Welcome to the Detroit Firefighters Association’s information page.
Below you will find a summary of your benefits and other descriptions of your plan. Also, you can find specific documents for enrollment, reimbursement, fact sheets, and more.
As a retired DFFA member, you are eligible for a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) through Automated Benefit Services. You will find a Q & A sheet below, however, if you have any further questions feel free to contact us. You can also find information specific to your HRA by logging into our online web portal.
Thank you for your service to the city of Detroit.
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Frequently Askes Questions
What is the CDPSU HRA?
The CDPSU HRA Plan (the “Plan”) is designed to permit eligible retired City of Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Employees to obtain reimbursement of covered out-of-pocket medical care expenses on a non-taxable basis.
Background — HRA Creation
As a result of collective bargaining, the CDPSU now receives contributions
from the City of Detroit (City) to finance an HRA for post-January 1, 2015 public
safety retirees, which were previously directed to the COPS Trust.
Eligible participants include City public safety employees who retire after January
1, 2015 while covered under collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between the
City and the following, collectively referred to as the Unions:
- Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA);
- Detroit Fire Fighters Association (DFFA);
- Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association (DPLSA); and
- Detroit Police Command Officers Association (DPCOA).
How does the Plan benefit me?
Medical Care Expenses reimbursed under the Plan are intended to be eligible for exclusion from your gross income. Eligible retirees (and their surviving spouses and dependents) generally can “spend-down” their HRA allocations on eligible Medical/Dental/Prescription insurance premium expenses until their allocations are exhausted.
Who oversees the Plan?
The CDSPU Board of Trustees (Board) oversees the Plan. The Trustees are officers appointed by your public safety unions.
The Trustees Plan Administrator is TIC International Corporation, 6525 Centurion Drive, Lansing, Michigan 48917-9275; Telephone: (517) 321-7502; Fax: (517) 321-7508.
The Trustees have delegated the administration of the reimbursement of claims to Automated Benefit Services (ABS). ABS has been providing these services – under COPS – since the inception of the HRA program.
Who pays for these benefits?
The amount the City contributes to the CDPSU for HRA purposes is determined by the terms of each Union’s CBA with the City. The City’s CBA required contribution amounts are not the same for each Union.
How much does the City pay into my account balance each month?
The current monthly HRA stipend amount for each Union is as follows:
- DPOA $ 80.00
- DFFA * $ 175.00
- DPLSA $ 80.00
- DPCOA $ 65.00
*Please Note: If you’re a catastrophically duty-disabled DFFA retiree, you are
eligible to receive this HRA stipend. Or, you may elect to participate in the City’s
HAP HMO. This is an either/or option. You cannot receive both the HRA and the
HAP HMO benefit.
Why are the monthly HRA stipend amounts different?
The monthly HRA stipend amount is based primarily on your Union CBA. As explained below, actuarial factors – and to a lesser extent, expenses – also influence this monthly stipend amount.
Each Union, through its membership, made its own decision on the wages
and benefits of its CBA, including the health care benefits for post-January 1, 2015 retirees. These individual, Union-made wage/benefit decisions largely determine the monthly HRA stipend amount.
How are the stipend amounts determined?
The COPS Board of Trustees (COPS Board) set the monthly HRA stipend amounts. The COPS Board hired an actuary to help them prudently determine the monthly stipend HRA amounts.
Among other things, the COPS Board considered the amount of the City’s CBA-required contributions for each Union, actuarial considerations (e.g., age and population), and administrative expenses in arriving at these monthly HRA stipend amounts.
For now, the CDPSU Board will continue to provide the same monthly stipend amounts.
Can I receive a retroactive HRA stipend payment?
You’ll be paid any retroactive HRA stipend amounts that you’re owed.
(Depending on when you retire after January 1, 2015, you may not be owed any retroactive payments).
When am I first Eligible?
To be eligible for HRA benefits, you must have retired from the City after January 1, 2015 and not be Medicare eligible.
You are first eligible on the first day of the month after the eligibility requirements have been satisfied, provided that any required enrollment forms have been submitted to the Plan Administrator. Once enrolled, your participation will continue from month-to month until you cease participating.
When do I cease participating?
You will cease to be eligible to participate in this Plan under different circumstances, such as voluntarily opting out or exhausting your account balance, as well as when you turn age 65 or otherwise become eligible for Medicare.
What if I die before I can use my account balance?
So long as you don’t die before retirement, your spouse may continue to be entitled to reimbursements for permitted Medical Care Expenses until he or she stops being eligible.
Dependents of the deceased Participant may continue participation until they no longer meet the definition of “Dependent” or the HRA account balance reaches zero.
Do I lose my balance when I become eligible for Medicare?
Yes. However, you may continue to submit claims for reimbursement for three years after you cease participating, for expenses incurred while you were eligible. An expense is incurred at the time the medical care is furnished, and not when you are formally billed for the medical care.
If your HRA account balance does not reach zero within the three years,
your remaining balance will be forfeited.
Are there any other circumstances when my balance is forfeited?
Yes. Other circumstances can include:
- Board of Trustee modification; or
- Return to City employment.
Are HRA benefits guaranteed?
This HRA monthly stipend is not a guaranteed benefit. Nor is the current
amount of the stipend guaranteed.
The CDPSU’s duty to pay you a monthly HRA stipend, and the amount of that stipend, depends on a few things, including the City’s timely and proper payments to the CDPSU of the City’s CBA-required contributions.
To be even more specific and emphatic:
- You have no vested rights in any HRA benefits or the amount of any HRA
benefit under CDPSU; and
- CDPSU has the discretionary right to change, reduce, or even eliminate
this HRA benefit — at any time and for any reason, including if the City
fails to timely pay its CBA-required contributions for HRA purposes.
Moreover, this HRA is a result of the Unions’ CBAs with the City: the CDPSU assumes that the Unions and the City will, when the time comes, negotiate new CBAs that will again fund this HRA. But, the CDPSU cannot guarantee that possibility. So, these HRAs are not guaranteed benefits.
What expenses get reimbursed and how much?
The Plan will reimburse you for Medical Care Expenses up to the unused amount in your account. You cannot simply collect and spend your HRA monthly stipend on anything you want.
Instead, your HRA stipend reimburses you and your dependents for Medical Care Expenses which are specially defined under the Internal Revenue Code because of their favorable tax treatment.
How do I get reimbursed?
Requests for premium reimbursement must be submitted to the ABS at least every six months and in all events within one year of the date that the claim was incurred.
How do I verify my reimbursable expenses?
If you seek reimbursement for insurance premiums that you paid with after-tax
dollars, you must verify this twice a year for the CDPSU. See the following website for information on this verification process: www.CDPSUTrust.com.
If you seek reimbursement for “eligible health care expenses” other than reimbursable insurance premiums (e.g., co-pays), the verification process is different. Again, see the website listed above for information on this verification process.
What if my claim is turned down?
You can appeal from any denial and have 180 days after receiving such a denial; more details of this process are in your Summary Plan Description.
What can’t be reimbursed?
Effective January 1, 2020, all items that constitute “medical expenses” as defined under the Internal Revenue Code shall be reimbursable.
How can you spend your HRA stipend?
In general, reimbursable medical care expenses include, but are not limited to premiums, hospitalization, doctors and dentist bills and prescription drugs. This also includes the amounts you pay for deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and COBRA continuation coverage.
Only post-tax dollar premiums are reimbursable through your HRA stipend.
How does the HRA work with Public Health Care Exchanges and Subsidies?
If you’re currently purchasing health insurance on a public health care exchange and receiving federal tax credits, this HRA stipend may disqualify you from receiving these federal tax credits.
If you wish to preserve your eligibility for federal tax credits, you can optout
of participation in this HRA. Once you opt out, you can continue to purchase health insurance on a public health care exchange and still receive federal tax credits, provided you otherwise qualify for the tax credits. If you opt-out, you will not receive a HRA monthly stipend.
If you don’t opt-out, you’ll participate in this HRA program and you’ll likely lose your eligibility for federal tax credits on your exchange-purchased health insurance.
How can I opt-out?
You may opt-out at any time by providing written notification of your opt-out decision to ABS as follows:
Attn: CDSPU Trust Retiree HRA – Opt Out
800 Tower Drive, Suite 300
Troy, MI 48098
You cannot opt-out verbally. Your opt-out selection must be in writing.
How do I apply for my HRA benefits?
To apply for HRA benefits, you must do the following:
- Provide ABS with proof of retirement from a DPOA, DPLSA,
DPCOA OR DFFA bargaining unit (ABS will also secure verification of
your retirement from a DPOA, DPLSA, DPCOA OR DFFA bargaining
- You must submit to ABS a Substantiation Form, which provides
proof of current medical coverage and documentation of premium payments
made by you for medical coverage.
You should submit these forms and documentation to ABS as follows:
Fax: (586) 693-4321
Mail: ABS Substantiation Department
800 Tower Drive, Suite 300
Troy, MI 48098