Get ready for 2020

We’ve got tips to make sure you’re ready for the new year

By Donna Castiglione, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Dec. 10, 2019 – We’d like to make it easy for our retirees to access information when they need it. Below is a list of common first-of-the-year topics and what you need to know about each.

Changes in your benefits

Anytime there’s a change in your monthly benefit amount, we send you a Benefit Change Notice. You’ll likely receive one in January because of changes in health care premiums. You also will be able to view the notice via your OPERS online account a few days prior to the end of the month. If there are changes to the annual IRS tax tables (which can affect your withholdings), another Benefit Change Notice will be issued in February.

2020 Health Care Premium Receipts

Health Care Premium Receipts for 2020 will be mailed to Medicare retirees with a Health Reimbursement Arrangement account, or HRA, beginning Dec. 16.  This receipt is required to set up recurring reimbursements for next year and will be provided within a special “Get Ready for 2020” mailing. Beginning in mid-December, Connector administrator Via Benefits will mail personalized recurring reimbursement forms. Put the two mailings together and file for your reimbursements for 2020.

Changing your tax withholding

Most retirees review their tax withholdings once they file taxes for the previous year. The best way to do so is through your online account, which allows you to see the impact a change will make to your net monthly benefit amount.

Tax documents

OPERS will mail the 2019 1099-R and 1095-B documents by the end of January. If you would like to access them early, log into your OPERS online account. You also can access them through your online account up to a week before they’re mailed.

Your 1099-R will not provide your health care deductions for 2019. This information is available by signing in to your OPERS online account and accessing your 2019 OPERS Health Care Premium Receipt.

OPERS members are evaluated for disability from their OPERS-covered position, not as a person who is permanently disabled as defined by the IRS. As such, if you are a disability benefit recipient, Box 7 on your 1099-R will have a code number 7 or 2 depending on your age. Your tax adviser may incorrectly indicate this code should be a 3.

Changes in Medicare status

If you are currently on our pre-Medicare plan and qualify early for Medicare, it is very important that you notify OPERS as soon as this occurs, or no later than 30 days after you’ve been notified of coverage. Changes to your plan will need to take place, or you could enter an overpayments situation that we would like to avoid.

We look forward to continue serving you in 2020.

Donna Castiglione

Donna Castiglione is the assistant director of Member Services and has been with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for more than 13 years. She has extensive experience in customer service management in a variety of industries.

Donna Castiglione

Assistant Director of Member Services

  • just found out my monthly benefit will decrease in January due to another increase in insurance premiums. what in the world will people do when they freeze the 3% for 2 years. They should have to freeze increases in premiums as well. we will never recover those loses.

  • Thanks Donna, I already know what to expect. The COLA has been cut in half, and the overpriced Medical Mutual (as compared to other plans that have actually reduced their premiums) coverage is going up $75/month. So this coming year I will actually lose about $45/month. Happy New Year!!

    • same thing here and it will only get worse unless OPERS stands up to the insurance companies.
      wait until they freeze the cola for 2 years and the insurance continues to go up without a raise to help
      offset it some.

  • OPERS is said to be among the best managed public retirement systems, and the envy of many public/private retirement systems. However, at the rate at which OPERS continue to reduce and chip away many of the retirement benefits that makes it the envy of other retirement systems, OPERS would soon no longer be the envy of any retirement system. Freezing and tying COLA to CPI for new retirees, dropping health coverage for retirees’ dependents. OPERS actuaries dropped the ball by not requiring its member to contribute towards their dependents health care while working. I am sure most member would not mind contributing towards their dependents health coverage. I don’t know why OPERS actuaries thought it could indefinitely provide to health care benefit to retirees and their dependents. For 5 years or more now, retirees’ dependents are no longer covered by OPERS health care. I am disappointed that I will be affected when I retire in less than 6 months and will have to shop for health care coverage for my spouse who is 6 years away from being eligible for Medicare.

    • It is important to remember that health care is discretionary; it cannot jeopardize pension funding. While we understand health care coverage is part of a meaningful retirement, our primary obligation is to fund retirees’ pensions. Spouses of OPERS retirees are eligible to purchase health care through OPERS at full cost. For more information, go to http://www.opers.org/healthcare.

      Julie, OPERS

      • Thanks Julie for reminding me and others that health care is discretionary and not mandated by statue unlike pension. In fact, for 30 years I have heard that health care is discretionary. My point was not that health care is not discretionary, rather that had OPERS required members to contribute towards health care for their dependent, perhaps, OPERS would have been able to provider health care for retirees’ dependent a little longer. It is no longer a matter of if OPERS will completely end providing health care to its retirees, it is a matter of when. And it is going to be sooner rather than later.

  • It is my understanding that pre-Medicare eligible retiree’s dependent is responsible for full cost of their healthcare. Is eligible retiree’s dependent also responsible for full cost of dental and vision plans? Is OPERS health care allowance to retirees for health care, dental and vision plans premiums or health care only and no charge for dental and vision coverage?

      • Additional question- we were told during a pre retirement session that if we select 100% for spouse and spouse dies first, the retiree monthly payment will revert to the single amount ie go up. Is this really true.

    • The retiree and their dependents pay the full cost of dental and vision coverage. The health care allowance currently provided to Medicare-eligible retirees can be used for health insurance premiums or any other qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses.

      Julie

  • Thank you for being there and taking care of the retirees for o p e r s and I appreciate the time and effort spent by each and every one of you happy New year and may you have a great and wonderful year

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