Pension redesign having its intended effect

Occasionally we see misinformation about public pension systems in general, and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in particular. When that occurs, we believe we must set the record straight.

Most recently, OPERS and the other Ohio public pension systems were admonished for not attaining progress fast enough after achieving pension redesign in 2012.

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Review your info, preferences in online account

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System recently sent notices to some of our active and inactive members who have not updated their beneficiaries in five or more years.

This is a good reminder for all OPERS members to update all of their individual information if there have been any recent changes.

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Under-65 health care plan approved for 2016

Participants in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s health care plan for retirees under 65 will face some increased costs in 2016 as the system adjusts to pending federal rule changes.

Medical-plan deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and copays will rise, as will deductibles for and the cost of many pharmaceutical products, although the out-of-pocket maximum for drugs will decline for the nearly 50,000 OPERS retirees in the plan.

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List of Connector insurers taking shape

Beginning in January Ohio Public Employees Retirement System retirees 65 and over may access health care coverage through the OPERS Medicare Connector administered by OneExchange.

Several of our retirees have asked us what types of coverage will be available or, more specifically, which insurance carriers the Connector will make available to them. They’ve also asked us whether OPERS will assist OneExchange in offering specific choices.

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Health care video addresses re-employed retirees

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

In the June video, Steger addresses member questions related to recent OPERS decisions affecting health care for re-employed retirees.

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

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Unfunded pension liabilities not taxpayers’ burden

Ohioans do not “owe” debts to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System to pay for the future funding of pensions.

We saw a reference to the contrary in the promotion of a newly published book on the generational effects of public policy. When we encounter such extreme perspectives on pensions and pension funding, we feel the necessity to respond.

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New website feature describes mailings

Members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System receive important items in the mail from us. We’ve recently introduced a page to our website that explains the reasons for some of this correspondence.

The “Got mail? Get answers” section of the OPERS website is an overview of our most common benefit-related mailings. It lets you know what you received, why you received it and what you need to do about it, if action is required.

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OPERS to make extra deposit in Connector HRAs

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System will reimburse qualified medical expenses incurred through the OPERS Medicare Connector beginning in January. In order to make the transition flow more smoothly, OPERS will furnish enrolled retirees with an additional $300 deposit to these accounts once annually for the next three years.

The additional deposit means that retired OPERS members participating in the Connector will have more money in their accounts to cover out-of-pocket expenses that they’ll incur as they transition to their new health care plans and as new reimbursement arrangements are established.

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Cost of switching to DC plans can be high

Switching from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan can be a costly proposition for a retirement system, a study indicates.

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems stated last month that defined contribution pension plans are at least 20 percent less efficient in delivering benefits. In its research paper entitled, “What is the Cost of Transitioning from a DB Plan to a DC Plan,” NCPERS lists a myriad of factors that states and plan sponsors need to consider when considering such a change.

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Know guaranteed issue rules when choosing a plan

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is turning to the OPERS Medicare Connector beginning in January to provide health care coverage for eligible members 65 and older. One of the questions we see often is about “guaranteed issue” – can you be denied coverage at any time?

Guaranteed issue is a policy offered to eligible applicants without regard to health status. When we shut down our over-65 group plan and switch to the Connector, guaranteed issue is in place so that no members can be denied coverage, as long as they enroll during the open enrollment period from October through December this year.

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