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Employer News

May 6, 2021 (Initial post was April 9, 2021)

PSERS HOP Invitation for Application – IFA 2021-01

PSERS has posted the Invitation for Application documents for managed care organizations to apply to provide Medicare Advantage and pre-65 managed care plans for the 2022 Health Options Program.  A nonbinding letter of intent to apply is due April 19, 2021. The fully completed application is due May 14, 2021. Proposed rates for 2022 are due June 8, 2021. There are five parts to the Invitation for Application, plus one attached form. Instructions are included in the various documents. Please click on each link to download the document:

Informational Letter
Part I  – General Information
Part II – Contractor Requirements and Vendor Qualification
Part III – Application
Part IV – Contract Document
Part V – Commonwealth Standard Contract Terms
Form A – Trade Secret Confidential Proprietary Information Notice Form 
* May 5, 2021 Addendum


April 21, 2021

New Defined Benefit Member Rates for Shared Risk Membership Classes Beginning July 1, 2021

In December 2020, the PSERS Board certified the member contribution rates for Class T-E, Class T-F, Class T-G, and Class T-H members effective from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024.  The PSERS Board was subsequently advised of errors in the data used for the calculation which has caused it to recertify the member contribution rates.

It has been determined that the PSERS investment performance did not meet the shared risk target range for the nine-year evaluation period ending June 30, 2020. This means the Defined Benefit (DB) member contribution rates will increase by 0.50% or 0.75%, depending on a member's membership class within PSERS (see chart below) until the next evaluation period in three years.  

This change does not have any impact on the amount that is required to be contributed by participants to the DC Plan. This also does not impact the employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2021-2022, which will remain at 34.94%.

What Is Shared Risk?
With a "shared risk/shared gain" provision, Class T-E, Class T-F, Class T-G, and Class T-H members can benefit when PSERS investments are doing well and share some of the risk when PSERS investments underperform. DB contribution rates may increase or decrease by 0.50% or 0.75% within the specified range every three years.

Act 120 of 2010 and Act 5 of 2017 created a risk-sharing program for all members who first enrolled in PSERS after June 30, 2011 (Class T-E, Class T-F, Class T-G, and Class T-H members).

Class Base DB Contribution Rate Shared Risk Increase Total DB Contribution Rate Starting July 1, 2021
Class T-E 7.50% +0.50% 8.00% 
Class T-F 10.30% +0.50% 10.80% 
Class T-G* 5.50% +0.75% 6.25% 
Class T-H** 4.50% +0.75% 5.25% 

*+2.75% DC Contribution Rate; **+3.00% DC Contribution Rate 

Next Steps For You

  • PSERS is providing notification of this change to software providers at the same time that this is being shared with you. If you do not hear from your software provider in the next few days, you should contact your software provider and begin working with them to ensure that your reporting software accommodates these changes in contribution rates.
    • These new rates will begin July 1, 2021 for impacted employees for service rendered in FY 2021-2022.
    • Remember, reporting to PSERS is based on when the service occurred, not when it is paid. This means that your payroll system will need to allow for old or previous contribution rates to be used if reporting withholding for an employee for service rendered prior to July 1, 2021. This will be true for reporting balance of contract funds for FY 2020-2021, late reporting, and for any adjustments for service prior to July 1, 2021.

Next Steps For PSERS

  • PSERS will be sending correspondence to all impacted members informing them of their upcoming contribution rate change.
    • Please note that there is no change for Class T-C, Class T-D, and Class DC members so they will not receive a communication from PSERS.
  • PSERS will also be providing information to employers so that they can also assist in communicating this change through email websites or payroll inserts.
  • The next evaluation will be based on PSERS investment experience for the period ending June 30, 2023 and will impact the DB member contribution rate for impacted members beginning July 1, 2024.

January 29, 2021

2020 Premium Assistance Verification

The Premium Assistance Verification process has begun and reports have been mailed to Business Managers of the Commonwealth School Employers. These listings represent monthly Premium Assistance payments made to retirees as a reimbursement of premiums they have paid toward the cost of their own basic medical coverage under your plan. The Internal Revenue Service requires PSERS to verify each year that premiums were actually paid by retirees receiving this reimbursement. PSERS is requesting that employers verify premiums paid during the 2020 calendar year. In order to ensure there is no interruption in Premium Assistance to your plan participants, please complete and return the report to PSERS by March 31, 2021. Questions regarding the 2020 Premium Assistance Verification process should be directed to the Premium Assistance Unit at 1.866.483.5509 or via email at hopadminunithb@trustmarkbenefits.com.

 

Your timely assistance in verifying these payments is appreciated.


December 11, 2020

Employer Contribution Rate For FY 2021-22
The employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2021-2022 will be 34.94%. The rate applies to salary and wages earned from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. 

The rate was determined by PSERS' actuary and certified by the PSERS Board of Trustees at its meeting on December 3, 2020. The certified employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2021-2022 is slightly less than the previously projected 34.95%. The unfunded accrued liability (UAL) of $44.0 billion is down slightly from $44.1 billion and represents the second year in a row that the UAL has declined.  For the third year in a row, the funded status of PSERS increased from 58.1% at June 30, 2019 to 59.2% at June 30, 2020.

The employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2021-2022 consists of 33.99% for pension costs, 0.80% for premium assistance payments, and 0.15% for defined contribution costs.  The defined contribution (DC) rate is an estimated average.  The actual employer DC contribution rate will be based on each employer's Class T-G, Class T-H and Class DC-only membership.  Of the 34.94% employer contribution rate, 26.79% represents payment toward the unfunded liability.

This certification of the employer contribution rate marks the sixth consecutive year the employer rate provides 100% of the actuarially required rate which is necessary to pay down existing pension debt.  In the past, various pieces of pension legislation suppressed the employer contributions paid to PSERS by school employers and the Commonwealth for many years.

A link to the FY 2021-22 Employer Contribution Rate Fact Sheet can be found here: Pension Rate Fact Sheet

Shared Risk/Shared Gain Performance Update
The PSERS Board of Trustees certified and retained the current member contribution rates for Class T-E, Class T-F, Class T-G. and Class T-H members for the three-year period from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024.

New members hired after July 1, 2011 under the "shared risk/shared gain" provision benefit when investments of the fund are doing well but share some of the risk when investments underperform. Their contribution rates could fluctuate every three years based on the Fund's investment performance. The next measurement period for the "shared risk" provisions ends June 30, 2023.


December 11, 2020

Information on Withdrawal Liability

Effective September of 2019, Act 72 of 2019 requires PSERS to calculate and collect a withdrawing employer's unfunded retirement benefit liabilities, i.e., the employer's "withdrawal liability."  Prior to September 2019, when an employer terminated its participation in PSERS, for all or some of its employees, that employer's share of the system's unfunded retirement benefit liability was re-allocated to the remaining employers.  Such withdrawals, under a cost-sharing multiple employer plan like PSERS, resulted in an increased funding obligation for the remaining employers.  The withdrawal liability is designed to relieve the additional funding burden on the remaining employers. 

Under the Public School Employees' Retirement Code, an employer is deemed to withdraw from PSERS when it ceases covered operations under the system or ceases to have an obligation to contribute under the system for all or any of the its employees but continues covered operations.  Thus, an employer will be responsible for paying a withdrawal liability when, for example, it permanently closes all operations or creates an alternate retirement plan to cover some or all new employees.  The calculation and payment of the withdrawal liability differs based on whether the employer is ceasing operations entirely or continuing participation in PSERS for some employees, but not all.   For a complete withdrawal, a lump sum amount is due PSERS.  For a partial withdrawal, the amount owed may be paid over time. 

Click here for frequently asked questions regarding the withdrawal liability provision as applied to charter school operations. If you are considering closing a school, creating an alternate retirement plan, or in any other way limiting PSERS membership for employees, you should contact the PSERS Employer Service Center for more information.  


September 02, 2020

PSERS Employer Reference Manual: Let Us Know Your Thoughts!

The Employer Reference Manual is a 19-Chapter resource that outlines how to use PSERS' reporting system and provides guidance for proper reporting. Please share your thoughts about the usefulness and organization of the Employer Reference Manual, as well as how efficiently you can find the answers to your questions using the manual.

Please take a moment to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LX8HV6C

We appreciate your comments and are looking to reach anyone who assists with PSERS reporting that is familiar with this resource, even if they are not the primary person who is responsible for submitting PSERS reporting.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to your ESC representative. Thanks for your cooperation and assistance.


May 18, 2020

GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD STATEMENT NO. 68 (GASB 68) INFORMATION PROVIDED TO EMPLOYERS

The 2020 GASB 68 information is as of and for the year ended June 30, 2019 (measurement date) and is for use in employer's financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 or June 30, 2020, whichever is applicable.

PSERS has provided, through the Pension Administration System, (located on the ESS home page, under web links) information necessary to comply with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 68 (GASB 68).  PSERS has endeavored to provide as much information as possible to its employers as they report in accordance with this GASB Standard.  The web links contain explanations of what was provided and what the employers' responsibilities are.

The web links contain the following audited and supplemental information: 

AUDITED

  • Schedule of Employer Allocations
  • Schedule of Pension Amounts by Employer
  • Notes to Schedule of Employer Allocations and Schedule of Pension Amounts by Employer

SUPPLEMENTAL (UNAUDITED)

  • Schedule of Amortization of Employers' Deferred Outflows/Inflows
  • Schedule of Employers' Changes in Proportion
  • Schedule of Separately Finance Specific Liabilities
  • Reconciliation of Reported Covered Payroll
  • Sample Note Disclosures for School Districts and Charter Schools

Additional GASB 68 Resources can be found on the PSERS website under Employer GASB 68 Information

If you did not receive the information or have any questions regarding the GASB 68 information provided, please send an email to the following email address: RA-PSERSEMPACCT@pa.gov


May 18, 2020

GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD STATEMENT NO. 75 (GASB 75) INFORMATION PROVIDED TO EMPLOYERS

The 2020 GASB 75 information is as of and for the year ended June 30, 2019 (measurement date) and is for use in employer's financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 or June 30, 2020, whichever is applicable.

PSERS has provided, through the Pension Administration System, (located on the ESS home page, under web links) information necessary to comply with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 75 (GASB 75).  PSERS has endeavored to provide as much information as possible to its employers as they report in accordance with this GASB Standard.  The web links contain explanations of what was provided and what the employers' responsibilities are.

The web links contain the following audited and supplemental information

AUDITED

  • Schedule of Employer Allocations
  • Schedule of OPEB Amounts by Employer
  • Notes to Schedule of Employer Allocations and Schedule of OPEB Amounts by Employer

SUPPLEMENTAL (UNAUDITED)

  • Schedule of Amortization of Employers' Deferred Outflows/Inflows
  • Schedule of Employers' Changes in Proportion
  • Schedule of Separately Finance Specific Liabilities
  • Reconciliation of Reported Covered Payroll
  • Sample Note Disclosures for School Districts and Charter Schools

Additional GASB 75 Resources can be found on the PSERS website under Employer GASB 75 Information

If you did not receive the information or have any questions regarding the GASB 75 information provided, please send an email to the following email address: RA-PSERSEMPACCT@pa.gov


April 13, 2020

Message about PSERS Employer Contribution Rate for FY 2020-21

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and fearful for all, both from a health and a financial perspective. PSERS understands those feelings are compounded as budgets are reexamined, re-adjusted, and projected for the coming fiscal years (FY). To that end, PSERS is providing this update to clarify any assumptions being made about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employer contribution rate (ECR) projections, specifically for FY 2020-21.  

Click here for the full message about PSERS Employer Contribution Rate for FY 2020-21


April 2, 2020

PSERS HOP Invitation for Application – IFA 2020-01

PSERS has posted the Invitation for Application documents for managed care organizations to apply to provide Medicare Advantage and pre-65 managed care plans for the 2021 Health Options Program. A nonbinding letter of intent to apply is due April 13, 2020. The fully completed application is due May 8, 2020. Proposed rates for 2021 are due June 5, 2020. There are five Parts to the Invitation for Application, plus one attached Form. Instructions are included in the various documents. Please click on each link to download the document:

*Please note that the IFA has been amended to revise submission instructions, and request electronic submission only. To ensure timely receipt and review of your application, please use a trackable delivery service such as U.S. Mail, FedEx or UPS to deliver your proposal.
 
Part I – General Information
Part II – Contractor Requirements and Vendor Qualification
Part III – Application
Part IV – Contract Document
Part V – Commonwealth Standard Contract Terms
Form A – Trade Secret Confidential Proprietary Information Notice Form
*PSERS IFA 2020-1 Addendum 4-21-2020

February 4, 2019

2019 Premium Assistance Verification

The Premium Assistance Verification process has begun and reports have been mailed to Business Managers of the Commonwealth School Employers. These listings represent monthly Premium Assistance payments made to retirees as a reimbursement of premiums they have paid toward the cost of their own basic medical coverage under your plan. The Internal Revenue Service requires PSERS to verify each year that premiums were actually paid by retirees receiving this reimbursement. PSERS is requesting that employers verify premiums paid during the 2019 calendar year. In order to ensure there is no interruption in Premium Assistance to your plan participants, please complete and return the report to PSERS by March 31, 2020. Questions regarding the 2019 Premium Assistance Verification process should be directed to the Premium Assistance Unit at 1.866.483.5509.

Your timely assistance in verifying these payments is appreciated.

 

December 9, 2019

Employer Contribution Rate For Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-2021

The employer contribution rate for FY 2020-2021 will be 34.51%. The rate applies to salary and wages earned from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.  

The rate was determined by PSERS' actuary and certified by the PSERS Board of Trustees at its meeting on December 6, 2019. The certified employer contribution rate for FY 2020-2021 is less than the previously projected 34.77% due in part to positive FY 2019 economic and demographic experience and sustained funding from the Commonwealth and school employers.  The unfunded accrued liability of $44.1 at June 30, 2019 is down from $44.9 billion at June 30, 2018 and represents the first major decrease in the unfunded liability in over a decade. The funded status of PSERS also experienced its first significant increase in more than a decade, growing from 56.5% at June 30, 2018 to 58.1% at June 30, 2019.

The employer contribution rate for FY 2020-2021 consists of 33.51% for pension costs, 0.82% for premium assistance payments, and 0.18% for defined contribution costs. Of the 33.51% pension portion of the employer contribution rate, 26.14% represents payment toward the unfunded liability (past service debt).    The defined contribution (DC) rate of 0.18% is an estimated average.   The actual employer DC contribution rate will be based on each employer's Class T-G, Class T-H, and Class DC-only membership.

This certification of the employer contribution rate marks the fifth consecutive year the employer rate provides 100% of the actuarially required rate which is necessary to pay down existing pension debt.  In the past, various pieces of pension legislation suppressed the employer contributions paid to PSERS by school employers and the Commonwealth. FY 2017 was the first time the actuarially required rate was paid after 15 years of underfunding. 

A link to the FY 2020/2021 Employer Contribution Rate Fact Sheet can be found here: Pension Rate Fact Sheet


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