Possible paycheck deduction error on EUTF

You may have a DAGS Error on 7/20/21 Paychecks on EUTF calculations

The below is excerpted from an email sent to EUTF trustees. If you have any questions or concerns UHPA recommends you do as directed below and contact EUTF directly.  

Late last week we found out that DAGS made an error on the 7/20/21 paychecks related to EUTF deductions.  DAGS normal process is to upload our EUTF file with the upcoming health benefit deductions.  For the 7/20/21 paycheck, DAGS was running the EUTF file and another file at the same time.  This resulted in 26,000 out of 109,000 rows (each row represents one employee’s deduction for EUTF medical, drug, dental or vision) not being updated properly.  The bulk of these updates are probably for the increase in premiums which would result in an under collection.  However, if the member during open enrollment dropped a dependent or changed to a lower cost plan, this would not have been reflected resulting in an over collection.  DAGS will resolve the issue by taking the following actions:

  1. Notify the departments of the issue (an email was sent on Friday, 7/16). 
  2. Determine the 7/20/21 over or under collection and will refund or collect the difference on the 8/5/21 paycheck.
  3. Implement procedures to prevent the same situation in the future. 

At this point, we do not have to make changes on our side.  However, please note the following:

  1. Shortage notices should not be sent out as any under collections should be resolved (i.e. 8/5/21) prior to the next shortage notice print out (i.e. mid August).
  2. EUTF staff will not issue refunds related to the 7/20/21 paycheck until we receive the 8/5/21 DAGS payroll deduction file. 
  3. Our Member Services Staff have been apprised of the situation and will be able to assist the members impacted.

HMSA publishes EUTF video on receiving care

UHPA received the following (unedited) message from HMSA that may be of interest to our members:

We are now past the halfway point of 2021, and a return to normalcy is right around the corner. With the state slowly reopening and travel resuming, it has never been more important to feel safe. Here at HMSA we know this includes getting the care you want, when and where you need it. We created a video for your members to learn about HMSA’s extensive network and access to care. It can also be viewed at hmsa.com/eutf

To show our members all the different ways care is available to them, this video answers questions like:

– Where can you go for care outside of normal office hours?

– What kind of care can you receive on the outer islands? What about outside of Hawaii?

We hope this video will give your members peace of mind that they will always have access to the care they need.

Lynne Wilkens Endorsed by Hawaii Fire Fighters Association for ERS Board

UHPA was copied on the below letter from the President of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association endorsing Lynne Wilkens for the  Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, and we could not be happier.   Please support Lynne in the upcoming ERS Board Trustee Election.

Dear Dr. Wilkens,

On behalf of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association’s (HFFA) Executive Board, I am pleased to share HFFA’s endorsement of your candidacy for Trustee of the State of Hawaii’s Employees’ Retirement System.

Your professional qualification, experience within the higher education system, and your advocacy on behalf of the members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly over the many years makes you extremely qualified for the position on the Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees. HFFA is extremely confident that you will be an asset on the ERS Board and an advocate for all members, both active and retired. We will share HFFA’s endorsement with our retired and active members prior to ERS distributing the ballots in September.

Please feel free to call me if we can assist your candidacy and we look forward to working with you in 2022 as a Trustee on the Employees’ Retirement System Board.

Fraternally yours,
Robert H. Lee
President

Download the original PDF received: HFFA endorsement of Lynne Wilkens for ERS

UHPA Endorses Lynne Wilkens for ERS Board

Lynne Wilkens

Fully endorsed by UHPA

Lynne Wilkens has all of the right qualities to serve in the Teacher Seat for the State of Hawai‘i Employees’ Retirement System. She has served in leadership roles with the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center for the past 33 years and successfully led UHPA through difficult challenges. Over a five-year period, she tirelessly served as a Negotiating Team Member, Treasurer, and Board President. Your vote for Lynne will make sure the concerns of Hawai‘i’s employees are heard!

Lynne’s quote:

“Numbers and data play important roles in crafting good policy. I see this daily in my profession as a Biostatistician. I apply careful analysis to best understand how to prevent and treat disease in my work at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center and instill these skills in my students.

As an ERS Trustee, I’ll make sure the numbers make sense for you and me. Good retirement benefits help to attract and retain great employees, and this ensures we can have a better quality of life and maintain high standards of service for the community.”

HMSA video: Talk to your PCP

We are passing on a message from HMSA below with minimal editing:

EUTF Actives Open Enrollment has just ended, and it’s a perfect time for your membership to gear up for the new plan year. Plan selections have been made, but what’s next? Part of being healthy means seeing a PCP for regular check-ups and screenings.

We created another video for your membership on Talking to Your PCP.

To encourage our members to take control of their own health and well-being, the video answers questions like:

  • Have you checked in with your PCP on your goals for 2021?
  • Do you want to get back on track?
  • How can we help work on this with you to meet your health and well-being plans?

We hope this will encourage your membership to schedule their appointment with their PCP and make progress towards their 2021 goals.

Legislature Funds UHPA Ratified Contract

We are pleased to inform you that the Legislature has approved and appropriately funded our recently ratified (with a 95% approval) successor agreement (2021-2023), including the negotiated increases to the EUTF.   You can download a PDF for details of the negotiated increases and the updated premium rates as you make your decisions for what plans best suit you during this open enrollment period. 

Download the PDFs of EUTF Rates contributions

 

What would your premiums be “IF” the contract wasn’t ratified?

 

Will Self-Insurance Save EUTF millions?

The below letter was sent to the Editors of the Star Advertiser and publishes some financial facts in response to various voices claiming substantial EUTF liability savings if a “self-insurance” model is adopted. UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern serves as secretary-treasurer of the EUTF board of trustees.

February 18, 2021

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

To the editor:

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought the world to its knees, sickening and killing millions.  Not in a generation has the importance of health and sustainability been so clear.  The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) provides medical, prescription drug, dental, vision and life insurance benefits to nearly 200,000 state and county employees, retirees and dependents.  As the largest provider of such benefits in the State, it has been the center of much discussion.  These discussions must start with facts.

Hawaii, like most other states prior to 2014, only paid the current retiree health care premiums under a fiscally unsustainable “pay-as-you-go” funding structure.  No money was set aside as the employees earned their retiree health benefits, resulting in an unfunded liability.  As of July 1, 2020, the State’s unfunded liability for retiree health benefits was $8.9 billion.  While this number is significant, the state‘s actuary had projected in 2013 the liability to be $10.7 billion at July 1, 2020.  Additionally, in the 2020 valuation, the state experienced a $733 million actuarial gain due to lower than projected retiree premiums that reduced projected state contributions by $3.6 billion over a 35-year period.  This progress is due to many reasons.  

The State has taken measures to address the unfunded liability by:  1) establishing a mechanism to fund the liability, 2) optimizing investment returns, 3) maximizing federal subsidies, 4) limiting growth in benefit plan costs, and 5) modifying retiree benefits for new employees.  

Self-insurance, whereby the EUTF would assume all risk for payment of all claims under the health insurance plans it offers, is another mechanism that has been discussed. This arrangement has not been pursued by the EUTF because savings would be minimal, especially in comparison to the financial risk that would be assumed. There would no administrative cost savings.  The cost to insure the EUTF against unexpected claims is estimated to be $13 million annually.  As a point of reference, the EUTF plans pay out over $750 million in state claims annually.  Self-insuring could actually result in additional costs if these plans experienced losses.  

Due to its scale, EUTF self-insured and insured methods would result in fairly stable and similar annual costs, with the insured model providing significant value in the event of catastrophe. Prefunding payments are not related to the insurance model used by EUTF plans.  As described earlier, the large prefunding payments are the result of failing to fund retiree health benefits during their employment.  The Act 268, 2013 prefunding payments will continue as scheduled unless its provisions are amended.  

Facts are always important and especially so in these difficult times that require difficult decisions.  The EUTF Board continues to provide decision makers and the public with the facts and well-supported recommendations as it undertakes its mission to provide employers, employees and retirees “quality benefit plans that are affordable, reliable and meet their changing needs.”  

EUTF Board of Trustees

  • Roderick Becker, Chairperson
  • Damien Elefante, Vice-Chairperson
  • Christian Fern, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Jacqueline Ferguson-Miyamoto
  • Audrey Hidano
  • Laurel Johnston
  • Celeste Nip
  • Osa Tui
  • Ryker Wada
  • James Wataru

EUTF Health Benefit Total Premium Rates Effective July 1, 2019

The Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) Board of Trustees approved on 11/27/18 and 12/18/18 the new EUTF Health Benefit Premium Rates for active employees effective July 1, 2019.  Exhibit I breaks out the HMSA medical and CVS prescription drug rates and also shows a comparison of the July 1, 2018 and 2019 rates.  The monthly employee contributions are not provided at this time.

EUTF Health Premium Rates Revised Effective July 1, 2018

The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) Premium Rates will be revised effective July 1, 2018, due to the recent waiver by Congress of the ACA insurer fee for calendar 2019.

The Open Enrollment period for active members to make changes to their current health plan coverage is from April 2 – 30, 2018.  Please visit the EUTF website for more information.

 

UHPA Supports Ka‘āina Hull for the ERS Board

Retirement benefits offered through the Hawaii Employee Retirement System (ERS) continue to be a vital component of our overall benefits package.  Over the past five years, the ERS Board of Trustees have been empowered to make more decisions that could impact the viability and sustainability of our retirement system.  Current discussions taking place at the ERS Board could impact the retirement benefits of current members.
The upcoming ERS Board election is an opportunity to select an individual that will be able to protect faculty interests and help ensure a sustainable system in the future.  UHPA was contacted by one of the three candidates running for the ERS Board, HGEA Member Ka‘āina Hull.  In our meeting with Ka’āina, he demonstrated that he is a committed advocate for faculty and all public employeesʻ to fulfill the commitment of pension benefits for current and future retirees.

We appreciate your consideration of Ka’āina Hull for the ERS Board of Trustees.  Ballots need to be postmarked no later than November 6, 2017.

*Please note that there was an error on the ballot return envelops that indicates a post mark date of October 21, 2015.  The correct date is November 6, 2017.