Published: 18 June 2016
Last Updated: 18 June 2016
Click on this link to access the DSRA Benefit Trust 2016 Q1 financials: 2016 Q1 Financials
Published: 14 June 2016
Last Updated: 14 June 2016
We are excited to announce that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will implement for the DSRA Benefit Trust enrollees, on an interim basis, a 6-month IRS approved Advance Monthly Payment (AMP) process effective July 1, 2016. The AMP allows you to pay 27.5% of your premium and the IRS will pay the 72.5% balance to BCBSM on a monthly basis. If you want to enroll in the AMP for the month of July, you need to complete the enclosed 13441-A HCTC AMP enrollment form quickly and return it and the required documentation to BCBS of Michigan no later than the 24th of June.
If you are wondering if you or your family member may be eligible for the HCTC, please refer to the HCTC Eligibility section at the end of this letter for details.
A Special Open Enrollment will be held later this summer with a September 1, 2016 effective date. At that time, you can upgrade or change your plan. Furthermore, others will be able to newly sign up for a VEBA medical plan through BCBSM. More details on this will be available on a later date.
To read more about this important announcement, click this link that will download a "pdf" file containing the announcement: Announcement Letter
Link for the HCTC AMP Signup form: Enrollment Form
Published: 07 June 2016
Last Updated: 07 June 2016
We are excited to announce that last Friday BCBSM informed us that they would commit to a July 1, 2016 date for implementation of the IRS Advance Monthly Payment (AMP) process. Initially they had told us it would take them 90-120 days so this is fantastic news for those of you currently purchasing the BCBSM medical insurance and are Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) eligible participants. Just a reminder, the AMP allows you to pay 27.5% of your premium and the IRS pays 72.5% to BCBSM.
BCBSM will need time to get the AMP process in place so no changes will be allowed at this time. We anticipate that we will offer a Special Open Enrollment later this summer for a September 1, 2016 effective date. At that time you can upgrade or change your plan. Furthermore, others will be able to newly sign up for a VEBA medical plan through BCBSM.
Each participant who wishes to take advantage of this opportunity will be required to fill out an IRS 1344-A enrollment form. We should have these available in the next week or so with instructions. Stay tuned for more information. The DSRA-BT will post at our website and also will be mailing enrollment forms and instructions to all who have medical coverage and are not receiving a subsidy from the DSRA-BT. In the meantime, make sure that your address is correct with BCBSM by contacting them at 1-877-354-2583.
We still have many details to work out, so BCBSM will suspend mailing of the June invoices to those they believe are HCTC eligible. These invoices would have typically gone out on June 7, 2016 with payment due by July 1, 2016. If you have an automatic payment, it will not be drawn.
If you are not HCTC eligible and you do not get an invoice, we urge you to continue to make your regular monthly payment when you normally do or you will receive an invoice in July for two full months of premiums. Make sure you include your 16-digit account number on your check.
This also applies to HCTC eligible retirees who may decide they don’t want to take advantage of the monthly AMP opportunity.
All others who submit an enrollment form and are determined to be eligible will see an invoice in July for two months of 27.5% of their normal premium. Said another way, multiply your normal monthly premium by 27.5% and then double it. Your August invoice will then be just 27.5% of the premium for your chosen plan.
Please be patient as we get the details worked out with BCBSM. We will be posting a sample enrollment form to our website as soon as we get some questions answered from the IRS. This will help guide you as you fill out your form. Don’t try to jump the gun. The IRS enrollment form MUST be mailed to BCBSM, not the IRS for the remainder of the 2016-year. Those people who sign up now for the AMP will not have to complete another IRS 1344-A application January 1, 2017.
The IRS will have updated FAQ and a link to submit questions available soon.
Published: 27 May 2016
Last Updated: 27 May 2016
Dear Fellow Retiree:
The IRS posted on its website yesterday, Thursday, May 26, its intent to implement a limited interim process that will provide for making advance monthly payments (AMP) of the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) to individuals who are enrolled in qualified health coverage.
What does this mean to DSRA VEBA members?
The IRS adapted a work-around plan that enables the agency to implement a temporary AMP mid-summer. There are specific qualifications for participating in the temporary program. NOTE: the DSRA VEBA and the non-Medicare medical insurance plans offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) meet these special requirements.
There are, however, certain hurdles to be cleared given there is just one month to get all parties and processes engaged. The IRS still has to clearly define responsibilities and finish the enrollment form and process. The longer they delay, the harder it will be for BCBSM and the VEBA team to get our program running in a timely manner. Toward that concern, the IRS held a conference call today with Plan Administrators and others to explain the interim process and answer questions. Rest assured that the DSRA VEBA team is working diligently with the IRS and BCBSM to implement the process and is committed to getting the monthly pay plan running as soon as possible.
For all months in 2016 that you make a full premium payment, a refund of the HCTC can only be obtained through the filing of your tax return.
The following two links outline the IRS announcement and process for implementing AMP temporarily.
You will recall from our previous communications that the IRS announced a six-month delay in implementing AMP and your DSRA AMP Subcommittee and the Cone Retiree Healthcare Group were working together to turn around this decision. Thank you for participating in our Call to Action asking you to contact your Congressperson and Senator for their support. Once again, your efforts made all the difference. It was the political pressure from our legislators that led to the face-to-face meeting during which Mrs. Cone of Cone Retiree Healthcare Group presented the work-around plan that served as the basis for this interim AMP process. Please remember to thank your respective legislators for responding.
It is very welcomed news that the IRS reversed its decision to delay AMP. We know you probably have many questions about the program details and your next steps. Stay tuned. Updates about the VEBA program initiation and enrollment requirements will be sent via DSRA VEBA e-mail blasts and will also be posted at the VEBA website www.dsrabenefittrust.net.
Your DSRA HCTC AMP Subcommittee
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