2024

Important Reminder RE Medicare Medical Insurance Premiums

Date: Jun 07, 2024 Categories: Health, News Articles, Press Release

If you receive anything in the mail from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), it is extremely important that you open it immediately!   A small number of SDCERS’ retirees have experienced issues related to their Medicare Part B premiums. The affected retirees were required to pay their Medicare Part B premiums directly to CMS because they either 1) do not receive a monthly Social Security benefit, or 2) do receive a monthly Social Security benefit, but the amount is not enough to cover their Medicare Part B premiums. However, these retirees failed to make timely payments for their Part B premiums to CMS, resulting in the loss of their Medicare Part B coverage, and were subsequently either disenrolled from a sponsored Medicare Supplemental plan or they were switched to a much more expensive non-Medicare plan, with the higher monthly premiums owed retroactively to the date they lost their Medicare coverage.    If you fail to pay your monthly or quarterly Medicare Part B premiums in full and on time, you may become delinquent, causing your Medicare coverage to be at risk. Note that we have received reports from retirees stating that they never received information from the SSA regarding unpaid premiums before their Medicare coverage was terminated! Medicare may not send monthly or quarterly invoices – if you are paying all or a portion of your Medicare Part B premiums directly to CMS, it is imperative that you periodically check with the SSA to confirm your premiums are paid in full and on time.   If you have concerns about your status with Medicare, you should contact Social Security online at www.SSA.gov, go in person to any Social Security Office, or contact Social Security by phone at (800) 633-4227.    If you have not yet started your Medicare application process, please contact your local SSA office or visit www.SSA.gov to find out if you are eligible and see information on how to apply.   Please evaluate your healthcare coverage options carefully! Enrolling in a Medicare insurance plan may reduce your costs.  However, note that you should not enroll in Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) if you are enrolling in a health plan that already includes prescription drug coverage, because enrolling in Part D may result in the termination of your current health insurance coverage.   Health plan experts are available at CareCounsel to assist retirees, free of charge, with any health plan questions including questions about Medicare – email staff@carecounsel.com or call (888) 227-3334 Monday – Friday, open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. CareCounsel also provides helpful videos on their website that may answer your questions about Medicare: https://carecounsel.com/medicare.html. Learn More...

Lisa Marie Harris Elected as New Board President

Date: May 15, 2024 Categories: Board, News Articles, Press Release

SDCERS is excited to announce Lisa Marie Harris as the SDCERS Board of Administration’s President.  Lisa Marie will be serving a one-year Presidential term with the possibility to serve a second one-year term.  Lisa Marie previously served two terms as the Board Vice-President with service as interim President and interim Investment Committee Chair.   Former Board President, Paul Kaufmann, served with distinction during his two one-year terms and confidently passed the gavel to Lisa Marie’s capable hands upon unanimous support from the entire board.  We look forward to her continued leadership in her new position.  Congratulations to our Board Vice President! You can see all of the SDCERS Board Members’ biographies, including Lisa Marie's, on this page. Learn More...

Cost of Living Adjustment ("COLA") for Fiscal Year 2025

Date: May 10, 2024 Categories: COLA, News Articles, Press Release

At today’s meeting, SDCERS’ Board of Administration approved the Cost of Living Adjustment (“COLA”) that will be applied to eligible SDCERS retirees’ (including active DROP participants) monthly pension benefit amount beginning with their July 2024 payment. Your pension benefit will receive a COLA for Fiscal Year 2024 if your retirement or DROP entry date is on or before June 30, 2024.   Per San Diego Municipal Code section 24.1505 and section 1301 of the Port and Airport Plans, the COLA is calculated every year based on the change in the cost of living between the two previous Decembers, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (“CPI”), United States – All items. However, the maximum allowable increase in any given year is 2.0%.   In years where the COLA is greater than the maximum 2.0% (such as this year), the amount over 2.0% is added to what is called a “COLA bank.” A retiree’s COLA bank accumulates based on their fiscal year of retirement (or DROP entry), and each annual retiree group has its own COLA bank. In years that the CPI’s published COLA is less than 2.0%, each retiree group’s COLA bank may be able to increase the actual COLA received by the retiree up to a maximum of 2.0%, if that retiree group’s COLA bank has accrued enough funds from previous years where the published COLA was greater than 2.0%.   According to the CPI, the change in cost of living between December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2023 was 3.4% (rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a percent). This means that everyone who is retired or participating in DROP as of June 30, 2024 will receive the maximum 2.0% COLA increase to their pension benefit, and bank the additional 1.4%. This means that those who receive the fiscal year 2025 COLA and add the additional 1.4% to their COLA banks will be able to use the amount accrued in their COLA bank in future years, such that they would still receive a 2.0% increase, even if the published COLA is less than 2.0%.  (Note: The two members in the City's 1981 plan tiers will have a 2.4% COLA for FY 2025.) This article is not an attempt to persuade you to retire or enter DROP before July 1, 2024 – there are certainly other factors to consider, such as your age, upcoming salary increases, etc. (please review this article discussing factors to consider before deciding when to retire, or this article discussing considerations when deciding upon a DROP entry date). However, it’s always worth noting when the published COLA is greater than 2.0%, as this may factor into your decision to retire or enter DROP before the beginning of the next fiscal year. (Note: You must enter DROP on the first day of a pay period – please consult your payroll specialist to confirm your pay period start dates in June.)   If you are eligible to receive a fiscal year 2025 COLA, the applicable increase will be reflected in your July 2024 pension payment.   Learn More...

May 2024 Board & Committee Meetings

Date: May 03, 2024 Categories: Board, News Articles, Press Release

SDCERS will be holding its regularly scheduled May 2024 Board and Committee meetings in our usual Board Meeting Room on the 3rd floor of our downtown office building – located at 401 West A Street, Suite 300.   Please note that SDCERS Board and Committee meetings are not held remotely (except as specified below) – Board and Committee members, as well as some SDCERS staff, will be on-site and the public is welcome to attend in person as well. You can find the agendas for the May 2024 meetings here.   However, as always, you can watch the Business & Governance Committee and/or Board of Administration meeting live by going to the agendas page (linked above) at the start time of the meeting and clicking the “Live Media” button next to the corresponding meeting, which will display once the meeting begins.    Meeting Dates May 9th –                    Disability Committee meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST                                     Business & Governance Committee meeting at 9:15 a.m. PST                                     Investment Committee meeting at 12:30 p.m. PST   May 10th –                  Board of Administration meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST   You may request to participate in public comment by attending the relevant meeting in person and providing a completed Request to Speak form to the Board Assistant before the meeting begins.   Learn More...

Reminder Regarding City Retiree Health

Date: Mar 29, 2024 Categories: Health, News Articles, Press Release

Please remember that SDCERS staff teleworks for a portion of each week, and there may not always be a retiree health staff member available in the office to assist members in person. Moving forward, if you would like to speak with a retiree health staff member in person, you must travel to SDCERS’ downtown offices on a Tuesday or Thursday (excluding holidays) between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. You are encouraged to call ahead to confirm availability of a retiree health staff member, especially if you are requesting to have your documents reviewed. SDCERS’ Call Center is open on regular business days from 9:00 a.m. – noon, and 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. You can also reach SDCERS’ retiree health staff via email, at health@sdcers.org. Learn More...

Active Members - Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Updated!

Date: Mar 11, 2024 Categories: News Articles, Pension

When was the last time you thought about your SDCERS beneficiary designations? Over a year ago? Five years? The day you enrolled in SDCERS? Maybe never? Beneficiary designations may seem like a chore you can put off or do once and forget about, but the truth is you should review your beneficiary designations at least once a year to make sure they reflect your current circumstances. For example, beneficiary designations probably aren’t the first thing on your mind when you get married or divorced, have a child, or lose a loved one, but these are all defining life events that may affect who you want to receive your pension benefits when you die. Active Members (meaning those who are actively employed by the City, Port,* or Airport and contributing to SDCERS, but are not in DROP) are eligible to leave one of three types of death benefits if they die before retiring or entering DROP, and the eligibility requirements are very specific for two of the three types. Importantly, if you die without having designated your surviving spouse as your sole pre-retirement death benefit beneficiary, then your surviving spouse will not be eligible to receive the lifetime Death While Eligible or Industrial Death Benefit, even if all other eligibility requirements are satisfied. This article contains a summary of the death benefits provided to Active Members, but please review the Death Benefits Fact Sheet for more in-depth information. *General Port employees hired or rehired on or after January 1, 2009 (and are not in the General 2024 Plan) must complete five consecutive years of Port employment after each hire or rehire date before they become Members of SDCERS and are eligible to leave a death benefit. Read the full article for more information!   Learn More...

March 2024 Board & Committee Meetings

Date: Mar 01, 2024 Categories: Board, News Articles, Press Release

SDCERS will be holding its regularly scheduled March 2024 Board and Committee meetings in our usual Board Meeting Room on the 3rd floor of our downtown office building – located at 401 West A Street, Suite 300.   Please note that SDCERS Board and Committee meetings are not held remotely (except as specified below) – Board and Committee members, as well as some SDCERS staff, will be on-site and the public is welcome to attend in person as well. You can find the agendas for the March 2024 meetings here.   However, as always, you can watch the Business & Governance Committee and/or Board of Administration meeting live by going to the agendas page (linked above) at the start time of the meeting and clicking the “Live Media” button next to the corresponding meeting, which will display once the meeting begins.    Meeting Dates March 6th –                 Audit Committee meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST   March 7th –                 Disability Committee meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST                                     Business & Governance Committee meeting at 9:15 a.m. PST                                     Investment Committee meeting at 12:30 p.m. PST   March 8th –                 Board of Administration meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST   You may request to participate in public comment by attending the relevant meeting in person and providing a completed Request to Speak form to the Board Assistant before the meeting begins.     Learn More...

Retiring Before vs. After the Beginning of a New Fiscal Year

Date: Feb 29, 2024 Categories: News Articles, Press Release, Retirement Resources

When it comes to retirement or entering DROP, timing is everything. One consideration when choosing your date is the effect of retiring or entering DROP before versus on June 30th (or earlier) compared to July 1st (or later) of any given year.   The main benefit of retiring or entering DROP towards the end of a fiscal year is that you will receive the next fiscal year’s cost of living adjustment (“COLA”) much sooner than if you wait to retire or enter DROP until the beginning of the next fiscal year. Everyone who retires or enters DROP before July 1st in any given year is eligible to receive that year’s COLA on their July pension payment, which usually increases your base pension benefit by 1-2% (maximum of 2% per year). However, if you retire or enter DROP on or after July 1st, you won’t receive a COLA until the July of the following year, when the next fiscal year begins. For example, let’s say your base pension benefit is $3,000 per month. If you retire on June 30, 2024 and the COLA effective July 1, 2024 is 2%, you’ll receive an additional $60 on each month’s pension check from July 2024 through June 2025, which comes to an additional $720 for the year. That’s $720 you’d miss out on if you chose to retire on or after July 1, 2024. (Note: The fiscal year 2025 COLA, effective July 2024, will be decided at the May 10, 2024 Board meeting – you can check SDCERS’ website the following week, which will have an article on the front page announcing what the July 2024 COLA will be.)   On the flip side, it’s possible you could increase your base pension benefit by waiting until after a new fiscal year has begun to retire or enter DROP. The logic behind this conclusion lies in your pension benefit formula: Retirement Factor x Final Compensation x Service Credit. First, retiring at an older age may grant you a higher retirement factor – remember that retirement factors are prorated in quarterly increments, so if your plan tier’s factor increases between age 62 and 63, for example, it will be slightly higher if you retire at age 62 ¼ compared to age 62. Second, the longer you continue to work before you retire, the more service credit you will accrue. In general, more service credit means a higher pension benefit. Lastly, if you recently received a salary increase, working longer while receiving that higher salary can increase your final compensation. Looking at the pension benefit formula, you can see that an increased final compensation will result in a greater pension benefit.   However, the thing to remember about your final compensation is that you must receive the higher salary for at least several months in order for it to have a noticeable effect on your pension benefit amount. The “Final Compensation” used in your pension benefit calculation is your highest pensionable salary averaged over either one or three years, depending on your plan tier. Therefore, if you only began receiving your increased salary in the beginning of the calendar year, you may want to keep working for at least several months into the new fiscal year in order to see a significant difference in your benefit amount. In order for your higher salary to be used in full when calculating your benefit, you’d have to continue working for one or three years from the date of your salary increase, again depending on your plan tier.   One more possible benefit of retiring or entering DROP after the start of a new fiscal year has to do with your cost of living (“COL”) annuity and interest applied to member contributions.* Your member contributions receive annual interest, currently at a rate of 6.5%, applied every June 30th. However, your contribution account do not receive that year’s interest if you are retired or participating in DROP before July 1st. Depending on your specific circumstances and the COLA for that year, waiting to retire or enter DROP until after the interest has been applied to your contributions may increase your COL annuity to such an extent that the higher COL annuity, combined with any other applicable benefits of waiting as discussed above, could be more financially beneficial to you than the COLA would be. If this is true in your case, it could make more sense to retire or enter DROP on or after July 1st. (Note: The same logic applies to your Surviving Spouse Annuity, if you select the Maximum Benefit (Single) retirement benefit option – see the Retirement Benefit Options Fact Sheet for more information.)   *Police officers hired on or after August 1, 2012 and Port General 2024 Membersdo not receive the COL annuity.   To be clear, the financial pros and cons of retiring or entering DROP before vs. after the start of a new fiscal year depend on multiple factors and your individual circumstances. There is no one size fits all regarding retirement/DROP entry date – it is a very personal decision and should be made after careful consideration of all relevant factors. This article is intended to inform you of some possible benefits of retiring before or after July 1st of a given year. Also, if you are considering entering DROP, please be reminded that your DROP entry date must be on the first day of a pay period – the last day to enter DROP before the beginning of Fiscal Year 2025 will be June 22, 2024 for City members and June 28, 2024 for Port and Airport members. Please submit your service retirement or DROP entry application via your Member Portal account soon if you are thinking about retiring or entering DROP before July 1st, so you can schedule a counseling appointment in May or early June – don’t procrastinate!   Learn More...

2023 1099-R Tax Forms

Date: Jan 18, 2024 Categories: 1099R, News Articles, Press Release

All IRS Form 1099-R’s for tax year 2023 were mailed on January 16th. This means all SDCERS retirees and beneficiaries who received a payment from SDCERS in calendar year 2023 should be receiving their 2023 1099-R forms via U.S. mail over the next couple of weeks. To access your 1099-R form sooner, please log in to your Member Portal account, click on “Tax Reporting” on the left, and select “2023 1099R” to download an electronic copy. You can also update your tax withholding preferences on your Member Portal by clicking on “Tax Withholding.” This guide explains how to update your tax withholding preferences.   For a detailed explanation of the pertinent information in your 1099-R, as well as answers to frequently asked questions regarding this tax form, please review our 1099-R Fact Sheet. If you have additional questions, please contact the Call Center at (619) 525-3600 or submit your questions electronically via our Contact Us web form. Learn More...

Farewell, Marcelle

Date: Jan 16, 2024 Categories: News Articles, Press Release

Friday, SDCERS said a bittersweet goodbye to our Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Marcelle Voorhies Rossman, who retired after attending her last SDCERS Board meeting as part of our staff. Marcelle gave more than 23 years of her career to the City of San Diego, and about 10 of those years were spent on SDCERS’ team. After many years leading our Benefits Administration Division, Marcelle spent the last six years as our Deputy CEO, overseeing not only Benefits Administration, but also Member Services, Finance, Retiree Health, Disability Retirement, and Death Benefits. Her knowledge of actuarial science and her expertise when it comes to organizing and analyzing spreadsheets is unparalleled. In recent years, Marcelle took the lead working with the City to facilitate the reversal of Proposition B, a huge undertaking that required near-constant attention and coordination across multiple City departments.   While Marcelle’s upbeat attitude, motivational leadership style, and institutional knowledge will be sorely missed, we know she has trained her team well and prepared SDCERS staff to fill in the hole she leaves behind. Please join us as, with mixed emotions, we congratulate our esteemed Deputy CEO on her well-earned retirement.   Learn More...

January 2024 Board & Committee Meetings

Date: Jan 05, 2024 Categories: Board, News Articles, Press Release

SDCERS will be holding its regularly scheduled January 2024 Board and Committee meetings in our usual Board Meeting Room on the 3rd floor of our downtown office building – located at 401 West A Street, Suite 300.   Please note that SDCERS Board and Committee meetings are not held remotely (except as specified below) – Board and Committee members, as well as some SDCERS staff, will be on-site and the public is welcome to attend in person as well. You can find the agendas for the January 2024 meetings here.   However, as always, you can watch the Business & Governance Committee and/or Board of Administration meeting live by going to the agendas page (linked above) at the start time of the meeting and clicking the “Live Media” button next to the corresponding meeting, which will display once the meeting begins.  Meeting Dates January 11th –             Disability Committee meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST                                     Business & Governance Committee meeting at 9:15 a.m. PST                                     Investment Committee meeting at 12:30 p.m. PST   January 12th –             Board of Administration meeting at 9:00 a.m. PST   You may request to participate in public comment by attending the relevant meeting in person and providing a completed Request to Speak form to the Board Assistant before the meeting begins.   Learn More...