OPERS releases December health care video

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

In the December video, Steger addresses questions that members have sent to us via the PERSpective blog. She covers topics related to the OPERS Medicare Connector, including veterans benefits and how “snowbirds” will sign up for coverage. There also is a discussion about long-term care insurance.

You can click here to access the video, which we’ve posted on our YouTube channel.

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Legislature OKs measures for members, retirees

The Ohio General Assembly this week approved legislation that will have a positive effect on Ohio Public Employees Retirement System members.

The bill included two proposals endorsed by OPERS: one on joint retirement and another that will allow participation in the OPERS Medicare Connector by members who do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A insurance. Lawmakers included the measures in Senate Bill 42, which focused on education safety.

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Public pension funds’ confidence levels on rise

Public pension funds are more confident in their ability to address retirement issues over the next two years, in part because they continue to pare back benefits, an industry study has shown.

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems said public funds have passed significant “organizational and operational changes to ensure long-term sustainability for their stakeholders.” They include reductions in retiree health care coverage, higher member contribution rates and better system oversight.

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OPERS introduces website section for Connector

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has introduced a Medicare Connector Readiness page on its website for those seeking information about the upcoming changes to retiree health care.

OPERS will introduce a Connector in 2016 for our retirees enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. They will choose a Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage plan and a prescription drug plan on the individual health care market.

The Connector Readiness page includes information about the Connector, Medicare basics and the OPERS Health Care Timeline Tracker, a month-by-month, illustrated calendar of key events leading up to the Connector’s debut in 2016.

Click here to access the Connector Readiness section of OPERS.org.

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OPERS releases November health care video

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

In the November video, Steger addresses questions that members have sent to us via the PERSpective blog. She covers topics such as medical underwriting, Connector reimbursement and monthly allowances for health care coverage.

You can click here to access the video, which we’ve posted on our YouTube channel.

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Deadline approaching for health care coverage

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System will begin fully implementing its new health care plan in 2015.

The new rules are based on changes made in 2012 and amended the following year. They will require members to have at least 20 years of qualifying service credit and be 60 or older before they can retire and become eligible for health care coverage. Retirees can gain health care eligibility with 30 years of service at any age (increasing to 32 years depending on the retirement group they’re in).

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Report: Public pensions a bargain for taxpayers

The investment consulting firm Callan Associates has published an enlightening set of discussion topics that present well-researched facts about the value of defined benefit pension plans.

DB plans have come under increased scrutiny in recent years as funding issues have negatively affected some states and municipalities. Some of these concerns were tied to the Great Recession, which caused public entities to reprioritize their spending. The bottom line, though, is that public pensions are an efficient means of retirement security and a relative bargain for taxpayers because their benefits extend beyond pension checks.

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Rules could change on joint retirement

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and other state public pension systems have agreed to pursue a series of modifications to Ohio law that will resolve inequities in the process of joint retirement.

One of the unique benefits of working as a public employee in Ohio is the ability to accumulate service time in more than one of the state’s pension systems. Current law allows OPERS members to include credit in the STRS, SERS, Ohio Police & Fire, and Highway Patrol systems when determining eligibility for service retirement and the resulting pension benefit.

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Three new trustees to serve on OPERS Board

The 2014 OPERS Board of Trustees election is complete, and there will be three new trustees on the Board beginning in 2015.

Charles Latsa, Christopher Mabe and Steve Toth will join the board after winning their respective elections. They will join seven incumbents on the 11-member panel. The governor’s appointed investment representative position has not yet been filled after the resignation of Frank Ciotola in April.

Incumbent municipal employee representative Ken Thomas ran unopposed for his seat.

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OPERS announces CIO resignation

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has announced that John C. Lane, OPERS chief investment officer since 2010, has resigned to accept a position with The Ohio State University.

Lane has taken a similar position with OSU, where he will manage the university’s $1.7 billion endowment. At OPERS, he oversaw $88.6 billion in investments.

“John has played an important role in working with our board to enhance investment policy through more effective use of asset classes,” said Karen Carraher, OPERS executive director. “Under his leadership, our fund has grown from the troubled times of the economic recession to reach a record $89 billion.”

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