Retirement Monitor - October 2020

<p>In this issue:</p> <p>National Retirement Security Month; Great Western Tour; Retirements and Member Communications; Did You Know: Best ways to reach Member Services, October is Also Cybersecurity Month; Retirement Planning Conferences; NC 401(k), NC 457 and NC 403(b) news; State Health Open Enrollment Right Around the Corner!; Pierce Supplemental Insurance Open Enrollment</p>

Retirement Monitor header





Table of Contents

Graphic with two tickets with the words "Retirement Security" on them and the North Carolina Total Retirement Plans logo


National Retirement Security Month

October is National Retirement Security Month. Join us in the celebrations and grab a Ticket to Your Future! All month long you can learn about your benefits, define your retirement and ‘be ready’ wherever you are! Get On-Board the Retirement Express during for National Retirement Security Week (October 18 – 24) and participate in special conference events, featuring special guests and partners.   #myNCRetirement #ReadyWhereverYouAre. #NRSM

Visit our National Retirement Security Month webpage for weekly themes and ways to promote the importance of saving for retirement to your employees. Share the North Carolina Retirement Systems Facebook page to stay up to date on the month’s activities.



Graphic with two tickets to the Great Western Tour on Oct. 20


Due to popular demand, The Great Western Tour has increased seating capacity to our virtual planning conference to 1,000 members! This conference will have presentations from the North Carolina Retirement System counselors, North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans (Prudential Retirement), local credit unions and associations and a representative from Social Security.  Registration is required and can be completed by mobile phone through the QR codes above or by visiting our events webpage.





Graphic with the words "Retirements Member Communications" on it


We have seen an increase in retirements and this trend is continuing into 2021. Remember to encourage your employees who are nearing retirement to submit applications for retirement approximately 120 days from their retirement date.  Using the secure Retirement Online application in ORBIT is the most efficient way to apply for retirement.  Once the member completes the online process, the employer will be notified to confirm and submit final information.  The member will receive notification once the application is ready to move to the next step or if further information is needed.  As a reminder must use their personal email address for ORBIT access so they will maintain access when they retire or separate from service. We have a full webpage dedicated to Online Retirement Information for Employers.


Banner image with "Did You Know?" on it


Best ways to reach Member Services

Member Services is working hard to respond to all emails within 2-3 business days, so if your inquiry is not an emergency you should send an email to avoid holding or waiting.

If you need to call Member Services, the best times to call are as follows:

#1 best time:  Between 9am – 10am on Friday.

2nd best time:  Between 9am – 10am on Thursday.

3rd best time:  Between 9am and 10 am on Wednesday

Other than these top 3 best times to call, the most available time of day currently is still between 9am – 10 am however Monday’s and Tuesday’s are very busy and typically have a wait time.

If you are calling on a busy day, remember that we have purchased our call back assist tool with you in mind.  It allows us to serve our members without impacting your precious time. 

Here’s how it works:  If there is a 3 minute or more wait time, this system will offer you an appointment time that is more convenient for you or it will offer to call you back when you are next in line.  As soon as the system sees your place in line and someone getting ready to finish up a call, it calls you and allows your call to jump ahead of all the other calls, keeping your place in line.   

Caller ID will display – NCSTATTREASURER 919-814-4590.

October is Also Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Ensuring that personal and confidential information remains private and secure is a critical concern. It’s important to take precautions to protect identity, accounts and secure information. One way to do this is to change passwords frequently and monitor account communications, balances and sensitive data. We encourage proactive participation to keep personal information and accounts secure.

  • Keep passwords, PINS, and account numbers confidential.
  • Complete online registration for accounts, like ORBIT or the NC Supplemental Retirement Plans. Use your personal email address.
  • Regularly check accounts for correct transactional items and profile information, such as address, date of birth, email address, and phone number.
  • Review statements, confirmations and communications promptly.
  • Immediately change a password if there is any security concern.

Learn more by visiting

Graphic with people on both sides of a podium and "Retirement Planning Conferences" in text


The Wednesday Webinar Series “Planning for a Successful Retirement” will continue through December 31, 2020 and is presented from 11:30am to 1:00pm.

The NC Department of State Treasurer is presenting a Teachers' and State and Local Governmental Employees’ Total Retirement Planning Conference online. Register to attend and get your questions about retirement answered by our counselors. This conference will provide an orientation for new members, pre-retirement planning information for members closer to retirement, and educational information for personnel officers and others who handle retirement matters. In addition, Prudential Retirement, our defined contribution plans administrator will offer information on the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and the NC403(b) Program.

Registration is required:

Please visit the myNCRetirement for a listing of all events, including the Employer Training Series.

Graphic with the 401k, 457 and 403b logo and "Be a Champion for Retirement Readiness" in text


Enhanced Tools and Resources for Employers

Employers that offer the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and/or the NC 403(b) Program will see new enhancements to the Employer Information Webpage and Sponsor Center Website. To that end, our efforts are focused on helping you improve reporting accuracy and compliance, administer the plans faster and easier and improve accessibility of information.

Because tomorrow won’t wait—

The importance of working toward achieving financial security hasn’t changed, despite the varying circumstances that have taken center stage this year. In the upcoming benefit-season conversations and communications, we encourage you to spotlight important updates and enhancements, while encouraging employees to enroll in the North Carolina Supplemental Plans (NC 401(k), NC 457 and/or NC 403(b) Program).

Launching an Enrollment Campaign During National Retirement Security Week (NRSW) Oct. 18-24, 2020

Visit and share the NEW online enrollment for your employees who are eligible to participate in the North Carolina Supplemental Plans (NC 401(k), NC 457 and/or NC 403(b) Program).

State Health Plan banner


State Health Plan Open Enrollment Right Around the Corner! 

State Health Plan Open Enrollment for the 2021 benefit year will be held October 15-31, 2020. Open Enrollment information is now available on the Plan’s website!

To help State Health Plan agency employers get the word out to employees about Open Enrollment, click here to view the 2021 Open Enrollment poster. Employers are encouraged to print it out and post at worksites or share via email with employees who may be working remotely.

This year, the Plan recognizes that many employees may be working remotely and your ability to communicate with them may be limited to email. The Plan is here to help and will be offering numerous virtual opportunities for your employees to learn more about their 2021 benefits and Open Enrollment. The Plan will be offering several webinars, which is a great way your employees can get all the information they need to make an informed decision. Please encourage your employees to register for a webinar. Webinar dates and times are posted on the Plan’s website. In addition, employees of State Health Plan agencies should watch the mail for their 2021 Open Enrollment Decision Guide.

Important note for retirees: State Health Plan Medicare Advantage plans are moving to Humana in 2021! As part of this move, State Health Plan retirees will see substantial savings in dependent premiums. For details, retirees can visit the Plan’s 2021 Benefit Information page for Medicare members. In addition, retirees should watch the mail for a guide to more informational webinars and Telephone Town Hall events, and for their 2021 Open Enrollment Decision Guide.

As a reminder, the State Health Plan has expanded the Open Enrollment tobacco attestation activity requirement for tobacco users who want to reduce their premium for 2021, and they can take action now and don’t need to wait. Before a member visits a MinuteClinic or Primary Care Provider for a session, they should go to the State Health Plan website and print off instructions for their provider to ensure their FREE visit is billed correctly. (If a member combines the tobacco cessation visit with another service, there may be a copay.) This document is not required to take to the visit. It’s simply a suggestion to ensure the visit is billed correctly. This action is ONLY for tobacco users who want to reduce their monthly premium by $60 per month in 2021. If a member is NOT a tobacco user, employees will simply need to attest to that online during Open Enrollment, October 15-31, 2020.


Graphic with Pierce Ins. and NC Total Retirement Plans logos


Retirees and benefit recipients of the North Carolina Retirement System are eligible to enroll for supplemental insurance benefits through our trusted partner, Pierce Insurance Agency. Pierce Insurance has mailed open enrollment booklets to eligible members. Information can be found on the myNCRetirement retiree webpage.

Over the past four years, the Department of State Treasurer (DST) has promoted transparency and enhanced value for the people who teach, protect and otherwise serve the citizens of North Carolina. 

In June 2020, and in response to diminished access to care triggered by the COVID-19 economic shutdown, we negotiated a one-time reduction in dental premiums resulting in a savings of nearly $2.3 million.

  • Just in time for open enrollment for 2021, DST and Pierce Insurance have successfully negotiated LOWER premiums with UnitedHealthcare. Based on current enrollees 2021 premiums have been reduced over $1.7 million.
  • We consistently work toward cost-effective options for our members in retirement.

Please take time to learn about these optional supplemental insurance plans. Open enrollment begins October 1, 2020 and ends October 31, 2020.

If you are already enrolled with Pierce Supplemental Insurance and don't want to make any changes to your coverage, no action is necessary.

If you want to change your coverage or enroll, you have three options:

Related Topics: