News


Brothers and Sisters;

Attached you will find a letter from the Division of Pension and Benefits, Health Benefits Policy and Planning that outlines the details of a special open enrollment period for members who are now enrolled in the Horizon HMO plans.

As we informed you several months ago, Horizon was awarded the bid for all members in the SHBP who are not medicare enrollees in 2019 for the current period. This eliminated the ability of any member in the SHBP to remain in the Aetna plans. As a reminder, this was done through a bidding process in which the PBA had no role.  One of the most noticeable differences between the Aetna and Horizon HMO plans are the accessibility to providers based on geography. The Horizon plans have a smaller access area.

In a break from past practices, the Division has undertaken an initiative to allow anyone currently enrolled in a Horizon HMO to change to a PPO plan to better serve our members.

This special enrollment will run from February 17th, 2020 Through February 28, 2020 and the new plans will have an effective date of April 1, 2020. This open enrollment does not apply to prescription plans.

The letter is self-explanatory, please contact the office with any questions.

Fraternally,
Kevin

View Additional Information Here

As we have advised you, some Chapter 330 member’s had incorrect deductions taken out of their January pension checks. We were informed by the Division today that this affected about 1,200 members and that corrections have been made and the February checks will be corrected. Any reimbursements that are due our members will be made around the 1st of February.

We have been receiving reports that the health benefit deductions from the January pension checks are incorrect in some cases. We encourage you to verify the proper deduction from the Chapter 330 Rate Charts on the Division of Pensions and Benefits web site. 
 
We are working with the division to determine the proper deductions should be.

Today, President Trump will sign funding legislation that was passed by Congress that will once and for all end the potential of the Cadillac Tax that imposes a 40% tax on health plans that cost over $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for families. While there is an extension for highly dangerous jobs (police, fire, railroad and electrical linemen etc.) many employers have used the potential of this tax to influence negotiations in an attempt to reduce the level of benefits our members receive.

While the tax was a crucial funding mechanism for the subsidies on the ACA exchanges it would have been catastrophic to our members and their health insurance. Congress also approved the removal of a medical device tax and a health insurance plan tax, both were being delayed along with the Cadillac tax that was set to be implemented in 2022. The State PBA is grateful to our national affiliate, NAPO who took the lead lobbying congress to repeal this poorly designed tax on a benefit that is so important to our members.

December 20, 2019
NAPO Victory! Cadillac Tax Repealed
 
In significant victory for NAPO and our members, Congress repealed the “Cadillac Tax”, the 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health plans, as part of the Fiscal 2020 appropriations agreement (H.R. 1865).  NAPO pressed Congressional leaders to support the inclusion of the Cadillac Tax repeal as part of any year-end, must pass legislative package. We applaud Congress for finally listening to us, to employers, workers, health plans and employee organizations who have been calling for the repeal of the tax since 2015 and we thank them for protecting public safety employees' hard-earned health benefits. 
 
The Cadillac Tax was not just a tax on health plans; it was a loss of earned wages and benefits. Over the years, law enforcement officers through collective bargaining have often given up pay increases in order to secure better health care coverage. Under the excise tax, they were being penalized for entering into those good faith agreements with their employing jurisdictions. If the Cadillac Tax was allowed to be implemented, it would force public safety employees to pay the tax in the form of wage cuts, higher premiums, increased out-of-pocket costs, and lower benefits.
 
The repeal of the Cadillac Tax ensures public safety employees can maintain affordable, full coverage healthcare for themselves and their families.

The State PBA drafted bill to clarify the law governing the 20 and Out retirement benefit for PFRS members today overwhelmingly passed the General Assembly. 

Assembly Bill 6024 seeks to confirm that the 20 and Out benefit adopted in 2000 under a law pushed by the State PBA applies to all PFRS enrollees regardless of their age or when they were employed.  That law provided for a 50% pension at 20 years of service. The bill is needed to address a misinterpretation of the law adopted by the Christie Administration which sought to limit the benefit.  The bill establishes that the 20 year benefit shall be offered to every member of the PFRS immediately. 

The bill now heads to the Senate where the State PBA is advocating for its passage in early January.

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