Employee retirement

Learn about retirement benefits for county employees.

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Required retirement plan

Retirement plan required of most employees

  • County employees are required to take part in the retirement savings plan
  • The plan is managed by the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA)
  • Money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax
  • The county also contributes a separate amount
  • When you retire, you get a monthly payment for the rest of your life (pension)
  • Your payment is based on your age, earnings and years of service
  • You automatically become a member of PERA
  • You don't have to do anything to create an account

Automatic paycheck deductions and county contributions

  • Most employees: 6.5% gross salary plus a 7.5% county contribution (14% total)
  • Correctional employees: 5.83% gross salary plus a 8.75% county contribution (14.58% total)
  • Police and fire employees: 11.3% gross salary plus a 16.95% county contribution (27% total)

Withdrawal rules

  • You can't withdraw money from the PERA account while still employed by the county
  • If you leave the county before you retire, you can get a refund or leave the money in
  • A refund includes your contributions plus interest
  • A refund doesn't include the county's contribution

Exceptions to participation

  • Some employees aren't allowed to take part in the PERA plan based on their job status

Retirement education

Contact

651-296-7460
PERA website

Other required plans

Health care savings plan

Certain employee groups (union and nonunion) are required to enroll in the health care savings plan and enrollment is automatic. Money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax to pay for post-employment health care premiums and other costs. The money covers costs for you, your spouse, children up to age 26 and any dependents. 

Health care savings plan employee groups (as of July 1, 2019) (PDF)

Plan detail

Health care savings plan detail (PDF)

Health care savings plan contact

Minnesota State Retirement System
651-296-2761 or 1-800-657-5757
Minnesota State Retirement System

1% supplemental retirement plan (closed to new enrollees in 1982)

This plan only applies to employees hired or re-hired before April 14, 1982 who qualified and chose to take part in this plan. Enrollment closed April 14, 1982.

The plan administrator is Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS). To request a hardship withdrawal, contact MSRS.

1% supplemental retirement plan web page

1% supplemental retirement plan contact

Minnesota State Retirement System
651-296-2761 or 1-800-657-5757
Minnesota State Retirement System

Optional retirement plan

Overview of deferred compensation

  • Like a 401(k) plan, deferred compensation is a way to save for retirement
  • Deferred compensation lets you set aside money pre-tax, after-tax or both
  • The county doesn't contribute separate money into your deferred compensation plan
  • You can only withdraw the money if you retire, resign or need the money for a financial hardship
  • Once you retire, you can leave the money in or withdraw it

Amount you can set aside

You can set aside as much money into deferred compensation as the IRS allows:

  • Under age 50: yearly limit $19,000
  • Over age 50: yearly limit $25,000
  • Within three years of normal retirement age: each of the three years you can set aside up to $38,000. Contact your vendor for amount.
  • One-minute video on deferred compensation (YouTube)

    Enrolling in deferred compensation

    1. Choose and contact a vendor to set up an account

    • You can use more than one
    • For example you can have after-tax contributions with one and pre-tax contributions with another
    • You can change vendors and transfer money from one to another
    • Meeting with vendors is on your own time

    Vendors:

    • Fidelity (Plan No. 93811): Call 1-800-343-0860. Fidelity website
    • Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan: To meet with staff member David Wrightsmith, call 612-964-8094. Plan website (Minnesota State Retirement System)
    • VOYA (Plan No. 664372): To meet with a VOYA staff member, call Dana Stein at 612-342-3781 or Nic Romero at 612-342-3909. For advanced planning services from the Stein Group, call 612-492-0202. VOYA website

    Vendor overview:

    2. Use on-line form to start contribution after account is set up

    • Complete and submit on-line form located on the APEX Benefits tile > Deferred Compensation > Enroll/Change Deferred Comp

    Once you're enrolled in deferred compensation

    • You can increase, decrease or stop your contributions any time
    • Complete and submit on-line form located on the APEX Benefits tile > Deferred Compensation > Enroll/Change Deferred Comp

    Rollovers from other employers

    To roll money over:

    1. Set up a deferred compensation account with a county vendor
    2. Ask for rollover paperwork from the county vendor
    3. Ask for rollover paperwork from your former employer’s vendor
    4. Scan and email your paperwork to hr.benefits@hennepin.us
    5. We’ll sign and return your paperwork to the county vendor
    6. You can only withdraw rollover money when you retire, resign or need the money for a financial hardship

    Withdrawals from your deferred compensation account

    • You can only withdraw the money when you retire, resign or need the money for a financial hardship
    • You must get approval for the hardship withdrawal

    The approval process depends on the vendor:

    • Fidelity or VOYA: email HR benefits at hr.benefits@hennepin.us to ask for a hardship withdrawal application. We’ll contact you about next steps.
    • Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan: call 651-296-2761
    • 1% supplemental retirement fund (for employees hired before April 14, 1982): call the Minnesota State Retirement System at 651-296-2761

    Pre-retirement planning

    Choosing your retirement date

    • Choose your retirement date six to 12 months ahead of time
    • Everything you do to prepare for retiring depends on your retirement date

    Using your remaining paid leave

    • Check the balance of your paid leave in APEX
    • You can take a maximum of 280 hours of your remaining time off before you retire with your supervisor’s approval
    • You can also divert the cash value of your remaining paid leave into your deferred compensation plan
    • Health care savings plan members: all or part of any remaining paid leave automatically goes into your plan

    Sick leave and vacation

    Payouts depend on how long you've worked at the county:

    • At least eight years: You receive pay for up to 800 unused hours (lifetime cap) of vacation and sick leave. Once you receive the 800 hour lifetime cap, vacation is always paid out.
    • Less than eight years: You receive pay for up to 280 unused hours of vacation only. Sick leave is not paid out.

    Paid time off (PTO)

    • You receive pay for up to 480 unused hours
    • If you converted to PTO from sick leave and vacation: You receive pay for up to 800 unused hours (lifetime cap) and up to 480 unused hours of PTO

    County pre-retirement seminars

    • You can attend a seminar on county time with your supervisor’s approval
    • Spouses are welcome
    • Register in APEX

    Upcoming seminars

    All seminars run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Minneapolis Central library, Pohlad Auditorium.

    • Thursday, December 5, 2019
    • Thursday, March 5, 2020
    • Thursday, June 4, 2020
    • Thursday, September 10, 2020
    • Thursday, December 3, 2020

    Seminar materials

    You can print or save these. We don’t hand these out at the seminar:

    Retirement education

    Retirement checklist: 2-3 months before you retire

    Giving notice

    Setting up PERA payments

    Continuing insurance after you retire

    Using the health care savings plan and 1% Supplemental Retirement Plan

    Deciding how to use your deferred compensation

    Choice 1: Withdraw the money:

    • Ask your vendor for withdrawal paperwork
    • Scan and email the completed paperwork to HR benefits at hr.benefits@hennepin.us
    • We’ll sign and return the paperwork to your vendor
    • We’ll return the paperwork to your vendor after we issue your check for unused vacation, sick and PTO

    Choice 2: Leave the money in.

    Choice 3: Contribute the cash value of your remaining paid leave (sick time, vacation and PTO) into your plan:

    • If you don't have a deferred compensation plan you can set one up before you retire
    • The cash value has a small amount of taxation before going into your deferred compensation plan

    Before your retirement date, email HR benefits at hr.benefits@hennepin.us with:

    • Your name and ID number
    • Retirement date
    • Amount of after-tax money going into the plan and which vendor
    • Amount of pre-tax money going into the plan and which vendor

    Applying for Medicare (employees 65 and older)

    • If you’re applying for Part B of Medicare, you must submit a completed Request for Employment Information form to Social Security. To request a completed form, email HR benefits at hr.benefits@hennepin.us.
    • Select a Medicare supplement plan. The county sponsors a Medicare plan through Medica. Call 952-992-2345 or visit Medica. For information about other plans contact Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433.

    Submitting expenses for trade time for fitness and flexible spending accounts

    • Flexible spending accounts close the day you retire
    • Send in any outstanding trade time for fitness expenses
    • You can only use money in the account for expenses you had while actively working

    Cancelling transit cards

    • MetroPass: Submit completed MetroPass cancellation form (DOCX) and your card to HR benefits at mail code 040 by the 23rd of the month you retire
    • Go-To card deduction: Cancel in APEX
    • Mobility Fare card deduction: Cancel in APEX

    Printable checklist

    Final paychecks

    Last regular paycheck:

    • If you have direct deposit, the check goes into your bank
    • Otherwise it goes to your home address listed in APEX
    • Paycheck taxed normally
    • Deductions also come out for charities, college savings plan and Minnesota Benefits Association.
    • Paycheck comes on the normal pay schedule

    Other final paychecks come two weeks after your regular paycheck and may be taxed:

    • Unused sick leave, vacation and PTO
    • Unused comp time, deferred holiday time and banked special leave without pay: PERA deductions also come out
    • Retention pay: amount depends on how many pay periods you worked since the last payment
    • Health care savings plan members: required contribution will automatically go into your account

    To get a hard copy of your last paychecks:

    • Ask your HR APEX contact to mail copies to your home

    Phased retirement

    PERA’s phased retirement option (PERA PRO)

    PERA PRO lets employees transition to part time work while getting a PERA pension before completely retiring from the county. There’s no penalty from PERA while working on PERA PRO.

    Interested employees must meet these requirements:

    • Get the approval of their department. Departments have the authority to determine if employees can take part.
    • Be age 62 or older
    • Be an active member of the General Plan (Basic or Coordinated Plans) as an employee, not elected official
    • Be immediately eligible for a retirement pension from the General Plan
    • Have worked at least 1,044 hours in each of the last five years
    • Sign a PERA PRO agreement. Employees who sign the agreement leave their prior permanent position. They agree to accept a post-retirement option position that is a renewable contract.
    • The PERA PRO agreement cannot last more than 12 months. It may be renewed for up to a total of five years.
    • PRO agreements are renewable at the discretion of the county and employee.
    • Either the county or the employee may decide not to renew a PERA PRO agreement.

    To participate in PERA PRO the employee must:

    • Submit a PERA PRO agreement before the start date of the agreement
    • Reduce their annual work schedule by at least 25% and not exceed 1,044 hours in a one-year period. The county and employee may arrange a work schedule less than the maximum hours allowed.
    • Stay within their allowed hours in a pay period and their allowed total hours in the PERA PRO agreement period. Exceeding either of the allowed hours will suspend the PERA monthly benefit. The benefit won’t be reinstated until the employee fully retires for at least 30 days in a row from all public employment. PERA does not grant any exceptions.
    • Not be eligible for the state employee post-retirement option program (by state law)
    • Not work as an employee for another government employer in Minnesota. Public employment includes any government employer in Minnesota such as school districts, cities, counties, townships and the state.

    At the end of the PERA PRO agreement

    The employee must have no written or verbal agreement before the end of employment to provide services to the county. This applies as an employee, independent contractor or an employee of an independent contractor for 30 days.

    Request participation, request renewal or end participation

    Follow the steps in the PERA PRO employee process (PDF).

    Continuing your insurance after you retire

    Dental, vision, life and flexible spending account

    Regardless of your age at retirement you can continue these benefits at your own expense:

    • Dental insurance for as long as you want
    • Vision insurance for up to 18 months
    • Life insurance for up to 18 months
    • Flexible spending account – health care expense account to the end of the plan year

    Process

    1. You’ll receive a packet from 121 Benefits, the county’s COBRA administrator
    2. Mark the election form with your benefit choices
    3. Sign the form
    4. Send the signed form and a check for the first month’s cost to 121 Benefits
    5. Continue to send monthly payments to 121 Benefits

    Health insurance: retiring at age 65 or older

    • If you retire at age 65 or older you can’t continue county health insurance

    Medicare supplement plan

    • You can buy a county-sponsored group Medicare supplement plan from Medica.
    • If you buy the county-sponsored Medica plan, your spouse can also enroll if they're at least 65 and covered by county health insurance
    • Call 952-992-2345 and mention Hennepin County
    • For information about individual plans call Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433

    Spouses under 65

    • Can stay on county health insurance if they have it at the time you retire
    • Can stay on it up to 36 months or until age 65 if the retired employee enrolled in a county-sponsored Medicare plan

    Cost to keep spouse on county health insurance is normal premium plus 2%:

    • Standard: $844.35 per month
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $772.30 per month
    • Advantage: HealthPartners/Park Nicollet = $768.48
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $710.93 per month

    Health insurance: retiring before age 65

    • If you retire while under age 65 and meet other criteria, you can receive a county contribution toward the cost of your health insurance as if you are still working
    • The county contribution applies to the employee-only portion, and not for the cost of any dependents
    • The county contribution lasts until the end of the month you turn 65

    To qualify for early retiree health insurance, you must meet all three of these:

    1. You must be under age 65

    2. You must belong to one of these groups with no break in service:

    • Non-union regular employees hired or rehired on or before January 1, 2007
    • Union regular employees hired or rehired on or before January 1, 2008 and did not opt-out of early retiree health coverage
    • Unclassified employees hired or rehired on or before January 1, 2007
    • Elected officials who took office on or before January 1, 2007

    3. You must meet one of these:

    1. You are:
      • At least age 55 with 20 years of service
      • At least age 62 with 15 years of service
      • At least age 63 with 14 years of service
      • At least age 64 with 13 years of service
    2. You’ve been approved for a full retirement payment from a public retirement plan (like PERA) based on at least 10 years with the county. An example is the Rule of 90.
    3. You’ve been approved for a retirement payment from a public retirement plan (like PERA) based on at least 25 years of pension credit (time that counts toward earning retirement benefits), at least 10 of those with the county

    Employee-only monthly cost

    Health insurance – with county contribution

    • Standard: $91.06
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $53.00
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $52.74
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $20.91

    Health insurance – you pay full cost

    • Standard: $827.79
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $757.16
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $753.41
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $696.99

    Other insurance costs

    • Dental insurance: $41.90
    • Vision insurance: $5.33
    • Life insurance: $3.93 per month for a basic life plan of $50,000 coverage. For supplemental insurance, refer to your packet from 121 Benefits.
    • Flexible spending account – health care expense account: You can continue with post-tax dollars

    Employee and spouse monthly cost

    If you’re already married and want to add your spouse to your insurance before you retire, you cannot do so unless it’s during open enrollment or if you have a life event before you retire. Your spouse can stay on your insurance until you turn age 65.

    Health insurance – with county contribution

    • Standard: $1,208.52
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $1,075.14
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $1,069.82
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $961.79

    Health insurance – you pay full cost

    • Standard: $1,945.25
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $1,779.30
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $1,770.49
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $1,637.87

    Other insurance costs

    • Dental insurance: $93.75
    • Vision insurance: $10.01
    • Life insurance: $3.93 per month for a basic life plan of $50,000 coverage. For supplemental insurance, refer to your packet from 121 Benefits.
    • Flexible spending account – health care expense account: You can continue with post-tax dollars

    Employee and children monthly cost

    Your children can continue county health insurance until age 26 or until you turn age 65, whichever comes first.

    Health insurance – with county contribution

    • Standard: $753.29
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $658.72
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $655.46
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $578.46

    Health insurance – you pay full cost

    • Standard: $1,490.02
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $1,362.88
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $1,356.13
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $1,254.54

    Other insurance costs

    • Dental insurance: $93.75
    • Vision insurance: $10.53
    • Life insurance: $3.93 per month for a basic life plan of $50,000 coverage. For supplemental insurance, refer to your packet from 121 Benefits.
    • Flexible spending account – health care expense account: You can continue with post-tax dollars

    Family monthly cost

    Health insurance – with county contribution

    • Standard: $1,539.65
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $1,377.98
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $1,371.16
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $1240.60

    Health insurance – you pay full cost

    • Standard: $2,276.38
    • Advantage: M Health Fairview/North Memorial = $2,082.14
    • Advantage: Health Partners/Park Nicollet = $2,071.83
    • Advantage: Hennepin Healthcare/NorthPoint = $1,916.68

    Other insurance costs

    • Dental insurance: $93.75
    • Vision insurance: $15.60
    • Life insurance: $3.93 per month for a basic life plan of $50,000 coverage. For supplemental insurance, refer to your packet from 121 Benefits.
    • Flexible spending account – health care expense account: You can continue with post-tax dollars

    Contact information

    Insurance

    Health, dental, vision and life insurance

    121 Benefits
    612-877-4321 or 1-800-300-1672
    121 Benefits website

    Dental insurance

    HealthPartners
    952-883-5000
    HealthPartners website

    Health incentive

    Hennepin County HealthWorks
    612-348-4628

    If you’re under 65

    PreferredOne
    763-847-4477
    PreferredOne website

    Retirement savings plans

    Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA)

    651-296-7460 
    PERA website

    Health Care Savings Plan

    651-296-2761
    Minnesota State Retirement System website

    1% Supplemental Retirement Plan

    651-296-2761
    Minnesota State Retirement System website

    VOYA

    612-492-0202
    VOYA website

    Fidelity

    1-800-343-0860
    Fidelity website

    Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan

    651-296-2761
    Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan website

    Flexible spending account

    121 Benefits
    612-877-4321 or 1-800-300-1672
    121 Benefits website

    Benefits staff help

    15 minute phone consultations

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