January 18, 2024

Take charge of your benefits

When you play an active role in your benefits, you can improve the quality of care you and your family receive.

  • Keep track of important health information. This includes checking your health insurance coverage in MyBenefits to ensure it’s what you elected during open enrollment.
  • Download mobile apps, such as My Health Toolkit®, Express Scripts®, EyeMed® and ASIFlex®, to your mobile phone.
  • Make sure you have your insurance ID cards handy. If you’ve downloaded the mobile apps, you have copies of your ID cards on your phone.
  • Schedule your annual doctor appointments. These include a well visit and well woman visit, dentist appointments and an eye exam.

You'll also want to take advantage of a preventive health screening this year. This benefit can give you insight about your health risks so you can take steps to improve your health. Be sure to schedule your preventive screening, which is available at no cost to you, before your adult well visit. Learn more about what is included as part of an adult well visit at peba.sc.gov/well-visits.

Tax info for retirement benefit recipients

Tax withholding changes for 2024

The federal and South Carolina state income tax withholding tables changed for tax year 2024. Accordingly, if you receive a monthly retirement benefit, you might notice a change in your net January benefit amount. If you want to update or change your state withholding allowances (exemptions) or flat dollar amount, complete PEBA’s Form 7202 and submit it to PEBA. If you want to update or change your federal withholding elections, complete IRS Form W-4P and submit it to PEBA.

If you are satisfied with your current withholding elections for your monthly benefit, you do not need to do anything. Your withholding elections will remain unchanged.

PEBA to mail 2023 1099-R and W-2 forms

PEBA will mail 1099-R forms for calendar year 2023 by January 31, 2024, to anyone who received a benefit payment from the retirement systems. Please allow two weeks for delivery. As a reminder, payees can also access and print their tax documents any time through Member Access. Documents will be available online after January 20.

Review your beneficiaries

It's always good practice to review and update your beneficiary information, especially if you experience an important life event, like a marriage or the birth of a child. Depending on which benefits you participate in, you should designate beneficiaries for your life insurance, defined benefit plans, State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) accounts and Deferred Comp accounts. Visit peba.sc.gov/update-beneficiary to learn how to designate and/or update your beneficiaries.

State ORP open enrollment is underway

Annual open enrollment for the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) began January 1 and continues until March 1, 2024.

During annual open enrollment, active State ORP participants have the option to change service providers. State ORP participants can also make an irrevocable switch to the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) during annual open enrollment if at any point during the open enrollment period it has been at least one year, but not more than five years, since their initial enrollment in the State ORP.

More information on annual open enrollment can be found at peba.sc.gov/sorp-oe.

What can My Health Toolkit do for you?

My Health Toolkit is a secure portal you can use to manage your benefits, connect with resources and personalize your experience with the State Health Plan. Log in from wherever you access the internet or from the convenient mobile app to do all this and more:

  • Verify who’s covered on your plan.
  • Get a snapshot of your coverage.
  • Find network health care providers.
  • Check the status of your claims.
  • Access your digital ID card or order replacement cards.

You can also use My Health Toolkit to access health and wellness programs that can help you live your best life. If you don’t yet have an account, registering is easy. Go to www.StateSC.SouthCarolinaBlues.com, select Create An Account, or download the app from your app store and select Sign Up. To get started, simply enter the number from your State Health Plan member ID card. Then, choose the date of birth for the member who is signing up.

You can set up a My Health Toolkit account if you are age 16 or older and enrolled in a health or dental plan through PEBA. That means each member, including covered spouses and children who meet the age requirement, can have their own account.

Once you’ve signed up, you can set up your profile, including selecting your preferred method of contact—such as text, email or regular mail—for certain types of notifications. This helps us get important health notifications to you based on your personal preferences. If you have any questions about your My Health Toolkit account, call BlueCross at 800.868.2520.

IRS increases Deferred Comp contribution limits

The IRS increased the maximum deferral limit for 401(k) and 457(b) plans for 2024 from $22,500 to $23,000. You may contribute up to $23,000 in both plans, for a combined maximum of $46,000, or 100% of your includible compensation (as defined by Deferred Comp), whichever is less. If you participate in an employer-sponsored 403(b) plan, you must coordinate contributions to that plan with contributions to Deferred Comp’s 401(k) plan, because contributions cannot collectively exceed the $23,000 maximum.

For participants ages 50 and older, the catch-up limit remains $7,500. This means you can contribute up to $30,500 to both the 401(k) and 457(b) plans.

There is also a special catch-up provision for the 457(b) plan. The limit increased from $45,000 to $46,000 in 2024. A 457(b) plan participant can apply the greater of the regular catch-up provision or the special 457 catch-up provision, but not both. To see if you qualify for the special catch-up provision, or if you have other questions, contact your local retirement plan advisor.

Deferred Comp online enrollment coming February 1

Through the South Carolina Deferred Compensation Program (Deferred Comp), you can supplement your primary retirement plan with additional savings to help you afford the lifestyle you desire in retirement. Empower administers Deferred Comp, and it’s available to most members who are eligible to participate in the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS), including the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP). Your employer can tell you if they offer Deferred Comp.

You can get started by saving as little as 1% of your gross pay or $10 per paycheck, whichever is greater. You can elect to make before-tax contributions or choose the Roth option to make after-tax contributions. Deferred Comp offers a wide range of investment options, and local retirement plan advisors can get you started and help you along the way to define and achieve your goals for the future. Visit www.southcarolinadcp.com to learn more.

Beginning February 1, 2024, you can enroll online in Deferred Comp’s 401(k) and/or 457(b) plans. Instructions for online enrollment will be available in early February. Your employer can also help you enroll online.

Questions? Call Empower’s Customer Service at 877.457.6263, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. EST.

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Serving those who serve South Carolina

Not all members participate in a PEBA-administered retirement plan or insurance programs. Please disregard any information not applicable to you.

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