Former OPERS Board of Trustees member dies

Former OPERS Trustee Sharon Downs, who represented the system’s retirees for 15 years, died April 19 following a battle with cancer.

Many OPERS trustees, stakeholders and associates had the pleasure of working with Sharon during her tenure as an elected retiree representative, which lasted from 1999-2014. As a former human resources administrator for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, she also attended many meetings on behalf of that department.

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New health care rules for re-employed retirees

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has approved changes to health care coverage for re-employed retirees, and the new rules will go into effect in 2016.

The changes are in response to federal health care regulations that affect OPERS members who go back to work for an OPERS-covered employer after they’ve retired. The regulations limit plan benefit values. They also provide that an HRA is insufficient coverage for an individual defined as an employee and would penalize OPERS if we provided coverage to re-employed retirees through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement.

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OPERS releases April 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 April video, Steger addresses member questions related to OPERS Medicare Connector reimbursements, the attained-age model, surviving spouses and other issues.

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

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Annual plan charts OPERS’ investment course

Each year the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System creates a new annual investment plan that discusses goals and the methods by which we may achieve them.

The 2015 OPERS Annual Investment Plan is available on our website. In this video, OPERS Interim Chief Investment Officer Rick Shafer and OPERS Trustee Bob Smith discuss the plan and the path that the system’s future investments might take.

You can also find the video on our YouTube channel.

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OPERS making changes to DC plans

While the primary retirement plan for members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is a defined benefit pension, OPERS also offers two defined contribution-style plans.

OPERS has operated the Member-Directed and Combined plans since 2003. After a recent review of the pension and health care structures of the plans, we uncovered several operational and financial issues that needed to be addressed. Thus, we’re announcing several adjustments to the Member-Directed and Combined plans that we’ll phase in over the next nine months.

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OPERS offers 12-step retirement checklist

Planning for retirement takes a lot of preparation, and it’s important to get started early. The Learn Plan Act section of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s website is designed to simplify the process for those preparing to retire.

Our planning checklist provides a dozen tips on what you’ll need to do when you’re preparing to retire.

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OPERS releases February 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 February video, Steger addresses member questions related to the OPERS Medicare Connector, including the Health Reimbursement Account, member eligibility and Connector allowances.

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

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Multiyear conversions don’t count toward pensions

Defined benefit pension systems typically use the final average salary of their members when determining the retirement benefit. It’s a common misconception that public employees can use years of unpaid time off to significantly boost their final pension amounts.

That does not happen at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, which has substantial measures in place to limit the spiking of retiree benefits.

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Benefit change notice assistance available

Some members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System either have received or soon will be receiving Benefit Change Notices for 2015.

We issue these notices when there are federal tax table changes that impact withholdings and thus the amount of monthly pension benefits. Because OPERS doesn’t receive the table changes in time to make them effective for the January benefit, the withholdings change for the February benefit.

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Websites offer help in preparing for retirement

An important part of a successful retirement is planning for it along the way.

While the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System strives to ensure retirement security for its members, it’s important for our members to know when to retire. OPERS has a section of its website devoted to this topic. The “Learn, Plan, Act” pages can help you make an informed decision when to retire, and they offer assistance along the way.

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