Colorado PERA’s Facebook page went live earlier this year. This launch was part of a broader effort to better adapt to member preferences, including how they want to communicate with PERA. The page has become a popular destination, garnering more than 10,000 likes in less than five months.
On December 2, PERA used this channel to host its inaugural Facebook Live event. Executive Director Ron Baker and Chief Investment Officer Amy C. McGarrity spent about 30 minutes taking member questions.
“PERA needs to be a partner with our members, stakeholders and employers,” Baker said. “We need to meet members where they are. This Facebook Live event is a step in that direction. We need to be the type of organization that provides service to our members when and how they’re looking for it.”
Find a summary of a few questions and responses below. You can watch the entire event here. Please note, some questions and answers are lightly edited for length and clarity.
Q: Will there be an automatic adjustment this year?
There will not be an automatic adjustment in July. The 1.25% annual increase amount for eligible retirees will remain the same. (note: Member contribution rates in most divisions will have a slight increase, completing the 2% increase that was part of SB 18-200. This planned increase, which is not due to the automatic adjustment, has been phased in incrementally since 2019.)
Q: Can I depend on PERA to manage my money well and to be there when I retire?
We are solely focused on investing your money for the long-term. Every dollar you contribute to PERA, by statute, will be returned to you with an interest and potentially a match, whether through benefit payments if you receive a pension or a refund of your account.
Q: Is PERA invested in cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin?
PERA does not hold cryptocurrency in our custody relationship, and we don’t have someone programming to obtain Bitcoin. But, broadly speaking, there is a way to gain access thematically to cryptocurrencies through public markets, like global equities and fixed income. We have a large exposure to global equities, so we likely have thematic exposure to companies that provide the backbone, the infrastructure, or have segments that participate in cryptocurrency.
Q: Why do PERACare costs continue to rise?
Certainly on the pre-Medicare side in particular, costs are trending up. That’s a national trend. As an organization we do everything we can to drive down the costs and to get the best premiums we can. But we also face the realities of an older population and the rising cost of health care services. In 2021, we kick off a process where PERA reviews and selects vendors. In this process our goal is to get the best plan design—offering the best plan at the best cost for our members.
Q: Is PERA sustainable? Will additional changes need to be made by the legislature?
Yes, PERA is sustainable. The work done in SB 18-200 was designed to allow PERA to have flexibility to address periods of time where we fall behind in reaching full funding by 2047. Having that flexibility allows PERA to move forward quickly without additional legislation.