Published: 15 July 2016
Last Updated: 27 July 2016
Special Open Enrollment Announcement Letter to DSRA-BT Eligible Retirees and Surviving Spouses
As a result of the IRS approved Advance Monthly Payment (AMP), the DSRA Benefit Trust and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) will hold a medical insurance “SPECIAL OPEN ENROLLMENT “ sign up window for pre 65 medical, dental and vision coverage from July 20, 2016 thru July 31, 2016. This will allow coverage to begin on September 1, 2016. This Special Open Enrollment is only for new or returning HCTC eligible enrollees or current participants who are HCTC eligible and want to change their plan options. The DSRA-BT BCBSM enrollment form and the13441-A form, must be filled out correctly, and be received by DSRA-BT Plan Admin at BCBSM no later than July 31, 2016 in order to qualify. For new and returning enrollees and current enrollees who now want to enroll in the AMP, submission of PBGC supporting documentation is required. Late and/or incomplete forms cannot be accepted after July 31.
Accessing Actual Applications
You will need to download the DSRA-BT/BlueCross BlueShield enrollment form AND the IRS Form 13441-A form. Links for these forms are listed below:
Sample applications/forms can be downloaded using the links below. DO NOT SUMBIT THE SAMPLE FORMS. These are just for guidance. Only submit the applications/forms listed above.
Details about the DSRA-BT healthcare plans are available at our website http://www.dsrabenefittrust.net/dsrabene/. If you are currently enrolled in a DSRA-BT BCBSM plan, BCBSM has indicated that they will automatically transfer your deductibles and Out-of-Pocket amounts if you are changing from one DSRA-BT plan to another. In addition, there will be no refunds. They will not transfer these items from an outside plan to one of our medical plan offerings. Enrollment applications can be found at the DSRA-BT website. If you need an application sent to you via US Mail, you may call 1-877-354-2583 and request an application; however your window of opportunity is short so you must act quickly.
Who is eligible for the HCTC (Health Coverage Tax Credit):
You may only elect to take the HCTC if you are one of the following:
- PBGC payee Retiree aged 55 through 64 and dependents
- An eligible Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) pension payee or Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) recipient.
- The family member of an eligible TAA, ATAA or RTAA recipient or PBGC pension payee who is deceased or who finalized a divorce with you.
- A spouse or other dependent of a retiree who is 65 but less than 67 (QFM).
What is the HCTC AMP (Advanced Monthly Payment):
- AMP allows you to pay 27.5% of your premium and the IRS pays 72.5% to BCBSM on a monthly basis. You will continue to make your payment to BCBSM for the balance of calendar year 2016. We anticipate the IRS will set up an IRS managed automatic billing process January 1, 2017. Effective with this change you will make your payment directly to the IRS. Additional information about this change in the process will be available when we hold our 2017 Open Enrollment.
What you can do with this opportunity if you meet eligibility requirements:
- If you are not currently covered by the DSRA-BT plans offered by BCBSM you can apply during this window for an effective date of 9-1-16 for the DSRA-BT medical, dental and vision plan coverages.
- If you are covered under a DSRA-BT medical, plan today you may change your coverage. For example, transfer from Copper, Bronze or Silver plan to the Gold plan. Or, if you do not have dental or vision, you may apply at this time. Dental and or Vision plans when purchased with our BCBSM medical plans are eligible for the HCTC. Downgrading from High Dental to Low Dental will not be accepted.
Who is not eligible for this Special Open Enrollment opportunity:
- Post 65 coverage for medical insurance (Hartford/Rx plan) / dental / vision
- Term Life Insurance enrollees (no new applications or changes to existing coverage)
- Participants currently enrolled in one of our plans and receiving a DSRA-BT subsidy.,
- Anyone else who is not HCTC eligible
If you are a current participant in a DSRA-BT medical plan and are moving to an enhanced plan, please pay the increased amount beginning with your September payment.
Please note that this Special Open Enrollment is for the remainder of the 2016 calendar year. You are not required to participate in the SOE unless you want to make changes to your coverages. We will be offering our normal Open Enrollment for 2017 this fall.
We are not mailing this communication through the U.S. mail to current or previous members due to the short timeframe we are working with on this Special Open Enrollment. If you know of anyone who is eligible and might be interested and is not registered with the DSRA or the DSRA-BT, please feel free to forward this communication to them.
DSRA- Benefit Trust Board of Directors
Published: 26 August 2015
Last Updated: 07 April 2016
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS -HCTC Updated 04/05/16
The Board of the DSRA-BT has already received many questions regarding the recent passage of the HCTC. The following is an update to our previous FAQs. If you don't see an answer to your question, please send an e-mail to Lori Ostrander, Secretary. Her e-mail can be accessed through the DSRA-BT website under "Contact Us". The updated items are included in RED below.Read more: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS—HCTC Updated 04/05/16
Published: 13 January 2016
Last Updated: 13 January 2016
There are many people who still think the DSRA and the DSRA-BT are the same organization. This is not TRUE!
- The DSRA (Delphi Salaried Retirees Association) is the organization that is working hard to restore our pensions.
- The DSRA-BT (DSRA Benefit Trust) is the organization that handles healthcare plans including medical, dental, and vision and also life insurance.
We just want to remind everyone that if you have any questions pertaining to healthcare or the HCTC (Health Care Tax Credit), please contact your DSRA-BT board not the DSRA. Our website is http://www.dsrabenefittrust.net
DSRA Benefit Trust Board of Directors
Published: 26 December 2015
Last Updated: 26 December 2015
Update for 2014
The GOOD NEWS is this: For those of you who had Silver or Bronze healthcare plans along with dental and or vision and qualify for the HCTC, the IRS has agreed that we can call these plans “bundled”--- But Only as of September 1, 2014. What this means is that the HCTC will apply to not only your medical premiums but also your dental &/or vision premiums. The BCBSM statement that you just received does include the dental and or vision premiums for this tax amendment purpose. This beneficial change in HCTC eligibility is due to the administration (TPA) transition from Mercer to BCBSM in August 2014. Unbeknownst to the DSRA BT board, BCBSM established their insurance plan and billing system in a manner that met IRS requirements for bundling of medical, dental and vision for all our plan offerings.
The NOT SO GOOD NEWS: Based on information provided from some of our BCBSM enrollees who have received their 2014 statements from BCBSM, there appears to be an error in the accumulation of the 2014 premiums paid. It appears that BCBSM included premiums paid in September, October, November and December for October, November, December and January coverage but missed the premiums paid in August for September. Again, because of the holidays, we won’t know for sure until next week.
Two additional pieces of information you and your tax advisor should be aware of at this point:
- The Mercer statement will cover the January through August 2014 coverage months. The BCBSM statement will cover the September 2014 through January 2015 coverage months. This will be a total of 13 months. The IRS established the insurance payments made in the current calendar year to be the basis of that year’s tax return. However, the December 2013 premium payments we made for January 2014 coverage were not eligible for the HCTC in 2013 due to the expiration of the HCTC on December 31, 2013. This is the reason we should be eligible for the 12 months of premium payments we made in 2014 and the one payment we made in December 2013. We have queried our contact at the IRS and anticipate a response next week.
- If you intend to file a federal tax amended return to recover the HCTC, please verify that your state tax return is not affected by this amendment.
Update for 2015
Great news for those of you who have Silver, Bronze and Copper healthcare plans and qualify for the HCTC. The IRS has agreed that we can call these plans “bundled” if you carry dental &/or vision. What this means is that the HCTC will apply to not only your medical premiums but also your dental &/or vision premiums.
As a result, the statements you get from BCBSM at the end of January 2016 for the 2015 premiums will reflect the entire total you paid this year and you can use this amount to claim the HCTC on your 2015 tax return.
Update for 2016
Based on this new information, we have several unanswered questions regarding your 2016 coverage and are awaiting answers from BCBSM.
- We know that numerous people chose the Gold plan because it was the only plan considered bundled for the HCTC. There may be a few who would have chosen a lower premium plan if they had known all plans would be considered bundled. Can they switch plans?
- Also, there may be people who opted not to get dental &/or vision coverage and would reconsider if it were eligible for the HCTC. Can they now add these coverages?
We hope to have answers to these questions next week.
We will keep you posted as these things get sorted out.
The Board hopes all of you had a Merry Christmas and you have our best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year.
Published: 18 December 2015
Last Updated: 18 December 2015
It’s been a prosperous and eventful year for all of us. We can all be thankful for the passage of the HCTC. We have a few items of interest for most of our enrollees and one recommendation that deserves your consideration.
- BCBSM will be 2 ½ weeks late mailing the January premium invoices. They are still processing the very large number of enrollment forms. The expected mail date is December 23. To offset this delay, your grace period will be extended until February 13. As always, please pay the invoice promptly. If you are set up with BCBSM for your account balance to be pulled each month through ACH, BCBSM will debit your checking account for the new premium amount. However, if you established a fixed dollar amount to be pulled by BCBSM from your account each month, you will need to update the amount in the next few days.
- In preparation for amending the 2014 tax returns to recoup the HCTC, we have a commitment from Mercer to mail their 2014 premium statements on December 21, 2015. BCBSM, the plan administrator for the Sept-Dec 2014 period, has also committed to mailing their 2014 premium statements by December 21. It is very important that you follow the IRS instructions in the completion of the amended return.
- Looking ahead to 2015 tax returns and recovery of the HCTC, we have a commitment from BCBSM to generate premium statements for the 2015 calendar year by January 31.
- The BCBSM medical/dental/vision enrollment form generated a number of questions about the bundling of dental and vision with the four medical plans. We apologize for the confusion. The silver, bronze and copper medical plans are not considered bundled in the eyes of the IRS. Only the gold plan is a bundled plan and as such allows the dental and vision coverage to be eligible for the HCTC.
- A mistake was identified in the life insurance section of the POST-65 open enrollment brochure. In error, the $4.50 administration fee was included in the spousal monthly rates. There is only one $4.50 life insurance administration fee per household. Billing was not impacted by this error.
Please consider making a contribution to the DSRA Legal Fund
Surely, there are numerous demands waiting to be met when you receive refunds resulting from amending/filing your HCTC 2014-15 tax returns. Keeping pace with our health care costs while receiving less than our full pension benefit for the past two years pressured all of us emotionally and financially.
As you determine the use of your refunds, please consider making a contribution to the DSRA legal fund.
As you know, the DSRA HCTC committee almost single-handedly fought for and successfully won approval for a SIX-YEAR reauthorization of this very important benefit. The committee devoted thousands of unpaid hours in weekly strategy teleconferences followed by unrelenting communications with members of Congress to bring about a huge victory that many thought was impossible. As an example of what this extraordinary effort produced, some of our gold medical plan members are in a position to receive a total refund of more than $40,000 covering 2014 and 2015.
We are pleased that DSRA members are finally getting the relief that was needed for so long. But, we are still fighting to settle the big score: restoring our pensions to a full benefit. That is a fight we will never give up and one we are determined to win!
Please be part of winning this battle. Your thoughtful consideration of making a contribution to the DSRA pension legal fund as you determine the many uses for your HCTC refunds is sincerely appreciated.
DSRA Benefit Trust Board of Directors
December 17, 2015