Sgt. Brian E. Wright #1575, Trustee • Vice-President
CLARIFICATION AND UPDATES
Retiree Health Care
The City Retirees lost their City subsidized health care plan through a court decision recently handed down. The court determined the City does not have a further obligation to subsidize the health care of city retirees, including our retired police officers. The Pension Fund also paid a portion of the health care premiums of our retirees, but said subsidy expired by statute on December 31st, 2016, and was not extended by further law or Court order. This means that the Pension Fund CANNOT pay the subsidy for police retirees or they would be in violation of the state statute.
Mr. Krislov, counsel for the retirees likes to lump the Pension Board into the same group as the City when referring to the health care fight. At no time have the sworn members of the Pension Board supported terminating retiree health care. Why would we? We are going to be retirees ourselves one day. The Pension Board instructed our counsel to not support the City’s position on retiree health care but to attend all court dates as an interested observer and report back to the Board. Our counsel did just that and we abided by the court decision and the expiring statute. The Pension Fund has no choice but to abide by all the provisions of the Pension Code. The Pension Fund cannot pick and choose what parts of the statute to follow. The statute does not allow for the continuation of the subsidy regardless of what Mr. Krislov may think.
P.O. Michael K. Lappe, Elected Trustee
BAD NEWS ~ GOOD NEWS
Greetings from yours truly. I can only assume and hope that all is well out there in retirement land. SORRY, forgot for a second how all our retiree’s got the big screw (driver-R.E.) stuck to you with the insurance debacle that the city outrageously without any concerns for anyone’s well being after serving in any one of a number of city departments as a dedicated employee.
I need to get this message out to you as well. All members need to remember that this is a pension fund. Here at 221 N. LaSalle #1626, we are not a health and welfare fund or an insurance office, nor do we administer any financial planning on your behalf. It’s your pension office. Our phone has been ringing nonstopped for weeks now. The staff here has been professionally sifting through the Blue Cross (BC) screwup that turned the insurance program on its head. We are very limited as to helping you. The BC call takers continually give bad inaccurate information to you the member. When we tell you to call BC, we are not blowing you off. Here at the Fund, we are NOT in the loop with the BMO or BC office over on State Street. We cannot provide BC your personal details for what works for you and your family. The fact is the BC call takers are clueless, rude and in a few cases, just hang up on you.[Full Article]
Kenneth A. Hauser, Elected Trustee • President
PENSION FUND UPDATES
SB440 passed the House and Senate in the November/ December Veto Session which, as a result, was an override of the Governor’s Veto. All Police Officers born before January 1, 1966 will now receive a 3% COLA increase 13 months after their date of retirement. This 3% COLA will be forever, there is no cap with this increase. Approximately 1375 annuitants are affected by the passage of SB440. The Pension Fund is trying to get the first 3% COLA due January 31, 2017 to all 1375 annuitants but the cumulative rate will take up to 6 months because the calculation is being done manually.
As you are aware, the Public Employee Safety Act known as the Helps Bill proposed by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) and the National Fraternal Order of Police passed and became law in 2006. This bill created a benefit for public employees to receive up to $3000 credit for healthcare premiums on their annual tax return when paid through the Pension Fund or Municipality. For annuitants that did not sign up for the FOP Aetna Plan or the City BC/BS Plan but joined another plan that is not paid through the Pension Fund, you will still receive the up to $3000 healthcare deduction on your 2016 tax return. We are aware however, that you will lose this tax deduction in 2017. Therefore, retired Chicago Firefighter, Trustee Dan Fortuna who is the President of the NCPERS, and I, an elected NCPERS Board Member, will be proposing a change in the Helps Bill in the 115th Congress to change the legislation requiring a Public Safety Employee to make healthcare premiums through their Pension Fund. The new legislation will only require an annuitant to show proof of payment of their healthcare premiums when filing their annual income tax return. A great deal of support will be needed. Therefore, we will be asking the National Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Firefighters to support us in this endeavor. If passed, this will affect your 2017 tax return. I will keep you informed of the progress of this legislation.
Lieutenant James P. Maloney, Elected Trustee • Recording Secretary • Chairman of the Investment Committee
INVESTMENT & RETIREMENT UPDATESFirst of all I want to congratulate all our retirees for 2016. Thank you for your years of service to the Citizens of Chicago. I also want to thank our hardworking staff at the Pension Fund for their service and devotion.
I want to welcome our new Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Aoifinn Devitt. She joined our Fund in April of 2016. She is an extremely competent and knowledgeable investment professional. I look forward to working with her. All the investment managers who have met with her tell me we have a great person with her and she is very smart.
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Pension Advisor is a publication of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund. You will be receiving a copy to update you on the matters that affect your pension and the concerns of active police officers, retirees and widows that make up our membership. If you have a question about your pension or the Fund, or, if there is a particular issue you would like to see addressed, please feel free to send a note to:
POLICEMEN’S ANNUITY AND BENEFIT FUND
221 North LaSalle Street – Suite 1626
Chicago, IL 60601