Chair Talk

September 2015

Retirees will begin receiving Benefits Bulletin from the Civil Service Commission for fiscal year 2015-2016. There are no changes in health benefits. There are changes in premium rates both for the State Health Plan as well as the HMO plans. Premium rates for the State Dental Plan have gone up but rates for the State Vision Plan have gone down. Retirees need to review the Benefits Bulletin to see what premium changes may affect them. Rates go into effect on October 1, 2015 and will be reflected in your October 25 pension payments.

October 25 pension payments will also reflect the 3% annual increase retirees receive (capped at $25 a month and $300 annually).

I have invited Gary Supanich to the October SERA Executive Board meeting to give us an update on the Okrie vs State of Michigan law suit. Gary’s latest update will be posted on the SERA website (


There still seems to be a lot of confusion and questions about the purpose of the SERA-PLUS program and how it is conducted even though we have been involved in the program for over 4 years. I see the program as accomplishing the following goals:

  1. We have one entity (Hantz) recruiting new members rather than having to spend Chapter monies to recruit. This has saved hundreds of dollars a year to the Chapters that they would have spent on mailing, time and postage.
  2. Hantz offers to pay the first years membership for new SERA members. None of the Chapters previous recruiting efforts have offered a free one-year membership.
  3. Hantz has committed to work on retention of our members and to put their efforts into contacting those members who have dropped out to renew their membership.
  4. Hantz is providing seminars to new and current members as an educational process. Seminars include: ID Theft, Income Tax, Social Security etc.
  5. Hantz provides the following services to all SERA members: Financial planning, Tax planning, Banking, Debt-mortgage services, car loans, credit cards, Life insurance, Disability insurance, Home and Auto insurance, Long term care insurance, Investment planning, $695 for complete estate plan including a living trust, Free review of current trust documents, Estate settlement assistance, Free tax review, Discount services and Recreational discounts (Golf, Bowling).

I believe that our partnership with the Hantz Group will benefit us in recruiting/retaining members and offer various programs that will be of benefit to retirees.

Editor’s note: Bob Kopasz is Chair of the Michigan SERA Council. He may be reached at P.O. Box 692, Mt. Morris, MI 48458; phone 810/240-8380.