Medicare Connector to lower health care costs

As the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System prepares to transition eligible members to a Medicare Connector model in 2016, a closer look at the projected participant costs illustrates advantages of the new plan.

By transitioning to the Connector, we are presenting participants increased flexibility and an opportunity to save money while keeping the same level of, or better, health care coverage.

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Valuation helps Board set contribution rates

The funding level, amortization rate and other key financial measures of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System were confirmed during the recent annual pension actuarial valuation.

Our external actuaries, Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co., presented the preliminary results for 2013 during the May meeting of the OPERS Board of Trustees. The valuation is a measure of our financial position, which the Board uses to help establish employer and employee contribution rates.

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OPERS releases latest annual financial reports

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has published updated versions of its key financial reports.

The 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and a condensed version called the 2013 Summary Annual Financial Report, are available on the OPERS website. They contain vital financial, investment, actuarial and statistical information about our retirement system as of the end of 2013.

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Video focuses on Medicare Connector allowances

With the introduction of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s Medicare Connector in 2016, OPERS will provide eligible retirees with a monthly allowance to purchase a plan on the individual Medicare market.

At its June meeting, the OPERS Board of Trustees approved monthly allowance amounts for the Connector. In our latest health care video, OPERS Health Care Director Marianne Steger discusses the newly approved allowances, as well as other relevant topics, including:

  • The Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) that members will use to pay their premiums
  • Types of Medicare plans and how much they might cost
  • How the HRA can be used if there’s money left over at the end of the month
  • How we’ll be communicating news of the Connector to you

You can click here to watch the Connector allowance video.

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OPERS sets 2015 health care rates

Each year the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s Board of Trustees approves the retiree health care program’s monthly self-supporting rates, which are set to cover medical and prescription drug costs that we pay.

OPERS’ retirees pay a monthly premium for their health insurance that is based on the self-supporting rate minus the monthly allowance. Dental and vision monthly premiums are paid entirely by members.

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Board of Trustees election gets under way

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System members will decide four seats on the Board of Trustees this year, with the election taking place in September.

These trustees, who will serve four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, will represent the following employee groups:

  • State employees — Representing 49,307 employees working at a job for the state of Ohio.
  • State colleges and universities — Representing 48,790 non-teaching employees at state colleges and universities in Ohio.
  • Municipal employees — Representing 60,116 employees working for Ohio’s municipalities.
  • Retirees — One of two seats representing 166,379 age-and-service and disability retirees. The two retiree seats do not come up for election in the same year. The other retiree representative was elected in 2013.

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Investment returns don’t affect contributions

Public pension investment patterns have changed over the past few decades, from a primary reliance on stocks and bonds to incorporating more alternative investments.

As stated in a new report issued this week by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, this premise is true. “State Public Pension Investments Shift over Past 30 Years” makes a case for more transparency on the part of pension plans, a focus on investment fund governance and a watchful eye on increasing fees.

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Video discusses OPERS’ Milestone 2015

With OPERS’ new health care plan going fully into effect in 2015, OPERS is preparing for a larger-than-normal group of retirees this fall. In this PERSpectives on Pensions video, OPERS Benefits Director Allen Foster talks about Milestone 2015, our effort to help eligible retirees make the right decision about retirement.

There are more than 45,000 OPERS members eligible to retire this year. Many of them could base that decision on health care coverage, which is undergoing some big changes.

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Investment information updated on OPERS website

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has updated the Investment section of opers.org, including descriptions of new asset classes.

You’ll find quarterly statistical summaries of the three retirement funds as well as the asset classes that make up those funds. We report total market value and quarterly returns, both on an absolute basis and against our benchmarks. We will continue to update these statistics quarterly.

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Public pension costs in Ohio less than average

Ohio spends less than the national average on pension costs for public workers, a report released this week states.

State and local government pension benefits accounted for 3.7 percent of all states’ budgets in 2011, according to an issue brief published by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. Ohio came in below that rate, with 3.55 percent of spending in 2011 directed toward pensions.

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