Retirement Plan Tax Law Changes

February 9, 2003

The following are highlights of tax law changes resulting from enactment of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. If you need additional information, contact Human Resources or your tax advisor.

403(b) Plan Contribution Limits

The general limit for elective deferrals to 403(b) plans has been increased from $11,000 to $12,000 for 2003. The limit will be $13,000 in 2004. Employees age 50 and over can make additional annual elective contributions of $1,000 beginning in 2002. This additional contribution for employees age 50 and over will increase to $5,000 by 2006 ($2,000 in 2003, $3,000 in 2004, $4,000 in 2005). You may contact TIAA-CREF at 1-877-842-4833 for an individualized calculation of your maximum allowable contribution.

457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans

In response to recent tax law changes, the University now offers a 457(b) deferred compensation plan. Employees who elect to participate in the 457(b) deferred compensation plan will be able to set aside a portion of their salary on a before-tax basis. The 2003 annual limit is $12,000, which is in addition to the limits in the 403(b) plan. The deferred compensation plan also has a catch-up provision for employees age 50 and over. More...

Retirement Plan Rollover Rules

In response to the other recent tax law changes, the University has amended our TIAA-CREF plans (retirement and supplemental plans) to permit rollovers of contributions from other qualified plans (401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans) and IRA's (Traditional, SEP, SARSEP), provided certain conditions are met. Contact Human Resources to determine whether your other accounts (previous employer plans, IRA's, etc.) may qualify.

Saver Tax Credit

The tax act also established a tax credit for "eligible participants". The credit is equal to a specified percentage of the first $2,000 of qualifying contributions to an IRA or employer elective salary deferral plans. The credit is in addition to the exclusion or deduction from gross income for making elective deferrals and IRA contributions that are otherwise allowable. The credit is completely phased out at adjusted gross income of $50,000 if your filing status is married filing joint ($25,000 if filing single). Contact your tax advisor for additional information.

HealthPlus Plan Changes

Effective January 1, 2003 , benefits for Emergency Services will be administered as follows:

Previously, copayments for emergency room or urgent care services could be waived if the member was referred by a physician, treated within 24 hours of injury, or admitted. Starting January 1, 2003, the copayment will no longer be waived unless the member is admitted to the hospital. In addition, emergency and urgent care benefits will be standardized to reflect the same copayment for services received in and out of the service area.

In addition, HealthPlus announced a partnership with Express Scripts to provide mail service for prescriptions. Mail service is an expansion of the HealthPlus Prescription Drug Benefit and is an optional service for members. Using Express Scripts, a member who takes medication on a regular basis may get a 90-day supply of medication for two copays instead of the usual three. Mail service is convenient and provides substantial savings in copays.