Pension Matters

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

June 2020

Appeal Insurance Claims for COVID Testing Denied

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced that the department is prioritizing health insurance appeals related to a denial of coverage for Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing or treatment.

“All consumers have the right to an independent external review if their health insurance claim is denied,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Those claims with urgent health needs with COVID-19 treatment denials, are being given priority.”

Consumers should contact DIFS at 877-999-6442 or email their questions or concerns to

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and


Michigan wants to ensure that anyone who needs a COVID-19 test can get one. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) are alerting Michiganders that diagnostic COVID-19 testing for those who meet testing criteria should be covered by most health insurance plans without any out-of-pocket cost. There are various ways that costs for the test may be covered, and resources are available to help answer questions. (Michigan Dept. of Insurance and Financial Services)

Latest update from Medicare

Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries can now get tested for the corona virus without a written order from a physician, which CMS officials say will expand the availability of OVID-19 screenings. Be sure and check who pays for the testing, you or your insurance.

Will Medicare pay for a corona virus test?

Yes. Medicare will pay for you to get a test for COVID-19, and you won't have to pay anything out of pocket. Under the already enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act, deductibles and copays for people on Original Medicare and who have Medicare Advantage plans will be waived for medical services related to testing, such as going to the doctor or hospital emergency room to see if they need to be tested.

What if I can’t get out to get a test?

Medicare will allow your doctor to order a test be brought to your home and administered there according to AARP (*AARP Medicare Resource Center).

Not Everyone Gets a Stimulus Check

Most senior citizens will qualify for a check. The exception: Those claimed as dependents by their children or someone else.

Disabled adults are eligible for a stimulus check as long as no one else claims them as a dependent. If so, they don’t qualify. For example, if a disabled adult lives at home with his or her parents and the parents claim him or her as a dependent on their income taxes, the disabled adult won’t receive a check.

Possible delays:

IRS’ antiquated technology could delay delivery of $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks, experts warn

Low-income people who haven’t filed taxes in the past two years are eligible for a check, but millions of them won’t get one unless they take an extra step.

If you receive Social Security benefits, you’re all set. Social Security recipients will automatically get a stimulus check. The IRS will use Social Security data to determine how much you receive and where it will be sent.

Individuals aren’t required to file taxes if they make less than $12,000 a year. Those individuals are eligible for a stimulus check, but without their income tax returns, it will be harder for the IRS to verify their income, calculate their payout and know where to send it. The IRS has set up a web portal that will allow them to register for a stimulus. Those who don’t normally file a tax return can visit and look for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” There, they can provide information including their Social Security number, name, address, and dependents. The IRS will use that information to confirm their eligibility and send them a stimulus payment.  (USA Today)

Market Decline Worsens the Outlook for Public Plans

“If markets remain at their current levels until June, most state and local pension plans will end fiscal year 2020 with negative annual investment returns, reduced asset values, lower funded ratios, and higher actuarial costs. Given that the aggregate funded status for public pensions has remained unchanged since the last financial crisis, this outcome represents a serious step backwards in public plans’ progress over the past decade. This brief will estimate the immediate impact of the drop in asset values on plan finances for 2020 and take a look at the potential longer term impact — especially for those plans that were already severely underfunded.”

Major pension plans in the state

Plan Name

Assets (millions)


Funded Ratio

Percent of ARC Paid

Retirement System that Administers the Plan

Michigan Municipal




Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan

Michigan Public Schools





Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System

Michigan SERS





Michigan State Employees Retirement System

Detroit Police and Fire




Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System

Detroit General RS




Detroit Employees General Retirement System

Source: Public Plans Database (as of 2018)

Thanks and Goodbye

It has been my pleasure to provide this report for your information and interest over the past many years. However, it is time for me to retire (again) from writing this column in our great SERA Nade newsletter. I have high hopes that someone will pick up where I am leaving off. I will always stay a SERA member and am proud of my affiliation with this great organization.

— June Morse

Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at or 517-886-9323.

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