HELPS Tax Break for Police and Fire Retiree

Information Bulletin

HELPS Tax Break for Police and Fire Retiree Medical Insurance Payments

November, 2023

Please be sure your retired members are aware that they may reduce their taxable earnings by up to $3,000 for medical insurance premiums paid during a calendar year.  This is allowable under the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Retirees Act, or the “HELPS” Retiree Act.

Previously, there was a requirement that the premium had to be deducted from the retiree’s pension check in order to qualify for HELPS credit.  That is no longer the case following the adoption of the federal Secure 2.0 retirement law.  Any premium paid for health, accident or long-term care insurance qualifies for the credit.

Note that the $3,000 reduction does not appear on the annual 1099R form that is sent out by the pension fund.  The retiree must claim the reduction on his or her personal 1040 tax form on Line 5B or similar adjustment.    Instructions on claiming the reduction are included in IRS Publication 575 (page 7), which is reproduced on page 2 of this IPPFA Information Bulletin.  As this is not a simple matter, it is recommended that pensioners consult with their tax preparer to properly claim the reduction.  If your pension benefits are administered by a pension administration company, you may obtain additional information by contacting that company.

Read more

Read more

Medicare Options for Illinois – Municipal and Fire District Retirees

Information Bulletin

Medicare Options for Illinois – Municipal and Fire District Retirees

January, 2023

Executive Summary:  IPPFA conducted a review of options for Medicare supplemental coverage for fire and police retirees upon attaining age 65.  We compared the typical cost of staying in the municipal (or fire district) plan and the options that are generally available to all Americans in the private insurance markets.  Our findings are summarized below and detailed in this IPPFA Information Bulletin beginning on page 2.

The cost of remaining in the employer-based plan upon attaining age 65 is quite high.  The average premium reported in a sampling of municipalities was $698 per month.  Over the course of a male retiree’s lifetime, this premium will total $159,000 in today’s costs.  For a married husband and wife, the cost is $340,000.

The most extensive Medicare supplement policy, Plan G, plus a standard Medicare prescription drug card will cost the same retiree $51,700 lifetime and $99,200 for a married husband and wife (all in today’s dollars).  These costs can be reduced further by selecting other options or submitting to a high deductible.

A Medicare Advantage Plan is also an option.  Most of these plans restrict the network of doctors which can be used but provide for additional cost savings.

We conclude that there are substantial, good coverage options that Medicare-covered retirees can use that will reduce their lifetime costs by a significant amount.  To examine these possibilities, interested persons should read this IPPFA Information Bulletin and then reach out to a licensed agent for further information and assistance.   Do not pursue other coverage by responding to direct mailings from insurance companies or calling the 1-800 number displayed on TV ads featuring a retired quarterback or Star Trek actor!

By:  Daniel W. Ryan, Project Coordinator and Mary Kate Guy, Research Assistant

Approved:  James McNamee, President, IPPFA                                  12/1/2022

Read More

Read more