical plans remains unchanged for the 2015 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.

The medical plans available to Local government 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.

NJWELL PROGRAM

NJWELL — a wellness program designed to help you and your employees live a healthy lifestyle — 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. 
In 2014, the focus of NJWELL is to help participants understand their current health status by knowing your numbers. Employees and their covered spouses or partners will each receive a $100 gift card when they earn 250 Wellness Points by October 31, 2014. 

Increased employee participation in NJWELL will decrease employer costs — For Plan Year 2015, additional information will be sent out this fall explaining how employers can save on health benefits costs by encouraging their employees to participate in NJWELL.

Also in 2015, Employees and their covered spouses or partners can receive a gift card worth up to $200 for earning anywhere from 300 to 500 or more points. Watch your mail and e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2015. Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.nj.gov/njwell  

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.nj.gov/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 2015 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission.  Rate charts for the Local Government Group are attached and are also posted online at: www.nj.gov/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 a percentage of the medical and prescription plan premium. 

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 2015 rates, and are available through links at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

The increase in plan premiums for 2015 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, 2015, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

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 2015, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the Local government 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

We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division throughout Open Enrollment via our social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB

www.twitter.com/NJDPB1

http://www.youtube.com/user/newjerseydpb

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 to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov

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

 

Enclosure
Local Government Health Benefits Rates
Local Government Active Employees Medical Plan Design Chart
Local Government Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Health Capsule Newsletter
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access

Return to Top


September 29, 2014

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, 2014, and ends on October 31, 2014.

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, 2015.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 14, 2014, to ensure processing for the start of the 2015 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.

DENTAL PLANS

The following information is for Local Education employers who provide employee dental coverage through the Employee Dental Plans:

Two Dental Plan Organizations (DPO), BeneCare and Community Dental Associates, will no longer be offered in Plan Year 2015. In addition, a new DPO, Metlife, will be available to employees beginning in January.

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

Benecare and Community Dental Associates participants must choose a new dental carrier by October 31 in order to continue dental coverage in 2015.

  • Five DPOs are available: Aetna DMO; CIGNA DHMO; Healthplex; Horizon Dental Choice; and MetLife.
  • 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 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.

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 2015 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the Local Education Group are posted online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

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 2015 plan year.

The following medical plans are available to Local Education employees:

  • 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.

NJWELL PROGRAM

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

In 2014, the focus of NJWELL is to help participants understand their current health status by knowing your numbers. Employees and their covered spouses or partners will each receive a $100 gift card when they earn 250 Wellness Points by October 31, 2014. 

Increased employee participation in NJWELL will decrease employer costs — For Plan Year 2015, additional information will be sent out this fall explaining how employers can save on health benefits costs by encouraging their employees to participate in NJWELL.

Also in 2015, Employees and their covered spouses or partners can receive a gift card worth up to $200 for earning anywhere from 300 to 500 or more points. Watch your mail and e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2015. Information about NJWELL will also be posted on the Division’s Web site through links at: www.nj.gov/njwell  

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.nj.gov/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 2015 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.nj.gov/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 a percentage of the medical and prescription plan. 
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 2015 plan selections and rates, and are available through links at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/health-benefits.shtml 

The increase in plan premiums for 2015 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, 2015, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.


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 2015, and revised Health Benefits Program Applications.

  • Employers should note that in addition to the Local Education 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

We encourage you and your employees to stay connected to the Division throughout Open Enrollment via our social media accounts listed below:

www.facebook.com/NJDPB

www.twitter.com/NJDPB1

http://www.youtube.com/user/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 to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov 

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

Enclosure
Local Education Health Benefits Rates
Local Government Active Employees Medical Plan Design Chart
Local Education Active Group Health Benefits Applications
HSA Contribution Form
Notice of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage
Health Capsule Newsletter
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access

Return to Top


September 26, 2014

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 2015)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2015 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2015) will begin October 1 and ends on October 31, 2014.  A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$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. 2011, 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 to 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 (UMSA); and
  3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCSA). 

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, 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 2015 (and therefore pay more in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes) he or she should file a Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) 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 2014 does not carry over automatically into 2015.  Employees must enroll each year with WageWorks in order to participate in the FSA. 

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum.  For the Tax$ave 2015 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 2014 Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds to reimburse eligible expense incurred prior to March 15, 2015 before using funds contributed in the 2015 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, October 31, 2014.
  • Fax: FSAEnrollment Forms may be faxed by the employee to 1-866-672-4780.  The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, October 31, 2014. 
  • Mail: FSAEnrollment Forms 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 October 31, 2014.  Forms postmarked after October 31, 2014 will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSAEnrollment Forms.

For more information about the FSA plans see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml or contact WageWorks Customer Service at 1-855-428-0446.
Special Rules for Enrolling Newly Hired Employees — New employees can enroll in Tax$ave FSA plans when hired but must complete an FSA Enrollment Form 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.  Information about New Jersey Domestic Partners can be found in Fact Sheet #71, Benefits under the Domestic Partnership Act.  Both fact sheets are available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.nj.gov/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.

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$ave Open Enrollment Milestones chart that lists the critical dates of the Tax$ave 2015 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 12 and September 26 payroll statements.
An additional “reminder message” will be provided to employees through a paycheck message on October 24.  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 2015 Newsletter, Premium Option Plan (POP) Flier, and FSA Plan Flier are only available in electronic format for this year’s Open Enrollment. 

  • The Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment News announces the open enrollment, outlines the components of the program with an emphasis on its tax saving advantages, and identifies the October 31, 2014 deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;
  • The Premium Option Plan 2015 flier explains the advantages and disadvantages of participation; and
  • The FSA Plan Flier 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.nj.gov/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 and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) form. 

  • A small supply of the 2015 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 and Enrollment Form are also available online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  

  • This letter includes the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) 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 2015, 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) forms to benefits administrators by October 31, 2014.  Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to Centralized Payroll by November 15, 2014. 

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 2015, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Internet site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  call the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or send e-mail to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov  

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.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (67K)

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment Milestones
Open Enrollment Check Messages
Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment News
The Premium Option Plan 2015 Flier
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access to Publications
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2015

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September 26, 2014

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 2015)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2015 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2015) will begin October 1 and ends on October 31, 2014.  A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$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. 

Note: Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, the Pension and Health Benefit Reform Law, requires local government and local education employers to offer Section 125 plans to their employees. Because Tax$ave is only available to State employees, local employers are required to establish their own Section 125 programs.  Local government and local education employees can contact their human resources office or benefits administrator to determine the specific plans and benefits that are available. ABOUT TAX$AVE Tax$ave consists of three components:
1. The Premium Option Plan (POP);
2. The Unreimbursed Medical Flexible Spending Account (UMSA); and
3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCSA). 

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, 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 2015 (and therefore pay more in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes) he or she should file a Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) 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 2014 does not carry over automatically into 2015.  Employees must enroll each year with WageWorks in order to participate in the FSA. 

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum.  For the Tax$ave 2015 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 2014 Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds to reimburse eligible expense incurred prior to March 15, 2015 before using funds contributed in the 2015 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, October 31, 2014.
  • Fax: FSAEnrollment Forms may be faxed by the employee to 1-866- 672-4780.  The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, October 31, 2014. 
  • Mail: FSAEnrollment Forms 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 October 31, 2014.  Forms postmarked after October 31, 2014 will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSAEnrollment Forms.

For more information about the FSA plans see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.nj.gov/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 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.  Information about New Jersey Domestic Partners can be found in Fact Sheet #71, Benefits under the Domestic Partnership Act.  Both fact sheets are available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site: www.nj.gov/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. 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$ave Open Enrollment Milestones chart that lists the critical dates of the Tax$ave 2015 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 2015 Newsletter, Premium Option Plan (POP) Flier, and FSA Plan Flier are only available in electronic format for this year’s Open Enrollment. 

  • The Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment News announces the open enrollment, outlines the components of the program with an emphasis on its tax saving advantages, and identifies the October 31, 2014 deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;
  • The Premium Option Plan 2015 flier explains the advantages and disadvantages of participation; and
  • The FSA Plan Flier 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.nj.gov/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 and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) form. 

  • A small supply of the 2015 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 and Enrollment Form are also available online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  
  • This letter includes the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) 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 2015, 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) forms to benefits administrators by October 31, 2014.  Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to Centralized Payroll by November 15, 2014. 

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 2015, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Internet site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtml  call the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or send e-mail to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov  

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.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (66K)

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment Milestones
Tax$ave 2015 Open Enrollment News
The Premium Option Plan 2015 Flier
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier
Open Enrollment Flier for Online Access to Publications
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2015

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September 26, 2014

TO: All Certifying Officers, All funds
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: New System for Reporting of Retroactive Salary Increases

Beginning September 29, 2014, all retroactive salary increases can be reported via the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ new Retroactive Salary Reporting System.  If you are familiar with the Internet-based Report of Contributions (IROC) system then you will find that this new system is very similar.  Locations may still continue to report salary increases for the current reporting quarter on the IROC. 
 
Please note: After October 31, 2014, the Division will no longer accept salary increases in the Excel spreadsheet format.  Excel spreadsheet submissions received by the Division after the October 31 deadline will be returned. 

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

In order to process a retroactive salary report, please submit to the Division’s Audit Section a signed contract, resolution, approved board minutes, or signed salary guide approving the increase.  The document(s) should be sent by e-mail as an attachment to pensions-audit@treas.nj.gov with “Retroactive Salary Report” in the subject line.  In the body of your e-mail, please provide the start date and location number(s) covered by the contract period.  If you do not have the capability to send an attachment via e-mail, you may mail it to:


New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
Attn:  Audit Unit
PO Box 295
Trenton, NJ 08625-0295

Once the documentation is approved by the Audit Section, the Certifying Officer will receive an e-mail indicating that the report is available on EPIC and ready to complete. 

Additionally, you will be able to select the new payment type ‘Retroactive Employee Contributions’ on the Transmittal Electronic Payment System (TEPS) to remit payment(s) for retroactive salary reports.   You will no longer send a check to the Division to pay for retroactive salary increases. You may also view past payments that have been made through TEPS. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For more information regarding EPIC, please visit our Web site at www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/epic-help-index.shtml to review the Retroactive Salary Reporting User Guide.

For more information on TEPS, please review the TEPS Procedure Guide at www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/epbam/finance/teps-web.pdf.

Additional information on the process of reporting contributions can be found in Fact Sheet #77, The Quarterly Report of Contributions.

If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (47K)


Fact Sheet #77, The Quarterly Report of Contributions

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September 11, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Renewal Required for Annual Membership Certification Required under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011

Please be advised that this memorandum will serve as official notice to Certifying Officers1 and Supervisors of Certifying Officers1 that it is time to renew 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, 2014.

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

  • Log on to EPIC — go to: www.nj.gov/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.

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 the 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, 2014.  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 20153 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.
  • Your employing location may 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.nj.gov/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 to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (58K)

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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.

2Chapter 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.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/enrollment-ch52.shtml for more about Chapter 52.

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.

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September 10, 2014

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 2015 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, and one “County” Representative position to the PERS Board of Trustees.  The State representative will be elected for a three-year term as of July 1, 2015.  The County representative position is to complete an unexpired term of two years, beginning July 1, 2015.  Candidates for both 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.

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 website 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 or Pensions.NJ@treas.state.nj.us

Nominations are being accepted to fill the position of one elected “State” position, and one elected “County” position, to the PERS Board of Trustees.  The State position term will expire as of June 30, 2015*; the County position is open to fill an unexpired term with two years remaining, through June 30, 2017*.  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 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; and only County employees may petition for County 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 only 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 9, 2015. If an election is needed, All qualified candidates will be invited to attend the drawing by lot for position on the ballot on January 30, 2015. Ballots will then be mailed to PERS employers for distribution on or about April 1, 2015.

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 - 6/30/17; County Representative: * Vacant – 2 year term remaining; Municipal Representatives:Brian Currie - 6/30/17;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 (50K)

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August 22, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), State Police Retirement System (SPRS), and Judicial Retirement System (JRS) 
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Compliance with US Internal Revenue Code — Bona Fide Severance of Employment — Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions for Individuals Covered by any New Jersey State-administered Retirement System

New Jersey State-administered retirement systems do not permit the payment of retirement benefits without a severance from public employment. This memorandum addresses restrictions pertaining to the re-employment of retired members from any of New Jersey’s State-administered retirement systems.  It also discusses a new form for all employers called the Notification of Employment after Retirement.  This form must be completed whenever you, the employer, engage the services of any retired New Jersey public employee.  This requirement pertains to your former employees as well as those who retired from another New Jersey public employer. 

INTERNAL REVENUE CODE

The PERS, TPAF, PFRS, SPRS, and JRS are established as qualified governmental defined benefit plans in accordance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 401(a) and 414(d).  In order to preserve the qualified status of these plans and to protect retirees from a 10% excise tax penalty on their monthly retirement payments, the Division of Pensions and Benefits was required to adopt and to enforce regulations to ensure compliance with the IRC requirements.

“Compliance with Internal Revenue Code” was adopted as a special new rule, effective March 9, 2012, under Title 17, Chapter 1, Subchapter 17, of the New Jersey Administrative Code.  The provisions of N.J.A.C. 17:1-17.14, were needed to clarify criteria regarding retiree re-employment. 

N.J.A.C. 17:1-17.14.2(a) states:

"‘Bona fide severance from employment’ means a complete termination of the employee's employment relationship with the employer for a period of at least 180 days.1  The following does not constitute a complete termination of the employee's relationship with the employer:

  1. Employment or re-employment in a part-time position;
  2. Employment or re-employment in a position that is not covered by the Defined Benefit Plan;
  3. A change in title;
  4. Employment or re-employment as a contract employee, a leased employee,2 or an independent contractor; or
  5. Termination of employment with a pre-arranged agreement for re-employment.
Federal Internal Revenue Service factors shall be used as guidance in determining whether an employment relationship exists.  A mandatory retirement shall be treated as a ‘bona fide severance from employment.’”

The above 180-day requirement does not apply to individuals who were required to retire under the mandatory retirement provisions of the PFRS, SPRS, or JRS. 

Re-employment by a different unit of the same public entity, whether in a position covered by the same retirement system or a different retirement system, is considered to be employment by the same employer.

  • Example 1 – a State employee who retires from one State agency and returns to work as a full- or part-time employee or independent contractor at the same or any other State agency, including a State university, within 180 days following retirement is considered to be returning to work for the same employer.  A bona fide severance from employment has not occurred and the individual does not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits.
  • Example 2 – a TPAF member who retires from a school district and returns as a part-time teacher in the same district within 180 days following retirement is considered to be returning to work for the same employer.  A bona fide severance from employment has not occurred and the individual does not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits.

Further, if an employee holds more than one position with the employer, he or she must separate from all employment in order to retire, even if the positions are covered by different retirement systems, or the second position is not subject to pension contributions.

  • Example 3 – A municipal fireman, enrolled in PFRS, also works in a PERS position for the same municipality.   In order to retire from the PFRS, the member must terminate from both positions in order to qualify for retirement benefits from the PFRS.   Further, the individual must be terminated from each position for at least 180 days prior to any consideration of return to employment in the non-PFRS position.
  • Example 4 – A State employee in the executive branch is also an adjunct faculty member at a State college.  The executive branch position is covered by the PERS; the adjunct faculty position is covered by the Alternate Benefits Program (a defined contribution plan).  In order to retire from the executive branch position and collect PERS benefits the individual must also separate from the second State position, even though the position is covered by a different retirement system. Further, the individual must be terminated from each position for at least 180 days prior to any consideration of return to employment in the non-PERS position.

Consequences of Invalid Re-employment

If an individual returns to public employment with the former employer prior to satisfying the requirements of a bona fide severance from employment, the employee will be required to repay all retirement benefits received from the date of retirement and may be required to re-enroll in the same or a different retirement system.  For example, a former employee of a county returns to county employment 135 days after retirement in a position that is not covered by his former retirement system.  The former employee has not met the requirement for a bona fide severance from employment and will be required to repay all retirement benefits and be enrolled in the appropriate retirement system. All employee/employer pension remittances related to the new enrollment will be retroactive to the date of re-employment.  This individual will also not qualify for the receipt of retirement benefits from his former retirement system until he separates from all county employment. 

The IRS does not consider a pre-arranged return to public employment to be a bona fide severance from employment no matter how long the break in employment. If the employer and employee make an arrangement prior to the employee’s retirement to return to the same employer in any capacity, including as a volunteer — at any future time, regardless whether the position is covered by the former retirement system — the employer/employee relationship is not completely severed and the retirement will be invalid.  Should this occur, the employee will be required to repay all retirement benefits received from the date of retirement and may be required to re-enroll in the same or a different retirement system. All employee/employer pension remittances related to the new enrollment will be retroactive to the date of the employment. This would apply even if he or she waited 180 days before returning to the public employment.

Education Employees - Special Provisions for Critical Need Employees

N.J.S.A. 43:15A-57.2(c) and 18A:66-53.2(b) provide an exemption from pension re-enrollment for certain retirees of the PERS or TPAF who are certificated superintendents or certificated administrators and who are hired in a position of critical need.  Termination of employment for 120 days with a pre-arranged agreement to return to that employer will not be considered a bona fide severance from employment.  While New Jersey law permits these retirees to return to employment with the same employer after 120 days without re-enrollment into the retirement system, the 180-day requirement still applies for tax purposes when considering the pension as an early distribution.  A retiree who is under the age of 59½ and returns to employment with the same employer prior to a 180-day break in service may therefore be responsible for excise tax penalties under IRS regulations. (The retiree must report the early distribution tax on IRS Form 5329).  The Division of Pensions is required to report the premature distribution on the retiree’s Form 1099-R.  

Education Employees - Special Provisions for Coaches

Chapter 21, P.L. 2014, enacted July 30, 2014, permits a former member of the TPAF, who has been granted a retirement allowance for any cause other than disability, to become employed again with the former employer as a coach of an athletics activity if the following conditions are met: (1) the re-employment commences after the retirement allowance becomes due and payable3; (2) the former member had attained normal retirement age as of the date of retirement4; and (3) the compensation for the employment is less than $10,000 per year. 

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

If you retain the services of any individual who is retired from one of the New Jersey State-administered retirement systems, you are required to complete the Notification of Employment after Retirement form and submit it to the Division of Pensions and Benefits within 15 calendar days of the date of hire.  The notification form will be reviewed by the Division to determine if the returning retiree can continue to receive retirement benefits while re-employed, or if the retirement must be canceled and the employee enrolled in the same or another retirement system.  The employer must also notify the Division when the employee’s services to the employer have been terminated.  Completed notification forms should be submitted to: External Audit Unit, Division of Pensions and Benefits, P.O. Box 295, Trenton, NJ, 08625-0295.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Additional information regarding the taxability of pension benefits can be found in Fact Sheet #12, Taxation of Retirement Benefits.  For specific questions regarding the tax implications of returning to employment after retirement, current or former employees should consult with a professional tax advisor or contact the IRS at 1-800-TAX-1040.

If you have general 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 at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

Enclosure
Employer Form: Notification of Employment after Retirement Adobe PDF (26K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (67K)

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1 Employees who work a 10-month school year and retire on July 1 or August 1, must count the 180-day     severance of employment from the start of the following normal school year in September.

2 This includes services provided to all employers who are party to a shared service agreement with your former employer.

3 Either more than 30 days after the date of retirement, or more than 30 days after the retirement has been approved by the Board of Trustees of the TPAF, whichever date is the later of the two.

4 Normal retirement age for members of the TPAF means age 60 for persons who became members before November 2, 2008 (Tiers 1 and 2); age 62 for persons who became members on or after November 2, 2008 (Tiers 3 and 4); age 65 for persons who became member on or after June 28, 2011 (Tier 5).

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July 22, 2014

TO: All Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees' Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Behavioral Health Claim Reimbursements Reconsidered

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefit Program (SEHBP) Commissions have directed Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) to reconsider certain out-of-network claims for professional behavioral health services, reimbursed between May 4, 2009 and March 23, 2014.

FILING A CLAIM RECONSIDERATION

Employees who received reimbursement for behavioral health claims for services provided by an out-of-network provider between May 4, 2009 and March 23, 2014, may be entitled to a reconsideration of their claims. Employees that want to pursue adjustments of these claims must provide proof that they paid the difference between Horizon BCBSNJ reimbursement and the provider’s full charge.

To file a claim reconsideration, employees must complete and submit the enclosed Request for Adjustment of Out-of-Network Behavioral Health Claims Reimbursement along with supporting documentation to:

Horizon BCBSNJ
PO Box 10190
Newark, NJ 07101-3190

The form also provides specific instructions about the requirements for requesting additional reimbursement along with mailing instructions. The form is also available on the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/pdf/hb/horizon-adjustment-form.pdf

For questions related to this process, please call Horizon BCBSNJ at 1-844-296-1421.

NOTE: Requests for reconsideration must be received by December 31, 2014. Requests received after that date will not be considered.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Please make this information available to your location’s employees and forward this letter
and attachment to your human resources staff, benefit administrators, and any other staff
members responsible for the administration of health benefits for your location’s employees.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Additional information is available on the Division of Pensions and Benefit’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/bhs-claim-reconsideration.shtml Employees can also contact Horizon BCBSNJ at 1-844-296-1421 or visit Horizon BCBSNJ’s Web site at:
shbp.horizonblue.com

Enclosure
Request for Adjustment of Out-of-Network Behavioral Health Claims Reimbursement

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (47K)

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July 21, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, All State-administered Retirement Systems
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Compliance with Internal Revenue Code — Maximum Pension Loan Balances

Eligible employees of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), and State Police Retirement System (SPRS) can borrow up to one-half of all pension contributions posted to their account provided that the total outstanding loan balance will not exceed a maximum of $50,000; however, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require that for employees who have subsequent pension loans, any new loan amount when added to the highest balance due for all previous loans during the prior 12-month period cannot exceed $50,000.  This means the “maximum amount” also includes loans from employer-provided plans that are not a State-administered retirement plan (PERS, TPAF, PFRS, or SPRS).

IRS REQUIREMENT

The IRS requires a new loan amount, when added to the highest balance due (without interest) during the prior 12-month period for all loans from all employer-provided retirement plans cannot exceed $50,000. This includes retirement plans that an employee may have an interest in due to his or her employment relationship with New Jersey and/or any other governmental plans sponsored or administered by a public sector employer in New Jersey. Amounts received in excess of the maximum permitted by the IRS shall be declared a deemed distribution and subject to additional tax.

In order to comply with IRS regulations, the maximum loan balance is determined using the following factors:

  • the amount of the new loan the employee is currently requesting; plus        
  • the highest outstanding loan balance from the PERS, TPAF, PFRS and/or SPRS in the prior 12 months (without interest — for all existing loans that the employee has due to public employment); plus
  • the highest outstanding loan balance from any other governmental plans sponsored or administered by a public sector employer during the prior 12-month period.

As of July 21, 2014, when an employee submits a new loan request online using the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) or via the Automated Information System at (609) 292-7524, they will be required to indicate any outstanding loans obtained from a retirement plan other than PERS, TPAF, PFRS or SPRS and subsequently provide documentation to the Division of Pensions and Benefits with the highest loan balance (without interest) in the prior 12 month period for any loans that they obtained from the other plan(s) offered by a public employer.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Please make this information available to your location’s employees and forward this letter to your human resources staff, benefit administrators, and any other staff members responsible for the administration of pension benefits for your location’s employees. Employees should be advised to maintain documentation for their records for pension loans taken from other plans offered by your location in the event of an audit. Any amounts received in excess of the maximum may be declared a deemed distribution and the employee may be subject to additional tax by the IRS.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Additional information regarding pension loans can be found in Fact Sheet #81, Loans. If you have general questions regarding any of the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or via the Division’s Web site at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

For specific questions regarding the tax implications, employees should consult with a professional tax advisor or contact the IRS at 1-800-TAX-1040.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (45K)

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July 21, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund
FROM: New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Pension Contribution Rate Change for PERS and TPAF

As outlined in a May 2013 certifying officer letter, pursuant to Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform, PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates should have increased from 6.78% to 6.92% of salary with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2014. 

  • State employees paid through the Centralized Payroll Unit received check messages as notification of the contribution change which began as of the July 3, 2014 paycheck. Copies of the check messages are attached for reference (see printable version).
  • For all other employees, the increase to 6.92% was  to be effective with the first paycheck paid on or after July 1, 2014 (which is reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2014).

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.

FUTURE INCREASES

July 2014 marks the fourth 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 fifth contribution rate increase to 7.06% will be effective July 2015.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (49K)

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July 8, 2014

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

State Colleges and Universities should not refer to the information provided in the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Certifying Officer letter dated June 24, 2013 for the purposes of classifying full-time employees.

The purpose of this letter is to provide employers with updated information regarding the Affordable Care Act and the classification of full-time employees.  The “Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions” contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require certain employers to offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty — the enactment of this provision was delayed from 2014 to 2015.  Information on the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions can be found at the following Web site:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Questions-and-Answers-on-Employer-Shared-Responsibility-Provisions-Under-the-Affordable-Care-Act

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 Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (45K)

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July 1, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers of State Colleges and Universities
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Fiscal 2015 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider

The Division has named ING Financial Advisers (VOYA) as the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) default provider for the upcoming fiscal year — July 1, 2014 thru June 30, 2015.

Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) enrollees who do not choose a designated service provider for their program contributions within 45 days of participation are enrolled with the approved default designated service provider.

The default designated service provider is authorized to accept employer and employee mandatory contributions, and to invest the contributions in their approved default option. Contributions continue to be sent to the default provider and invested in the approved default option, until the ABP member designates a different provider or completes an application with the default service provider. The employer is then notified of the change.

Members in both active and delayed vested status enrolled through the default process are allowed to choose an alternate designated service provider and transfer the contributions deposited to that alternate provider.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits considers the concerns of members, human resource administrators, and the designated service providers for the ABP and periodically selects a designated service 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 (48K)

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June 30, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP)
FROM: Danielle Mason, Assistant ABP Manager, NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives - 2014

The time has come upon us again when the Division of Pensions and Benefits asks the public Colleges and Universities to provide updated salary information for active members of the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP). 

Access to the ABP EPIC application is again accessible to you under the Division of Pensions and Benefit’s EPIC program you are currently using.  The EPIC program is the preferred method of providing annual salaries and employment status updates for the Alternate Benefit Program members’ enrolled at your institution as of June 30, 2014.  A window period extending through August 15, 2014 has been established for updating information to this application. The individual employee annual salary information can be updated to the application daily. However, all information should be completed no later than August 8, 2014.  As the security officer for the EPIC application, you may request authorization for one of your staff members so that they may update this information, in addition to yourself.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits will stand firm on their policy that prevents any future employer reimbursements when required information is not received in a timely manner remains in effect.  Therefore, you have until August 15, 2014 to provide the required salary and employment status information for your employees.  Failure to provide updated information by that date will result in the withholding of all reimbursement of employer ABP matching contributions until your institution complies with the reporting requirement.

Detailed instructions for using the EPIC online application are attached.  If you are not able to provide the information via the EPIC web-based program, a rewritable CD or DVD is the next preferred method, however a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is acceptable and can be emailed to: danielle.mason@treas.nj.gov  Please include the following:  ABP number (7 digits), Members’ last name and first name, contractual base salary, and vesting status.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.  Please contact our office if you have any questions.  You may reach me at (609) 777-0887.

Step 1 – Access to EPIC

If you currently do not have access to the application, please contact your security officer (identified in our cover memo) who will be able to request access to the application by the assistant plan administrator, Danielle Mason.  Once connected, continue to step 2.

Step 2 – Access your ABP application

“Select a location from the dropdown menu” box, choose the employer identification “000nnnABP – name of employer” (the “nnn” and “name of employer” will be specific to your location).  This will activate a button labeled “Alternate Benefit Program”.  Select this button to access the application and proceed to step 3.

Step 3 – You have now accessed the application. 

You will be presented with no more than 5 ABP members per screen.  Individuals are listed in order by ABP member number.  You can advance through the list by using the buttons located at the bottom of the page.  You may leave the application by using the buttons at the top of the page labeled “Home” and “Logout”.

WARNING – When you decide to leave the application you will be presented with a question, “Are you finished updating the ABP?” ONLY answer “YES” if you have completed all entries and wish to submit your entire report for processing.  Selecting “NO” will save your entries but permit you to return later to continue or review your work before final submission.  Answering “YES” to this question will prohibit any further updates to the Annual Salary data field.

For each active member please indicate the member’s contractual base salary as of June 30, 2014, and modify vesting status if necessary. Salaries must be included for any member who terminated employment on or after June 30, 2014.  Salaries are to be reported in whole dollars only and corrections may be made on-line until August 15, 2014, or until you choose to submit the report as noted above and explained again later.

For members absent from the on-line listing, but employed at your institution prior to June 30, 2014, please provide an Enrollment form or Application for Transfer/Rehire form indicating the individual’s hire date.  If this information has previously been submitted to the Division, please contact the Defined Contribution Plans Unit at (609) 777-0887 to resolve the matter. 

No salary information should be entered for members ceasing employment prior to June 30, 2014.  However, leave or termination information must be submitted and may be done so through this on-line application as described in step 4.  In addition to updating the on-line application, all leaves of absence, returns from absence and terminations of employment occurring at any time throughout the year must be submitted in writing to the Defined Contribution Plans Unit of the Division of Pensions and Benefits.  A completed Leave or Termination memo must be submitted indicating the date(s) when an employee begins and terminates a leave of absence.   This form must also be submitted indicating the date and reason, when the participant terminates employment.  An Application for Retirement must be completed by you and the employee when the termination is the result of retirement.  This EPIC application does not replace the documentation required for notification of employment leaves or terminations.

Step 4 – Reporting employment status changes

If a member has had a change in employment status and is no longer actively employed, while you should have reported that information to the Division in writing, you should also report this information by accessing the member specific update screen.  This is done by clicking on the individual you wish to report the change for with your mouse.  This will open a second window where you can select a leave or termination reason from a dropdown menu and insert the effective date for the leave (start date).  If the individual is returned from a leave, the return date may be inserted here as well (end date).

Once you have completed updating the individual member’s record, please select “Submit” from this screen and you will be returned to the previous screen where you may update information for the same member, another member, continue entering annual salary information, updating vesting status or end your session.

Step 5 – Ending your session

When you have completed a work session in this application, please use the buttons at the top of the page labeled “Home” and “Logout”.  When you click on either of these buttons with your mouse you will be presented with a question, “Are you finished updating the ABP?” If you wish to return at a later time to continue working with this application and enter member annual salary information as of June 30, 2014, select “NO”.

If you have completed entering all salary information and wish to submit it for processing to the Division, select “YES” and the application will be locked and no one from your staff will be permitted to modify the information you have entered.

Step 6 – Give us your feedback!

Please submit any feedback on the use of this application to danielle.mason@treas.nj.gov

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (90K)

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June 18, 2014

TO: State Biweekly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Certifying Officers
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Health Benefit Contribution Percentage Change - 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, 2014. 

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:

State Biweekly Employees (Paid Through State Centralized Payroll)

Effective with State Biweekly Pay Period #14 (the July 3, 2014 paycheck), Executive, Legislative, and non-represented Judiciary employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Four percentage* (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.

*Or 1.5% of salary, whichever is greater.

State Monthly Employees

Effective with the first paycheck to be paid on or after July 1, 2014 (reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2014), State Monthly employees hired on or before June 28, 2011 will pay at the Year Four percentage* (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 2014.

*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 has Family coverage through NJ DIRECT15 and the Employee Prescription Drug Plan with a biweekly premium of $870.92 for Plan Year 2014. 

The current Year Three contribution is 9% of the premium, with a biweekly cost for medical and prescription drug coverage equal to $78.38.  The employee pays the percentage of premium contribution amount of $78.38 per biweekly pay period, because it is greater than 1.5% of salary ($28.73).

For the Year Four contribution the percentage increases to 12% of the premium or $114.74 per biweekly pay period, effective July 2014.

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 20, 2014) and #14 (July 3, 2014) to announce the health benefit contribution increase. Copies of the check messages are attached for reference. 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you have questions regarding the information provided in this letter, contact the Division’s Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524, or e-mail the Division at:  https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/pensionmail.shtml

Enclosure
Centralized Payroll Check Messages — Health Benefit Contribution Changes Adobe PDF (7K)

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (50K)

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May 29, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Survey ONLY for SHBP and SEHBP Participating Locations that Offer a Private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM)

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires certain health plans to comply with cost-sharing limits with respect to their coverage of essential health benefits. The cost-sharing limits include (1) a maximum allowed deductible; and (2) an overall annual cost-sharing limit, also called an out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum. Cost-sharing includes any expenditure required by or on behalf of an enrollee with respect to essential health benefits, such as deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and similar charges. It excludes premiums and spending for non-covered services. For 2014, the OOP maximum cannot exceed $6,350 for self-only coverage and $12,700 for family coverage. In 2015, the cost-sharing limits will include prescription drug coverage.

Your location has chosen to participate in the SHBP/SEHBP, but has chosen to use a private Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) to administer your prescription drug program. Therefore, please complete the attached survey, and return it to the Division by July 1, 2014. This information is needed so that the SHBP/SEHBP can remain compliant with the requirements of the ACA and determine the best course of action as it relates to adhering to the combined health and prescription drug OOP maximums in 2015.

In addition, while the participating employers may elect to have a private prescription drug plan, N.J.A.C. 17:9-8.1 states that the private plan must be comparable in design to the SHBP/SEHBP prescription drug plans. N.J.S.A. 40A:10-25 and N.J.S.A.18A:16-21 stipulate that any employer entering into a private contract is required to provide the State with a copy of the terms of the contract. Therefore, if your location hasn’t done so already, please provide the Division with a copy of your prescription drug contract along with the completed survey.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (105K)

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May 27, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, (PERS, TPAF, and PFRS)
FROM: NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Online Authorization of Scheduled Deductions Only for Purchase of Service Credit

The Division of Pensions and Benefits is implementing significant changes to the authorization of scheduled payroll deductions for the purchase of service credit for members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS).

ONLINE PURCHASE AUTHORIZATION FOR SCHEDULING PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS

Once a member applies for a purchase online through their personal account with the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) and the Division of Pensions and Benefits determines that service credit is eligible for purchase, a letter quoting the cost to purchase service is mailed to the member.  In order to complete the purchase the member must authorize the purchase and indicate the payment method before the date specified on the cost quotation letter — the member is allowed 90 days from the date of the purchase quote to authorize the purchase. Effective May 2014, members who wish to authorize payroll deductions will now have the option to return the paper Purchase Authorization form or use the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online application accessible online through MBOS.  Additionally, if the member wants to increase the amount of payroll deductions towards the purchase of service credit, or decrease the amount of service credit they wish to purchase, they may also complete the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online via MBOS. 

Members wishing to submit a personal check or a rollover as payment for the purchase of service credit cannot use the online application via MBOS at this time and must submit a paper Purchase Authorization along with the payment.  If a member does not want to authorize the purchase of service credit, no response is required.

MBOS ACCESS

The Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) is a set of Internet applications that allow registered retirement system members access to their pension account information. 

MBOS provides members with the fastest, most efficient method for requesting a purchase.  Confirmation of receipt of an application is provided to the member on screen and by e-mail.

Employees who are new to MBOS can access MBOS after they register with both the MyNewJersey Web site and MBOS.  Registration is free; however, the registration process requires several steps and new users should carefully follow the MBOS Registration Instructions.

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

Exceptions to Online Purchase Authorization
A limited number of members will not be able to use the MBOS to purchase service credit or utilize the ‘Purchase Authorization’ online application.  These member groups are: 

  • Members applying for the purchase of Military Service after Enrollment under the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).  To purchase this service the employer must submit the Request for USERRA Eligible Service form within the time frames required under the law.  See Fact Sheet #36, Military Service after Enrollment and USERRA, for additional information.
  • PFRS members applying for the purchase of Layoff.  Additional information can be found in Fact Sheet #1, Purchasing Service Credit (PERS, TPAF & PFRS).
  • Members of the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) should follow the purchase instructions outlined in the SPRS Member Handbook.
  • Members of the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) should follow the purchase instructions outlined in the JRS Member Handbook.

Note: For members who were previously on a leave of absence and return to active employment, the pension account must be updated to reflect the return to employment in order to schedule deductions via the MBOS ‘Purchase Authorization’ application.  If the member’s account has not yet been updated to reflect that the member has returned to employment a lump sum payment will be required to purchase service credit.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information about the purchase of service credit, see:
    Fact Sheet #1, Purchasing Service Credit (PERS, TPAF & PFRS)
    Fact Sheet #2, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PERS & TPAF)
    Fact Sheet #3, Estimating the Cost of Purchasing Service Credit (PFRS)

Fact sheets and handbooks are available for viewing or printing on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

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

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

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (119K)
MBOS Registration Instructions

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April 7, 2014

TO: Certifying Officers, State and County Colleges and Universities
FROM: Nancy Ronaghan, Defined Contribution Plans Manager, Division of Pensions and Benefits
SUBJECT: Alternate Benefit Program Membership Numbers Now Seven Digits

The Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) currently provides a six-digit membership number to identify its participants, for example: “9-00000”.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits has recently determined that ABP membership numbers are nearing the end of the sequence for the six-digit format and an additional digit will be required for future membership numbers; therefore, the current format will be modified from a six-digit number to a seven-digit number.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY

Beginning on April 9, 2014, all past and future member numbers for ABP will use the new seven-digit format.  Current ABP membership numbers will have a “0” placed after the leading “9-“ in order to create a seven-digit number.

Upon implementation, all future communications from ABP participating employers with the Division of Pensions and Benefits must include the seven-digit membership number.  This includes the Covered Lives Report that is forwarded to the Division of Pensions and Benefits in June that details all ABP participants that are covered by Group Life Insurance.

Note: The ABP Enrollment and Inquiry applications via the Employer Pensions and Benefit Information Connection (EPIC) system will be unavailable to employers on Tuesday, April 8, while the system is undergoing maintenance and should be available on Wednesday, April 9.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information, please contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 or by e-mail.

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (41K)

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