Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Inside Colorado PERA

We Heard You: Responding to Member Feedback

Woman explaining something to her colleagues
Photo credit: nensura/Getty Images

In today’s ever-changing world, the ability to adapt is an important ingredient for success. At Colorado PERA, adaptability is key to making sure the Association can continue to meet the changing needs of its diverse membership.

Over the past several years, PERA’s Communications Division has been using data from a survey of members and retirees to identify segments of PERA membership whose needs weren’t being adequately met and to pinpoint other opportunities for improvement.

The survey is a vital tool for PERA to ensure its communications are member-focused and fulfill the Board’s strategic goals, which include elevating PERA’s identity among stakeholders to that of a partner, and improving retirement security outcomes through best-fit products, services and education.

Changes resulting from 2019 survey

The member satisfaction survey, conducted in 2019, aimed to assign PERA a rating that would approximate a Net Promoter Score (NPS). An NPS is a simple way of gauging the likelihood of a company’s customers recommending that company to friends and colleagues, with scores ranging from -100 (unlikely) to +100 (likely). The survey responses of nearly 18,000 members established PERA’s NPS as 5, and while that’s a positive score consistent with other member-based financial services organizations, it revealed several important opportunities for improvement.

More personalized, tailored content

A major takeaway from the survey results was that PERA has too often taken a one-size-fits-all approach to communications, rather than tailoring content to fit different members’ and retirees’ needs. As a result, PERA’s communications team has been focused on segmenting its website content, emails and other communications by life and career stage — new to PERA, mid-career, ready to retire, retired — as well as creating more content specifically for those audiences.

Simpler language

Similarly, PERA members and retirees have expressed a need for simpler, more accessible language from PERA. Much of the terminology around retirement benefits — and finance in general — can be complex and difficult to understand. PERA staff regularly review and update publications, website content and other communications, and part of that review now includes identifying language that can be made more approachable.

This is an ongoing effort and PERA staff will continue to look for opportunities to simplify the language it uses to explain PERA benefits and services.

Expanded use of social media

In an effort to meet more PERA members where they are, PERA has been working to expand its presence on social media to complement its other communications channels. That includes launching Facebook and Instagram profiles and using those platforms to engage more directly with PERA members and retirees.

Website updates

PERA’s website is a vital tool for its members, retirees, and other stakeholders, and it was a clear area of opportunity to make some improvements. PERA staff used feedback from the survey to build a redesigned website that’s more user-friendly, including an updated account dashboard that displays a member’s account balance, estimated monthly benefit, and more. The new site launched in mid-January.

Preparing for the next survey

A key step in assuring PERA meets its member expectations is to measure the effectiveness of the various changes and initiatives that have taken place since the first survey.

Planning is underway for a follow-up NPS survey, which will take place this spring. From that survey, PERA will be able to formulate an updated score and determine not only whether those changes are working, but also identify areas where staff should continue to focus their efforts in the future.

“We hope everyone who receives the survey will participate, so we can get an accurate measure of how we’re doing and whether we’re meeting member expectations,” said PERA Senior Director of Communications Patrick von Keyserling. “We look forward to seeing the results and continuing to evolve based on your feedback.”


  1. Adrian says:

    Why is our health insurance so out of control/high $1091.00 per month is way out of reason when others with the same similar insurance is paying much less. For example: my sister is a retired federal employee with Kaiser insurance and to cover both she and her daughter she’s paying just under 300.00 per month? What’s being done to dramatically decrease this amount so that the retirees can afford to live? 13,092.00 per year + co-pay + medication(s). I’ve been getting some food from the food bank with over 30 years of service to the state of Colorado. SHAMEFUL!

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Adrian, we understand the challenge of rising health care costs and we recently covered the issue here: Prices for many services, in particular hospital and ER costs, can be higher in Colorado than in other areas of the country, and that can lead to higher premiums. We encourage you to look at all your options to make sure you choose an insurance plan that works best for you.

    • Pamela Wiebelhaus says:

      I am buying my Kaiser coverage directly from Kaiser. PERA wanted $170 per month. I now pay $38 per month! My new coverage has lower copays and lower yearly max. Kaiser benefits admitted that group insurance is currenly higher than buying directly. PERA is ripping us off and has been for a number of years.

  2. Linda says:

    Has PERA ever considered aggressively investing our Pension? This was an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette a few days ago

    For pension funds, that means they have more assets to cover future liabilities.

    For instance the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which manages the largest U.S. public pension fund, grew its assets more than $92 billion in the fiscal year ending in June 2021, according to its 2020-21 financial report.

    That growth boosted the funded ratio of its Public Employees’ Retirement Fund to an estimated 80% at the end of June last year from 70% a year earlier. CalPERS declined to comment.

  3. Linda says:

    For pension funds, that means they have more assets to cover future liabilities.

    For instance the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which manages the largest U.S. public pension fund, grew its assets more than $92 billion in the fiscal year ending in June 2021, according to its 2020-21 financial report.

    That growth boosted the funded ratio of its Public Employees’ Retirement Fund to an estimated 80% at the end of June last year from 70% a year earlier. CalPERS declined to comment.

  4. Dawn says:

    Very disappointed with the United Health Care. I keep having to pre pay expenses, billing is slow. One Pass, very poor substitute for Silver Sneakers. Consists of a ridiculous number of independent fitness apps which are not targeted at seniors or retirement age folks. Most workouts are not age appropriate. Totally not motivating to workout with 20 something trainers with six packs. For the premiums we are paying we should get premium coverage and preventative benefits!

  5. Tami Fraser says:

    Very frustrated with the rising cost of health insurance!
    I’m paying more for prescriptions, more out of pocket, etc.. It’s getting stressful to be retired, and have to worry about the constant health care expense. Any suggestions on better health care plans for a 61yr old??

  6. Ray says:

    The transition to a new401k/457 plan manager was not seamless. Prior to the transition to Empower I had contacted Voya to increase the amount of federal withholding from my Required Minimum Distribution payments significantly higher than the default 10% default rate. The payments were scheduled for late December 2021. When I received my RMD checks in December, Empower used the default 10% withholding rate instead.

  7. Roberts Sargent Jr. says:

    Am I the only one who lost out of some year-end tax donation deductions because of the DATE that the final check was posted? The credit union used that Friday as a work day. I was waiting for a new debit card and could not even use the ATM machine. A solution would be to send out the deposits TWO days before the end of the year.

  8. Chuck G. says:

    (if anyone is still out there reading comments, here is my take ….)

    HIGH INFLATION – vanishing COLAs! Enough is enough (or it should be) and all you PERA retirees need to organize, phone your Reps, head to the State Capital and raise hell!

    With the current high inflation continuing this year and vanishing PERA COLAs, my retired 30+ year teacher wife will soon be down about 15% in spending power in just 4-5 years since SB18-200 ! The Governor and the General Assembly are cruel, as they turn callus and thieving eyes towards PERA retirees, while these same folks foam at the mouth to spend the 3-6 billion dollar budget surplus this year on electric school buses and God knows what else.

    Owens was not your friend! Hickenlooper was not your friend! The 2014 Colorado Supreme was not your friend! Polis is not your friend! The PERA organization is not your friend! All 4 have stabbed PERA retirees in the back regarding mismanagement, regarding PERA funding, creating vanishing COLA’s and ignoring unaffordable PERACare and earned healthcare subsidies.

    When was the last time you heard any empathy from Ron Baker or the PERA organization or any elected officials or policymakers at the capital ?

    Teachers will organize, strike, picket and raise hell at the capital. If retirees do not due the same, they will surely loose a big chunk of their PERA pension spending power through inflation. Inflation will naturally raise budgets, tax revenues and wages for State employees. Those screwed will be PERA retirees. And Colorado policymakers simply don’t give a damn, as the CPI print in January was 7.5% !!! And even if inflation in February 2022 magically drops to zero, lost is 6-7% last year that you NEVER GET BACK. They don’t give a damn that my wife has no other retirement and no survivor Social Security benefits (and its full COLA) from me if I predecease her. They are dishonorable, cruel, heartless ! This is theft, plain and simple.

    My wife and I live on the Western slope. So it’s going to be hard for us to show up at the State Capitol too often, but I can make phone calls, join meetings, and send emails.

    Where is CS Pera ? Where is SecurePERA? Where are the DEMS ?

    Any thoughts or comments ?
    Signed -> Not Happy Chuck

  • Share

  • Print