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FAQ

The answers to frequently asked questions below are general in nature and do not modify the terms of their respective Plans. You should refer to the related Summary Plan Description for more specific information regarding each Fund's Plan.

Top Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Pension Fund Plan B and Plan C Administrator

The Pension Fund is administered jointly by a 14-person Board of Trustees made up of an equal number of Union and Employer appointees. The Trustees are not compensated for the performance of their duties and have the full power and authority to administer the Plans, construe the terms and provisions and to establish all Plan rules and regulations. The Trustees employ an Executive Director to perform all day to day administrative functions of the Plan.

When was the Pension Fund Established?

The I.A.T.S.E. National Pension Fund Plan B was initially established in 1957. The IATSE National Pension Fund Plan C was established effective January 1, 2002.

How do I know which Pension Plan I am a participant of?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement which covers the production you are working on will generally indicate which Plan your employer is required to make contributions to. Generally, Pension Plan C employees working under the IATSE Area Standards Agreement or other agreements requiring contributions. Pension Plan B covers those employees working under Theatrical Agreements or other agreements requiring contributions.

How are contributions to the Pension Plan determined?

The Collective Bargaining Agreements through which you work, describe the employer contribution rate for each unit (hour, day, percentage of wages) of your covered employment. The Plans are supported by employer contributions; employees cannot contribute to either Plan. 

Who is the Health and Welfare Fund Plan A Administrator?

The Health and Welfare Fund is administered jointly by a 14-person Board of Trustees made up of an equal number of Union and Employer appointees. The Trustees are not compensated for the performance of their duties and have the full power and authority to administer the Plan, construe the terms and provisions and to establish all Plan rules and regulations. The Trustees employ an Executive Director to perform all day to day administrative functions of the Plan.

When was the Health and Welfare Fund Plan A established?

The I.A.T.S.E. National Health and Welfare Fund Plan A was initially established in 1973.

Who is the Health and Welfare Fund Plan C Administrator?

The Health and Welfare Fund is administered jointly by a 14-person Board of Trustees made up of an equal number of Union and Employer appointees. The Trustees are not compensated for the performance of their duties and have the full power and authority to administer the Plan, construe the terms and provisions and to establish all Plan rules and regulations. The Trustees employ an Executive Director to perform all day to day administrative functions of the Plan.

When was the Health and Welfare Fund Plan C established?

The I.A.T.S.E. National Health and Welfare Fund Plan C was initially established in 1994.

How are my Pension retirement benefits determined?

Both Pension Plans B & C are Defined Benefit Plans. Your Plan and your Summary Plan Description booklet contain the formulas for calculating benefits under each available type of pension. Generally, all the benefit formulas reflect the pension credit you earn for work in covered employment, your employer’s contribution rate/s and your age at retirement.

What if I work for different employers, some of whom contribute to Pension Plan B and some of whom contribute to Pension Plan C?

Both Plans contain a ‘combined benefit’ provision whereby service credit earned under one Plan may be recognized by the other. Please refer to your Summary Plan Description booklets for further details.

Do I have to retire at a certain age as specified by the rules of the Pension Fund Plans?

No. You may continue to work as long as you like; retirement under the Pension Fund is voluntary. However, if you are a 5% owner of the stock (or voting shares) of an Employer, your pension payments will automatically begin on the April 1st following the year in which you turn age 70 ½ even if you are still working.

Can I withdraw pension contributions made by my employer on my behalf?

No. This is a defined benefit plan and you are entitled to a monthly retirement benefit once you become vested. You are not entitled to the specific contributions made on your behalf.

Will proof of age be required when I apply to retire?

Yes. You will need to furnish proof of your date of birth when you retire. If you are married, proof of marriage as well as proof of your spouse’s date of birth will be required.

What is the definition of a “group health plan” as defined by ACA?

In order to qualify to enroll in a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), which is what the National Health and Welfare Fund’s MRP is, you must have primary health coverage that is a group plan sponsored by an employer (that is, obtained through employment) or sponsored by a union. Your primary health coverage cannot be “individual” coverage for this purpose.

What is the definition of individual health coverage?

Individual coverage is coverage that you purchase on your own (whether directly from an insurance carrier, such as Cigna, Aetna, United, BlueCross or BlueShield, or through a state insurance Marketplace (previously called the “Exchange” such as in the state of Massachusetts) or that you obtain through a government program such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, National Programs (such as the U.K.) etc.

Why can I no longer use my individual health coverage as the basis for enrollment in the stand-alone MRP Plan?

Guidance was issued by the government on September 13, 2013 which dictated that, in order for someone to enroll in an HRA (like the MRP Plan), they must be actually enrolled in an employer/union sponsored group health plan. The National Health & Welfare Fund must comply with this legal requirement.

What happens if I do not provide the Fund Office with proof of other employer/union sponsored group health coverage and the required certification by the open enrollment deadline of December 15, 2014?

  • If you fail to timely submit the required proof of other employer/union sponsored group health coverage along with the completed and signed certification that such other coverage provides “minimum value” (as defined by the ACA), you will be defaulted into Plan C-2 C-3 or C-4 single coverage if your CAPP account balance is sufficient to cover the entire cost of such coverage for one quarter. If you were enrolled in the MRP as a stand-alone option in the previous year and wish to waive your CAPP balance entirely so that you may be eligible for a government subsidy if you buy coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may request a waiver form from the Fund Office or download it on our website at www.iatsenbf.org.

 

 

  • If your CAPP account balance is not sufficient to cover the cost of at least one month of C-4 single coverage, your coverage from the Fund will lapse. Once your coverage lapses, you will not be offered Plan C coverage again until you have enough in your CAPP account to cover the cost of at least one month of C-4 single coverage (and you may at that time opt for that coverage or co-pay for more expensive coverage). You will not be automatically defaulted into Plan C coverage until your account is sufficient to cover at least the cost of one quarter of C-2 single coverage (and the current $150 administrative fee).

If a member qualifies for coverage through the National Health & Welfare Fund, can they still obtain coverage through the Marketplace?

As far as we understand, there is no prohibition on purchasing coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace even if a person has other health coverage. However, if you have coverage under the Fund (or an offer to opt into coverage), you may be disqualified from receiving a federal subsidy for coverage purchased through the Marketplace.

Does coverage obtained through the Marketplace qualify as valid group coverage in order to enroll in the stand-alone MRP Plan?

No. In order to enroll in the stand-alone MRP Plan, your other coverage must be employer or union sponsored group health coverage.

Is coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or the Veteran’s Administration acceptable as “other group health coverage” pursuant to ACA requirements?

No. These are not employer/union sponsored plans and are therefore not considered acceptable other coverage for enrollment in the Fund’s MRP stand-alone option pursuant to ACA guidance.

What if I am currently enrolled in Medicare? How am I affected?

The National Health & Welfare Fund recently sent you a notice advising that the Board of Trustees has created a separate MRP Plan designed solely for retired Plan Participants who are on Medicare. It is called the Retiree-Only Medical Reimbursement Program (“MRP”) Plan. As of January 1, 2014, a Medicare enrollee’s Plan C CAPP account balance (with employer contributions received through October 31, 2013) will be converted to a Retiree-Only MRP account, unless the individual (i) is deemed active by current Plan rules at January 1, 2014, (ii) timely enrolls in active coverage (Plan C-1, C-2 or C-3), or (iii) timely submits an election form requesting that his or her Plan C CAPP account balance stay in the Active Plan for purposes of obtaining such coverage in the future, in addition to his or her Medicare coverage.

Is the MPIPHP coverage considered group health coverage?

Yes. Any group health plan coverage obtained through your employment or employment of your spouse or partner is acceptable “other group health coverage” for purposes of enrollment in the stand-alone MRP Plan, provided that you submit the required proof of other coverage and certify that the other coverage meets the ACA’s minimum value standard. You can check with your Plan Sponsor (typically your employer) or the insurance carrier whether the other coverage meets the minimum value standard. All benefit funds and insurance companies are required to issue SBCs (Summary of Benefits and Coverage) that indicate whether the plan of benefits meets the minimum value standard pursuant to the ACA’s requirements. The SBC will indicate that at the top of the form.

What do I need to provide to the National Health & Welfare Fund in order to continue to enroll in, or elect to enroll in, the MRP Plan option for this year’s open enrollment?

You must send a front and back copy of your other insurance/coverage identification card along with the checked box and signed certification form that will be on your year-end statement or enrollment form. Your identification card must state that it is a group plan or have a group identification number on it (with the word “group” prominently displayed) or you must obtain a letter from your plan sponsor (typically, employer) or the insurance carrier stating that you are enrolled in an employer/union sponsored group health plan.

If coverage is cheaper on the Marketplace, can I waive my current coverage and purchase coverage on the Marketplace?

You may not waive coverage under the Fund’s Plan C-1, C-2, or C-3 options. You may only waive an MRP balance if you are enrolled in the MRP Plan on a stand-alone basis. The only advantage to waiving an MRP balance is that this may allow you to qualify for a federal subsidy for coverage purchased through the Marketplace. We cannot offer guidance on this issue, since the subsidy is based on total household income, which is information that this Fund does not have.

If I incurred claims during 2014 for which I want reimbursement in 2015 do I have to be enrolled in the MRP option in 2014 to make a claim?

 Yes, you must be enrolled in the active stand-alone MRP option at the time of the claim submission.  If you are covered under Plans C-1, C-2, C-3, or C-4 in 2015 and have excess funds in your CAPP account available for reimbursement, then you can submit for reimbursement any claims incurred during 2014 as long as they are postmarked by March 31, 2015.  As of January 1, 2014, in accordance with ACA requirements, the following expenses are NOT eligible for reimbursement under the MRP:  individual health coverage premiums, as well as amounts to cover deductibles, co-insurance or excluded items as determined by an INDIVIDUAL health insurance plan that you may have had in 2014.    

If I was enrolled in the stand-alone active MRP Plan through December 31, 2014 but are not enrolled in that option for January 1, 2015 do I still have until March 31, 2015 to submit my 2014 incurred claims for reimbursement?

 No.  Under the Plan rules, the claim for reimbursement must have been incurred while you were enrolled in the MRP Plan and must be submitted at a time while you are still enrolled in the MRP Plan.  In addition, as explained above, as of January 1, 2014, the ACA prohibits HRAs (like the MRP Plan) from reimbursing individual health plan premiums [or any cost-sharing under such an individual plan (deductibles, co-payments, etc.).  Your 2014 claims must be postmarked before the end of 2014 in order for them to be eligible for reimbursement.]

What happens if I have a loss of coverage during the year?

If you lose coverage under Plans A, C-1, C-2, or C-3, you will be offered COBRA (self-pay continuation coverage). You have the right to purchase COBRA continuation coverage through the National Health & Welfare Fund until you re-qualify for coverage through employer contributions. Instead of electing and paying for COBRA coverage, you may wish to obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. With either COBRA or Marketplace coverage, you should avoid a tax penalty for being uninsured.

How long can I be without coverage before a tax penalty for being uninsured is imposed?

As long as your period of being uninsured is less than three (3) months and only occurs once in a calendar year then the IRS will not impose a penalty on you. Since the Health Fund’s coverage runs in quarters, a loss of coverage will be equal to, and in some cases greater than, three months. Therefore, to avoid a tax penalty you should exercise your right to obtain coverage through COBRA (by making a timely election and payment) or purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What does minimum value mean?

In general, the ACA’s minimum value requirement means that your group health coverage must cover at least 60% of plan costs.

What does ‘affordable’ mean as per the ACA?

Affordable means that any payment you make for your individual coverage only (excluding any cost to cover your dependents) cannot exceed 9.5% of your total household income. Since the Fund does not maintain information about your total income or that of your entire household we would be unable to guide you as to whether or not coverage through one of our Plan options or that of another group fits the government’s definition of affordable.

How do I know if I am a participant of Plan A?

You are a participant in Plan A if your employer contributes to Plan A and you are eligible under the Plan A rules. Participants of Plan A generally work in the live theatre industry under Collective Bargaining Agreements between I.A.T.S.E. and Theatrical Producers, such as the Travelling Employees (or “Pink Contract).

How are contributions to Plan A determined?

The Collective Bargaining Agreements determine the employer contribution rate for each day of your covered employment. However, the employer must meet the minimum daily contribution rate established by the Trustees. The Plan is supported by employer contributions; employees cannot contribute to Plan A.

When do I become eligible for benefits under Plan A?

You must work in “covered employment" and work a minimum of 60 days in a six month period to qualify for coverage under Plan A.

When does my Plan A coverage begin?

Your coverage begins the first of the month following the second month in which you work a minimum of 60 days in Covered Employment within six months or less. For example, if you work 60 days in Covered Employment in the six-month period ending November 30th, your coverage will start January 1st.

Are my dependents also eligible for Plan A benefits?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried dependent children up to the age limit of the Plan, currently the end of the year in which they turn age 26, become eligible when you do. See the Health and Welfare Plan A Summary Plan Description for more information about eligible dependents.

How long does the Plan A coverage continue?

Plan A coverage is granted in six-month blocks. At the end of your six-months of coverage, the Fund Office will look back at the six-month eligibility period ending one month prior to the look back date. For example, if you earned eligibility for coverage January 1 to June 30, the Fund Office would look back at the six-months December 1 through May 31 to see if you worked at least 60 days in Covered Employment. If you meet the 60-day requirement, your coverage continues for another six months.

What benefits are available under Plan A?

Plan A benefits available to eligible participants and their eligible dependents are hospital/medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing aid benefits. In addition, eligible participants, but not dependents, are covered for life insurance and weekly accident and sickness benefits.

How do I know if I am a Plan C participant?

Plan C participants usually work in the Motion Picture, Television, Commercial and Trade show industries under Collective Bargaining Agreements with I.A.T.S.E. or an affiliated Local that require employer contributions to Plan C.

How are Contributions to Plan C determined?

The Collective Bargaining Agreements describe the employer contribution rate for each unit (day, week, month, or hour) of your covered employment. Some agreements require employer contributions on a percentage of your wages.

Do Plan C employer contributions accumulate in my own account?

Yes, except for the first $150 of employer contributions when you begin to work under a Plan C Collective Bargaining Agreement. Thereafter, contributions made by your employer when you work in covered employment go into your CAPP (Contributions Available for Premium Payments) account. Your CAPP account is central to your eligibility and serves as the payment mechanism for your Plan C benefits.

Is more than one plan of benefits available under Plan C?

Yes, Plan C currently hosts five (5) different coverage options plus Triple S for our Puerto Rico residents.  Eligible participants can choose from C1, C2, C3, C4 or the stand alone Medical Reimbursement options.  All offerings are made with a single (participant only) or family (2 or more eligible family members) rate.  Our Benefits at a Glance provides a side-by-side description of each option. 

What is the earliest I can enroll in Plan C coverage?

New employees who have never participated in Plan C before may voluntarily enroll in Plan C once their CAPP account has enough employer contributions to meet the charge for one month of Plan C-2 individual coverage. Please note that this is after the first $150 of employer contributions for new employees is applied to the Health and Welfare Fund’s general assets.

Are there separate CAPP account charges for individual and family coverages?

Yes, since Plan C coverage is financed by your individual CAPP account, the charge for family enrollment is greater than for individual enrollment.

Can I use my CAPP balance for a purpose other than paying the cost to enroll in one of the Plan C benefit options?

Yes, if, when you reach either the voluntary or automatic enrollment thresholds and you demonstrate to the Fund Office that you have other employer or union sponsored group health coverage that meets the minimum value standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you can use your CAPP account for the Plan C medical reimbursement program. Please remember there is annual quarterly $50 administrative fee and you must provide proof of qualifying other coverage EVERY year along with a signed certification of the ACA requirements by the open enrollment deadline which is typically December 15th to remain enrolled in this coverage option for the next calendar quarter. 

What if I do not make a coverage co-payment timely?

Your coverage will be automatically downgraded to the next lower level of coverage if you do not make any applicable co-payment provided there is enough money in your account to do so. You may risk losing valuable family coverage if your account balance only supports single coverage. If there is not enough money in your account to be downgraded your coverage will lapse which means your coverage terminates. You will only be allowed to continue coverage through the COBRA self-payment provision of the Plan. In order to return to coverage you will need to first meet the $150 administrative fee and then your account balance must reach one month of the current cost C3 single Please see CAPP rates for the applicable amount as these rates may change from time to time.

Why did the Trustees develop another Plan C option?

Due to provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that limited the ability of individuals to participate in Plan C’s stand-alone Medical Reimbursement Program (MRP) under certain circumstances, numerous participants and Local Unions sought a lower cost alternative to Plans C1, C2, and C3.

Does Plan C4 meet the minimum value standards of the ACA?

Yes, Plan C4 is a high deductible plan that provides minimum value coverage in accordance with the ACA.   C4 benefits include hospital, medical/surgical, and prescription drugs (all essential benefits).  In addition, all required well care services are included with no cost sharing, and the out-of-pocket limit (this will be described in more detail later in this memorandum) meets the ACA’s requirements.

What is the cost of C4 and how does it compare to C3?

The quarterly cost for single coverage is $902.00.  The quarterly cost for a family is $1,737.00.  These costs are approximately 20% less than the current C3 cost. 

When will the new Plan C4 be added to the Plan C coverage line-up?

Participants can elect to enroll in Plan C4 for the coverage quarter beginning January 1, 2015.  Participants should use their open enrollment statement, mailed in mid-November, to compare options and make the appropriate coverage election for themselves, and their families if applicable, for 2015.

What is the deadline for choosing a coverage option for 2015?

All open enrollment election coupons, and any applicable co-payment, must be received by the Fund Office no later than December 15, 2014.  The due date for all future years will be posted on this site, printed on your open enrollment statement, announced via mail and put into our year end newsletter “Behind the Scenes”.  

Can a participant choose C4 later into 2015, or thereafter, if they want to downgrade their coverage?

Yes, each quarter the Fund Office sends a statement showing a participant’s available CAPP balance in advance of the prospective coverage quarter.  Downgrading to a lower level coverage in Plan C is always permissible for a future coverage quarter.  However, a participant cannot switch to a higher level of coverage except at each annual open enrollment unless there is a life event such as the birth of a child, adoption of a child, and marriage.  Pages 37 and 38 of the Plan’s Summary Plan Description booklet further describe such life events.  

What are some of the highlights of C4?

  • C4 provides coverage for in-network providers only.
  • C4 is a high deductible plan with an annual deductible of $3,000 per individual and $7,500 per family.  Once the deductible has been met (the participant has paid the first $3,000 per person, or $7,500 for the family, of covered in-network services) then the Plan will pay 50% of covered expenses.  (Plan pays 50%, patient pays 50% for covered expenses).
  • Covered in-network benefits for hospital, medical (doctor visits, laboratory, and radiology), , surgery, etc. will be provided by Empire BlueCross BlueShield.  Prescription benefits will be provided by CVS/Caremark.  Certain services have a co-payment (a flat dollar payment that the patient pays to the provider at the time of the service) and are not subject to the co-insurance (50% cost sharing) such as emergency room visits.
  • Annually, the first three (3) primary care visits per family member are reimbursable at 100% for an in-network provider.  The deductible and co-insurance will apply at the fourth (4th) visit in that calendar year.
  • There is an overall out-of-pocket limit per person of $6,450 and $12,900 for a family for 2015.  Once this limit has been reached the Plan will reimburse all covered in-network services for the balance of that calendar year at 100%.  This limit takes into account all monies paid by a participant or a family member out of his/her pocket for the following:                                                       
    •      The annual deductible (for C4 it is $3,000 per individual/$7,500 per family – this is the amount that must be paid before the Plan makes any reimbursement).                                                           
    •      All co-payments (the flat dollar amount paid at the time of a service; e.g. $250 for an emergency room visit under Plan C4).                                                      
    •      All co-insurance payments – the 50% cost sharing for in-network services provided by physicians, laboratories, diagnostic tests, surgical services, prescription drugs, etc.  
  • Are there any items not subject to the out-of-pocket limit?                                                           
    • Yes, a participant or a covered family member will be wholly responsible for full payment of any out-of-network services or provider charges and for any item not covered under the Plan, and these payments will not count toward the out-of-pocket limit.  

Why is there an Out-of-Pocket Limit now on Plans A, C1, C2, C3, and C4?

The ACA places an annual limit on how much a person is required to pay out-of-pocket for covered services under a health plan.  Once a person has met that annual limit, the health plan must cover all covered services at 100% for the rest of the year. While Plans C2 and C3 already contained an out-of-pocket limit, Plans A and C1 did not.   And, the limits under Plans C2 and C3 did not include prescription drugs, which now count toward the annual limit starting January 1, 2015.  The annual limit includes amounts paid by a participant for all essential benefits: hospital, medical, diagnostic, laboratory, mental health services, covered therapies, prescriptions, etc.   (Services not covered by the Plan, such as out of network services under Plans C3 and C4, do not count toward the annual limit).  As briefly described above, deductibles, copayments, and co-insurance (percentage) payments are all added together as out-of-pocket monies a participant is spending/cost sharing with the Plan.  Once a participant’s spending reaches a certain dollar amount, then all further covered services in that same calendar year are paid at 100%.  This means that, after that point, no more out-of-pocket expenses have to be paid by the participant except for non-covered services and out-of-network provider charges that exceed the reasonable and customary dollar amount determined by BlueCross BlueShield (or all out-of-network provider charges if the participant is covered under an in-network-only option).

 The out-of-pocket limits under Plans A, C1, C2, and C3 are more generous than required by the ACA, that is, the Plans are reimbursing more than is required by law.

Plans C2 and C3 had Out-of-Pocket Limits before. Why have they increased?

The out-of-pocket limit that previously existed only took into account co-insurance percentages for hospital, medical, and surgical services.  Co-payments and deductibles for medical services and prescription drug co-payments and/or co-insurance percentage payments were not included in the limit.  Under the ACA, all essential benefits must be wrapped into an overall out-of-pocket limit (dental and vision benefits are not included as they are not essential benefits).   The existing limits were increased slightly to account for the added prescription utilization and the inclusion of co-payments and deductibles.  Once you have met the out-of-pocket limit, whether because you incurred expenses for different types of services, or just one (such as a hospitalization with or without surgical services or high prescription usage), the Plan will pay all remaining covered services at 100% for the remainder of the year in which you met the limit. 

Will the Plans’ 2015 Out-of-Pocket Limits change in future years?

As limits increase under the ACA the Trustees will re-visit the Plans’ limits annually and decide if the limits need to be adjusted.

Why has the CAPP account forfeiture process changed?

Because Plan C runs on a quarterly basis, the Trustees decided that forfeitures should also be run quarterly instead of annually to better comport with the Plan.  We will look at the prior eight (8) coverage quarters, or 24 coverage months, (before statements for the prospective coverage quarter are generated) to determine if there was ‘activity’ in the CAPP account.  The definition of ‘activity’ is not changing; ‘activity’ means coverage in an active option (A, C1, C2, C3, or C4), submission of a covered claim for medical reimbursement, or an employer contribution to the Plan.  If there was ‘activity’ in any of the 8 prior coverage quarters then the account balance remains.  The absence of any one of the three types of activity will cause a forfeiture of the CAPP account balance to general Plan assets. 

Why has the active test for those on Medicare changed from one quarter of C3 single coverage to one quarter of C4 single coverage in employer contributions?

Under Medicare’s secondary payor rules a person who is enrolled in Medicare but continues to work (is no longer considered retired and is considered active, as defined by Medicare) and who has group coverage available to them may not use Medicare as their primary coverage and use the group coverage (such as Plan C-MRP) as secondary to Medicare.  (As explained below, you can waive Plan C coverage and stay on Medicare).  The Fund’s definition of ‘active’ for such participants is if they work and have employer contributions received in a contribution test quarter that equal or exceed the Plan’s lowest cost coverage.  Since C4 will be the lowest cost coverage as of January 1, 2015, the cost of C4 individual coverage will be used to determine who is active.  A participant who meets the active test must enroll in active coverage and freeze any retiree medical reimbursement monies they may have, or the Fund will enroll them in C4 coverage absent an active election for any other coverage option.  They will be given the right to waive their active Plan C account so they do not have to give up Medicare as their primary coverage for the prospective quarter but their retiree medical reimbursement account will continue to be frozen for the prospective coverage quarter since they met the active test.

Why will the Fund Office discontinue issuing revised CAPP account statements?

With the launch of our new ‘real time’ website and its available mobile app, CAPP Account balance information is now more readily available, especially for those participants who are on the road.    CAPP balances, primarily for those enrolled in the Stand-Alone MRP option of Plan C, can change often, as claims for reimbursements are paid.  It is confusing to our participants to discern which balance on the various statements should be used to make prospective coverage quarter decisions.  By using our website, or our interactive phone response system, or our newly improved service center dedicated e-mail address, up to the minute information is at their fingertips.  Multiple statements via US mail can get delayed, lost, or ignored.  So, the Fund Office will issue a statement as it normally does and we strongly encourage you to to check on-line or with the Fund Office before they make a change or issue a co-payment based on their statement balance.  Using our on-line credit card payment system can help assure you that you are making a co-payment with your most updated balance

Who is the Annuity Fund Plan Administrator?

The Annuity Fund is administered jointly by a 14 person Board of Trustees made up of an equal number of Union and Employer appointees. The Trustees are not compensated for the performance of their duties and have the full power and authority to administer the Plan, construe the terms and provisions and to establish all Plan rules and regulations. The Trustees employ an Executive Director to perform all day to day administrative functions of the Plan.

When was the Annuity Fund established?

The IATSE National Annuity Fund was initially established on January 1, 1973.

How do I know if I am a participant in the Plan?

If you are working for an Employer who is required to make contributions to this Plan pursuant to a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the International Union or an Affiliated Local, and contributions are received on your behalf then you are considered a participant of the Plan.

How much is the annuity benefit?

The amount of your annuity benefit is based on the amount in your individual account when you are eligible for a benefit based on contributions received, investment earnings or losses and applicable administrative fees.

When can I take a distribution from my individual account?

You (or your beneficiary, if applicable) may apply to receive the amount in your account when:

a. No employer contributions are made on your behalf to the Annuity Fund for 6 consecutive months because you are no longer working in covered employment if you are under age 55; or

b. No employer contributions are made on your behalf to the Annuity Fund for 2 consecutive months because you are no longer working in covered employment, and you have attained age 55; or

c. You die; or

d. You become totally and permanently disabled and are in receipt of a Social Security Disability Award; or

e. You retire at age 65, or if later, after you have been a Participant in the Plan for five years. 

Are hardship withdrawals of my account balance permitted?

Yes. For contributions received on or after January 1, 2010. 

Do I have to take a distribution of my account balance at a certain age?

No. You may continue to work as long as you like; retirement (a distribution) under the Annuity Fund is voluntary. However, if you are a 5% owner of the stock (or voting shares) of an Employer, your pension payments will automatically begin on the April 1st following the year in which you turn age 70 1/2, even if you are still working.  Minimum distributions will be made to you on the April 1st following attainment of age 70 ½ whether or not you are a 5% owner in accordance with applicable IRS regulations. 

Are my Annuity benefits taxable?

Yes. Your benefits are normally taxable when you receive a distribution. Please contact your personal tax advisor for tax planning and advice.

Can I make salary deferred contributions (401k) to the Plan?

Yes, in some instances. You may make pre-tax contributions from your eligible earnings up to the maximum amount allowed by law provided the employer contribution made on your behalf, while in covered employment, is 3% or more of your wages. Please check with your Local Union or your Employer to make sure that you are eligible to make contributions. IRS limits on the amount you can contribute are in the Annuity Fund Summary Plan Description Booklet.  In addition, for those working in the Motion Picture Industry under applicable collective bargaining agreements, can make pre-tax salary deferrals as well.  

How do I sign up for salary deferred contributions?

Salary deferral forms are available from the Fund office or on this site. You must complete a form for each employer you work for and the Fund Office must receive its copy of the form before your contributions can be accepted.

Do I need to file an application for benefits?

Yes. An Application for Annuity distribution can be made available to you by contacting the Fund Office. Once completed, the application must be sent to the Fund Office for completion and submission to Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo will issue your distribution directly to you or your beneficiary.

How often am I notified of the activity in my account?

Wells Fargo issues quarterly statements and your account information is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging onto Wells Fargo's website which is https://www.wellsfargo.com/.  There are direct links to Wells Fargo from your personal dashboard on this site. 

How do I notify the Fund of an address change?

You must keep the Fund advised if you move, otherwise valuable benefit information may not reach you. You can update your address directly on this site by going to your profile.  Even if you've notified your Union, your Employer or the International do not assume that the Annuity Fund has your current information.

Who is the Plan Administrator?

The Vacation Fund is administered jointly by a 4-person Board of Trustees made up of an equal number of Union and Employer appointees. The Trustees are not compensated for the performance of their duties and have the full power and authority to administer the Plan, construe the terms and provisions and to establish all Plan rules and regulations. The Trustees employ an Executive Director to perform all day to day administrative functions of the Plan, including employment of staff.

When was the Vacation Fund established?

The IATSE National Vacation Fund was initially established on October 23, 1973.

How do I know if I am a participant in the Plan?

If you are working for an Employer who is required to make contributions to this Plan pursuant to a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the International Union or an Affiliated Local, and contributions are received on your behalf then you are considered a participant of the Plan.

How is money credited to my Vacation Fund Account?

Each participant of this Plan has contributions credited to his/her account as contributions are received from their employers. The entire cost of the Vacation Fund is met by employer post tax contributions. Participants cannot make contributions to their account.

How is my account valued?

Each account is valued at the beginning of the year based on work actually performed in the prior calendar year. Your account balance consists of:


1. Contributions made on your behalf from employers for the prior calendar year received by the valuation date.

2. Any contribution(s) remaining in your account from the prior calendar year which was not included in the prior year’s check; plus (or minus).

3. Any adjustments for investment income and administrative expenses.

When are benefit checks issued?

As soon as practicable after May 1st of each year.

Is there a time limit within which the check must be cashed?

Yes. If you do not cash your check within 24 months, or if you haven’t given us your current address and we cannot locate you, checks issued and un-issued account balances will be forfeited.  We encourage you to have your check direct deposited to your bank so that it reaches you timely.  You can obtain the form on this website. 

Do I need to file an application for benefits?

No. Payments are automatically made each year to the last address on file at the Funds office. Do not assume if you changed your address with your Local Union or the International that the Fund Office has your current mailing address. It is important to notify us of any changes. Use this site to update your address, your beneficiary or complete a direct deposit form for fastest receipt.  

What information must be included on a remittance report?

A full list of the information required on a remittance report can be found in the Employer Contributions & Collections Guidebook, which can be found in the Forms section of this website. We encourage you to carefully read the requirements because incomplete reports will be rejected and may jeopardize benefit entitlement to your members/employees.

 

Is there a specific format that must be used for a remittance report?

No.  Although there is a sample remittance report in the Forms section of this website which may be used for submitting contributions, there is no required format as long as all of the necessary information is included on the report in a clear and legible manner.

When are contributions due and are there penalties for late contributions?

The due dates for contributions are determined by the CBA and/or the supplemental Trust Acceptance Document (TAD). Generally contributions are made  on a monthly or weekly basis.  Contributions must be timely made to the Fund after the work period as described in the CBA/TAD or by the default dates indicated in the guidebook if no due date has been specified.  An explanation of these due dates may be found in the Employer Contributions & Collections Guidebook.

 There are penalties for late or underpaid contributions.  The Guidebook has a full explanation of how delinquencies (late payments and/or shortages) are determined, including how interest is charged

Are separate reports required for contributions to each Fund, e.g., one for Health & Welfare, one for Pension, one for Annuity?

No.  If the CBA calls for contributions to more than one of the National Funds for each covered employee, all employees being paid the same ‘rate group’ should be included on one report.  

Can multiple rate groups be included on the same report?

No.  Each rate group and the employees subject to them, respectively, must be on a separate report.

How should the contribution check be made out? Do I need to do a separate check for each Fund?

It is not necessary to submit a separate check for each Fund. A single check for the full amount of the contributions set forth on the remittance reports may be made out to the IATSE National Benefit Funds whether for one or multiple Funds.  The check amount must, however, match the amount being reported.  

To what address should contribution check(s) and remittance report(s) be sent?

Contribution checks with accompanying reports should be sent to the Employer Contribution lockbox at:  

 

IATSE National Benefit Funds, P.O. Box 11944, Newark, NJ 07101-4944.

If an amount is overpaid or submitted in error on a remittance report, can a credit be taken on a future report/payment?

No, the Funds do not allow credits.  ALL REMITTANCE REPORTS SUBMITTED MUST BE PAID IN FULL.  For mistaken payments or overpayments, a refund may be requested by written demand to the Fund Office.  For more information please refer to the Employer Contributions and Collections Guidebook.

Can employee salary deferral payments be submitted on behalf of employees electing to do so?

If there is language allowing for deferrals in the underlying CBA AND the criteria is met allowing for deferrals as set forth by the IATSE National Annuity Fund (only), deferrals can be accepted upon the Fund’s receipt of the required employee authorization form.  Such form is required for EACH employer for which such employee performs covered work. More information is described in the Employer Contributions and Collections Guidebook as well as the IATSE Annuity Fund Summary Plan Description booklet.

Why are we required to report actual days worked when reporting to the Pension Fund, even if our rate is not based on a daily rate?

The number of days worked is necessary in determining both pension and vesting credits regardless of the contribution rate.  You must report full salary amounts, in addition to days worked, for all employees whose contribution rate group is based on a percentage of salary. The number of days worked for which you are required to make a contribution determines a participant’s vesting service in  the Pension Plan as well as the amount of benefit they have earned at their time of retirement.   Salary is required due to IRS required monitoring.

 

In addition, you are required to report all employees full salary amounts to monitor numerous  IRS limits, such as Highly Compensated Employees, IRC 401(17)(a), etc., as required by the IRS for the Annuity Fund.   All remittance reports with annuity contributions must contain full salary, and if applicable, the salary on which you are basing the contributions if different from the full salary. 

Why does the work location need to be reported?

Besides often helping to confirm that the correct contribution rate has been submitted, the work location is needed for tax purposes, most specifically the different tax requirements for work performed in Puerto Rico.

Can contributions be accepted after a CBA has expired?

Yes.  When a CBA and full Trust Acceptance Document is in place, the Funds Office will continue to accept contributions under the expired CBA at the same contribution rate required at the time the CBA expired until such time as there is a successor CBA OR if both parties to the agreement advise the Funds in writing that the bargaining unit covered by the CBA is no longer covered. 

 

* Note that the Funds will continue to contact the parties for a new CBA each time contributions are received after the current CBA has expired.  In that respect, the bargaining parties are required to advise the Funds’ Contracts Department of any extension to which they have agreed during the time of negotiations for a successor CBA.

Can contributions be submitted in advance of work?

No, contributions are based on covered work performed.  Until the covered work is performed, the contributions are not due and will therefore not be accepted.

What documents do the Funds need in order to accept contributions?

The Funds require a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between an Employer and the IATSE or an IATSE local, together with a Trust Acceptance Document  in conjunction with that CBA.

What language needs to be included in a CBA for it to be acceptable to the Funds?

At a minimum, the CBA must contain a recognition provision, basic working terms and conditions and, of course, a benefit provision setting forth the required contributions to be submitted to each Fund for which a contribution is required on behalf of employees doing covered work.

 

A “participation agreement” between the parties, which only sets forth participation in the Funds is not a CBA and therefore not acceptable.

Can a CBA be accepted without a separate Trust Acceptance Document?

Yes, but ONLY if the necessary Trust Acceptance language is contained within the body of the CBA.

Is a Trust Acceptance Document enough for the Funds to accept contributions?

No, a Trust Acceptance Document is only valid in conjunction with a CBA.

Can a CBA include language allowing employees to opt in or opt out of receiving contributions?

No.  Employee choice to opt in or out of a specific Fund, or the amount they wish contributed, is not permissible. 

What is needed for the contribution rates in a CBA to be changed or re-allocated?

Unless specifically set forth in the CBA, the contributions rates can only be changed if there is a successor agreement or a side letter, addendum or MOA to the current agreement.  

What documents can be used if an employee requests a re-direction of their benefit contributions to another Fund?

If the contributions would have been submitted to the MPIPHP under the agreement, qualified employees can fill out the “IATSE NBF as Home Plan” document in order to have them re-directed to the IATSE National Benefit Funds.  Note that both the IATSE NBF and the MPIPHP have criteria which must be met in order for the Home Plan to be approved.  A copy of the Home Plan can be found in the Forms section of this website.

 

For USA829 members working under an agreement in which contributions would be submitted to the MPIPHP, there is a special Home Plan which enables the health and annuity contributions to be re-directed to the IATSE National Benefit Funds and pension contributions directed to the USA829 Pension Fund.  A copy of this Home Plan can also be found in the Forms  section of this website.

 

For re-directions involving Benefits Funds other than the MPIPHP, a different re-direction MOA or sideletter would be necessary, to be signed by the employee, the signatory employer and the signatory union party.  The Home Plan would not be applicable in those situations.  Contact the Contracts Department for more information by calling us at 1-800-456-3863.