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Pensions and Benefits
CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS 2016

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

SUBJECT DATE
Plan Year 2017 School Employees’ Health Benefits Program Open Enrollment - Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program September 30, 2016
Plan Year 2017 State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment - State Biweekly and Monthly Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators September 30, 2016
Plan Year 2017 State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment -  Local Government Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators September 30, 2016
Open Enrollment for the New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017) - State University and College Certifying Officers, State University and College Benefits Administrators, State Monthly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Benefits Administrators September 29, 2016
Open Enrollment for the New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017) - State Department Certifying Officers, State Department Human Resource Directors, State BiWeekly Payroll Locations Benefits Administrators September 29, 2016
PERS Notice of Election - Certifying Officers, Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) September 19, 2016
Renewal Required for Annual Membership Certification - Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers September 1, 2016
National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) - Certifying Officers participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) August 24, 2016
Administrative Code Updates – Honorable Service; Disability Retirement - Certifying Officers, All Funds August 22, 2016
Fiscal Year 2017 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider - Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) August 5, 2016
Retirement Certifications Required Through EPIC - Certifying Officers July 28, 2016
Pension Loan Recertification upon Return from Leave of Absence - Certifying Officers, All Funds July 21, 2016
ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives – 2016 - Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) July 5, 2016
Pension Contribution Rate Change for the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund June 2, 2016
Pension Contribution Rate Changes for the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) - Certifying Officers of the Judicial Retirement System June 2, 2016
New Processes and Procedures for Updating or Adding Certifying Officers and Supervising Certifying Officers in EPIC - Certifying Officers, All Funds June 2, 2016
Municipal Representative Elected to the Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees - Certifying Officers of the public Employees' Retirement System February 29, 2016
State Representative Elected to the Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees - Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System February 29, 2016
Employer Responsibility: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting Extension and New Tax Provisions - Certifying Officers, State Colleges and Universities; Local Employers participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) January 12, 2016

CERTIFYING OFFICER LETTERS FROM OTHER YEARS

2017 CO Letters 2016 CO Letters 2015 CO Letters 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.


September 30, 2016

TO: Local Education Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT:

Plan Year 2017 School Employees’ Health Benefits Program Open Enrollment

The School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Open Enrollment period for Local Education employees begins on October 3, 2016, and ends on October 31, 2016.

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, 2017.

Completed employer-certified health benefits and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 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.

MEDICAL PLANS

There are no medical plan changes for Plan Year 2017. 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 2017 plan year.

The following medical plans are available to Local Education employees:

PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom 10; Aetna Freedom 15; Aetna Freedom 1525; Aetna Freedom 2030; AetnaFreedom 2035; 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.

DENTAL PLANS
The following information is for Local Education employers who provide employee dental coverage through the Employee Dental Plans. Dental coverage is offered to all eligible employees through the Employee Dental Plans.

There are two plan designs — five Dental Plan Organizations (DPO) and a Dental Expense Plan (DEP).

  • 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 preferred provider organization plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, 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.

Dental Plan Rates for 2017 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage for the Local Education Group are to be posted on the Division’s Web site when made available.

NJWELL WELLNESS PROGRAM

NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SEHBP. Spouses and eligible partners also can participate, as long as they are covered by the SEHBP plan. Plan Year 2016 will be coming to a close on October 31, 2016. Employees can earn a possible $250 in rewards, in total, based on their total points earned by October 31, 2016.

For information about the program, visit the NJWELL Web site at: www.nj.gov/njwell Watch your e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2017.

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to use 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 High Deductible plans, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions. A sample of the HSA Contribution Form can be found online at:
http://www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/epbam/exhibits/pdf/ha0914.pdf

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

Detailed information about the SEHBP’s medical plans is available through new Summaries of Benefits and Coverage. As of this mailing, the summaries are being prepared for posting to our Web site. The summaries will be posted online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/hb-sbc-home.shtml 

A direct mailing will be 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 2017 were approved by the School Employees’ Health Benefits Commission. Rate charts will be posted online via the Division’s Web site.

An e-mail will be sent to employers when this information becomes available, and you will be asked to share this with your employees.

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SEHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to 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 at the 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 will be revised for 2017 plan selections and rates.  The increase in plan premiums for 2017 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 the current contribution phase-in level and if applicable, the next phased-in contribution amount increase. An e-mail will be sent to employers when this information becomes available, and you will be asked to share this with your employees.

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 coverages under the SHBP/SEHBP are prohibited, waiver incentives are only payable if the other coverage is through a non-SHBP/SEHBP plan. To waive coverage a Waiver Form and a Health Benefits Application must be completed and submitted during the Open Enrollment. To waive coverage effective January 1, 2017, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

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 forward the information to your Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the enclosed Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM APPLICATIONS

SEHBP applications are available for download on the Division’s Web site. Employers should note that a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans (provide the HSA Contribution Form for any HDHP enrollments). Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to these applications. Completed employer-certified medical and/or dental applications (if applicable) must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 plan year.

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

Your assistance in forwarding the communications and materials is very important and vital to making the Open Enrollment period a beneficial experience for your employees.

Enclosed with this letter is the Health Capsule newsletter. Links to applications and comparison charts also can be found in the Health Capsule. Please forward this attachment to your employees.

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions. When these items become available you will be notified immediately. Items include the online calculators and rate information for plan year 2017.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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

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 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
Plan Marketing Contacts
Summaries of Benefits and Coverage sample
Health Capsule Newsletter

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (42K)

Return to Top


September 30, 2016

TO: State Biweekly and Monthly Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT:

Plan Year 2017 State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment period for employees will begin on October 3, 2016, and ends on October 31, 2016.

Open Enrollment allows employees to 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 December 24, 2016 for State biweekly employees and January 1, 2017, for all other employees.

Completed employer-certified medical and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 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.

CHANGES FOR PLAN YEAR 2017

Pilot Incentive Program — For Plan Year 2017, a “Pilot Incentive Program” for the tiered-network plans, the Aetna Liberty Plan and the Horizon OMNIA Health Plan, will be implemented. This program encourages employees to subscribe to one of the tiered-network plans by offering financial incentives. State employees are automatically eligible to participate in the program.

The Pilot Incentive Program is available to first-time enrollees who must remain enrolled for two years, from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2018. This program does not extend to children over the age of 26 or COBRA members. The incentives vary depending on level of coverage: Single-coverage employees receive $1,000; Member and Spouse, or Parent and child-covered employees receive $1,250; and Family-covered employees receive $2,000. This incentive is paid by gift card within the first quarter of Plan Year 2017, and is deemed reportable income for tax purposes.

IMPORTANT: The incentive shall be forfeited and returned to the SHBP if the subscriber fails to remain enrolled in the Tiered Plan for at least two plan years, except when a subscriber becomes ineligible for healthcare due to layoff, involuntary separation, reduction to part-time status, or classification into an ineligible position. If the subscriber voluntarily retires or changes health plans due to catastrophic or emergency health needs as determined by the Division after a full year, then the incentive shall be forfeited on a pro-rata basis.

Emergency Room Copayments — will increase to $100 for NJ DIRECT15, Aetna Freedom15 and Horizon and Aetna HMOs. This does not apply to dependents under age 19 or members referred to the ER by a physician.

The following are changes for the remainder of Plan Year 2016:

Out-of-Network Physical Therapy — Effective November 1, 2016, visits with an out-of-network provider will be limited to the average in-network cost for physical therapy visits paid by the carriers. Plans administered by Aetna only will cover a maximum of $55 per visit and plans administered by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey only will cover $52 per visit.  Aetna and Horizon both have extensive provider networks, so members should consider switching to an in-network practitioner.  

Preferred Drug Step Therapy — Effective November 1, 2016, if a provider prescribes a higher cost or non-preferred prescription drug, the doctor will be required to change the prescription to a covered generic or preferred drug. In the event a generic or preferred drug is ineffective, there is an exception policy under the guidelines of the plan.

Generic Substitution — Effective December 1, 2016, members will be required to pay the difference between the cost of a generic and the cost of the brand medication when a brand drug with a generic equivalent is dispensed, unless the brand drug is deemed medically necessary and appropriate under the guidelines of the plan.

Prescription Drug Formulary – Effective December 1, 2016, the SHBP will be using Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary (NPF) which is a listing of drugs, classified by therapeutic category or disease class, that are considered preferred therapy for a given population and that are to be used by providers in prescribing medications. Medications not on the NPF will not be covered by the plan unless the non-formulary drug is deemed medically necessary and appropriate under the guidelines of the plan.

MEDICAL PLANS

There are no medical plan changes for Plan Year 2017.  Eight Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, two Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, two Tiered Network Plans, and four High Deductible Health Plans will be offered for Plan Year 2017.
The medical plans available to employees are:

  • Tiered-Network Plans: Aetna Liberty Plan; Horizon’s OMNIA Health Plan

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom15; Aetna Freedom1525; Aetna Freedom2030; Aetna Freedom2035; NJ DIRECT15; NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035

  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Horizon HMO

  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; Aetna Value HD4000; NJ DIRECT HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD4000

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

DENTAL PLANS

There are no dental plan changes for Plan Year 2017. Dental coverage is offered to all eligible 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).

  • 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 preferred provider organization plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, 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 2017 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage will be posted online for the Open Enrollment via the Division’s Web site.

NJWELL WELLNESS PROGRAM

NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SHBP. Spouses and eligible partners also can participate, as long as they are covered by the SHBP plan. Plan Year 2016 will be coming to a close on October 31, 2016. Employees can earn a possible $250 in rewards, in total, based on their total points earned by October 31. For information about the program visit the NJWELL Web site at: www.nj.gov/njwell Watch your e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2017.

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to use 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 High Deductible plans, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions.

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

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

A direct mailing will be 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 2017 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission. Rate charts will be posted online on the Division’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to Pension and Health Benefit Reform (Chapter 78, P.L. 2011), employees must pay a percentage of the cost of the medical and prescription plan premiums.

Percentage of premium contribution worksheets and online calculators will be revised for 2017 rates, and will be available on the Division’s Web site. 

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 andHealth Benefit Application must be completed during Open Enrollment.  To waive coverage effective December 24, 2016, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before the new plan year.

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 forward the information to your Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the enclosed Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM APPLICATIONS

SHBPapplications are available for download on the Division’s Web site.  Please be certain that your employees have access to the health benefit applications. Employers should note that 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, these applications.  Completed employer-certified medical and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 plan year.

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

Your assistance in forwarding the communications and materials is very important and vital to making the Open Enrollment period a beneficial experience for your employees.

Enclosed with this letter is the Health Capsule newsletter. The newsletter details plan changes and other Open Enrollment news. Links to applications and comparison charts also can be found in this year’s Health Capsule. Please forward this attachment to your employees.
As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site. When these items become available you will be notified immediately. Items include the Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (see page 4) and rate information for plan year 2017.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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

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 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
Plan Marketing Contacts
Summaries of Benefits and Coverage sample
Health Capsule Newsletter

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (47K)

Return to Top


September 30, 2016

TO:  Local Government Certifying Officers, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Administrators

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Plan Year 2017 State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) Open Enrollment period for Local Government employees begins on October 3, 2016, and ends on October 31, 2016.

Open Enrollment allows employees to 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, 2017.

Completed employer-certified medical and/or dental applications must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 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.

CHANGES FOR PLAN YEAR 2017

Pilot Incentive Program — For Plan Year 2017, a voluntary “Pilot Incentive Program” for the tiered-network plans, the Aetna Liberty Plan and the Horizon OMNIA Health Plan, is being offered to local employers. This program encourages employees to subscribe to one of the tiered-network plans by offering financial incentives.

The Pilot Incentive Program is available to first-time enrollees who must remain enrolled for two years, from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2018. This program does not extend to children over the age of 26 or COBRA members. The incentives vary depending on level of coverage: Single-coverage employees receive $1,000; Member and Spouse, or Parent and child-covered employees receive $1,250; and Family-covered employees receive $2,000. Local employer participation is voluntary at the option of the employer and is administered by the local employer. Employers wishing to participate must complete the attached resolution and submit it to the Division of Pensions and Benefits.

IMPORTANT: The incentive shall be forfeited if the subscriber fails to remain enrolled in a tiered-network plan for at least two plan years, except when a subscriber becomes ineligible for healthcare due to layoff, involuntary separation, reduction to part-time status, or classification into an ineligible position. If the subscriber voluntarily retires or changes health plans due to catastrophic or emergency health needs as determined by the employer after a full year, then the incentive shall be forfeited on a pro-rata basis.
           
Emergency Room Copayments — will increase to $75 for NJ DIRECT10 and Aetna Freedom10 and $100 for NJ DIRECT15, Aetna Freedom15 and Horizon and Aetna HMOs. This does not apply to dependents under age 19 or members referred to the ER by a physician.

The following are changes for the remainder of Plan Year 2016:

Out-of-Network Physical Therapy — Effective November 1, 2016, visits with an out-of-network provider will be limited to the average in-network cost for physical therapy visits paid by the carriers. Plans administered by Aetna only will cover a maximum of $55 per visit and plans administered by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey only will cover $52 per visit.  Aetna and Horizon both have extensive provider networks, so members should consider switching to an in-network practitioner.  

Generic Substitution — Effective December 1, 2016, members will be required to pay the difference between the cost of a generic and the cost of the brand medication when a brand drug with a generic equivalent is dispensed, unless the brand drug is deemed medically necessary and appropriate under the guidelines of the plan.

Prescription Drug Formulary — Effective December 1, 2016, the SHBP will be using Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary (NPF) which is a listing of drugs, classified by therapeutic category or disease class, that are considered preferred therapy for a given population and that are to be used by providers in prescribing medications. Medications not on the NPF will not be covered by the plan unless the non-formulary drug is deemed medically necessary and appropriate under the guidelines of the plan.

MEDICAL PLANS

There are no medical plan changes for Plan Year 2017.  Ten Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, two Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, two Tiered Network Plans, and four High Deductible Health Plans will be offered for Plan Year 2017.
The medical plans available to employees are:

  • Tiered-Network Plans: Aetna Liberty Plan; Horizon’s OMNIA Health Plan

  • PPO Plans: Aetna Freedom 10; Aetna Freedom 15; Aetna Freedom 1525; Aetna Freedom 2030; Aetna Freedom 2035; NJ DIRECT10; NJ DIRECT15; NJ DIRECT1525; NJ DIRECT2030; NJ DIRECT2035

  • HMO Plans: Aetna HMO; Horizon HMO

  • High Deductible Health Plans: Aetna Value HD1500; Aetna Value HD4000; NJ DIRECT HD1500; NJ DIRECT HD4000

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

DENTAL PLANS

For participating employers, there are no dental plan changes for Plan Year 2017. Dental coverage is offered to eligible 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).

  • 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 preferred provider organization plan that allows members to obtain services from any dentist; however, 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 2017 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission and rate charts for dental coverage will be posted online for the Open Enrollment via the Division’s Web site.

NJWELL WELLNESS PROGRAM

NJWELL is open to employees who are enrolled in the SHBP. Spouses and eligible partners also can participate, as long as they are covered by the SHBP plan. Plan Year 2016 will be coming to a close on October 31, 2016. Employees can earn a possible $250 in rewards, in total, based on their total points earned by October 31. For information about the program visit the NJWELL Web site at: www.nj.gov/njwell Watch your e-mail for upcoming information about NJWELL in 2017.

PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AVAILABLE FOR HDHP PARTICIPANTS

Employees participating in one of the High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) are able to use 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 High Deductible plans, Aetna or Horizon will contact you to assist in setting up the payroll deductions. A sample of the HSA Contribution Form can be found online at:
http://www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/epbam/exhibits/pdf/ha0914.pdf

SUMMARIES OF BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

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

A direct mailing will be 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 2017 were approved by the State Health Benefits Commission. Rate charts will be posted online on the Division’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHBP COVERAGE

Pursuant to 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 cost of the medical and prescription plans. Most Local employees are currently contributing at the 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 will be revised for 2017 plan selections and rates.

The increase in plan premiums for 2017 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 the current contribution phase-in level and if applicable, the next phased-in contribution amount 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, 2017, employees should indicate “Open Enrollment” on the waiver form; otherwise, the waiver will be effective before January 1st.

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 forward the information to your Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees. Please do not give these telephone numbers to your employees. (Phone numbers and Web address contacts for employees are provided in the enclosed Health Capsule newsletter and on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Web site.)

HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM APPLICATIONS

SHBPapplications are available for download on the Division’s Web site. Please be certain that your employees are aware of, and have access to, the health benefit applications. Employers should note that a separate application and contribution form are required for enrollment into any of the High Deductible Health Plans (provide the HSA Contribution Form for any HDHP enrollments). Completed employer-certified medical and/or dental applications (if applicable) must arrive at the Health Benefits Bureau no later than November 11, 2016, to ensure processing for the start of the 2017 plan year.

DISTRIBUTION OF OPEN ENROLLMENT MATERIALS

Your assistance in forwarding the communications and materials is very important and vital to making the Open Enrollment period a beneficial experience for your employees.

Enclosed with this letter is the Health Capsule newsletter. Links to applications and comparison charts also can be found in the Health Capsule. Please forward this attachment to your employees.

As of this mailing, Open Enrollment informational materials are being prepared for posting to our Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions
If you are not responsible for the communication and administration of health benefits for your employees, please forward this letter and all future Open Enrollment communications to your Human Resources staff, Benefits Administrators, or any other staff members who will be distributing the Open Enrollment materials to 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:

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 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
Plan Marketing Contacts
Summaries of Benefits and Coverage sample
Health Capsule Newsletter
Pilot Incentive Resolution

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (47K)

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September 29, 2016

TO: State University and College Certifying Officers, State University and College Benefits Administrators, State Monthly Certifying Officers, State Monthly Benefits Administrators

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Open Enrollment for the New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2017 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017) will begin October 3 and ends on October 31, 2016.  A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$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; and

  3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. 

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

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

PREMIUM OPTION PLAN

The Premium Option Plan saves your employees money by paying health and dental premiums from pre-tax dollars and reducing their tax liability.  Enrollment in the Premium Option Plan is automatic for all eligible employees.  If an employee does not wish to take advantage of the Premium Option Plan in 2017 (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 2016 does not carry over automatically into 2017.  Employees must enroll with WageWorks during Open Enrollment to participate in an FSA in 2017. 

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum.  For the Tax$ave 2017 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 in 2017 have until March 15, 2018, to incur eligible expenses for the 2017 plan year.  In addition to claiming eligible expenses through March 15, 2018, the period that employees enrolled in the UMSA or DCSA have for submitting claims for reimbursement extends to April 30, 2018.  While this does not eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it rule, 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 2017 contributions that remain unclaimed after April 30, 2018 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.  The WageWorks Health Care Card also contains an automatic “look back” feature during the 2½ month grace period extension that will access any unused Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds from 2016 before using funds contributed in 2017.

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, 2016.

  • Fax: FSA Enrollment Forms may be faxed by the employee to 1-866-672-4780.  The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, October 31, 2016. 

  • Mail: FSA Enrollment 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, 2016.  Forms postmarked after October 31, 2016, will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSA Enrollment Forms.

For more information about the FSA plans, see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.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) 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 payroll contributions or premiums an employee pays for a partner’s medical or dental coverage can be made on a pre-tax basis under the Premium Option Plan, the civil union partner or domestic partner must be able to qualify as a “tax dependent” 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 UnionsInformation about New Jersey Domestic Partners can be found in Fact Sheet #71, Benefits under the Domestic Partnership ActBoth 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 2017 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 2017 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 2017 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, 2016, deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;

  • The Premium Option Plan 2017 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 in which 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 Guide and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) form. 

  • A small supply of the 2017 FSA Reference Guide and Enrollment Form will be sent directly to benefits administrators by WageWorks.  Please provide the FSA Reference Guide or Enrollment Form to any employee who requests them.

The FSA Reference Guide and Enrollment Form also are available online at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/taxsave.shtmlS  

  • 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.  Employees who choose not to save tax dollars under the Tax$ave Premium Option Plan and want to pay more federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on the salary used to pay their medical and dental premiums in 2017, 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, 2016.  Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to the appropriate representative in their payroll department.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits appreciates your cooperation.  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$ave 2017, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$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.

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2017 Open Enrollment Milestones
Tax$ave 2017 Open Enrollment News
The Premium Option Plan 2017 Flier
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier
Tax$ave Announcement Flier for Online Access to Publications
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2017

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (59K)

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September 29, 2016

TO: State Department Certifying Officers, State Department Human Resource Directors, State Biweekly Payroll Locations Benefits Administrators

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Open Enrollment for the New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017)

The annual open enrollment for the calendar year 2017 New Jersey State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave 2017) will begin October 3 and ends on October 31, 2016.  A benefit program available under Section 125 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, Tax$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; and

  3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. 

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

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

PREMIUM OPTION PLAN

The Premium Option Plan saves your employees money by paying health and dental premiums from pre-tax dollars and reducing their tax liability.  Enrollment in the Premium Option Plan is automatic for all eligible employees.  If an employee does not wish to take advantage of the Premium Option Plan in 2017 (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 2016 does not carry over automatically into 2017.  Employees must enroll with WageWorks during Open Enrollment to participate in an FSA in 2017. 

Some of the benefits of FSA participation include:

  • $2,500 Medical FSA Maximum and $5,000 Dependent Care FSA Maximum.  For the Tax$ave 2017 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 in 2017 have until March 15, 2018,to incur eligible expenses for the 2017 plan year.  In addition to claiming eligible expenses through March 15, 2018,, the period that employees enrolled in the UMSA or DCSA have for submitting claims for reimbursement extends to April 30, 2018.  While this does not eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it rule, 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 2017 contributions that remain unclaimed after April 30, 2018 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.  The WageWorks Health Care Card also contains an automatic “look back” feature during the 2½ month grace period extension that will access any unused  Unreimbursed Medical FSA funds from 2016 before using funds contributed in 2017.

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, 2016.

  • Fax: FSA Enrollment Forms may be faxed by the employee to 1-866-672-4780.  The deadline for accepting faxed enrollment forms is midnight, October 31, 2016. 

  • Mail: FSA Enrollment 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, 2016.  Forms postmarked after October 31, 2016, will be returned without action.  Employer benefits offices should not be involved in processing or mailing FSA Enrollment Forms.

For more information about the FSA plans, see the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$ave Web page at: www.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 employees miss 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) 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 payroll contributions or premiums an employee pays for a partner’s medical or dental coverage can be made on a pre-tax basis under the Premium Option Plan, the civil union partner or domestic partner must be able to qualify as a “tax dependent” 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 UnionsInformation 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 2017 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.

Paycheck Messages

For employees paid through Centralized Payroll, the following paycheck message will be issued on September 23, October 7, and October 21: 

Open Enrollment for the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and State Employees Tax Savings Program (Tax$ave) is October 3 through October 31, 2016.   This is your chance to join, add dependents, or make changes to your SHBP medical, prescription drug, or dental plans. Take a closer look to see what the SHBP has to offer – you might be able to save by switching to a plan with a lower premium share. Since participation in a Tax$ave Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan must be renewed annually, you must act if you want to participate in a FSA plan during 2017.  To learn more visit: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions

Online Distribution of Tax$ave Newsletter and Open Enrollment Fliers

In compliance with State initiatives to provide paperless services, the Tax$ave 2017 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 2017 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, 2016, deadline for submission of all enrollment materials;

  • The Premium Option Plan 2017 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 in whichonline 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 Guide and the Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) form. 

  • This letter includes theDeclination 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.  Employees who choose 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 2017, they must complete the form declining the federal tax break they could receive.  Employees should request these forms from benefits administrators and return theDeclination of Premium Option Plan (POP) forms to benefits administrators by October 31, 2016.  Benefits administrators must then forward declination forms to Centralized Payroll by November 11, 2016. 

The Division of Pensions and Benefits appreciates your cooperation.  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$ave 2017, the open enrollment, or the Premium Option Plan, visit the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Tax$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.

Enclosures:
Tax$ave 2017 Open Enrollment Milestones
Tax$ave 2017 Open Enrollment News
The Premium Option Plan 2017 Flier
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Flier
Tax$ave Announcement Flier for Online Access to Publications
Tax$ave — WageWorks Flexible Spending Accounts Enrollment Form
Declination of Premium Option Plan (POP) for Plan Year 2017

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September 19, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS)

FROM:

Jacquelyn Bussanich, Board Secretary
Public Employees’ Retirement System

SUBJECT: PERS Notice of Election

This Certifying Officer letter and the attached notice for the 2017 Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) elections require your cooperation and response.

We ask your assistance in servicing the election of one “State” Representative position, one “Municipal” Representative position, and one “County” Representative position to the PERS Board of Trustees.  Each representative will be elected for a three-year term as of July 1, 2017. Candidates for these positions must qualify by nomination.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Every active PERS member must receive a copy of the attached Notice of PERS Election, which explains the pre-election procedures.  Please distribute the attached election notice electronically or, if you are not able to accommodate electronic distribution, as paper to every PERS member employed at your location.  If you are the Certifying Officer for multiple locations, you will receive only one Certifying Officer letter; however, you are required to distribute the election notice to active PERS members at all locations.  Your attention to this distribution is required under N.J.A.C. 17:2-1.4.

In addition to individual distribution, you may post the notice on your employees’ intranet site and/or in any other appropriate public area at your location.

It is very important that you confirm distribution of this notice with the Board of Trustees.  To confirm that you have distributed the notice to your active PERS employees, please send an e-mail to: NJBOT.ELECT@treas.nj.gov

Thank you for your prompt assistance and distribution of this notice.

Attachment: Election Notice


BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM (PERS)
DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS – NOTICE OF PERS ELECTION
One State Street Square - 50 West State Street - P.O. BOX 295 - Trenton, N.J., 08625-0295 or NJBOT.Nomination@treas.nj.gov

Nominations are being accepted to fill the position of one elected “State” position, one elected “Municipal” position, and one elected “County” position to the PERS Board of Trustees for terms from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020.

If you wish to declare your interest in running for one of the positions, please send a written request by December 2, 2016, to the PERS Board Secretary at NJBOT.Nomination@treas.nj.gov or PO Box 295, Trenton, N.J., 08625-0295.

The Board of Trustees has the general responsibility for the operation of the PERS, 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 receive at least 500 active PERS nominations. 

Only State employees may petition for State Representative; only Municipal employees may petition for Municipal 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 a candidate are made primarily through a secure Web site.  The process is very easy and only takes a few minutes. 

You need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number, the first four letters of your last name, and your birthdate.  You will then 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’ Web site.

Nominations must be received online or arrive in the Board Office on or before 4:00 p.m. Friday January 6, 2017.  If more than one candidate receives 500 or more nominations, an election will be required.  Election ballots will be mailed to PERS employers for distribution on or about April 1, 2017.

PRESENT MEMBERS – TERM

State Representatives:  Thomas Bruno – 2019; Carey Brown – 2018; William O’Brien – 2017; County Representative: Tracy Smith – 2017; Municipal Representatives:Brian Currie – 2017;Benjamin “Max”Hurst – 2019; 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 statute.
  • Establish rules and regulations 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.

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September 1, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers

FROM:

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Renewal Required for Annual Membership Certification

This letter serves as official notice to Certifying Officers and Supervisors of Certifying Officers that it is time to renew your Annual Membership Certification as required under the provisions of N.J.S.A.43:3C-15 (Chapter 52, P.L. 2011).

MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATION MUST BE COMPLETED 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, 2016.
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 click the button for the “Chapter 52 Annual Certification.” The first page 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 the required Chapter 52 Enrollment Training has not been completed by both individuals, it must be done immediately. The “Complete Certification” button will not be available until Chapter 52 training is completed;

  • If you are able to certify that each member of the retirement system is properly enrolled, click “Yes.” You will receive an online confirmation, and the process will be  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 also should remove any improperly enrolled individuals from the quarterly Report of Contributions. Once any instance of an improperly enrolled worker has been reported to 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, 2016. Failure to do so will prevent the Division from accepting any new enrollment applications from the employing location until the certifications are completed.

WHEN CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED

Under N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15, Membership Certification is due annually. The Division of Pensions and Benefits notifies the Certifying Officer and the Supervisor of the Certifying Officer in September of each year that the certification is due.
When a new Certifying Officer or new Supervisor of the Certifying Officer joins the employer, the new individual must complete the required Chapter 52 Enrollment Training and complete a new Membership Certification.

IMPORTANCE OF PROPER ENROLLMENT

Verifying the proper enrollment of only eligible members is critical to the fiscal and administrative integrity of the retirement systems. Improper enrollment results in pension abuse by ineligible individuals and a loss of public confidence in local and State administrators. Failure to complete the required training and/or Annual Membership Certification also may 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 the law.

ENROLLMENT AND TRANSFERS

It is required that employers use the online Enrollment Applications available in EPIC whenever possible. In cases in which paper Enrollment Applications or Transfer Forms are required to be submitted to the Division, employers must use the most recent versions of the printable forms, which reflect the training and certification requirements of N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15. If obsolete versions of the forms are received, they will be rejected and returned to the employer.
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 the training or certification requirements of Chapter 52 or about any of the information in this letter, contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Employer Helpline at (609) 292-7524, or send e-mail to: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov

“Certifying Officer” is defined in the law as “an officer or employee of the State or an employer other than the State who is responsible for submitting to a pension fund or retirement system such information, and for performing the duties relating to matters concerning the pension fund or retirement system with respect to each of the employees of the employer, as required of the employer by law and the rules or regulations promulgated thereto, and by the Division and the board of trustees or the State House Commission, as appropriate.”  “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.

N.J.S.A. 43:3C-15 (Chapter 52, P.L. 2011) 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 information.

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August 24, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)

The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) are required to enroll a dependent child in health care coverage when identified by a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN).  N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.11a states that the employer must permit enrollment and provide medical coverage for the dependent(s) when available.

A NMSN is a document child support agencies send to employers to help ensure that children receive health care coverage when it is available and is required as part of a child support order.  

A NMSN that is properly completed by the child support agency also meets the requirements for a Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO).  A QMCSO must contain the following information:

  • The name and last known mailing address of the participant and each alternate recipient.  The order may substitute the name and mailing address of a State or local official for the mailing address of any alternate recipient;
  • A reasonable description of the type of health care coverage to be provided to each alternate recipient (or the manner in which such coverage is to be determined); and
  • The period to which the order applies.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY

The NMSN serves as legal notice that an employee is obligated by a court or through an administrative child support order to provide health care coverage for the child(ren) identified on the notice.

The document consists of:

  • Part A - Notice to Withhold for Health Care Coverage for the employer to deduct any employee contributions required by the group health plan(s) in which the child(ren) is/are enrolled; and
  • Part B - Medical Support Notice to the Plan Administrator, which must be forwarded to the SHBP or SEHBP to enroll the eligible child(ren).  NOTE: Additional documentation such as a birth certificate is not required by the SHBP/SEHBP in order to process the enrollment of a dependent child listed on a NMSN.

If the employee listed on the NMSN does not have health care coverage because he or she has waived enrollment or the employee is listed as a “dependent” on another SHBP/SEHBP member’s account (such as that of a spouse or a parent), the SHBP/SEHBP will enforce the NMSN by automatically enrolling the employee and his or her dependent child(ren) in the least expensive health plan.  If a child currently has health care coverage under the SHBP/SEHBP from another parent or guardian, the child will be reenrolled as a dependent covered by the parent that is identified on the NMSN.

The SHBP/SEHBP will notify the employer of the enrollment and the health benefits premium deduction.  The employee may select a different health plan within 30 days of enrollment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional information, contact the Division of Pensions and Benefits’ Office of Client Services at (609) 292-7524 or by e-mail at: pensions.nj@treas.nj.gov

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August 22, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, All Funds

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Administrative Code Updates – Honorable Service; Disability Retirement

The New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. Section 17:1), General Administration, was readopted effective June 20, 2016, and addresses the administrative practices that generally apply to the New Jersey State-administered retirement systems and benefit programs. The Division of Pensions and Benefits regularly proposes and adopts regulations to reflect new legislation, court decisions, or the current operating procedures and policies for New Jersey’s State-administered retirement systems.

Included in the readoption were several changes that should be noted by employers in the areas of Honorable Service (N.J.A.C. 17:1-6) and Disability Retirements (N.J.A.C. 17:1-6.4, 17:1-7.5, and 17:1-7.10). These changes clarify the conditions under which honorable service and disability retirements can be awarded and help thwart common abuses in these areas.

It is important for employers to review the changes described below. Understanding and following the regulations and procedures with regard to honorable service and disability retirement helps ensure that benefits are not awarded to individuals who are ineligible, maintains the administrative and fiscal integrity of the retirement systems, and allows you to properly advise and guide your employees through any review of legitimate service or benefits.

HONORABLE SERVICE

Additions to N.J.A.C. 17:1-6 provide additional review for honorable service.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-6.1 includes new paragraphs (a)1 and (a)2.

  • Employers must submit specific documentation to the Division (and to the employee) regarding any charges brought against the employee that render all or a part of the member’s service dishonorable. Required documentation includes, but is not limited to: reports related to the employee’s misconduct; disciplinary action taken; plea agreements; and sentencing and plea transcripts.
  • For cases involving a disability retirement, the Board of Trustees will review honorable service issues prior to a disability application being processed (see additional requirements under Disability Retirements below).
  • In addition, all claims for retirement or death benefits will be held in abeyance until the Division receives all documentation related to charges against the member.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-6.1(d) is a new subsection regarding the suspension of retirement benefits.

  • This subsection provides for the immediate suspension of a member’s retirement allowance as of the date of an incarceration resulting from a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, along with specific procedures for dependents who seek to file a dependency claim for benefits, based on the incarcerated member’s monthly pension allowance.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-6.3(a) includes new paragraphs 1i and 1ii regarding settlement agreements.

  • In cases in which a member was subject to administrative or criminal charges that result in a settlement agreement between the member and employer, the employer is required to submit to the Division (and to the employee) all documentation related to the settlement agreement — including the specific underlying charges, disciplinary actions taken, and reports related to the employee’s misconduct — before any benefit claims submitted by the member will be processed.
  • In addition, all claims for retirement or death benefits submitted after reaching a settlement agreement will be held in abeyance until the Division receives the settlement agreement and all related documentation.

The employer certifications for retirement ask if the applicant is under suspension, facing disciplinary action, has a settlement agreement in lieu of disciplinary action, or is facing indictment. The employer certification for a death claim asks if the decedent was on a leave of absence and for the nature and status of any leave. If these questions are answered in the affirmative, no actions on the processing of benefits or claims will begin until the employer provides copies of all documentation related to any suspension, disciplinary action, settlement agreement, or indictment and any outstanding questions on honorable service are resolved.

When certifying an employee’s status with the Division, it is preferred that the employer use the online certification applications in the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) and follow up with copies of the required documents under separate cover. Where paper certifications are permitted or required, employers must answer all questions on the certification form — incomplete certifications will be returned and cause unnecessary delays — and submit it along with the other required documents.

DISABILITY RETIREMENT

N.J.A.C. 17:1 includes new and revised regulations for disability retirements.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-6.4 is a new section which requires that disability applicants must prove that the retirement is due to a total and permanent disability and that the disability is the reason the member left employment.

  • Members will not be permitted to apply for a disability retirement if they have involuntarily or voluntarily terminated service due to: removal for cause or total forfeiture of public service; settlement agreements reached due to pending administrative or criminal charges (unless the underlying charges relate to the disability); loss of licensure or certification required for the performance of the member’s specific job duties; voluntary separation from service for reasons other than a disability; or job abolishment or reduction in force.
  • The Division will review all disability applications submitted after a member has terminated service to determine whether the member’s application is eligible for processing.

The Certification for Disability Retirement asks if the applicant is under suspension, disciplinary action, has a settlement agreement in lieu of disciplinary action, or is facing indictment. As indicated in the preceding sections, if these questions are answered in the affirmative, no actions on the processing of retirement benefits will begin until the employer provides copies of all documentation related to any suspension, disciplinary action, settlement agreement, or indictment and any outstanding questions on honorable service are resolved.

Disability retirement is intended for those members who are totally and permanently disabled and unable to work due to an accident or medical condition. If it is shown that the reason for the member’s termination is not the disability, the member may be deemed by the Board of Trustees to be ineligible to apply for a disability retirement.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-7.5 adds new paragraphs (c)1 through (c)4 which address medical examination and review for disability retirement.

  • A medical examination can be required for the purpose of providing additional information to the Medical Review Board in making a determination about a disability retirement application. The initial independent medical examination (IME) will be scheduled by the Disability Review Section and provided at no cost to the applicant.
  • However, if the applicant fails to attend and fails to cancel the initial scheduled IME, the applicant will be required to pay for any subsequent IME. This payment will be required before the Division will reschedule the examination. Failure to provide payment within 90 days of the missed appointment will result in the dismissal of the disability retirement case.
  • Members also are responsible for payment of any subsequent IME required when additional medical documentation is submitted after the initial medical examination, as well as for the cost for review of medical reports submitted subsequent to the initial medical examination.

The review for disability retirement is a carefully conducted, time-consuming process. Missed or cancelled examinations and incomplete reviews delay the process, waste the limited resources of the Medical Review Board, and incur additional costs to the retirement systems. The amended regulations are intended to make the disability retirement medical examination and review process more efficient by promoting member responsibility when needed.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-7.8(b) is a new subsection about Involuntary Disability Retirement applications.

  • Employers who submit an Involuntary Disability Retirement application for an employee are required to only select the “Maximum” option (for PERS or TPAF members) and the “Estate” as the beneficiary. If the disability retirement is subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees, the member will have 30 days following Board approval to revise the option and beneficiary designation. (The member also may file a Designation of Beneficiary to designate a specific beneficiary to receive life insurance benefits.)

State law requires that the member make his or her own option selection and beneficiary designation at retirement. Programming updates are in progress to the Retirement Application in the Employer Pension and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) to allow only the “Maximum” option and “Estate” as selections when an employer is submitting an Involuntary Disability Application. Until the programming work is completed, employers should manually select only the “Maximum” option and “Estate” as the beneficiary.

N.J.A.C. 17:1-7.10 addresses the application process for disability retirement with new paragraphs (a)1, (a)2, and new subsections (d) and (e), (h), (i), and (j).

  • An applicant for disability retirement must submit all required documentation within six months of providing the disability retirement application. If required documentation is not received within the six-month window, the disability retirement application will be cancelled, and the member will be required to complete a new disability application for a future retirement date.
  • If additional documentation that existed at the time of the independent medical examination (IME) is submitted after the examination, the applicant will be charged for the cost of the addendum to the disability retirement application (see also N.J.A.C. 17:1-7.5(c)3 and (c)4 described above).
  • All Accidental Disability retirement applicants are required to undergo an IME after all medical documentation has been submitted. The Division also reserves the right to require a member to sign a sworn certification that no underlying condition existed related to the disability for which the member is seeking a benefit and that all available medical reports related to the disability have been disclosed to the IME provider prior to the examination.
  • A member’s disability retirement application will be processed on the basis of the medical conditions listed on the member’s application; if denied, the member will have 45 days to reapply. If a member reapplies after a Board denial, the member must submit a new application on the basis of another medical condition and with a new retirement date.
  • Members who are granted an Accidental Disability Retirement benefit will receive certification of the award and are responsible for notifying the Division if the disabling condition improves or if they become employed again. This certification must be signed and returned before any retirement benefits will be paid.

Disability applicants are informed at the time they submit the Application for Retirement to complete and forward to the Division the Authorization to Disclose Health Information, the Medical Examination by Personal or Treating Physician form, and all supporting hospital and physician records related to the condition resulting in their disability. Applications that are incomplete after six months will be cancelled, and the member will be required to reapply for a future retirement date.

Similar to N.J.A.C. 17:1-7.5, the amended regulations are intended to make the disability retirement application and review process more efficient by promoting member responsibility when needed.

The amended regulations also make the process more stringent with certifications and subsequent review to hinder disability retirement approvals for members who are not disabled — or who are no longer disabled and otherwise ineligible for benefits.

EMPLOYER RESOURCES AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Employers are encouraged to review the regulations within, and keep abreast with changes to, the New Jersey Administrative Code.  
The full text of the Administrative Code can be viewed online through LexisNexis® at: www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/njcode  Regulations for the pension and health benefit programs are contained within Title 17, Treasury – General.

New or amended regulations are published in the New Jersey Register by the State Office of Administrative Law. Those related to the pension and health benefits programs also can be viewed on the Division’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/rlchng16.shtml

Additional information on employer responsibilities for reporting misconduct, indictments, dismissals, litigation, or appeals can be found in Fact Sheet #76, Honorable Service.

Additional information about Disability Retirement can be found in the recently updated fact sheets — Fact Sheet #15, Disability Retirement Benefits for PERS and TPAF, Fact Sheet #16, Disability Retirement Benefits for PFRS, and Fact Sheet #39, Disability Retirement Benefits for SPRS.

All of the Division’s fact sheets can be viewed or printed from the Division’s Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/fact-sheets.shtml

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August 5, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP)

FROM:

Edward Wade, Manager
Division of Pensions and Benefits
Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans Reporting Bureau

SUBJECT: Fiscal Year 2017 Alternate Benefit Program Default Designated Service Provider

The Division has named TIAA as the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) default provider for the current fiscal year — July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits strongly encourages ABP members to participate in their retirement planning; however, enrollees who do not choose a designated service provider 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 invest the contributions in the 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 designated service provider to change the option. The employer is then notified of the change.

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

ACTS 403(b) monies cannot be defaulted; therefore, a participant looking to enroll in the 403(b) program must first elect a designated service provider.  In addition, the participant must fill out the salary reduction agreement before any contributions are taken.  If contributions are taken before a designated service provider is chosen, those contributions will be returned to the employer.  You may view the State of New Jersey’s Centralized Payroll salary reduction form for reference at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/epbam/exhibits/pdf/fx0002.pdf
 
For more information about the ABP, visit our Web site at: www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/abp1.shtml

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July 28, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Retirement Certifications Required Through EPIC

Effective September 1, 2016, employers submitting the Certification of Service and Final Salary for their employees’ retirements must use the online Retirement Certification applicationin the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) whenever possible.*

Online certification is required when an employee first files for retirement through the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS) or when an employee’s application is resubmitted for a new retirement date or to change the retirement type (see also “Retirement Application Changes” on page 2). 

SUBMITTING THE ONLINE CERTIFICATION

When a new Retirement Certification is required, the Certifying Officer will receive e-mail notification from the Division of Pensions and Benefits (a letter request is also mailed from the Division and a copy forwarded to the member). 

To complete the certification, log on to EPIC and click the "Retirement Certification" button on the EPIC home page. A list of the employees with outstanding Retirement Certification requests is presented. Clicking on an employee’s name will open the online Retirement Certification form for completion. When all of the requested information is entered, click the “Submit” button to forward the certification to the Division.

Upon successful submittal of a certification, on-screen confirmation is displayed and a follow-up e-mail is sent to the employer.

EPIC APPLICATION ACCESS AND HELP

The Certifying Officer and Supervisor of the Certifying Officer can assign access to EPIC applications to themselves and to other EPIC users registered through the employing location. For additional information about how to assign access to new applications, see the EPIC Security Help Page at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epic-security.htm

A link to the EPIC Security Help Page is also found in the EPIC User’s Guide.

RETIREMENT APPLICATION CHANGES

Employers should also be aware of recent programming updates to the online Retirement Application that your employees access through MBOS. An employee who has applied for retirement and who wishes to change his or her retirement date or retirement type may be required to cancel the existing application and file a new Retirement Application through MBOS if the changes meet the following criteria:

  • Changing the retirement date for any non-disability retirement (Service, Early, Special, Veteran, Deferred); or
  • Changing the retirement type from a non-disability retirement to an Ordinary or Accidental Disability retirement; or
  • Changing the retirement type from a disability retirement to a non-disability retirement and the Board of Trustees meeting date is more than 30 days from the date of the new application or there is no Board of Trustees meeting date scheduled.

For other changes to a retirement date or type — or for pension option or beneficiary changes that do not involve a change of date or retirement type — the employee will be allowed to amend the existing retirement application without having to cancel and reapply.

  • For employers, when a new or amended retirement application also requires a new Certification of Service and Final Salary, an e-mail notification will be forwarded to the employer with a request to complete a new online Retirement Certification in EPIC.

The updated programming within the MBOS Retirement Application automatically guides users through a change to indicate when an amended application is allowed or a cancellation and resubmittal is required. Your employees should be made aware that when the change requires cancellation and a new application, MBOS must clear the prior retirement record and the new application cannot be submitted until after 8:00 a.m. the next business day (Monday – Friday).

APPLICATION HELP AND ONLINE TUTORIALS

  • For more information about EPIC and to find EPIC-related links, go to: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epic-help-index.shtml
        
  • Information about using the applications in EPIC — including the online certifications — is available in the EPIC User’s Guide at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/epickit.htm  
    A link to the User’s Guide can also be found on the EPIC home page.
  • If you experience problems logging onto or using EPIC, contact the EPIC Help Desk at
    (609) 292-7524 or e-mail the EPIC Help Desk at: https://www.state.nj.us/treas/pensions/epicmail.shtml

*Until programming changes can be completed in EPIC, paper Certifications of Service and Final Salary will continue to be accepted for employer initiated corrections and updates to a previously submitted online certification. Paper certifications will also be accepted for members retiring from the Judicial Retirement System (JRS). Employers must answer all questions on paper certifications as incomplete forms will be returned and may delay processing of the member’s retirement. 

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July 21, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, All Funds

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Pension Loan Recertification upon Return from Leave of Absence

The Internal Revenue Code, I.R.C. 72(p)(2), requires that pension loan balances be repaid within five (5) years of the original loan date, or else the principal loan balance, plus interest, must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a taxable distribution.

The Division is currently contacting members whose loan repayment schedules exceed the five-year payoff requirement. This includes members who did not continue loan payments while on a previous or current unpaid leave of absence, or who switched from a 12-month to a 10-month payroll schedule. Any subsequent loans taken prior to the initial loan being completely satisfied are included in the total loan balance due.
Where allowed by statute, members’ loans are being recertified to spread the balance in equal payments over the remainder of the five-year period. If the member has returned to work, the Division will adjust the loan payments to comply with the IRS code. If any of these members are employed through your location, you will receive a Certification of Payroll Deductions indicating the new payment amount. If the member is still on an unpaid leave of absence, the member must contact the Division immediately to establish loan payments through the Division’s personal billing system.

In certain circumstances, the Division will be prohibited from recertifying the loan, because the resulting payment will exceed the State law which limits the repayment to no more than 25 percent of base salary. Under this scenario, members will be given the option to pay off the loan in a lump sum. If the member does not send the lump-sum payment by the given due date, the Division must report the principal loan balance, plus interest, as a taxable distribution to the IRS.  The member will receive a Form 1099R at the end of the tax year and will be required to report the loan balance as income when filing a federal income tax return. In addition, if the member is under age 59 ½, he or she must also determine if it is necessary to make an estimated tax payment to cover the tax liability on the distribution.

If the loan balance plus interest is reported to the IRS, the member is still required to repay the remaining loan, plus interest. The remaining total loan will be recertified by the Division. The member will not be eligible to take any new pension loans until the deemed distribution amount is repaid in full.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Employees may be contacting you regarding the notification letters or revised Certifications of Payroll Deductions. Please advise members that these actions are mandated by the IRS and cannot be appealed through your location or through the Division of Pensions and Benefits. All members are advised of these requirements and agree to comply with the repayment terms and conditions prior to applying for the loan through the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS).

If a member is off payroll and misses one or more scheduled loan deduction(s), the outstanding loan must be revalued and additional interest charged. To protect a member who has been on a leave of absence from having a loan become a taxable distribution, employers should contact the Division as soon as the member returns from a leave of absence to have the loan recertified.

Members who have been off payroll with an outstanding loan balance for three months will be notified by the Division of nonpayment and offered the option of loan repayments through monthly personal billing in order to avoid the loan being deemed a taxable distribution.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For additional loan information, including IRS requirements, refer to the Loans section of the Employer’s Pensions and Benefits Administration Manual (EPBAM) and to Fact Sheet #81, Loans.

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July 5, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, Alternate Benefit Program (ABP)

FROM:

Edward Wade, Manager
Division of Pensions and Benefits
Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans Reporting Bureau

SUBJECT: ABP Annual Report of Covered Lives – 2016

The Division of Pensions and Benefits requires that public colleges and universities provide updated salary and employment status information annually for active members of the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP).

Please provide the annual salaries and employment status updates for the employees who are enrolled in the ABP at your institution as of June 30, 2016.  The report should be submitted via the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC) ABP application. As the Certifying Officer, you may request authorization for select staff members so that they may also access and update this information.  All information should be submitted no later than August 5, 2016.

The Division stands firm on its policy that prevents any future employer reimbursements if required information is not submitted in a timely manner.  Failure to provide updated information by the established deadline will result in the withholding of all reimbursement of employer ABP contributions until your institution complies with the reporting requirement.

Detailed instructions for using the EPIC ABP application are attached.  If you are unable to provide the information via EPIC, a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet on a rewritable CD or DVD is the next preferred method.  The Excel spreadsheet may also be submitted via e-mail to ABP Supervisor, Christine Salvatore at:Christine.Salvatore@treas.nj.gov Please include the following: ABP membership number (7 digits); member’s first and last name; contractual base salary; and employment status. In the event you do not have the participant’s ABP membership number in your records, you may obtain it from the EPIC application.

Should you have any questions, contact Christine Salvatore at (609) 292-9902. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Step 1 – Access to EPIC

If you currently do not have access to the EPIC ABP application, please contact your Certifying Officer (identified in our cover memo) who will be able to request access to the application from Christine Salvatore. 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 five 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, 2016, and modify vesting status if necessary. Salaries must be included for any member who terminated employment on or after June 30, 2016. Salaries are to be reported in whole dollars only and corrections may be made online until August 14, 2016, or until you choose to submit the report as noted above and explained again later.

For members absent from the online listing, but employed at your institution prior to June 30, 2016, please provide an Alternate Benefit Program Enrollment Application or Application for Transfer/Rehire form indicating the individual’s hire date. If you have previously submitted this information to the Division, please contact the Defined Contribution Plans Unit at (609) 292-9902 to resolve the matter. 

No salary information should be entered for members who cease employment prior to June 30, 2016. However, leave or termination information must be submitted and may be done so through the EPIC ABP application as described in Step 4. In addition to updating the online application, all leaves of absence, returns from absence, and terminations of employment occurring in the past year must be submitted in writing to the Defined Contribution Plans Unit at 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 report this information by accessing the member specific update screen. This is done by selecting the individual you wish to report the change for with your mouse. This will open a second window in which you can select a leave or termination reason from a dropdown menu and provide the effective date for the leave (start date) or termination. If the individual has returned from a leave, the return date may be inserted here as well (end date).

Once you have completed updating the 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, update 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 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. If you have answered “YES” in error and wish to continue working on the report, please contact Christine Salvatore at (609) 292-9902.

Step 6 – Give us your feedback!

Please submit any feedback on the use of the EPIC ABP application to Manager, Edward Wade at:Edward.Wade@treas.nj.gov

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June 2, 2016

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 the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF)

Pursuant to Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform, PERS and TPAF employee pension contribution rates will increase from 7.06% to 7.2% of salary with the first paycheck on or after July 1, 2016. 

  • State employees paid through the Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages as notification of the contribution change which will begin as of the July 1, 2016 paycheck.
  • For all other employees, the increase to 7.2% is to be effective with the first paycheck to be paid on or after July 1, 2016 (which is reported to the Division of Pensions and Benefits as compensation during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2016).

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

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

NOTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

State biweekly employees paid through the State Centralized Payroll Unit will receive check messages with Pay Periods #12 (June 17, 2016) and #13 (July 1, 2016) to announce the PERS/TPAF contribution change.  Copies of the check messages are attached for reference. State biweekly employers are encouraged to provide their employees with additional reminders of the coming rate change.
State monthly, local government, and local education employers are asked to provide payroll messages or other notifications to inform their employees of the coming rate change.

FUTURE INCREASES

July 2016 marks the sixth 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. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

Enclosure
Centralized Payroll Check Messages — Pension Rate Change

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June 2, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers of the Judicial Retirement System

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Pension Contribution Rate Changes for the Judicial Retirement System (JRS)

Pursuant to Article VI, Section VI, Paragraph 6 of the New Jersey Constitution — as authorized under Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, Pension and Health Benefit Reform — employee pension contribution rates for members of the JRS will increase as of State Biweekly Pay Period #13 of 2016 (the July 1, 2016 paycheck).

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

PENSION CONTRIBUTION RATES

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

  • For JRS members enrolled into the retirement system on or after January 1, 1996, the pension contribution rate will increase to 10.68% of all compensation.
  • For JRS members enrolled into the retirement system before January 1, 1996, the pension contribution is calculated using one rate for the compensation of the member’s current position as of January 18, 1982, and a separate rate for the balance of the member’s compensation in excess of the January 18, 1982, compensation. The employee contribution rates for this group will increase to 7.68% for the compensation as of January 18, 1982, and to 10.68% for any compensation exceeding the January 18, 1982, compensation.

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

FUTURE PENSION INCREASES

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (75K)

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June 2, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, All Funds

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: New Processes and Procedures for Updating or Adding Certifying Officers and Supervising Certifying Officers in EPIC

This Certifying Officer letter contains important information concerning changes to how your employing location must update the Certifying Officer (CO) or Supervising Certifying Officer (SCO) in the Employer Pensions and Benefits Information Connection (EPIC).  Updates will no longer be completed via the Demographic Changes button in EPIC Security.

Effective June 1, 2016:

  • The existing Demographic Changes button in EPIC will be used for updating addresses only.  The name of the Demographic Changes button will now be Address Changes.
  • Adding a new CO/SCO will be completed via the Add New User button in EPIC Security.
  • Modifying an existing user will be completed via the Search/Modify Users button in EPIC Security.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

The existing CO/SCO at each location will be responsible for adding any new CO/SCO to their location. 

  • If the CO/SCO is an existing EPIC or MBOS user, the change will occur instantly. 
  • If the new CO/SCO is a new EPIC user they will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to set up their EPIC and myNewJersey accounts.   

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

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February 29, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System

FROM:

Jacquelyn Bussanich, Board Secretary
Public Employees' Retirement System

SUBJECT: Municipal Representative Elected to the Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees

Post this PERS State Member Notice in a Public Area at the Workplace

  • The Board of Trustees of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) at its meeting on February 17, 2016, deemed Benjamin “Max” Hurst elected to a three year term as Municipal Representative to the PERS Board, effective July 1, 2016.

  • Mr. Hurst was the only candidate to obtain 500 or more eligible PERS Municipal member nominations on-line or by paper petition. Therefore, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 17:2-1.4, the PERS Board noted that Mr. Hurst is elected to the Municipal Representative position without balloting.

  • Mr. Hurst is employed with the City of Ocean City in a PERS-covered position. Mr. Hurst has served as a Municipal representative on the PERS Board since July 1, 2013.

  • Notices for the next election cycle will be distributed through employers in the fall of 2016, which will provide interested candidates with instructions for obtaining nominating information. You may periodically check the website for the Division of Pensions and Benefits at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/

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February 29, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers of the Public Employees' Retirement System

FROM:

Jacquelyn Bussanich, Board Secretary
Public Employees' Retirement System

SUBJECT: State Representative Elected to the Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Trustees

Post this PERS State Member Notice in a Public Area at the Workplace

  • The Board of Trustees of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) at its meeting on February 17, 2016, deemed Thomas Bruno elected to a three year term as State Representative to the PERS Board, effective July 1, 2016.

  • Mr. Bruno was the only candidate to obtain 500 or more eligible PERS State member nominations on-line or by paper petition. Therefore, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 17:2-1.4, the PERS Board noted that Mr. Bruno is elected to the State Representative position without balloting.

  • Mr. Bruno is retired from the Hunterdon Developmental Center. This is his fourth 3-year term as a representative on the PERS Board of Trustees. Mr. Bruno serves as Chairperson on the PERS Board.

  • Notices for the next election cycle will be distributed through employers in the fall of 2016, which will provide interested candidates with instructions for obtaining nominating information. You may periodically check the website for the Division of Pensions and Benefits at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/

CO Letter in Printable Format Adobe PDF (40K)

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January 12, 2016

TO: Certifying Officers, State Colleges and Universities; Local Employers participating in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees Health Benefits Program (SEHBP)

FROM:

New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

SUBJECT: Employer Responsibility: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting Extension and New Tax Provisions

This Certifying Officer letter pertains to the extension of the due dates for the 2015 information reporting requirements by the Internal Revenue Service and the new provisions affecting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) excise tax on high-cost health plans.

Employer Shared Responsibility — Extension of Reporting Dates

Under the ACA’s Employer Shared Responsibility requirements, employers are required to file yearly returns with the IRS to provide information on their full-time employees and the standards and conditions of any health coverage offered by the employer.  IRS Notice 2016-4 extends the due dates for employers for the 2015 information reporting requirements for furnishing information to individuals and filing with the IRS:

  1. The notice extends the due date for furnishing to individuals the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, from February 1, 2016, to March 31, 2016; and

  2. For filing with the IRS the 2015 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, the 2015 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, from February 29, 2016, to May 31, 2016, if not filing electronically, and from March 31, 2016, to June 30, 2016 if filing electronically.

For more information about this new notice, please visit the IRS Web site at: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-16-4.pdf

New Provisions for the Excise Tax

As a result of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, that was signed into law on December 18, 2015, the new provisions are as follows:

  • A two-year delay was approved for the effective date of the excise tax (from Plan Year 2018 to Plan Year 2020);
  • The excise tax will be paid on the amount by which the total cost of coverage exceeds a tax threshold; and
  • The law makes the excise tax deductible for employers.

For employer-sponsored health coverage that costs more than the predetermined threshold, the ACA 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans will start in 2020, instead of 2018.  This law does not change the method for determining excess threshold levels and thresholds will rise with the Consumer Price Index.  The new law also permanently changed the ACA so that excise tax costs are now deductible.  The ACA had originally provided that the excise tax was not deductible.

Two other changes to the ACA as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act are the suspension for one year, until 2017, of the health insurance tax paid by health insurance carriers on their insured business and the suspension of the medical device tax for two years, 2016 and 2017.

To learn more about the ACA Tax Provisions, visit the IRS Web site at: www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions

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