Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Important Updates To Health Care Savings Program (HCSP)


Re-enrollment into Default Fund

Effective April 1, 2019, all participants who were enrolled in the MERS Health Care Savings Program prior to 1/1/2019, regardless of employment status, undergo a re-enrollment.

As program fiduciary, MERS has a responsibility to put your needs first. Part of that responsibility is educating you on how to invest in a way that will set you up for success in retirement. A re-enrollment simply moves your existing assets and future contributions into the program's default fund, unless you take action.

The MERS Retirement Strategy is a complete, diversified investment program offering a one-stop investment strategy based on your expected retirement date. Each Retirement Strategy fund has a "target date" in its name. The target date is the approximate year when you expect to retire and begin withdrawing from your account. As each participant may have a different expected retirement date, MERS uses an average normal retirement age of 60 as a default.

The asset allocation of each Retirement Strategy automatically changes over time for you – targeting higher growth during your working years and increasing security as you near and go through retirement. You may change that target date fund at any time, if your retirement goals change.

In preparation for the re-enrollment, there will be a plan-wide freeze on all HCSP accounts from 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 22, 2019, through 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 29, 2019. This means that your investments will remain in the market, however, no investment changes can be made during this time.

Your funds will be invested in the Retirement Strategy as of market open, 8:00 a.m. (EST) on Monday, April 1, 2019 and you will receive confirmation via email (if we have one on file) and in your myMERS account. After this time, you can make any investment changes you would like going forward.

We recognize that some participants may prefer to stay in their current investment allocation and therefore we are offering two options to opt out of the re-enrollment.

Option 1 (preferred method):
Prior to 4:00 pm EST on Friday, March 22, 2019, log in to your myMERS account and make any change to your HCSP allocations, including re-entering your current allocations (if you'd like to keep your assets in the funds they are in). By doing so, your set allocations will be excluded from the re-enrollment on April 1, 2019. You will receive a confirmation of your choice.

Option 2:
Contact the MERS Service Center to request a paper Opt-Out form. You will need to complete and return the form before March 22, 2019 in order for your choice to be processed before the re-enrollment takes place. If we receive your form after this date, your funds will be reallocated to the Retirement Strategy on April 1, 2019, and MERS will contact you to review your investment options.


Investment Cost Reduction and Fee Removal

We are pleased to inform you that due to operational efficiencies and continued growth, we reduced operational costs on your account by two basis points ($0.20/$1,000 invested) and removed the $24/year administrative fee that was accessed.

New Enhancements to Claims Administration

Affects terminated participants only
Effective January 1, 2019, Alerus Retirement and Benefits is the new administrator for HCSP claims. This change only affects participants who have access to utilize their Health Care Savings Program account funds – typically this means participants who have terminated from their HCSP-providing employer and have an account balance.

You can find more information on using your HCSP account in the HCSP Handbook.


If you have any questions on this transition, please contact the MERS Service Center at 800.767.MERS (6377).

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The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).