2017 Pension and Benefit News For Both Active and Retired Members.
All members of the Pension system, both active and retired, are reminded that you should regularly log in to you MBOS account.
Active members should check to ensure the information in your “Personal Benefit Statement” is accurate – don’t wait to check as retirement approaches – if your service credit is incorrect it might take some time to correct. In addition most pension related activities, Purchasing Service, Applying for a Pension Loan, Changing a Beneficiary, are now done online through your MBOS account.
Retired members should check your “Retired Account Information” for your most recent pension payment detailing your deductions. In addition, if you need to make adjustments to your Direct Deposit or change your tax deductions, they can be done through your MBOS account – online.
Active members – 2017 PENSION LOAN INTEREST RATE AND ADMINISTRATIVE FEE
- For eligible borrowers, the interest rate for Pension loan applications received in 2017 is 6.25% per annum on the declining balance of the loan. An administrative processing fee also applies to all pension loans. The administrative processing fee is $15.00 per loan.
The interest rate for 2017 is determined using the Prime Rate as of December 15, 2016 (3.75%) plus 2.5%. The administrative processing fee is set annually and is based on the actual costs associated with administering the pension loan program.
The loan interest rate is fixed annually, so if you borrow in 2017 you will have the same interest rate for the life of your loan unless you borrow again after the 2017 calendar year has ended. Every time a member borrows against their available loan balance, the entire outstanding balance is re-certified for the current year’s interest rate.
Pension Loans Applications are found in your pension MBOS account and can only be done online. Pension Loan information can be found at the following link.
Social Security Income limit for 2017 increases to $127,200.
If your income exceeds that amount, the Social Security deduction will stop for the remainder of the tax year. If you are a Tier 2-5 member of the Pension System (your started working in the Pension system after July 1, 2007) your Pensionable income is limited to the Social Security Max.
Quarterly Payments Into the Pension Fund
On December 15, 2016 The Governor signed the bill that requires the State to make Quarterly payments into the pension system. Payments will be made by the end of each fiscal quarter – thereby giving the Investment staff the opportunity to make investments well ahead of when they had in years past – when the pension payment was typically the ‘last’ bill paid – at the end of June each year. Fiscal quarters end on September 30th, December 31st, March 31st and June 30th each year
Health Benefit News
As of January 1st your contribution to your health plan may have increased. If you are in the SEHBP (through your employer) your contribution went up 8.1% (8.4% if you also have your Rx plan through the State).
New Direct Primary Care Initiative for SEHBP Members:
The State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) have partnered with R-Health, a leader in innovative healthcare solutions, to offer Direct Primary Care (DPC) to their members and covered dependents. This is a no copay, no deductible, add-on benefit option and works with your current health insurance carrier, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey or Aetna.
R-Health physicians provide a full range of services including preventive, urgent, and sick care, health and wellness coaching, chronic disease management, and care coordination. Benefits of joining a DPC medical practice include unlimited access to your own personal physician with no copays or deductibles, same-day or next-day appointments, evening and weekend hours, reduced waiting-room time, and unhurried consultations with your doctor.
R-Health doctors are responsible for less than half the number of patients of a typical doctor’s office, empowering them to deliver the most comprehensive care. The DPC design ensures that doctors are more accessible to members and gives them increased time with each patient, affording them the opportunity to build strong relationships.
R-Health DPC currently has three practices, Haddonfield and Moorestown, New Jersey and Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. A Ewing office is opening in January 2017, and additional convenient locations are scheduled to open throughout New Jersey in 2017.
Signing up for R-Health is simple. Go to www.r-health.md/nj/ or call 1-800-797-1289 to learn more about R-Health DPC, select your doctor and schedule your first appointment.
The retirement-income tax cut: For 2016, for those who have less than $100,000 of annual income, the state excludes up to $20,000 of retirement income from the state income tax for married couples filing jointly, $15,000 for single filers, and $10,000 for married individuals who do not file taxes jointly with their spouse.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the retirement-income exclusions will double, but only if your filing income does not exceed $100,000.The 2017 exclusion increases to $40,000 for married couples filing jointly, $30,000 for single filers, and $20,000 for married individuals filing separately.
The exclusions will progressively increase to $100,000, $75,000 and $50,000, in 2020. However, once retirees get over the $100,000 threshold, their entire retirement income will be subject to the state income tax.