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Open Enrollment for Health, Dental and Vision Begins September 10, 2018

Posted: 8/31/2018 Tags: benefits health policy Tags Views: 1025

Open Enrollment for health, dental and vision coverage starts September 10 and ends October 5. This is your opportunity to evaluate your health care selections and make any changes to your health or dental plans and add or drop dependents effective January 1, 2019.

CalHR just announced the amount of the 2019 Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) allowance to be used for health and dental benefits effective January 1, 2019. The CoBen Employer contribution for excluded employees has increased to $668 (Single)/$1293 (2-Party)/$1673 (Family). This new CoBen amount for supervisors, managers, and confidential employees is up to $50 higher per month than the state employer contribution for rank-and-file employees.

If you have received notification of a change in health plan availability, or if you would like to explore different health plan options, CalPERS has a tool that allows you to search plan availability and premium rates based on your zip code. Visit the CalPERS website here.

Some premiums are going up, while others are decreasing. To compare plan costs and calculate your exact out of pocket costs, or your CoBen cash back if your selections are lower than the CoBen Allowance, visit the CalHR Benefits Calculator and select “2019” and “Excluded Employee” before entering your options.

Be on the lookout for Open Enrollment forms from your department. If you are not making changes, no action is needed.


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Notable Points From The Governor's State Budget Report 2016-2017


On Thursday 1/8/16, Governor Brown released his proposed 2016-2017 State Budget. Brown claims that the budget still remains “precariously balanced” for the long term. Brown stated, “While timing is uncertain, the next recession is getting closer, and the state must begin to plan for it.”

Here are the proposals that affect ACSS and ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation

The Budget includes $220 million ($27 million General Fund) in 2016-17 for employee compensation and health care costs for active state employees. Included in these costs are collectively bargained salary increases for many of the state’s rank and file employees represented by bargaining unit 9 (engineers), which the Administration is extending to state managers and supervisors related to these employees. A 5% general raise in July of 2016 is the only currently      >> Read More...


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Bottom Line on the Budget: Administration Drops the HSA and Other Trailer Bill Objectives

Posted: 6/5/2015 Tags: bargaining budget health policy retirement Tags Views: 1856

ACSS has consistently pushed back on the “equal sharing” (50/50) of costs between employee and the state for funding retiree healthcare. We are pleased to report that on Friday June 5, the Administration agreed to drop language in the trailer bill requiring equal sharing of costs for retiree healthcare (as defined in Section 11 of the amended trailer bill). ACSS was concerned that 50/50 cost sharing would be implemented statutorily. We are declaring victory that this item is NOT becoming statue and is being dropped altogether from the budget. The Legislature has been supportive of our request to keep health care proposals out of state budget trailer bill language completely.

In addition, this week the Brown Administration tossed out the CalPERS high deductible health care plan. The Administration realized that without a high deductible plan, there is little use for an HSA. In addition, the Administration also removed some trailer bill language that applies to new hire’s formula for retiree healthcare plans, increases the vesting period for new hires, and removes some language in reference to Medicare reimbursements. The Administration has decided to drop these objectives from the budget and instead, pursue them in bargaining. Battling it out with the bargaining units may take months, which means that implementation for managers and supervisors may be drawn out even further.

The amended trailer bill language:

  • requires verification of eligible health care plan participants
  • defines, in more detail, the prefunding of employee contributions
  • lists requirements that CalPERS report to the Department of Finance on costs and status of health care plans
  • sets a lock on the state retiree health account until 2046

At this point, we can conclude that these objectives are the bottom line adjustments to the budget from the Administration.


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May Budget Revision Reveals More Money Than Previously Predicted

Posted: 5/15/2015 Tags: budget health pension retirement Tags Views: 1781

Image courtesy of www.StockMonkeys.com 

Compared to the January Budget, in the May Revise, released on 5/14, Governor Brown disclosed $6.7 billion more dollars available to put to use for 2015-16. While this is good news that there is more money available, the vast majority of it will go to public elementary schools, lower-income households, the rainy day fund, CSU and the UC school system (to cover pension debt). Very little of the May Revise was new material for state workers, and revealed more depth of the same proposals we have already known about.

On the hot topic of heathcare and retirement, the Administration continues to move forward with their more cohesive “3-pronged approach” to managing the $72 billion unfunded liability. 1) Prefunding retiree healthcare is most certainly pushing forward. 2) Newly hired state employees will be required to work longer to receive retirement compensation. And 3) more affordable healthcare plans (hinting towards HSA plans) will be implemented. Again, these concepts are not new, but they are becoming more concrete into an impending reality.

As for civil service, the May Revise proposes $57 million in new state employee compensation and reduces contributions to CalPERS down by $110 million. Proof that pension reform is indeed working. It also reiterated the proposals to streamline classifications, abolish vacant positions and broaden recruitment efforts in civil service.

Click here to download the official full version of the May Revise.


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Myths vs. Facts on CalPERS Pensions, Investments, Health Care, and More!

Posted: 5/13/2015 Tags: health pension policy retirement Tags Views: 2016

CalPERS has provided a list of Myths versus Facts to address common misconceptions.  Test your knowledge on the following CalPERS issues related to pensions, investments, accountability, ethics, and health care. 

MYTH -or- FACT? Most Police and firefighters retire at age 50 with 90 percent of pay.

MYTH -or- FACT? CalPERS doesn't promote a public pension database so it can hide pension amounts.

MYTH -or- FACT? CalPERS Long-Term Care Program is financially unstable.

MYTH -or- FACT? Taxpayers pay 100 percent of retiree health care costs.

For more Myth or Fact questions and to see answers to the questions above, click here to read the full article on the CalPERS website.


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Q2 2015 Newsletter is now online! Feature: Prefunding Retiree Healthcare

Posted: 4/15/2015 Tags: budget health insurance retirement Tags Views: 1772

Posted: 4/15/2015


The Q2 2015 Newsletter is now online! This issue features Another Attack on Employee Compensation: Prefunding Retiree Healthcare. Check it out now!


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Supplemental Information on Prefunding Retirement and New Health Benefit Plans

Posted: 2/4/2015 Tags: benefits budget health insurance retirement Tags Views: 2278

Posted: 2/4/2015

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown made a speech revealing details of the 2015 budget. In this proposed budget, he mentioned two items that piqued the interest of state supervisors, managers and excluded employees: prefunding retirement and new health benefit plans. These proposals have the potential to impact state workers for decades to come. An article posted recently by the Sacramento Bee describes these plans in greater detail.

The proposed plan, effective Jan 1 2016, would mandate an unspecified cash contribution to offset retiree insurance benefits that employers and employees would split. Taxpayers would have to pitch in millions of dollars each year to prefund retirement benefits.

In addition, the bill would require CalPERS to offer a high-deductible health insurance plan plus a low-cost Medicare-supplement plan for retirees. Current retirees could see their insurance subsidy decline if a considerable amount of state workers opt for the high-deductible plan.

For detailed information on these bills, read the full text of the state budget bill proposals from the State Department of Finance.


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Notable Points From The Governor's State Budget Report

Posted: 1/13/2015 Tags: budget governor health jobs pension policy retirement salary Tags Views: 2934

Posted: 1/13/2015

On Friday 1/9/15, Governor Brown released his proposed 2015-2016 State Budget. Brown claims that the budget still remains “precariously balanced” and urges “financial restraint and prudence” in order to avoid another recession in the future. Here are the proposals that affect ACSS and ACSS members:

>> Read More...


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Take Notice of New Laws Affecting CalPERS Members in 2015

Posted: 1/5/2015 Tags: health insurance policy retirement Tags Views: 2557

Posted: 1/5/2015

Several Assembly and Senate Bills that could impact CalPERS members made their way through the California Legislature in 2014. One of the most important bills signed into law may affect your retirement benefit decisions, while others will work to protect benefits and strengthen the pension system and health benefits program.

AB 2472 (Committee on PERS) allows members, when they are newly retired, to change their survivor benefit option election if CalPERS receives their request within 30 days of the issuance of their first retirement payment, rather than before the receipt of the first check.

AB 1163 (Levine) reflect the Board’s ongoing commitment that its Board members possess the education and training necessary to ensure the sustainability of our retirement, health, and other benefit plans. These education requirements match the education and training policy that the Board has been working on for several years.

SB 1182 (Leno) and SB 1340 (Hernandez) will improve CalPERS’ access to health care cost information, so that health care purchasers can better identify cost drivers and possibly negotiate lower health benefit rates, therefore improving health plan transparency.

SB 1251 (Huff) provides a narrow exemption to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) for the Cities of Brea and Fullerton in Orange County. The bill allows these cities to form a new joint powers authority (JPA) and provide the retirement benefit formulas currently provided by the cities, rather than reduced PEPRA formulas. Without this exemption, the cities argue that they could not transfer existing city employees to the new JPA.


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CalPERS Urges Prefunding of Retiree Healthcare

Posted: 12/17/2014 Tags: health insurance retirement Tags Views: 1999

Posted: 12/17/2014

CalPERS has joined State Controller John Chiang in supporting prefunded healthcare plans for California retirees to supplement future health care needs. Chiang, who is also a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration, issued a press release on 12/16/14 noting a $71.8 billion unfunded retiree healthcare liability for California.

Prefunding retiree healthcare is a fiscally prudent move to help close the unfunded liability gap in health care for the State’s retirees. CalPERS optional California Employers' Retiree Benefit Trust (CERBT) Fund is helping employers at all levels take a proactive step to ensure the long-term sustainability and security of health benefits for their retirees.

The fund has 439 participating employers, including the State of California, which contributes for (three) employee bargaining units that took the proactive step of agreeing to prefund health coverage for their members. The CERBT fund is currently valued at more than $4 billion and is currently the largest Other Post-Employment Benefits fund in the California.

View the CalPERS Press Release here with additional information links.

View the State Controller Chaing's Press Release.


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