OPERS offers tips to help you navigate 2021
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Jan. 5, 2021 – When the new year rolls around, it’s a good idea for OPERS retirees to review their accounts. Here’s a list of common first-of-the-year topics and what you need to know about each:
Changes in your benefits
Any time there’s a change in your monthly benefit amount, we’ll send you a Statement of Benefit Payment (formerly called a Benefit Change Notice). You may receive this statement in January because of changes in your premium amount or if you made changes to your health care coverage for 2021.
You also can view this statement through your OPERS online account. In February many retirees will see a change in their pension benefit amount because of federal tax table changes. Your February benefit amount also can be found within your online account in late January.
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.
2020 IRS 1099-R
OPERS will mail 2020 IRS 1099-R documents, which record pension distributions, by the end of January. About a week before we mail this document, it will be available to view and print from your online account. OPERS will send an email notification when it’s ready. Your 1099-R will not provide your health care deductions for 2020, but that information is available in your 2020 OPERS Health Care Premium Receipt through your online account.
If you’re an OPERS 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. But remember that OPERS members are evaluated for disability from their OPERS-covered position, not as a person who is permanently disabled as defined by the IRS.
2020 IRS 1095-B
The IRS 1095-B form provides evidence of health care minimum essential coverage. In years past the IRS has required these forms be mailed to each primary plan participant who met minimum essential coverage requirements. New guidance on the distribution of 1095-B forms now allows health plan sponsors, such as OPERS, to provide access to these forms through other means. OPERS will not be mailing 2020 1095-B forms.
Beginning in late January OPERS primary plan participants, including group health, Health Reimbursement Arrangement and Retiree Medical Account plan participants, will be able to access their 1095-B form through their OPERS online account. Simply log in to your account, access your documents, select the 1095-B form and print if you wish. Additionally, participants can request a copy of their 1095-B form using the OPERS online messaging center within their online account or by calling our Member Services Center at 800-222-7377.
The IRS 1095-B forms do not have to be filed with your tax returns. They are reference documents that validate health plan coverage. Consult the IRS or your tax adviser if you have additional tax questions.
Health care premium receipts
Beginning in 2021, premiums for the OPERS vision and dental plans will be automatically reimbursed monthly from your HRA account with no additional forms to complete or receipts to provide. Because you no longer need a premium receipt to be reimbursed for OPERS dental or vision premiums, we did not send the “Get Ready” letter and a copy of your premium receipt in December as we’ve done for the last several years.
If you opted out of dental/vision auto-reimbursement during open enrollment, or if you need to be reimbursed for OPERS group pre-Medicare premiums for a dependent, you can obtain these premium receipts through your OPERS online account.
Medicare Part B premium reimbursement
Reimbursement for Medicare Part B premiums from the funds in your HRA previously needed to be submitted annually. Automatic reimbursement for Medicare Part B premiums is now available. To receive this reimbursement for 2021:
- Submit a claim for reimbursement. Claims can be submitted online, through the Via Benefits mobile app, or by a form that Via Benefits can provide.
- Submit the claim to Via Benefits, along with your Social Security Benefit Award/Proof of Income Letter or your Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due, which include the following information: premium coverage period, carrier, individual serviced, premium type and monthly amount.
Beyond open enrollment, continue to rely on Via Benefits for help to resolve concerns with your current insurance provider or your online account. Via Benefits also help you access and understand insurance plans and your HRA.