Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno 
The Official Web Site For The State of New Jersey - Department of Treasury
Global Navigation FAQs Departments/ Agencies Services A to Z NJ Home Page
Disclaimer
Pensions and Benefits
PENSION AND HEALTH BENEFITS
REVIEW COMMISSION 2008

View Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission Meetings from

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


PENSION AND HEALTH BENEFITS REVIEW COMMISSION
2008 CALENDAR

The following meeting dates have been scheduled at 10:00 AM in the first floor board room at the
Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08625:

  • February 29, 2008*
  • March 28, 2008
  • May 9, 2008
  • June 20, 2008 - CANCELLED
  • September 12, 2008
  • November 7, 2008
*This indicates a change from the original schedule.

Meeting Agendas for 2008

February

Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission Meeting Agendas from

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


Vote Results for 2008

February

Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission Vote Results from

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


MEETING AGENDAS



Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for February 29, 2008

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting. The agenda is as follows:

A-232 (Bramnick)
Eliminates membership in the legislative part of PERS for future members of the Legislature.

A-407 (Handlin)
Eliminates PERS membership for current and future part-time elected and appointed officials.

A-1194 (Chiappone)
Eliminates maximum age requirement for appointment as police officer or paid firefighter.

A-1446 (O’Scanlon)
Increases enrollment threshold in PERS and TPAF to $10,000; requires assessment of adding annual minimum hour requirement to qualify for service credit.

A-1564 (Greenstein)
Prohibits elected public official from holding multiple elective public offices.

A-1605 (Cohen)
Gives membership in PERS Prosecutors Part to DLPS employees with title of assistant director, deputy director, assistant attorney general or deputy attorney general

S-126 (Scutari)
Prohibits members of the Legislature from holding other elective public offices.

S-271 (Kyrillos)
Changes prospectively definition of compensation used to calculate benefits in PERS and TPAF to average of five highest-paid years and in PFRS, SPRS, and JRS to average of three highest-paid years.

S-273 (Kyrillos)
Eliminates membership in various State-administered retirement systems for part-time public employees and elected officials commencing service after enactment; clarifies that part-time public employees and officials are ineligible for employer-paid health care. 


 
Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for March 28, 2008

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting.  The agenda is as follows: 

S-980 (Van Drew)
Allows PFRS members hired prior to October 1, 1993 to serve until age 68 or 20 years of service, whichever comes first.

S-830 (Ciesla)
Allows TPAF retiree to be employed as certificated superintendent or administrator for limited time frame due to critical need without TPAF reenrollment.

A-124 (Vainieri Huttle)/S-1485 (Weinberg/Vitale)
Requires Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare and SHBP to cover cost of HPV vaccine.

S-270 (Kyrillos)
Requires that public employees who are married or with domestic partners receive health care benefits from only one public employer.

A-2056 ( Conaway/Munoz)/S-1441(Weinberg)
Requires health insurers SHBP, Medicaid, and NJ FamilyCare to provide coverage for ancillary medical services in connection with outpatient diagnostic screening and surgical intervention services.

S-1274 (Van Drew)
Allows municipality to approve transfer from PERS to PFRS by certain firefighters.

A-2145 (Casagrande)
Restricts public employer health care benefits to full-time employees and appointees.

S-274 (Kyrillos)
Provides that public employee pension benefits are calculated on base salary exclusive of various forms of extra compensation.


 
Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Revised Agenda for May 9, 2008

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, May 9, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting. The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting. The agenda is as follows:

S-1394 (Kean)
Requires prospectively compensation of $15,000 or more for membership or certain service credit in TPAF or PERS.

S-1319 (O’Toole)
Revises benefits calculation for PERS and TPAF members retiring after certain date to average of five highest-paid years, and for JRS members retiring after certain date to average of three highest-paid years.

A-2446 (Polistina, Amodeo, O’Scanlon)
Makes elected officials with compensation less than $50,000  ineligible for health care benefits on the 61st day after enactment.

A-2467 (Cohen, Bramnick)
Requires health insurance coverage for anesthesiology services in connection with outpatient diagnostic screenings, including colonoscopies.

S-1483 (Sweeney)
Allows State to offer incentive to waive SHBP coverage to employees eligible for other health care coverage.

S-962 (Van Drew)
Eliminates maximum age requirement for appointment as police officer or paid firefighter.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for September 12, 2008

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton. No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting. The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting. The agenda is as follows:

S-1811 (Sweeney)/A-2657(Burzichelli)
Requires health insurers, SHBP, Medicaid, and NJ FamilyCare to provide coverage for anesthesiology services in connection with outpatient colorectal cancer screening.

A-2535 (Gusciora/Wisniewski)
Requires dental benefits coverage for dental composite restorations.

S-1639 (Turner)
Provides no PERS credit and no health care benefits for new appointees to State or local agency, board, commission, authority or instrumentality with compensation less than $20,000 and fewer than 35 hours per week.

A-2770 (O’Scanlon/Greenwald)
Requires prospectively that public employees, appointees and elected officials work 35 or more hours per week with annual compensation equivalent to 1820 times State minimum wage for health care benefits.

A-2727 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Eliminates PERS credit and health care benefits for appointees to State or local agency, board, commission, authority or instrumentality with annual compensation less than $20,000 and weekly hours fewer than 35.

S-1629 (Turner)
Reduces vesting requirement under State-administered retirement systems to five years' service.

A-2757 (Schaer)
Provides employees and officers working fewer than 1,000 hours annually will be ineligible for TPAF or PERS membership and service credit but will be eligible for Defined Contribution Retirement Program.

A-2647 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Makes certain State and local appointed public officials ineligible, retroactive to July 1, 2007, for PERS membership regardless of prior PERS membership.

A-2575 (Casagrande)
Imposes new criteria of $18,000 compensation and 30 hours weekly for TPAF and PERS membership as well as for TPAF and PERS credit after break in service.

A-3032 (Milam/Albano)/S-2053 (Van Drew)
Permits public employees to waive enrollment in State-administered pension systems and elect enrollment in Defined Contribution Retirement Program.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Revised Agenda for November 7, 2008

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, November 7, 2008 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton. No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting. The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting. The agenda is as follows:

A-3165 (Johnson)
Requires certain appointed public officials to work 35 hours or more per week to be eligible for PERS and SHBP.

S-2090 (Scutari)
Requires that appointee to office or position whose term begins after effective date work 35 or more hours per week to qualify for PERS membership on basis of appointment.

S-2099 (Weinberg/Adler)/A-3301 (Johnson)
Requires certain appointed public officials to work 35 hours or more per week to be eligible for PERS and SHBP; requires termination of PERS and SHBP participation of certain appointed officials whose term of appointment expires.

A-2891 (Cruz-Perez)
Allows SPRS members to purchase service credit for military service, out-of-state public employment and employment with federal government.

A-2842 (Lampitt/Spencer)
Requires health insurers to provide benefits for magnetic resonance imaging for certain women at high risk for breast cancer.

S-2087 (Haines)/A-3076 (Addiego/Rudder)
Requires person eligible for health care benefits from more than one public entity to choose coverage from only one.

A-3248 (Scalera/Caputo)
Allows PFRS retiree to be reemployed by office of county prosecutor without reenrolling in PFRS.

A-3249 (Scalera, Caputo, Rible, Schaer)/S-2155 (Rice)
Enhances PFRS accidental death pension benefit for survivors of member serving in nonsupervisory rank.

A-3255 (Albano/Milam)
Requires designation of one position for PERS membership by person holding more than one PERS-covered position.


VOTE RESULTS


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
February 29, 2008

A-232 (Bramnick)
Eliminates membership in the legislative part of PERS for future members of the Legislature.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since the bill is considered redundant with the enactment of P.L 2007 c. 92.

Discussion: Recently enacted legislation, P.L. 2007 c.92 and P.L. 2007, c.103, instituted a number of pension reforms to the State-administered public pension plans. The basis for most of these reforms were provided by reports issued by the Benefits Review Task Force (December 2005) and the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employees Benefits Reform (November 2006).  Specifically, Chapter 92 created a new Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP) for all elected and appointed officials who take office on or after July 1, 2007. Under these provisions, individuals elected to the State Legislature who had no PERS membership credit accrued prior to July 1, 2007 are precluded from PERS membership and required to become members of the DCRP. The DCRP provides newly elected and appointed officials with a defined contribution pension with fixed employee 5.5% and employer 3% contribution rates.  According to the Joint Legislative Committee Report, this change will reduce abuses related to pension tacking and boosting, and decrease employer benefit costs. This bill if enacted, would eliminate pensions for newly elected members of the State Legislature entirely.

A-407 (Handlin)
Eliminates PERS membership for current and future part-time elected and appointed officials.

Motion: Bill has been tabled until such time that the legal issues of revoking the non-forfeitable rights of benefits are examined and the bill is considered redundant with the enactment of P.L. 2007 c. 92

Discussion: The Commission members recommend that the issue of revoking the non-forfeitable rights to benefits be examined by both houses of the Legislature, the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Legislative Services since these benefits are contractually negotiated and protected by State statute.

A-1194 (Chiappone)
Eliminates maximum age requirement for appointment as police officer or paid firefighter.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since this bill would eliminate the bona fide exemption from the federal statute of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in regards to police officers and firefighters.

Discussion:  The legality of the PFRS age 35 hiring threshold and mandatory retirement at age 65 was reinforced by the State Attorney General’s Office in Formal Opinion No. 1 – 1997 and still applies to members of the PFRS. The PFRS is a retirement system designed to encourage retirement at early ages for both the safety of the member and the public at large. The enactment of this bill may increase the rates of disability retirement which will increase the future employer pension costs.

A-1446 (O’Scanlon)
Increases enrollment threshold in PERS and TPAF to $10,000; requires assessment of adding annual minimum hour requirement to qualify for service credit.

Motion: Recommend enactment since the bill provides that the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits should conduct a study to assess the advisability of adding an annual minimum hour requirement for a public employee who is a member of a retirement system to qualify for service credit in that year.

Discussion: The enactment of this bill would increase the threshold amount for PERS from $1,500 to $10,000 and for TPAF from $500 to $10,000. The PERS enrollment amount was last increased in 1986 and the TPAF amount has not been increased since the fund’s inception in the 1950’s. The recommendation of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employees Benefits Reform is to increase the minimum salary for enrollment in both the PERS and TPAF to $5,000 only in the event that their proposal to enroll new part-time employees in a newly established defined contribution program, and to restrict PERS and TPAF membership to full-time public employees, is not enacted.  Recent legislation was enacted that instituted some of their recommendations for pension reforms, P.L. 2007, c.92 and P.L. 2007, c. 103.  Chapter 92 established a new DC plan, but limited participation on a prospective basis to elected and appointed officials.  For all other public employees, PERS and TPAF membership remain predicated on minimum annual salaries of $1,500 and $500 respectively. A study of the pension systems’ annual minimum hour requirement for pension service credit is warranted.

A-1564 (Greenstein)
Prohibits elected public official from holding multiple elective public offices.

Motion: The Commission’s position on the enactment of this bill is neutral.

Discussion:  Chapter 161, P.L. 2007 eliminated dual office holding for State and locally elected officials.  However, this law is only applicable to those elected after February 1, 2008. The State and local elected officials’ already holding dual office prior to its effective date are grandfathered. Chapter 92, P.L. 2007 created a Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP) for elected and appointed officials, but only after July 1, 2007. This bill eliminates dual office holding for all elected officials as of January 8, 2008. The Commission discussed that the subject of prohibiting an elected official from serving in another elective public office is more a public policy issue.

A-1605 (Cohen)
Gives membership in PERS Prosecutors Part to DLPS employees with title of assistant director, deputy director, assistant attorney general or deputy attorney general

Motion: Recommend not to enact since bill will encourage the introduction of more legislation seeking to expand eligibility for the Prosecutors Part benefits and will result in increased State pension costs.

Discussion: The Prosecutors Part of the PERS was established with the enactment of P.L. 2001, c.366. Those eligible for membership receive a significantly greater level of pension benefit than is available to ordinary PERS members. The rationale for enacting Chapter 366 was to encourage career employment for certain public employees whose duties were accompanied by the job hazards associated with criminal prosecution. The enactment of this bill would provide the Prosecutors Part benefit to individuals whose current positions are not associated with criminal prosecution and would violate the original intent of Chapter 366. Since the enactment of Chapter 366, other groups (forensic scientists, administrators of the Department of Corrections, etc.) have actively sought to be included in the Prosecutors Part of PERS.

S-126 (Scutari)
Prohibits members of the Legislature from holding other elective public offices.

Motion:  The Commission’s position on the enactment of this bill is neutral.

Discussion:  Chapter 161, P.L. 2007 eliminated dual office holding for State and locally elected officials.  However, this law is only applicable to those elected after February 1, 2008. The State and local elected officials’ already holding dual office prior to its effective date are grandfathered. Chapter 92, P.L. 2007 created a Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP) for elected and appointed officials, but only after July 1, 2007. This bill eliminates dual office holding for all elected officials as of January 8, 2008. Consequently, all grandfathered dual office holders are still members of the PERS and remain prime candidates for tacking and boosting their pensions. This bill would eliminate dual office holding for members of the State Legislature, but only after the expiration of the term of the first office held.

S-271 (Kyrillos)
Changes prospectively definition of compensation used to calculate benefits in PERS and TPAF to average of five highest-paid years and in PFRS, SPRS, and JRS to average of three highest-paid years.

Motion:  Recommend enactment since its concept is consistent with the change recommended by the Benefits Review Task Force (BRTF) report to curb the abusive practice of pension boosting.

Discussion:  The BRTF recommended this change because “basing the annual pension on the highest three years and especially the highest year of salary is inconsistent with national trends among State plans, encourages “boosting” and other manipulation at the end of a public career by requiring a minimal time commitment, and results in a pension that does not reflect a replacement level of salary a worker received throughout their time in government.”  This bill offers a recommendation that addresses the abusive practice of pension boosting. The provisions of this bill are prospective; they apply only to new employees who become members of the pension system after its effective date.

S-273 (Kyrillos)
Eliminates membership in various State-administered retirement systems for part-time public employees and elected officials commencing service after enactment; clarifies that part-time public employees and officials are ineligible for employer-paid health care. 

Motion: Recommend to enact with the following recommendations: the issue of full-time and part-time employee needs to be clearly defined and Section 11 of the bill should not be implemented since this is a decision that should be left to local government.

Discussion: Recent legislation was enacted that instituted some of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform, P.L. 2007, c.92 and P.L. 2007, c. 103). Chapter 92 established a new DC plan, but limited participation on a prospective basis to elected and appointed officials. For all other public employees, PERS and TPAF membership remain predicated on minimum annual salaries of $1,500 and $500 respectively. A study of the pension systems’ annual minimum hour requirement for pension service credit is warranted.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
March 28, 2008

S-980 (Van Drew)
Allows PFRS members hired prior to October 1, 1993 to serve until age 68 or 20 years of service, whichever comes first.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since the bill undermines the rationale for permitting age restriction for public safety officers.

Discussion:  The enactment of this bill will undermine the rationale of allowing age restrictions for public safety officers as again allowed under the ADEA. It will allow a public safety officer to work until the age of 68, which, considering the risk factors associated with these positions, may not be in the best interest of both the individual and the public. This bill will increase both state and local employer pension costs by an additional $710,000 per impacted member. Consequently, State mandate, State-pay issues need to be addressed.

S-830 (Ciesla)
Allows TPAF retiree to be employed as certificated superintendent or administrator for limited time frame due to critical need without TPAF reenrollment.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  The enactment of Chapter 355, P.L. 2001 provided a retired member of the TPAF who returns to employment in a TPAF covered position as a certificated superintendent or school administrator, or in a position of critical need as determined by the Commissioner of the NJ Department of Education, is exempted from the TPAF re-enrollment rules regardless of salary for a period of up to two years. This bill would encourage double dipping with increased costs and serve to extend the period a retired TPAF member could remain employed by a school district beyond the current two-year limitation.

A-124 (Vainieri Huttle)/S-1485 (Weinberg/Vitale)
Requires Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare and SHBP to cover cost of HPV vaccine.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: The enactment of this legislation would continue the questionable practice of mandating health benefit coverage. Such mandates generally tend to continue to place the health insurance industry outside of the “free enterprise” system and drive up the cost of health insurance for both the employer provided coverage and individual policies. Further, since the bill is redundant in that the SHBP already provides this coverage in their in-network PPO and HMO plans.

S-270 (Kyrillos)
Requires that public employees who are married or with domestic partners receive health care benefits from only one public employer.

Motion: Recommend enactment since it will decrease annual State and local employer health benefits costs.

Discussion:  It is no longer considered reasonable to provide additional coverage for public employees or their dependents who may qualify for enrollment in more than health plan. A public employee should only be entitled to coverage under one health benefits contract at a time.  Each dollar spent to provide this redundant coverage is a dollar lost to other public programs. If enacted there is estimated cost savings of $18 million. 

A-2056 (Conaway/Munoz)/S-1441(Weinberg)
Requires health insurers SHBP, Medicaid, and NJ FamilyCare to provide coverage for ancillary medical services in connection with outpatient diagnostic screening and surgical intervention services.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since it continues the questionable practice of mandating health benefit coverage.

Discussion:  The enactment of this legislation would continue the questionable practice of mandating health benefit coverage. Such mandates generally tend to continue to place the health insurance industry outside of the “free enterprise” system and drive up the cost of health insurance for both the employer provided coverage and individual policies.

S-1274 (Van Drew)
Allows municipality to approve transfer from PERS to PFRS by certain firefighters.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: Municipal laws restrict the appointment of personnel to a municipal police or fire department to individuals age 35 and under. No existing law provides similar age restrictions when police and fire personnel are appointed on a county or State level. Because of the PFRS age restriction, officers appointed on a county and State level are required to join PERS. If this bill is enacted, a PFRS enrollment disparity initiated with the enactment of Chapter 326 P.L. 2005 would continue because certain municipal firemen hired over the age of 35 would again be permitted to enroll in the PFRS, however, their counterparts employed on a county of State level would not.

A-2145 (Casagrande)
Restricts public employer health care benefits to full-time employees and appointees.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since the impact on local employer provided health benefit coverage outside of the SHBP is unclear. The Commission does support the concept of the bill.  
 
Discussion: This bill would have a significant impact on local employers who provide their active employees with health benefit coverage outside of the SHBP. The bill would set a minimum threshold of 20 hours per week to qualify for active health benefits coverage.  Although this coincides with the minimum threshold required for local employers participating in the SHBP, the bill is unclear whether this requirement will be applicable to all local employers not in the SHBP.  Since local employers in the SHBP may elect to define full-time for SHBP coverage starting at a minimum of 20 hours per week, it is unclear whether this bill would require active health benefit coverage for all employees who work at least 20 hours per week across the board. This bill may liberalize the 20 hour work week requirement for local employers who currently define full-time for health benefit coverage at some level greater than 20 hours per week, thereby increasing their employee benefit costs.

S-274 (Kyrillos)
Provides that public employee pension benefits are calculated on base salary exclusive of various forms of extra compensation.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since the provisions of the bill are already addressed in Administrative Code and would remove the flexibility already afforded by the code.

Discussion:  If enacted the bill would codify in law pension regulations that already exist and are applicable to the State administered plans, however, some Commission Members question whether those regulations address some forms of compensation that appear in collective bargaining agreements. The language in the bill mirrors the regulatory language which defines “creditable compensation” for all the State-administered pension plans. It would provide no further safeguards to curb the abusive practice of pension boosting.  


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
May 9, 2008

S-1394 (Kean)
Requires prospectively compensation of $15,000 or more for membership or certain service credit in TPAF or PERS.

Motion: Recommend to enact with recommendations. 

Discussion: The Commission recommends the indexing of future compensation be permitted as an enhancement to the bill and to prohibit the aggregation of compensation for members who are employed by more than one local public agency. Also, consideration should be given to the compensation threshold based on the recommendations of the Benefits Review Task Force and the Joint Legislative Committee report which both recommended increasing to $5,000.

S-1319 (O’Toole)
Revises benefits calculation for PERS and TPAF members retiring after certain date to average of five highest-paid years, and for JRS members retiring after certain date to average of three highest-paid years.

Motion: Recommend to enact with recommendations.

Discussion: The Commission recommends that the bill include the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System and the State Police Retirement System. Also, to consider the legal opinions of the Attorney Generals Office and the Office of Legislative Services that any legislation that detrimentally alters the pensions of active members in the State-administered retirement systems with at least five years of service, or of retired members, “would be unconstitutional as a violation of the federal and State constitutional proscription against impairment of the obligation of contract.”

A-2446 (Polistina, Amodeo, O’Scanlon)
Makes elected officials with compensation less than $50,000 ineligible for health care benefits on the 61st day after enactment.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: This bill would establish an earnings threshold to determine employer-paid health benefits coverage for elected officials. The Commission suggested that something other than an earnings threshold be used to determine eligibility for health benefits coverage, such as hours worked. Also, local governments should have the ability to establish their own criteria for determining when positions become eligible for health benefit coverage.  

A-2467 (Cohen, Bramnick)
Requires health insurance coverage for anesthesiology services in connection with outpatient diagnostic screenings, including colonoscopies.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: Generally, the Commission does not recommend mandating health benefits coverage since it tends to continue to place the health insurance industry outside of the “free enterprise” system and increases the costs of health insurance for both employer provided coverage and individual policies.

S-1483 (Sweeney)
Allows State to offer incentive to waive SHBP coverage to employees eligible for other health.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: The bill as written provides no assurances that there will be savings to the State. The SHBP premium rates for the State are determined separately from those of local employers participating in the plan based upon the experience of all State employees as a group. To the extent there is a duplication of coverage and expenses for which the group would be otherwise liable for are paid by another group insurance policy, the group experiences a reduction in liabilities from which all members of this group benefit. This favorable experience results in lower rates, which could result in lower aggregate SHBP costs for the State. However, if the claims costs remain with the SHBP, then aggregate State costs may actually increase when incentives are paid to waive coverage. This may occur when two spouses are employed by the State.  If an incentive is paid to one spouse to waive SHBP coverage, and the other spouse maintains SHBP coverage with the waived spouse included as a dependent, the aggregate claims remain unchanged. State savings can only be realized if claims associated with the waived coverage are transported out of the SHBP.

S-962 (Van Drew)
Eliminates maximum age requirement for appointment as police officer or paid firefighter.
                 
Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: The PFRS is a retirement system designed to encourage retirement at early ages. The elimination of the age 35 membership requirement may encourage future legislation to further enhance the PFRS benefits to accommodate older police and firemen who would be required to retire because of the age 65 mandatory retirement provision but have not qualified for one of the several enhanced PFRS pension benefits designed to encourage early retirement. Current PFRS statutes allow members to retire at any age upon attaining 25 years of service with an annual pension of 65% of final compensation. They may also retire upon attaining 20 years of service at 50% of final compensation. This is in contrast to the 2% of final average compensation pension accrual rate for each year of service a PFRS member is entitled to under a regular service retirement. In addition, the rates of disability retirement may increase significantly if this bill is enacted, and ultimately increase future employer pension costs. Older members who would not qualify for an enhanced early retirement benefit could make claims to a disability pension and significantly increase their pension income over the regular service retirement.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
September 12, 2008

S-1811 (Sweeney)/A-2657(Burzichelli)
Requires health insurers, SHBP, Medicaid, and NJ FamilyCare to provide coverage for anesthesiology services in connection with outpatient colorectal cancer screening.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact since the SHBP already provides this coverage.

Discussion:  The PPO’s and HMO’s participating in the SHBP already provide this coverage. Aside from the SHBP, this bill would mandate the coverage for all health insurance policies in the State, other than the self-insured contracts, but including contracts for health care services under the Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare Program. The enactment of this bill would continue the questionable practice of mandating health benefits coverage.  Such mandates tend to continue to place the health insurance industry outside of the “free enterprise” system and drive up the cost of health insurance for both the employer provided coverage and individual policies. The continued enactment of health benefit mandate legislation could soon make coverage unaffordable for both.

A-2535 (Gusciora/Wisniewski)
Requires dental benefits coverage for dental composite restorations.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  Composite restorations are already covered under the SHBP Employee Dental Plan if prescribed as necessary by the treating dentist. Under the SHBP’s Dental Plan Organization (DPO), the member may have a co-payment depending on the type of material the provider is using.  Under the SHBP’s Dental Expense Plan (DEP), both amalgam and composite fillings are covered under the basic service at 80%.  However, if a member requests a composite filling on a molar or premolar, the plan will provide an alternate benefit of an amalgam restoration.  The patient is responsible for the upgrade restoration.  The American Dental Association’s position on dental amalgams concludes it is an effective and safe restorative material.

Mr. Jim Schulz representing the NJ Dental Association addressed the Commission in support of this bill.

S-1639 (Turner)
Provides no PERS credit and no health care benefits for new appointees to State or local agency, board, commission, authority or instrumentality with compensation less than $20,000 and fewer than 35 hours per week.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact since it only addresses partial pension reforms.

Discussion: The Commission recommends that the dollar threshold be eliminated and supports the provision in the bill of hours of work is fixed at fewer than 35 hours per week.  Since this bill would eliminate pension only for part-time appointed officials, the Commission believes it only partially addresses the issue of pension reform. 

A-2770 (O’Scanlon/Greenwald)
Requires prospectively that public employees, appointees and elected officials work 35 or more hours per week with annual compensation equivalent to 1820 times State minimum wage for health care benefits.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  The Commission supports the intent of this bill since it advocates limiting employer paid health benefit coverage to full-time employees only.  The issue of linking a dollar threshold with hours worked per week is problematic since an employee may meet the dollar threshold but not the 35 hour work week.  Currently, regulations defining full-time for SHBP coverage are different for State and local employees. State workers are required to work 35 hours per week to be considered full-time.  Local employers in the SHBP may elect to define full-time, starting at a minimum 20 hour work week.  The Commission does support the 35 hour work week provision to obtain health care benefits. 

A-2727 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Eliminates PERS credit and health care benefits for appointees to State or local agency, board, commission, authority or instrumentality with annual compensation less than $20,000 and weekly hours fewer than 35.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since it only addresses partial pension reforms.

Discussion:  The Commission recommends that the dollar threshold be eliminated and supports the provision in the bill of hours of work is fewer than 35 hours per week.  Since this bill would eliminate pension only for appointees, the Commission believes it only partially addresses the issue of pension reform. 

S-1629 (Turner)
Reduces vesting requirement under State-administered retirement systems to five years' service.
                 
Motion: Recommend to enact since the effect of this bill would be to provide a vesting standard that is already in place in the private sector.

Discussion:  The ten year vesting requirement in the State’s retirement systems (eight years for Legislators) is more stringent than the vesting standards required in qualified private sector pensions plans.  The change to a five year vesting was recommended by the Benefits Review Task Force (BRTF) in their report dated December, 2005.  As discussed by the Commission, both BRTF and the Commission consultant recognized that there would be a cost to this change.

A-2757 (Schaer)
Provides employees and officers working fewer than 1,000 hours annually will be ineligible for TPAF or PERS membership and service credit but will be eligible for Defined Contribution Retirement Program.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  The provisions of this bill would be applicable to both new prospective public employees and to current PERS and TPAF members who continue to be employed in positions in which fewer than 1,000 hours are worked annually after the effective date of this bill.  These members would no longer accrue additional PERS or TPAF membership credit, but would participate in the DCRP instead. The Attorney General and Office of Legislative Services advised the Joint legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform that any legislation that detrimentally alters the pensions of active members in the State-administered retirement system with at least five years of service, or of retired members, “would be unconstitutional as violative of the federal and State constitutional proscription against impairment of the obligations of contract.”  Consequently, this bill’s provision making it applicable to all current members may render the bill unenforceable as it applies to current appointees who have accrued five years of pension service.  In addition, the bill as written could have members entering in and out of the defined benefit plan and the defined contribution plan.  If members work more than 1,000 hours one year, they would be required to contribute to the defined benefit plan and in the following year they work less than 1,000 hours they would be required to enroll in the defined contribution plan. Members flipping in and out of two different pension systems would further complicate a pension plan already made more complex by recently enacted pension reforms. 

A-2647 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Makes certain State and local appointed public officials ineligible, retroactive to July 1, 2007, for PERS membership regardless of prior PERS membership.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  This bill would be retroactive to July 1, 2007. The enactment of this legislation would require appointees to withdraw from PERS and enroll in the DCRP, which they may claim unjust since they may have accepted the appointment with the understanding that continued PERS participation would be allowed.  This bill would change the terms of the initial employment contract and have an impact on future retirement benefits to which they may be entitled.

A-2575 (Casagrande)
Imposes new criteria of $18,000 compensation and 30 hours weekly for TPAF and PERS membership as well as for TPAF and PERS credit after break in service.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: This bill would eliminate the current $1,500 and $500 annual compensation threshold for PERS and TPAF membership eligibility, respectively, and replace it with the requirement to work at least 30 hours per week and an annual salary of $18,000 to participate in PERS and TPAF. This bill contains no provision for participation in any other State plan, such as the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP) for individuals who would not qualify for the PERS and TPAF under this bill. The bill links compensation with hours worked for TPAF and PERS membership. The Commission recommends that the dollar threshold be eliminated and supports full-time employment as the criteria for membership eligibility.

A-3032 (Milam/Albano)/S-2053 (Van Drew)
Permits public employees to waive enrollment in State-administered pension systems and elect enrollment in Defined Contribution Retirement Program.

Motion:  Recommend to enact.

Discussion:  The bill permits public employees to waive enrollment in State-administered pension system and elect enrollment in the Defined Contribution Retirement program. The Commission supports the permissive nature of the bill since it allows public employees to make a choice whether to participate in a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
November 7, 2008

A-3165( Johnson)
Requires certain appointed public officials to work 35 hours or more per week to be eligible for PERS and SHBP.

Motion:  Support enactment with the recommendation that the bill should be broader to impact all career full-time employees.

Discussion:  As written, the bill only partially addresses the issue of pension abuse since it is intended to impact only certain appointed public officials and not to all part-time public employees. The bill would restrict the ability to acquire health benefit coverage toward more legitimate full-time employees. However, the bill is very limited in scope since it would only preclude health benefit coverage for appointees who are considered less than full-time. The Commission recommends providing employer-paid health benefit coverage only to full-time employees, regardless of title or position.

S-2090 (Scutari)
Requires that appointee to office or position whose term begins after effective date work 35 or more hours per week to qualify for PERS membership on basis of appointment.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since bill does not have a provision eliminating health benefit coverage for appointees that work less than full-time.

Discussion:  The bill’s impact is limited to only part-time appointed officials and not all part-time public employees.  There is no provision to eliminate health benefit coverage to appointees that work less than full-time. The Commission recommends a broader bill that would eliminate both PERS membership and SHBP participation to all part-time public employees.

S-2099 (Weinberg/Adler)/A-3301 (Johnson)
Requires certain appointed public officials to work 35 hours or more per week to be eligible for PERS and SHBP; requires termination of PERS and SHBP participation of certain appointed officials whose term of appointment expires.

Motion:  Support enactment with the recommendation that the bill should be broader to impact all career full-time employees.

Discussion:  As written, the bill only partially addresses the issue of pension abuse since it is intended to impact only certain appointed public officials and not all part-time public employees. The bill would restrict the ability to acquire health benefit coverage toward more legitimate full-time employees. However, the bill is very limited in scope since it would only preclude health benefit coverage for appointees who are considered less than full-time. The Commission recommends providing employer-paid health benefit coverage only to full-time employees, regardless of title or position.

A-2891 (Cruz-Perez)
Allows SPRS members to purchase service credit for military service, out-of-state public employment and employment with federal government.

Motion: Recommend enactment.

Discussion:  The bill will extend the ability for a SPRS member to purchase pension service credit for time that may already be purchased by members of the other State-administered retirement systems. The bill may be cost neutral since members would pay the full-cost of the purchase but there would be costs associated with the purchase if the additional service credit provided the member with SHBP eligibility.

A-2842 (Lampitt/Spencer)
Requires health insurers to provide benefits for magnetic resonance imaging for certain women at high risk for breast cancer.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since bill would eliminate the oversight provided by health insurance carriers.

Discussion:  There is a concern regarding the language in the bill that requires coverage by the plan when a magnetic resonance imaging for women at high risk for breast cancer is deemed medically necessary by the treating physician.  This language transfers the review from the health insurance carrier to the treating physician who prescribed the procedure.  In most cases, the procedure prescribed by the physician will be deemed to be medically necessary and covered by the plan. Transferring the review from the health insurance carrier to the physician alone may in some cases require payment for additional procedures that may diminish the plan’s ability to control claim costs. Annual increases of over $30 million in SHBP costs to State and local employers will result.

S-2087 (Haines)/A-3076 (Addiego/Rudder)
Requires person eligible for health care benefits from more than one public entity to choose coverage from only one.
                 
Motion: Recommend enactment.

Discussion:  The Commission supports the enactment of this bill because it expands the prohibition currently imposed on members of the State Legislature regarding multiple health benefit coverage to all public employees. In addition, the person may not accept any amount of money in consideration for filing a waiver of health care benefits.

A-3248 (Scalera/Caputo)
Allows PFRS retiree to be reemployed by office of county prosecutor without reenrolling in PFRS.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  State pension law provides a generally uniform requirement applicable to all the State-administered retirement plans which requires reenrollment and suspension of pension benefits if a retiree is reemployed in a position covered by the pension system from which he/she retired. The provisions of this bill will promote the questionable practice of “double-dipping” which is receiving a salary and a public pension simultaneously.

A-3249 ( Scalera, Caputo, Rible, Schaer)/S-2155 (Rice)
Enhances PFRS accidental death pension benefit for survivors of member serving in nonsupervisory rank.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  The accidental death pension payable to the beneficiary of a member of any of the State-administered defined benefit retirement plans were all based on a percentage of final compensation, i.e. the salary of the member at the date of death. The accidental death pensions payable to the surviving spouse in the State’s plans are currently based on a percentage of final compensation. Since this bill changes the definition of final compensation when calculating the accidental death pension to the amount of highest compensation within the relevant rank and department under the contract in effect at the time of death for the PFRS only, its enactment would create an even further disparity in determining the accidental death pension payable when compared to other State plans. This bill’s provisions are retroactive to September 1, 2008, indicating that it may be special legislation.

A-3255 (Albano/Milam)
Requires designation of one position for PERS membership by person holding more than one PERS-covered position.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact since the bill may promote pension abuse.

Discussion: The enactment of this bill may in fact, create the potential for pension abuse.  Since members are to designate one position for enrollment, there is a concern that they will select the lowest paying position. This will enable them to contribute the lowest dollar amount to the pension system during their earlier pension years. A member approaching retirement can terminate from the lower paying position and designate the higher paying position for pension purposes and collect a lifetime pension calculated on the higher salary. The State and local employers participating in PERS would be responsible for the unfunded pension liability created.
 
spacer

Pensions and Benefits: Home | Employer Manual | Health Benefits | Forms and Publications | Counseling Appointments
Treasury: Home | ServicesPeopleBusinesses | Divisions/AgenciesFormsContact Us
Statewide:
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2007
This site is maintained by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

Contact Us Privacy Notice Legal Statement Accessibility Statement Open Public Records Act