OPERS posts answers to HRA questions

One feature of the OPERS Medicare Connector that we’ve found can confuse participants is how to be reimbursed for expenses.

In short, Connector participants first pay for a qualifying medical item or service then are reimbursed through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement. This is an account that is linked to participants’ bank accounts.

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Posted in Connector, Health Care, Member Services, Ohio PERS, OPERS | Tagged , | 100 Comments

Think tank’s opinion on pensions not valid

The Cincinnati Enquirer recently published an opinion column that incorrectly draws a bleak picture of Ohio’s pension systems.

The column, titled, “Ohio’s finances worse than they appear,” was written by two employees of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a conservative think tank that includes billionaire Charles Koch on its board of directors.

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Posted in Benefits, Ohio PERS, OPERS, Pensions, Research | Tagged , | 14 Comments

OPERS answers frequently asked questions

The OPERS Member Services center is expecting a record number of calls this month in part because of the implementation of the OPERS Medicare Connector.

In order to help our members avoid long wait times on the phone, we have compiled answers to the questions most frequently asked at the beginning of a new year and also have provided resources where additional information can be found.

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Posted in Health Care, OPERS Medicare Connector, Pensions | Tagged , | 225 Comments

‘Cadillac tax’ delayed until 2020

The “Cadillac tax” provision of the Affordable Care Act, which the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has targeted for repeal, has been delayed for two years.

Congress recently passed an Omnibus federal spending budget bill that included a two-year delay of the tax, to extend its implementation to 2020. Earlier this month we asked our members to write to Congress to ask for its repeal, and we would like to thank all OPERS members who did so. The delay gives us two more years prior to its implementation, and we will again seek full repeal of the tax beginning next year.

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Posted in Health Care | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

OPERS shares financial data with Ohio Treasurer

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System recently shared volumes of financial data with the Ohio Treasurer in relation to the treasurer’s online checkbook project.

In doing so, OPERS affirmed its commitment to transparency in government, a motive that the treasurer has cited regarding OhioCheckbook.com. This is consistent with the “A” rating in transparency OPERS and the other Ohio public pension systems have received from the Center for Public Integrity. Similar information can be found on OPERS’ website.

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Posted in Ohio PERS, OPERS, Pensions | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Connector enrollment nears finish line

Enrollment in the OPERS Medicare Connector is in the final few weeks of 2015, and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System representatives are focusing on helping those who want to sign up to do so by the end of the month.

As of Dec. 10, 83 percent of our eligible participants had signed up for their health care coverage through OneExchange. That’s more than 120,000 out of our Connector-eligible population.

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Posted in Connector, Health Care, Ohio PERS, OPERS, OPERS Medicare Connector | Tagged , , | 99 Comments

Help OPERS repeal the ‘Cadillac tax’

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is asking members to help repeal the “Cadillac tax” provision of the Affordable Care Act.

This excise tax, scheduled for 2018, would be assessed to health care plan providers when their coverage value exceeds certain thresholds. It would cost OPERS tens of millions of dollars if we kept our health care plan for retirees under 65 the same as it is today, something we cannot afford to do.

The result would be dramatically higher out-of-pocket health care costs, including deductibles and co-pays, for our retirees.

OPERS is advocating for repeal of this excise tax, and we need your help.

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Posted in Health Care, Ohio PERS, OPERS | Tagged , , , | 87 Comments

OPERS closed on Thanksgiving, day after

As a reminder to our members and retirees, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving.

The OPERS offices are open on Wednesday, but our lobby and phone lines will close at 2:30 p.m. that day.

We’ll post our hours for Christmas and New Year’s Day as those holidays approach. With New Year’s Day falling on a Friday, the January 2016 benefit payment will be made on Jan. 4.

Posted in Pensions | 8 Comments

Making the most of the Connector call

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has released the November health care chat with OPERS Health Care Director Marianne Steger.

This month Steger provides tips for making the most of the OPERS Medicare Connector enrollment call.

You can access the video on our YouTube channel.

Posted in Health Care, OPERS Medicare Connector | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

AARP study focuses on Medicare spending

Half of all Medicare beneficiaries spent at least $3,595, or 18 percent, of their own money on health care in 2011, a new study by AARP states.

The study assesses the out-of-pocket spending burden on Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the traditional Medicare program, using data from the most-recent Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. It found that while Medicare “is a vital program that helps older adults and people with a disability pay for needed health care services,” it does not cover all health care costs.

Paying for needed health care costs was more of a burden “for the sickest, oldest and near-poor beneficiaries.” One in every 10 Medicare beneficiaries spent more than $10,400 for out-of-pocket expenses during the survey year of 2011.

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Posted in Health Care, OPERS, OPERS Medicare Connector | Tagged , , | 10 Comments