Employer News | November 2018

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Employer Services


Payroll Processing

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November 2018 | VOLUME #158

Employer Services—Update

The Division continues to work with employers as they transition onto the new reporting tool, “Employer Services.” Over the next few months, the Division will be working with our smaller employers to get them transitioned to the new system. There will be a test environment available to employers during this transition.

Employer Services training videos are located here.

Questions regarding Employer Services should be sent via email to doa.drb.polisub.it@alaska.gov.

Timely Reporting of Employee Termination Dates

Members who have terminated employment and wish to receive a refund of their account must have a termination date on file with the System. To ensure this, employers need to report termination dates in a timely manner to the Division. The termination date starts the 60-day waiting period for refund requests from the PERS, TRS, and SBS plans. If, for some reason, an employer finds a termination date was not submitted timely, the Division can update the member’s record manually. The employer still must submit the termination date through eReporting or Employer Services as well. Please contact your Payroll Contact in this situation or with any questions.

Reminder: Open Enrollment for Medicare, October 15 – December 7, 2018

Open Enrollment for Medicare runs October 15 through December 7, 2018. If you have a Medicare health or prescription drug plan, take the time to review and compare coverage options now. If you miss the Open Enrollment deadline, you will have to wait a full year before you can make any changes to your plan. Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, you might find a better fit for your budget or your health needs.

Routines help keep us focused, organized, and even healthy. However, if your health routine doesn’t include preparing for Medicare’s Open Enrollment, now’s a great time to kick-start a new healthy habit. Here are five things every Medicare beneficiary can do to get in the Medicare Open Enrollment routine:

  1. Review your plan notice. Be sure to read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially your “Annual Notice of Change” letter. Look at your plan’s information to make sure your prescription drugs are still covered and your doctors are still in network.

  2. Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Do you need a new primary care doctor? Does your network include the specialist you want for an upcoming surgery? Does your current plan cover your new medications? Does another plan offer the same value at a lower cost? Take stock of your health status and determine if you need to make a change.

  3. Find out if you qualify for assistance in paying for your Medicare. Learn about programs in your state that provide help with the costs of Medicare premiums, your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, and Medicare prescription drug coverage costs.

  4. Shop for plans that meet your needs and fit your budget. You can use the Medicare Plan Finder tool to see what other plans are offered in your area.

    A new plan may:
    • cost less,
    • cover your prescription drug costs, or
    • let you use the providers you want, such as your doctor or pharmacy.

     If you find that your current coverage still meets your needs, then you don’t need to make any changes. Remember, during Medicare Open Enrollment, you can decide to stay in Original Medicare or join a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you’re already in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch back to Original Medicare.

  5. Check your plan’s star rating before you enroll. The Medicare Plan Finder includes star ratings for the 2019 Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Plans are rated for quality on a one-to-five-star scale: one star represents poor performance; five stars represent excellent performance. Be sure to use the ratings to compare the quality of any health and drug plans you are considering.

These are a few easy ways to get a jump-start on your Medicare Open Enrollment. For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) and say “Agent.” TTY (877) 486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends. In Alaska, call the State Medicare Information Office at (800) 478-6065.

2019 Pension Plan Limitations

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019. Many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2019 due to the increase in the cost-of-living index meeting the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. Read More>>

Employer Discussion Group – November

Phone Off Hook

On Friday, November 9, 2018, the Division hosted our first employer discussion group teleconference. Chief Pension Officer Kathy Lea and Benefit Education Manager Roberto Aceveda, along with representatives from the benefit processing and payroll sections, spoke with employers around the state about plan administration and their concerns.

This month, one of the things we talked about was the rollout of the new Employer Services reporting tool. See the article at the top of the newsletter for more information and a link to the Division’s training videos.

We want your input! Let us know how we’re doing and how we can better serve your needs. The Division will be hosting these discussion groups monthly. We look forward to connecting with you!