Pension Matters

State Employees Retirement Fund
Most Recent Market Value | Michigan Treasury Bureau of Investments

December 2018

Treasury News Release

LANSING, Mich. – More than 530,000 state and teacher pension participants are benefiting from state investments after recent reports noted one-year and 10-year gains larger than similarly sized state pension funds, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

From Sept. 30, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018, the state Treasury Department’s Bureau of Investments reported that the State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) earned a one-year rate of return of 11.6 percent, exceeding peer public pension fund median returns of 7.7 percent. Over a 10-year period, SMRS earned a return of 8.5 percent, exceeding the peer median return of 7.6 percent.

“I am proud of our staff for making Michigan a pension fund investment leader,” State Treasurer Nick Khouri said. “The performance of our overall portfolio directly benefits state and teacher retirement plans by ensuring long-term financial stability for our retirees now and in the future. The pension fund’s performance also makes our tax dollars work harder for the people of Michigan, enabling us to save for the future, pay down debt and spend dollars on other important programs.” (Treasury press release from November 2018)

Meeting with Bureau of Investments

SERA officers Bob Kopaz, Cheryl Streberger, SERA Lobbyist, Mary Pollock and myself met with Jon Braeutigam and Robert Brackenbury of the Bureau of Investments to find out more about the impacts of the recent Executive Order discussed in last month’s newsletter. While the primary investment function is now vested in the Board rather than solely with the Treasurer, the basic functioning of the process of investing pension funds does not fundamentally change. More detail can be found in Mary Pollock’s article as well as on the Bureau of Investment web site.

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Announces Contract for Health Insurance Market Study

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced the selection of NovaRest Inc. of Sahuarita, AZ, to perform a study regarding options to stabilize the health insurance market and lower health insurance costs for Michigan residents. A component of Michigan’s 2019 budget was a one-time appropriation for DIFS to complete this study.

“The DIFS Joint Evaluation Committee spent many hours reviewing the submitted responses and we feel very confident we’ve selected a contractor with the actuarial, economic and policy expertise needed for the project,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin. “We have requested this study in order to have a full understanding of all options available to help reduce health insurance premiums for Michigan consumers.”

The study will help inform Michigan’s decision regarding pursuit of a Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver under the Affordable Care Act and will be conducted in phases. Phase One requires completion of a health insurance market analysis with future projections and a presentation of potential policy solutions. At the end of Phase One, DIFS will chose a policy option. Phase Two entails an actuarial and economic analysis of DIFS’ chosen option. Phase Three of the contract will only be performed if enabling legislation is enacted with an adequate appropriation. For more information visit the website at


Medicare premiums are rising slightly for 2019. Deductibles for 2019 are climbing also. The deductible for Part A, will be $1,364 (nearly 2%) The deductible for Part B will rise just 1% to $185.

How Satisfied are Current State Employees

2018 Employee Survey Results Report State of Michigan available at An Interesting report.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at or 517-886-9323.

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