Once enrolled in PEBB, you have coverage for yourself and your family to help keep you healthy and make sure you have the care you need when you need it.

What is covered:

  • Physical health care – going to see a doctor, nurse, to a clinic or hospital
  • Mental health care – going to see a counselor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or therapist.
  • Dental care – regular checkups as well as coverage for fillings or other repairs.
  • Vision care – Eye exams, eyeglasses, glaucoma screening
  • Life insurance – $5,000 life insurance plan for your beneficiaries.

Who is covered:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse or domestic partner
  • Your child
  • Your grandchild if you are the primary caregiver

By standing together in union, SEIU members have earned some of best healthcare coverage at the lowest cost in the state. Our out-of-pocket costs are 73% lower than if we worked elsewhere. For a family on the most common plan, that comes out to $367.80 extra in your pocket every month. Citation for the 73% figure: National Survey of Employer Sponsored Health Plans, Oregon PEBB/Mercer, 2017

Premium

This is what you pay every month for your health care coverage. The state pays for 95% to 99% of your premium depending on which plan you choose.

Deductible

Health care coverage doesn’t pay for everything. Your “deductible” is your share of costs for when you use services beyond basic preventative care. This is in addition to your premiums. Different plans have different deductibles so make sure to shop around. PEBB doesn’t offer any high deductible plans, compared to the private market, but it’s important to note that plans with higher deductibles are actually better for some people, so don’t just shop for the lowest deductible. Use a tool like Alex to make sure you’re getting the plan that’s right for you.

Out-of-pocket max

This is the most most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year, not counting premiums. It’s a good way to judge what your bills will be like in the event of a serious illness or an emergency. (Note: some deductibles, copays and services don’t apply to the OOP. Consider calling PEBB if you have questions about the details.) 

Co-pays

This is the amount you pay at the provider’s office and the amount is determined by the plan you choose.

Service area

Counties where plans are available. Note: you’ll still be covered if you’re traveling. Service areas are really about your primary care physician.

Provider network

This is simply which doctors, nurses, dentists and other providers are covered to the maximum amount through your health plan. You can see other providers outside of the network, but it will cost you more.

Kaiser Permanente

  • An accountable care organization, focused on wellness and prevention to keep you healthy. 
  • One-stop shopping: all your health care providers and your insurance plan are Kaiser. Providers are employed directly by Kaiser to ensure communication, coordination and keep costs down.
  • One of the lowest cost plans available in Oregon. 
  • Available in Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Hood River, Linn, Marion, Multnomah,
    Polk, Washington and Yamhill; Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania & Wahkiakum WA. 

2 plans available under Kaiser

  • HMO: You pay more monthly but have lower additional costs.
  • Deductible: Pay less monthly but pay more when you use services. 

Providence Choice and Moda

  • Providers that accept your insurance coverage, also known as a “network”
  • Some information sharing between providers
  • Second lowest cost coverage
  • Available in most locations, but not all.

Uncoordinated care:

PEBB Statewide (which is administered by Providence)

  • No network of providers – the plan pays for all providers
  • No integration of care
  • Most expensive plan
  • Available statewide

There are four dental plan available through PEBB as part of your core benefits. PEBB’s Alex tool can help you decide which works best for you.

  • Kaiser
  • Delta PPO
  • Delta Premier
  • Willamette

You also have access to optional benefits that can help protect you and your family, help our budget, and give you tools for health.

Life insurance

  • $100,000 to $600,000 term life insurance for you
  • $20,000 to $400,000 term life insurance for your spouse or partner
  • $5,000 dependent life insurance

Flexible Spending Accounts

These are special savings accounts that you can use for specific purposes, tax free. The money is automatically deducted from your paycheck. Keep in mind, though, that you have to use all of the money every year, or you forfeit the dollars.

There is an FSA for:

Healthcare: You can set aside up to $2,650 every year tax-free to help you pay for your out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Dependent care: You can set aside $5,000 every year tax-free to help you pay for child care or care for a senior or a family member with a disability. This includes day care, and can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Transportation: Covers parking fees and public transportation. To learn more, go to: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/pebb/Pages/16FSA.aspx

No-cost wellness benefits

  • Cascade Centers Employee Assistance Program (EAP) -for confidential counseling and work/life support
  • Tobacco Cessation Programs
  • Healthy Team Healthy U – supports healthy behaviors in a team environment
  • Weight Watchers
  • Better Choices Better Health
  • Virtual Lifestyle Management (VLM) – for members with Providence medical coverage
  • Free flu shots

You can opt-out and receive $233 a month to help pay for another plan, but most people find that PEBB is their most affordable option. 

SEIU members who are public employees have a comprehensive retirement package designed to provide you security when you leave public service. Over the years SEIU members have fought to protect our benefits as part of the total compensation we receive.

The concept of our retirement benefits is simple: have a stable and predictable source of monthly income from the moment of retirement until death. But sometimes the language of the retirement industry can be hard to penetrate. Here are the basics.

PERS stands for Public Employee Retirement System. That’s the agency that administers our retirement benefits and is a shorthand for the state retirement system overall.

PERS provides both a predictable monthly payment and a retirement account that grows over time. Those are two different sources of income for us after you retire. Here’s how it works:

1

Pension – Secure monthly payment until you die.

When you retire, you will start receiving a payment every single month that you can count on. It’s like part of your salary continues on. The monthly payment will never decrease, no matter what happens in the stock market. In fact, it will increase a small amount every year to keep up with the cost of living. If you have a spouse or domestic partner, you can make arrangements for them to receive your pension after you die. The amount you receive every month is based on how long you were in public service, how much you earned when you were working, and at what age you retire.

2

Individual Account Program – a pot of money.

The Individual Account Program is sort of like a savings account that increases month after month, year after year. Every paycheck, 6% of your salary goes into this account. It has gains and losses over time because the dollars in that account are invested to increase the account. When you retire, the money in that account is all yours. You can take it as one big payout or in installments.

You also have access to a third way to add money to your retirement

Your pension and Individual Account Program will prove about 65% of your salary when you retire. Retirement experts say you should have about 80% of your salary to maintain quality of life and have financial security. Social Security will make up some of that difference but many people also want an additional nest egg. The state has a good option to help:

3

Oregon Savings Growth Plan.

All SEIU public employees can also set up an account through the Oregon Savings Growth Plan. This allows you to save even more for your retirement through automatic payroll deductions of any amount you choose. You can also decide whether you want to pay taxes on the money you save now, or after you retire. Like your IAP, this account will grow over time. Unlike the IAP, this account allows you to decide what your money should be invested in. Learn more about OSGP.

Benefit type Payroll deduction How to sign up Payout at retirement
Pension 0 You are automatically enrolled six months after starting public service A monthly benefit until you die. The average pension is about 45% of your salary.
Individual Account Program 6% of your salary You are automatically enrolled on your first day of work. A lump sum or in installments. Your choice.
Oregon Savings Growth Plan Your choice. At least $25 a month and up to $18,500 a year. This is not automatic. You can enroll here. It’s your choice.

Every year you will get an annual statement from PERS. Here’s an example. The only financial information it will have is how much money you have in your individual account program and how much money it made. It will not tell you how much pension you have even though every PERS member receives a pension. To get an estimate of your full retirement benefits, visit SEIU’s retirement calculator

All of your retirement information is available for you to look at online any time you want. But unfortunately, it’s not “one-stop shopping.” As is the case for many state systems, technology hasn’t been able to keep up due to lack of resources. But once you figure out where to go, you can get your information in a few clicks. PERS pension website – This is where your monthly pension information lives. Once you sign up for an “Online Member Services” account, you can actually do an estimate of what your monthly pension will be based on what you think your annual raises will be and what year you will retire. You can set up many different scenarios and they will be saved here to help you plan your financial future. PERS IAP website – The state of Oregon doesn’t manage the Individual Account Program. It is managed by a company called VOYA. Their site will let you see how much money you have in your IAP and what investments it has earned over time. Oregon Savings Growth Plan – This account is also managed by VOYA at a different website. If you have chosen to add to your retirement through this program, you can see your account balance and manage your investments here.

In Oregon, the retirement benefits you receive depend on the date you were first hired. The benefit levels used to be described as “Tiers” but that changed in 2003. If you were hired before 1996, you have Tier One benefits. If you were hired between 1996 and August 28, 2003, you have Tier Two benefits If you were hired after August 28, 2003, you have the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan

Frequently Asked Questions:

On average, the pension of a long-term PERS member will be about 45 percent of your final salary. However there are a lot of rules about this, so we encourage you to get a rough estimate of your monthly pension here

Your monthly pension is based on your “final average salary.” For OPSRP members — people hired after August 28, 2003 — the state does a calculation designed to provide a pension of 45% of your final average salary if you work 30 years. What you will actually receive depends on your length of service. Here are some examples if you retired today: Final average salary: $45,000 annually / $3,750 monthly Number of years working: 30 years 30 (years) x 1.5 percent = 45 percent of your salary 45 percent of $3,750 = $1,687.50 monthly pension Final average salary: $45,000 annually / $3,750 monthly Number of years working: 10 10 (years) x 1.5 percent = 15 percent of your salary 15 percent of $3,750 = $562.00 monthly pension Remember, you also will have your IAP account on top of that.

A pension is sort of like the salary you get now – it’s a set monthly amount. The Individual Account Program is more like a savings account – it’s a pot of money that you will have access to after you retire.

You will get an annual statement every January in the mail that will show your balance and how much you earned in investments. You can also look online at any time.

That depends on how long you work in public service and how much you earn. 6% of your salary every month goes into the account and it grows over time. As an example, if you were hired this year at $45,000 a year and worked for 30 years until 2048, you would have about $410,000 in your account. You can do a rough estimate for yourself here

No. Your pension does not come from an individual account that is only yours. It is part of a larger pension fund that covers all state employees.

Your Individual Account Program starts after 6 months on the job. Your paycheck will have a 6% deduction that goes directly into your account and that money is yours. The money in the IAP is yours from the moment it starts. You have to work for 5 years, at least 600 hours per year, before you qualify to receive your pension. That’s called being “vested.” This includes time at any PERS-qualifying job and there can be breaks in between.

Being vested means you will continue being paid a portion of your salary after you retire until the day you die (unless you decide to pass the pension on to a dependent). The amount you receive will depend on when you were hired and your salary.

Even if you don’t stay in a PERS-covered job your entire career, the benefits you earn during your time in public service will help you build a foundation for your financial future. Here’s how: If you work at least 600 hours a year for five years total service, you’ll still have a predictable, stable pension, even if it’s smaller. Your Individual Account Program is your money. You can roll it over to another employer’s retirement plan or put it into a personal retirement plan such as an IRA. .

If you work less than 600 hours a year for five years total, you will not receive any pension. You will, however, still have your Individual Account Program. That is your money that you contributed to and it cannot be taken away.

If you move to a different public service job, your PERS will stay with you and nothing will change. If you move to the private sector, your pension and Individual Account Program will be waiting for you when you retire if you like. Your IAP will continue gaining investment returns. You’ll still get monthly statements and can access your benefits online. If you decide to come back to public service, your PERS will simply pick up where you left off. Most people leave their PERS intact even if they leave state service because it is one of the most secure retirement systems in the country. You also have the option of cashing out your pension, but that would have a financial penalty. You can also roll your IAP into another type of retirement account.

Retirement age for PERS is set by state law. Most PERS members can begin receiving retirement benefits at age 65. Some long-term employees are eligible to retire earlier

Yes. But only if you leave your job and go work outside of the PERS system. Inactive members can withdraw from the Individual Account Program or the pension if it is valued at less than $5,000. If you have set up the voluntary Oregon Savings Growth Plan, and have money in that account, there are circumstances where you can borrow some of that money. Go to the Oregon Savings Growth Plan website to learn more.

That percentage is set by state law, so you cannot increase it but you can start an Oregon Savings Growth Program account and have additional money taken out of your paycheck. It’s a great way to save.

There is free financial advice and retirement planning through Cascade Centers Employees Assistance Program (EAP) and SEIU Member Advantages.

Your pension gives you a guaranteed monthly amount until you die. A 401(k) is similar to the Individual Account Program in that it combines your contributions and investment earnings to provide a pot of money for you to use after you retire. However, it’s important for retirement security to have both because when the stock markets crash, people lose money in their retirement accounts. Your pension is protected.

No, but the state does fund all of your pension.

As long as you have worked in public service for at least 600 hours a year for five years, your pension will be waiting for you when you retire. You will continue to receive monthly statements and can log into your account. That money is yours – you earned it – and it cannot be taken away.

Your pension is not affected by the stock market. It can only be changed by legislative action. Your Individual Account Program increases or decreases depending on what the stock market does.

The retirement benefits of all public employees who have PERS is dictated by state law, which means any changes have to happen in the legislature. SEIU members have come together and fought hard against reductions that would lower our total compensation. Over the years, members have foregone salary increases in order to protect benefits.

One of the good things about our retirement benefits is that they can be used to provide financial security to our loved ones. You can choose to leave the money in your Individual Account Program to anyone you like. Additionally, if you have a spouse or domestic partner, you can set your monthly pension up so that they will continue receiving it after you pass away. That would mean a lower monthly amount while you are living, but for many couples, that’s a good tradeoff. It is up to you.

You don’t have to do this until you actually retire. But when you do retire, you can chose to smaller monthly benefit in order to make it last longer after you pass away. There are a few different ways to set it up. These are called “survivorship” options. More information is available here

Retirement benefits have changed over time. Over the years, SEIU members have fought to maintain a total compensation package that protect members. For example, people hired since 2003 have a lower pension, but more money set aside in individual accounts. These changes over time have created the complicated system operating today. 

Retirement programs are governed by state and federal law so that brings in a lot of jargon. And you are right, it can be hard to breakthrough all the acronyms and program names. If you have ideas about how we can keep getting better at using plain language to talk about PERS and retirement benefits, contact us at: pers@seiu503.org 

If you have more detailed questions about your individual PERS or about PERS generally, the people who work at the Public Employee Retirement System are SEIU members and are very helpful. You can contact them by phone or email.

By joining and maintaining your membership with SEIU Local 503, the following benefits are available to you:

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