A Touchy Issue At Times
Premium increases in the State Health Benefit Plan, along with changes in health plan options, have in the past created political turmoil for state lawmakers and the governors offices.
In 2014, a wave of complaints arose from members of the plan, and some of them publicly protested, after employees were limited to one insurer, among other changes. That led to a quick fix for that years plan and to more revisions in the 2015 plan.
But the news Thursday of flat rates in 2022 pleased organizations representing educators.
Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said in a statement that our dedicated educators who continue to do a phenomenal job navigating the back and forth of this continuing COVID health crisis, will most surely be appreciative to see no increases in their premiums or out-of-pocket costs for health care. This past year has been especially demanding not only in the classroom, but personally for their families. This is certainly welcome news.
And Ramona Mills of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators said that amid escalating inflation and the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong benefits package for teachers and school staff is essential. PAGE is pleased by the announcement today that there will be no State Health Benefit Plan premium increase, deductible increase, or benefit reduction for Georgia educators next calendar year.
No Health Insurance Increase Next Year For 650k Georgia Teachers State Workers Retirees
For the third time in four years, hundreds of thousands of Georgia teachers and state workers wont see their health insurance premiums increase.
The Department of Community Health board approved rates for 2022 on Thursday for the more 650,000 Georgians covered by the State Health Benefit Plan.
The vote came a year after the board raised premiums an average of 5% for teachers and state employees.
Deductibles and co-pays will remain unchanged next year for members of the plan, as will the providers offering coverage.
The good news for teachers, state employees and retirees comes as private employers are expecting costs to rise in 2022. An annual report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers in June projected a 6.5% increase in employer medical costs in 2022.
Louis Amis, executive director of the State Health Benefit Plan, told the board the COVID-19 pandemic slowed usage of medical services covered by the plan in the first half of 2020. The same thing happened with Medicaid, the states health care program for the poor and disabled. People put off seeing doctors, getting elective treatment and surgeries or seeing the dentist last year after the pandemic began. That reduced medical costs for the program.
Amis said there has been an uptick in expenditures for people going to the doctor and receiving other treatment, but its unclear whether that will slow now that the delta variant has COVID-19 cases on the rise.
Health Care Rates To Stay The Same Next Year For State Employees Teachers Retirees
Tens of thousands of Georgia teachers and state employees are getting good news on their health insurance costs for next year.
Members of the State Health Benefit Plan will have the same monthly premiums, co-pays and deductibles in 2022 as they have now, the Department of Community Health announced at an agency board meeting Thursday.
The benefits plan covers more than 600,000 state employees, teachers, other school personnel, retirees and dependents. The members options for health plans will stay the same as well, DCH officials said.
That inquiry was revealed after a board member, Mark Trail, a former state Medicaid director, asked the agency to look into the services gap, citing a recent GHN article about the issue.
Noggle responded that the department is actively looking into that to figure out whether the problem lies with an actual lack of referrals or with providers failing to report referrals.
The health screenings of Medicaid kids and the subsequent corrective treatments are required under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment program.
The goal of EPSDT is to provide early detection and treatment of health conditions so children and adolescents covered by Medicaid can get appropriate preventive, dental, mental health, developmental and other specialty services.
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Option To Continue Coverage
Coverage for employees and dependents may be continued under Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act regulations if eligibility ends due to a change in the employees employment status, other than retirement. Dependents may also elect COBRA to continue coverage if their eligibility ends due to divorce or reaching the plans age limit.
Qualifying Events For Changing Benefits
Because your premiums for medical, dental and vision are deducted from your salary on a pre-tax basis, the IRS has established strict rules about the operation of your plans. Your choices during the annual open enrollment period must remain in effect for the entire plan year . Exceptions are permitted under IRS rules when a member has a qualifying event. If you have an event, you are required to notify Human Resources Benefits office within 31 days and complete the appropriate forms. Some examples of qualifying events include:
- Change in marital status
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Death of a covered dependent
- Loss of eligibility status by a covered dependent
- Change in employment status that affects eligibility for coverage
- Loss or gain of healthcare coverage eligibility under Medicare or Medicaid
- Change in residence to a location outside a healthcare plans service area
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Dental Vision Life Legal Hospital Indemnity Accident Critical Illness Automobile/home Owners Insurance Etc
In addition to the State of Georgia sponsored health plan, Gwinnett County Public Schools also provides other benefits, such as life insurance, dental, vision and cancer insurance. These benefits may be continued by retirees, provided the coverage was in effect at the time of retirement and commencement of GRS benefits. Please note, your life insurance coverage terminates at age 70. GCPS benefits will automatically rollover during the ROCP. No action is necessary unless you desire to drop or decrease coverage. If you want to keep your coverage the same, you do not need to make an election. Current coverage will automatically rollover and continue.Please contact benefit carrier for details regarding coverage. Insurance Carrier Contact Information.
How The Trs Plan Works
The TRS Plan is a defined benefit pension plan. Your retirement benefit is based upon on a predetermined formula, using your length of service and average monthly salary based on your highest 24 months of earnings. To learn more, review the following Plan at a Glance information.
You and USG contribute to your TRS account.
- You: 6% of your pre-tax compensation
- USG: 19.98% of your pre-tax compensation effective July 1, 2023, 19.98%
Note: Changes in USGs contributions do not impact your benefit at retirement because its determined by a fixed formula.
- You become vested after 10 years of service.
- Vesting is calculated using your length of service and average monthly salary .
- Sick leave credit can be added to your years of service upon retirement. Certain restrictions apply.
- If you leave USG before youre vested, you will only receive your contributions plus interest at the stated rate.Learn more.
If you leave USG before you are vested in your TRS benefit, you have these options:
- Leave your contributions with TRS ,
- Roll over your contributions to another qualified plan or IRA, or
- Request a lump-sum distribution .
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When Can I Retire
In addition to your retirement benefits through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia , Optional Retirement Plan , or Employee Retirement System , USG also provides healthcare, dental, vision and life insurance benefits in retirement, if you meet one of the following conditions:
For specific information and further requirements, please refer to the retirement policy.
Additionally, you must be enrolled in a USG healthcare plan immediately before you retire. If you are not currently enrolled in a USG healthcare plan, you should enroll during Open Enrollment in the year prior to your retirement to be eligible to continue USG retiree healthcare benefits into retirement.
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If Youre Actively Working When You Reach Age 65
If you are turning 65, as long as you are actively employed and covered under a USG healthcare plan, your USG coverage will remain your primary insurance and Medicare will be your secondary coverage. You do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B until you retire from USG. Once you retire from USG, Medicare will become primary, and you will need to enroll in Medicare.
Health And Dental Rates
Beginning this month, 2021 health and dental rates may have an impact on your monthly benefit amount.
2021 health and dental insurance rates will go into effect December 31, 2020 for your January 2021 coverage. The new health and dental deductions will affect your December 2020 net benefit amount.
Payment summary statements and a breakdown of your net monthly benefit can be viewed or downloaded by signing into your account using the Log In button at the top of the page.
- Sign in to your secure account.
- Go to View Payment Information. Here you can see your Direct Deposit information, federal and Georgia Tax information, and any other deduction information.
- Click on My Payment History. This is where you can see your last two years of pension payments, including the gross amount of your benefit, the federal and Georgia tax deductions, any Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, or other deductions, and the net amount of each payment.
For more information about premium rates, please visit Team Georgia.
If Youre Turning Age 65
- As long as you are actively employed and covered under the USG Healthcare plan, when you turn 65, your USG coverage will remain your primary insurance and Medicare will be your secondary coverage. You do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B until you retire from USG. Once you retire from USG, Medicare will become primary, and you will need to enroll in Medicare. Learn more about about your post-65 benefits in retirement.
- Your USG healthcare coverage as an active employee is Creditable Coverage for Medicare Parts A, B and D. If you are enrolled in healthcare coverage through USG as an active employee, you will not be penalized if you put off enrolling in Medicare Parts A, B and D until your retirement. For more information, visit the Medicare website or contact OneUSG Connect Benefits.
- Obtain your Medicare Enrollment Kit. If youre collecting Social Security benefits, youll get a Medicare Enrollment Kit 60 to 90 days before your 65th birthday, giving you the option to enroll in Medicare Parts A, B and D. If you are not yet collecting Social Security benefits, please contact Medicare 60 to 90 days before your 65th birthday and ask for a Medicare Enrollment Kit.
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Plan Details And Rates
Concordia Flex is a passive Preferred Provider Organization program that allows members to receive care from any licensed dentist however, members receive the greatest value and convenience when they receive care from a participating dentist. This means that members who receive care from a participating dentist are responsible only for those deductibles and coinsurance amounts that are part of the program design.
See the Employee Certificate of Coverage for exact plan details, limitations, and coverage.
The Concordia Flex Plan uses the Alliance Network. Search for a provider.
Reminder: Out-of-Network Providers can be utilized but with the chance of the Dentist balance billing.
If you have questions about the part-time dental benefit, contact Houze & Associates, Inc. at 800-523-7135 or [email protected]
Preparing For The Next Chapter
The key to feeling confident with your retirement plans is preparation. When you retire from USG, its good to know that you have the benefits you need so you can focus on enjoying every moment of your retirement. Review the Retirement Planning Guide to learn about how your benefits are impacted when you retire and the necessary steps youll need to take for a smooth retirement.
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Retirees: Its Annual Enrollment Time For Health And Flexible Benefitsbegins October 17th
Its Fall again, and with the change in the seasons comes Annual Enrollment time. As you know, there is no Annual Enrollment for your retirement benefit. Your pension will continue to be paid to you each and every month without any action on your part. However, this is a good time to review your beneficiary designations. Use the Log In button above to sign in to your ERSGA account.
For retirees with health benefits through SHBP, the 2022 Retiree Option Change Period for Plan Year 2023 begins October 17, 2022 and ends November 4, 2022. This years ROCP will include in-person meetings, in addition to the virtual meetings online or by phone, to discuss Plan Options for the 2023 Plan Year.
The 2023 Retiree Decision Guide and instructions on how to attend virtual meetings, either online or by phone, has been posted to the SHBP website at .
If you are satisfied with your SHBP plan, you dont need to take any action. You will be re-enrolled in your current plan.
If you have Dental or Vision insurance through Georgias Flexible Benefits, visit GABreeze at for more information about your coverage and your premiums.
Teachers Retirement System Of Georgia
UGA contributes 16.81% and you contribute 6.0% of your pay towards TRS. You are vested after 10 years. Once vested, a set payout is available once your retire, based on your salary and how long you have worked in the University System of Georgia . Find more information about TRS on the UGA Human Resources TRS information page.
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What Happens To My Usg Benefits
Your USG healthcare, dental and vision coverage will depend on your and your spouses age and what coverage you had prior to retiring. However, your life insurance will reduce to the amount allowed in retirement.
View the Preparing to Retire Guide for information that may be helpful as you prepare to retire.
If you decide to discontinue any of your current benefits in retirement, such as dental, vision or life insurance, you cannot re-enroll for any reason, including but not limited to, life events. Additionally, if you are post-65 and not enrolled in a supplemental plan through the Alight Retiree Health Solutions , you will forfeit your eligibility for annual HRA contributions, now and in the future. Note: If needed, Alight Retiree Health Solutions offers dental and vision plans.
Note: If enrolled in the Blue Choice HMO, your coverage will default to the Comprehensive Care plan upon retirement.
Building Your Retirement Future
You and USG both contribute to the TRS, which provides a monthly lifetime benefit once you become vested. Before youre vested, you will only receive your contributions plus interest at the stated rate.
If youre a nonexempt or hourly paid employee working 20 or more hours per week, youll automatically be enrolled in the TRS Plan as of your date of hire or eligibility.
If youre an exempt or salaried employee working 20 or more hours per week, you can choose either the Optional Retirement Plan or the TRS. Your retirement selection must be made within 60 days of eligibility or you will default into the TRS plan retroactively to your date of hire or eligibility. Retirement elections are irrevocable.
Once youre enrolled, youll receive a welcome letter from TRS with instructions to visit their website to open a TRS online account and assign your beneficiary.
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Georgia Retired Educators Association
YOUR ASSOCIATION CAN FILL THE GAPS IN YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE
This is one of the main advantages of being a member! Thanks to our trusted partner, Association Member Benefits Advisors , members are eligible for exclusive insurance plans that are effective and affordable. If youve had trouble getting supplemental insurance at a reasonable rate, heres your chance! Best of all, its easy you can enroll your way: online, by phone, or in person.
Short Term Care/home Health Care
If youre like most people sidelined by an accident or health issue, youd prefer to recover in the comfort of your own home. Home healthcare, which costs less and can be just as effective as care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, is not always covered by standard health insurance. A Home Healthcare plan gives you the flexibility to choose the type of care thats right for you.
Costs for hospital stays and for at-home and nursing facility recovery can be devastating. Even those who lead a healthy lifestyle may be at risk for an unexpected health issue requiring therapy and rehabilitation. This insurance can help you manage your expenses and preserve your savings. Benefits are paid directly to you or a medical provider that you designate and given in addition to any other health care coverage you may have.
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