We work to keep SERS’ members informed of issues that directly affect them. The latest on what is affecting you through your retirement system will always be posted on our website’s homepage. After news items have been publicized, they will be housed on the “Important Retirement News” sections of the Members homepage and the Retirees homepage. You also can refer to this section when you are looking for older news items.
Important Retirement News
Medicare Announces 2022 Premium Increase
Medicare has announced the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $170.10 in 2022, an increase of $21.60 from $148.50 in 2021.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the increase is based in part on spending trends driven by COVID-19 and prior congressional action that limited the 2021 monthly premium increase during the pandemic.
It also reflects the need to maintain a contingency reserve for unanticipated health care spending increases, particularly certain drug costs.
Most Americans’ Part B premium is automatically deducted from their monthly Social Security benefit. If you pay using Social Security’s Easy Pay program, your payment will be automatically adjusted.
However, if you pay your premium from your checking or savings account using an online banking service, you will need to adjust your payment amount to $170.10 before the January payment.
If you have questions, please call Social Security, which handles Medicare’s billing, at 1-800-722-1213.
Board Approves Maximum COLA for 2022
At its September meeting, the Board unanimously voted to approve a 2.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase for eligible retirees and beneficiaries in 2022.
By statute, SERS’ COLA is based on the year-to-year change in the Consumer Price Index (June 2020 to June 2021) for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W), with a range of 0% to 2.5%. While the Board has the authority to adjust the percentage to maintain the financial stability of the fund, data provided to the Board from the actuary indicates that awarding a 2.5% COLA would not materially impair the fiscal integrity of the system.
Benefit recipients whose benefit effective date is on or after April 1, 2018, must wait until the fourth anniversary of their allowance or benefit before receiving a COLA.
Does the Stock Market Decline Affect My SERS Pension?
The good news for SERS benefit recipients is that stock market declines do not affect benefit amounts. All benefit payments are being processed as usual and will be delivered on time.
Under current Ohio law, once you retire your pension is guaranteed for life and cannot be reduced. This is the big advantage that defined benefit (DB) pension plans like SERS have over defined contribution (DC) plans such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and 403(b) retirement plans.
The reason DB plans like SERS can offer this guarantee is because our investment strategy takes a long-term approach to investing. SERS does not have to reduce exposure to certain types of investments as a member gets closer to retirement age like DC plans do. In addition, SERS’ assets are diversified among many different types of investments, so a shock to one type won’t affect the others.
SERS was able to withstand the 2008-09 Great Financial Crisis and we will be able to recover from the current market decline as the economy improves after the COVID-19 disruption.
Medicare Enrollment During COVID-19
Social Security offices have temporarily suspended in-person assistance. Until offices reopen to visitors, here are other ways to complete your Medicare enrollment.
Auto Enrollment in Medicare
If you are receiving a Social Security check prior to your 65th birthday, Medicare Part A and Part B enrollment is automatic. Look for your Medicare ID card to arrive in the mail prior to your birthday.
Sign up Online or Make a Telephone Appointment
If you are not receiving a Social Security check or you are not eligible for one, you must apply for your Medicare benefits.
- The easiest way to apply is by going to www.ssa.gov/medicare
- You also can call Social Security to schedule an appointment to enroll over the telephone. Depending on the call volume, you may have a wait to speak to someone.
We suggest that you call your local Social Security office directly rather than calling the national toll-free number. You can find your local office’s phone number on www.ssa.gov/locator. Scroll down the webpage to the “Locate an Office by Zip” button.
If You Were Hired by the Schools Before April 1, 1986
Call your local Social Security office to schedule a telephone appointment rather than applying online. School employees hired before April 1986 were not required to pay Medicare taxes while working.
If you were married for at least 10 years and a current spouse, former spouse or late spouse paid Medicare taxes, you will qualify for premium-free Part A based on his or her work record.
If Social Security tells you that you are not eligible for premium-free Part A through your own work record or a spouse’s work record AND you are enrolling in a SERS Medicare Plan – do not sign up for Medicare Part A. Tell the Social Security representative that you want to sign up for Medicare B only. Your SERS coverage will cover any hospital services normally covered under Part A.
Have You Recently Moved? Be Sure to Let Us Know.
Make sure you advise SERS of any change in address. You may be missing out on valuable membership information, or even benefits.
Even if SERS deposits your check directly into your bank account, we still need your current home address.
If you move and do not notify SERS, your benefits can be suspended. You can update your address by calling us at 800-878-5853, or by using the My Profile section of the Account Login on our website.
If you prefer, you can mail us your change of address by sending a completed Personal Information Change Form to School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, 300 E. Broad St., Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.
You are one of more than 237,000 active and retired members. Don’t have an online account with
SERS yet? It’s easy. Visit Account Login to register today. It’s a secure and convenient way to view your account and stay connected with SERS.
Account Login provides the ability to:
- Review your account balance and service credit
- Update your personal information, such as address and beneficiary
- Create estimates
- Apply for retirement or a refund
Because the functionality and capabilities of the computer system have been increased, the system’s security features have been upgraded. This means that even if you previously registered for an online account, you will need to create a new account to access your SERS account information.