OPERS details potential changes to health care

In recent months the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees has been discussing potential changes to the health care coverage that we have offered retired members since 1974. The Board regularly reviews the health care program and makes adjustments when necessary.

While OPERS Board members have not settled upon any final health care changes, they have indicated preferences in many areas. Before the Board takes final action, OPERS staff will make presentations around the state and conduct a survey to gather feedback from members and other stakeholders. We will publish definitive dates, times and locations when the dates are set, and we encourage members to attend.

A final decision by the Board will be made this fall, with implementation beginning next year and final implementation in several years.

Although nothing specifically has been decided, the new health care plan may:

  • Initiate a minimum age between 55-65 for members to become eligible for health care coverage.
  • Increase minimum years of service for health care eligibility from the current 10 years to 15 or more years.
  • Require more out-of-pocket costs for covered services.
  • Increase premium costs.
  • Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.
  • Base premiums on age and years of service.
  • Reduce or eliminate the Medicare B reimbursement.
  • Introduce a new, personalized plan model for recipients with Medicare that will allow them more choices and greater affordability.
  • Reduce the number of plans for non-Medicare participants.
  • Transition some changes over time.

Why are we contemplating these major changes to our health care coverage?

The reasons include the continual rising costs of health care, the fact that life expectancies continue to grow, the doubling of the number of retirees over time because of the retirement of the baby boomers, and the lack of pension legislation passing.

One message is clear: OPERS cannot continue to maintain the same level of health care coverage to retirees and dependents over the coming years without rapidly exhausting all the money in the health care fund.

And without the passage of pending pension legislation that includes the Board’s proposed changes, the situation is even worse.

If pension legislation does not pass in 2012, OPERS will need to reduce the health care program by more than two-thirds, reducing annual expenditures from the current $1.5 billion to less than $500 million. This will result in drastic cuts to the health care program for current and future retirees.

OPERS currently directs a percentage of the employer contribution into the health care fund. In the absence of pension legislation, OPERS no longer will be able to set aside this money. Even with investment income, we project the value of the fund to decline to zero by 2020. By law, all of the employee contributions are directed toward pension benefits, not health care.

Even if legislation passes in 2012, the Board is planning to set our long-term health care funding rate at only 4 percent annually. Four percent is about half of what our current health care plan costs. We cannot support our current coverage levels at the 4 percent funding level.

However, the 4 percent funding level will allow us to retain our pension fund strength and still provide a meaningful health care coverage option for career employees. But it will not eliminate the need for us to make significant changes to health care.

Maintaining the status quo is not an option. As we stated in a blog last month, the challenges we face are too far-reaching to consider simply retaining the current plan.

We hope to soon provide details on our statewide informational sessions and our member survey. The feedback we receive from these meetings, and the survey results, will be shared with OPERS Board members so they can finalize the health care changes.

We understand that planning for retirement takes careful preparation, and one key component is health care. We encourage you to stay engaged with the process by attending a health care presentation, reading OPERS correspondence, and regularly checking the OPERS website for up-to-date information.

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184 Responses to OPERS details potential changes to health care

  1. Edythe E Stinson says:

    Please, notify me of meeting dates in Cincinnati, OH.

  2. john spencer says:

    the following changes are not exseptable at all !!!! and would put us far worse off then if we had worked for ss, this is a sad day for all of us that put your life work into serveing the state of oh and would make it hard for anyone to stay with them

    ■Require more out-of-pocket costs for covered services.
    ■Increase premium costs.
    ■Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.
    these are just worng

    • Dave says:

      This is why we need to have health care for everyone in this country. We need
      everyone to pay something. Its going to get a lot worse if health care is overturned
      by those conservative judges on the Supreme Court. We should all let those judges
      know that they are voting against the seniors and middle class. This country never
      runs out of money to start endless wars at OUR expense.

      • Tammy says:

        I do not like the changes either, but I am TIRED of paying for people on the Obama plan, healthcare or otherwise. What you are saying sounds good in theory but getting EVERYONE to pay something will never happen. Our Government has made just about everyone dependent on the system, I cannot ever remember a time when I was younger that I recieved a free cell phone, free housing, foodstamps, etc. Maybe the Government should get off their butts and do something about the jobs situation so everyone can work and feel like they are actually contributing. I dont know how you expect everyone to pay something if they have no job. I seriously hope this Obamacare plan is overturned. I agree we do need something BUT this is not it.

        • Lee Adams says:

          Please leave your politics at home. This has nothing to do with so called ‘Obamacare’. The largest part of that program hasn’t even been implemented. Make some productive comments. We are ALL about to take a big hit because from OPERS not because of anything the Federal government has done. Wake up!

      • John Laws says:

        When will the American people realize that it was and is big government entitlement programs that got us into this mess. We do not need big government health care. We do need to make changes in everything from Social Security/Medicare to Public Employee Pensions/Health Care. But we need to protect those already retired, and implement changes for future retirees who will have a better cahnce of making the neccesary cahnges to protect themselves.

  3. Kenneth says:

    First you force me to sign up for Medicare to save YOU money and now you want take away any coverage that is left. At a time in my life when I am most likely to need medical coverage it is being taken away from me. I and others in my situation feel we are being abandoned by our retirement system. The board and management of OPERS have shown that they are completely insensitive to the needs of their members and base their decisions on their own feeling of power and not what is best for the members of OPERS.

  4. Tom Severns says:

    This time you did provide some details that were lacking in the previous commentary – at least enough to scare the pants off current and future retirees! If the purpose was to motivate folks to contact their state legislators and tell them to get off their tails and enact pension reform legislation, I think you’ve succeeded. But it’s pretty clear nothing will be done until the results of the independent actuarial study have been evaluated.

  5. Diana markley says:

    I think “Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65″ is utterly ridiculous, especially since i have worked 36 years and am the person that provides health insurance for my husband through my employer.

  6. julie says:

    Will people currently retired also have to go with these rules or will they skate by and not be effected like all the other changes? Those of us retiring this year seem to be taking the brunt of all the changes without any time to adjust, not fair after we paid into this system for 29+ years.

    • Julie, i worked 35 years under Opers. I worked five extra years so my wife could have health care. I have saved Opers over three hundred thousand dollars in pension payments and health care for me. And now Opers wants to eliminate spouse premiums. I will never get that money back. You seem to think us retirees are skating by. Who do you think your kidding? I know a lot of retirees that retired before 2008 and got hit with $800 monthly health care premiums for there spouse. I think most of the members complaining about us retirees are members that started too late in Opers or are never going to hit the thirty year mark.

    • Teri says:

      Julie, I didn’t choose to retire!!! I was pushed out at 51 and no “BUY OUT”. I also had to pay the out of pocket for my husbands insurance. Blood, sweat, tears and 32 years. Let the young chickie who got my job pay more!!!! I really wanted to work longer.

      • LINDA says:

        the same happened to me. the county cutting back and lose of wages, I was basically forced out. with 32 years and my husbands job closed its doors. never probably will we find jobs with adequet medical insurance. most employers only want part time employees so they have no axcess to medical insurance

  7. Marlene says:

    Are these proposed changes to health care benefits include people who have already retired. I have noticed that our copays and drug costs have increased several times . Just how much more are they going up? I am soon turning 65 and will be available for Medicare and would like to know if there are going to be any changes in my OPERS benefit once my medicare begins. Also please send me info regarding prescription charges from OPERS when I begin Medicare.

    • Linda Conrad says:

      I just last month, received a letter from OPERS and I am 74. They stated that they would only be reimbursing me $96.00 of my medicare insurance in 2013.

  8. Janice says:

    These changes will affect people that are the least able to make changes or deal with the increased cost. Current retiree benefits should be grandfathered and changes should be made on a tiered basis based on age and years of service…not across the board! Older individuals don’t have the years that will be needed to save appropriately for this additional decrease in benefits. Baby boomers retiring should not have come as a surprise to anyone and shouldn’t even be an issue!

    • Richard says:

      I agree! I think they should start making changes on new employees who have the time to save or put into the system to cover increases. Us retirees can’t go back to work to make up the increased costs that are going to hit us!

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Janice,

      The board has not yet finalized its transition plans or grandfathering. There may be some, but unlike times in the past, this time retirees will also experience greater health care costs.

      –Ohio PERS

      • chris says:

        leave current retirees and their spouses alone.
        Quit moving the goalposts.These changes will ruin the lives of thousands of retirees if enacted.

        • Karen says:

          I am planning on retiring at the end of this year 2012 after 30 years of service, I will only be 48 when I retire and am counting on the Health insurance for myself after I retire, hoping there will be grandfather clause to cover me before I turn 55. Very disappointing.

        • Barb says:

          Thank you, Chris. I absolutely agree. One year I hear that changes won’t affect those already retired or within 5 years of retiring and the next breath it’s being changed to include everyone. At this rate I’ll need a part-time job just to make ends meet.

  9. My husband is on my OPERS health plan and we are both 67 years old and retired. If you take away health care for him, where is he supposed to go for his health care? He has had a heart attack and with this pre-existing health condition, we fear that if he does obtain health insurace elsewhere, the premiums would be above our income means. We implore the board to come up with a solution that will not only affect us but so many other OPERS retirees and their spouses who rely so heavily on their health coverage. Please help us!!!!!

    • Lee Adams says:

      He goes to Medicare. And,one of the great aspects about so called ‘Obamacare’ is that people will not be able to be excluded due to pre-existing conditions. So all of you who are drinking the conservative kool aid about how bad ‘Obamacare’ would be better wake up.

  10. Louise Rollins says:

    Not sure what all this means for me……

  11. Barb says:

    Coverage for spouses age 55 and above, and on medicare should be able to continue to be insured. This would not place such a hugh burden on OPERS medical, yet offer peace of mind for those not able to find employment. I agree with increasing costs of premiums and out of pocket expenses, but please be mindful of the impact on retirees. Possibly a sliding scale of premiums based on amount of retirement income. Also keep the spouse/retiree option versus single and family.

  12. Matthew says:

    Seems OPERS will sacrifice its members to serve the public debate over whether state government employees are living high on the hog. Each of these proposals are draconian and breaks the promise we relied on to make our retirement decisions.
    What gives you the right to change the rules based on some projected fear?.
    How can you leave your disabled retirees in such a lurch?

  13. William says:

    Sounds like all current retirees are going to be receiving almost $100.00 less each month when this in implemented. With this cut and the cuts that the Feds are considering, seems like the older retirees are about to get screwed.

  14. Diane Boyer says:

    “Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.”

    My husband is not 65, but has Medicare because of disability Social Security. I hope we can have the opportunity to insure him thru PERS, that is, if we can afford it. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. Now we will have to worry all year & drive to meetings using $4.00 a gallon gas to get the “real story”. Had email from my State representative advising me that the actuarial study will not be done until August & nothing will happen in the legislature until after that date. I am writing letters to my representative & senator outlining how important passage of this legislation is in 2012 & would urge everyone to do the same. We have to try to do something to correct this situation we have been put in because of the lack of action by the lawmakers. They should be ashamed to put so many people in harms way due to their inaction. Guess you can tell I am not happy with the legislature nor PERS. The distribution of information is still lacking. I need to have some idea of what the costs will be & I’m sure everyone else would like to know, also.

  15. Jane says:

    Do not take away coverage for spouses, many who have retired did not plan for that and it will catch many off guard and could mean financial ruin for them, have that grandfathered in over a period of time, or base it on years of service, this is causing many retired people alot of stress making this statement, How did this get so out of hand for these drastic changes to be put on the table.

  16. Matt says:

    ‘the doubling of the number of retirees over time because of the retirement of the baby boomers’…..are you serious????? Who is running the show there??? Somebody should have seen this coming 50 or 60 years ago!!!!!!

    • Shelley says:

      No kidding! Baby boomers retiring are no big surprise!

      • Marina says:

        OPERS: Our proposal is to link cost of linvig adjustments for future retirees to the Consumer Price Index, a measurement based on a market basket of goods and services. The maximum increase would be 3 percent. Over the past three decades, the CPI has averaged 3.17 percent per year. Our projection for the next 30 years is that the CPI will average 2.8 percent annually. -Your projections may be wrong. My father had a CPI with his retirement and it took years before he got a decent COLA adjustment. Keep the 3% COLA the way it is and make it compounding.

    • linda says:

      if you blaming it on baby boomers, they paid into opers too so opers should have more money

  17. LB says:

    ONCE AGAIN PEOPLE IN MY AGE BRACKET ARE GETTING SCREWED!! HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT AS LONG AS YOU HAVE 30 OR (UNDER THE PROPOSED CHANGES, 32) YEARS OF SERVICE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RETIRE, WHEN YOU PROPOSE TO SET A MINIMUM AGE OF 55 TO RECEIVE HEALTH CARE BENEFITS?! YOU’RE TALKING WITH A DOUBLE TONGUE! I WILL BE “ELIGIBLE” TO RETIRE BEFORE I AM 55. UNDER THIS NEW PROPOSAL, I CANNOT RETIRE BECAUSE I WILL NOT RECEIVE HEALTH CARE BENEFITS! YOU PEOPLE ARE LIARS!!

  18. Ann says:

    Wow! Those of us who are currently retired get an increase of 2% on our BASE retirement each year. Not enough to keep up with gas price increase and increases in co-pays and deductibles let alone be called a COLA. And now we face even bigger medical cost increases with no way to offset them or plan for them. Guess we’ll be choosing between medicine and food pretty soon.

    • Lee Adams says:

      Thought it was 3%. Thats what I get. Gotta remember folks,as long as taxpayers are footing a large portion of the bill there will need to be some reasonable give and take. Also remember its a portion of the ‘employer’ contribution that is used for our health care benefits if I am not mistaken. Employee contribs are not used. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  19. linda schuetz says:

    Perhaps we should be contacting the legislators and telling them we have been patient , but, that is at an end,. We want pension reform, and we expect them to handle this now. once we enter another election cycle we will be yet again delayed. This is our lives they are messing with and I for one am fed up.

  20. Nancy Steinke says:

    These changes should not apply to current retirees. I thought you all were better at managing our money, obviously not.

  21. Elaine says:

    I was eligible to retire last year with 30 years of service but you changed the health care for spouses to age 55. So we thought OK wait until he is 55 which is 4 more years. Now you are changing it so I have to be at least 55 for the health care and then eliminate health care for my spouse. This is totally wrong. I do not agree with this at all.

  22. Dan Richards says:

    To make changes that effect already retired or soon to be retired employees may be within your legal rights but is still criminal in nature. I have 34 years service in and it is way too late for me to Re-plan or adjust my retirement plans. While OPERS is not legally or contractually bound it certainly holds a moral responsibility to live up to what we members have spent our entire careers planning on. It almost seems as if it would be something that could be challenged with a class action suite.

    • ROBERT says:

      COUNT ME IN THAT LAWSUIT !!! AND I’LL BE LOOKING INTO RUNNING FOR THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES , OR ANY BOARD THAT WILL CHANGE THIS ” LETS JAM’EM MENTALITY ” .. CHANGE FOR THE BETTER IS FANTASTIC IN CONCEPT , BUT IN REALITY , WE CANT LOOK TO THE PAST TO MAKE UP FOR THE MIS FORTUNE !!!

    • Larry says:

      Just in time to retire, and you start pulling this. Could you please explain why we have been putting money into this program for all these years, now it is time to retire and have the benefits we have been paying for. Have you checked the price of medical for a spouse not yet 55? In order to pay for the Cola plan, you would have nothing left to live. Not to mention, if you would have to unfortunately go into a nursing home, Goodbye to what is left. What a wonderful plan. Work all your life to find out you are really going to end up with nothing left for your family or yourself. Just lay down and die, and shut up about it.

    • linda says:

      you are absolutly right. I worked my entire life for opers retirement and feel the same as you.

  23. Paul says:

    I agree with many who have voiced a real concern for the dropping of spouses from health care coverage. It has happened to us two years now (she’s under 55). We barely could afford the premiums to keep her on in the first year and cannot afford them this year. She is now without health care coverage. Before I retired I was not made aware of the chance of spouses being dropped from coverage. Now I’m being told that the health care coverage isn’t even something required for OPERS to provide “by law” which makes me feel my coverage may go away. OPERS needs to do a much better job of educating members of the retirement benefits they can plan on for retirement. I feel betrayed and very worried for the future…

  24. Carolyn says:

    At 54 years old, still working, with 35 1/2 years paid into PERS, now paying 10% of my income, I am not happy with the continued theft of my retirement. You continue to steal what has been promised to me for years. Shame on all of you!

  25. Judy says:

    I think it’s pretty easy to understand the State will not be taking IN enough money to continue paying OUT the current and future projected costs of healthcare for Ohioans. Many of us will be left with the same option as John Doe that’s worked for 40 years and is getting by on Medicare ONLY. As a retired public employee, my current health benefits are tremendously better than those of retirees who have worked for small business or large corporations for years and who, when they retire, end up with medicare as their only source of healthcare. Their monthly premium is not refunded to them, as is ours, and many pay additional monthly amounts for additional coverage through AARP insurance, etc. My cost of prescriptions is ridiculously low compared to what many other people pay. I think it’s coming to the point where we ALL have to share in the pain. But be happy … don’t worry! The healthcare plan will go into effect as a “universal” plan. Every American will have FREE healthcare! So if you think you’ve got it bad under OPERS, just wait until you get the FREE healthcare plan! Ultimately, the old people will suffer first, followed by the disabled and chronically ill who become “to expensive” for the system to afford. We’re coming to the end of the greatness of America! God help our children.

  26. JB says:

    I am retired after 34+ years of service. My spouse is not yet 65. She currently recieves an allowance.
    Even if the spouse over 55 is not given an allowance access should be provided to buy into the group healthcare plan. I think that throwing our spouses into the private individual policy market where they may not even be able to buy insurance may be enough to wreck not just us, but a lot of us.

    • John McCarthy says:

      I agree I think the current retirees and their spouses should be grandfathered into the current plan. It is too late now for us to adjust. I am 71 and my wife 61 what can we do? The Opers board should think long an hard before making these changes

  27. Donna says:

    Can someone explain this?
    ■Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.
    What does provide access but not allowance mean?

  28. Bob says:

    My wife will not be covered under the proposed plan,but our youngest child will be covered up to the age of 26 . This does not make sense.

    • F Alexander says:

      I agree. I vowed to be with my SPOUSE forever–not my kid! They have to make thier own way. Very few young adults are even concerned about health care right now. My wife and I are.

  29. Linda says:

    I have spent my whole life losing out because of being a baby boomer. Schools were too crowded, not enough jobs to go around, and now messing with retirement and insurance. When were the people in charge going to realize we are here? I had to retire 1 year early due to health issues that PERS says are not disabling but my employer decided they were and made it difficult for me to stay. I could have fought the fight but not feeling well makes it not worth it. I already have to pay for my insurance because of leaving a year early – along with taking a smaller retierement check. Now it sounds like my husband will have to pick up the medicare $$’s he is being reimbursed and no COLA covers that kind of money along with all the other high prices due to the cost of gasoline. Our government as usual is sitting on its behind and needs to move forward and do something. Baby boomers did not just appear we have been around since 1946!!!

    • Steff says:

      And I’ve spent my entire life losing out by being the child of a baby boomer. Wherein we find that OPERS is looking at making sure we work far harder and longer than the generation that came before us — coincidentally, the same generation that retires, gets their pensions, and often then comes back to the same job, at the same salary, and takes positions away from young folks who really need a decent job. Double-dipping. It’s rampant. But that’s not going to be addressed, is it?

      It’s really sad that my generation and the one behind me makes exponentially less, despite being better educated, while we’re expected to work really really hard so that the relatively good life some of you fine folks say we need to protect for current and almost-retirees is preserved, when we will get no such things ourselves.

      I feel for you folks. I really do. The loss of spousal coverage is downright wrong, and the way it’s being handled isn’t something I agree with. But OPERS, the people in charge, the current people with a high number of years of service… you made your own beds.

      Everyone talks about how they paid in. Great! I’m glad for you. But given the actual numbers, your generation makes considerably more, and your accumulation of wealth far outpaces the normal income-age-disparity these days. Whereas for my generation and those behind me, ours has not risen in pace, but has actually fallen. The Boomers, their lack of savings, their eternal (and misplaced) optimism in our economy is what has lead to this, and to the desperation by OPERS.

      I might feel for you, but I can’t pretend for even a moment that I’ve got your backs.

      Because I already know none of you have mine.

      • Lee Adams says:

        Well Steff: Guess what, us ‘baby boomers’ as you call us started out just like you. Maybe worse off. We lived through the other worst recent economic downturn since the Depression. That happened in the 1980′s. Wasn’t quite as bad as this but it was no fun to get notices in the mail telling you your bank where you had your IRA had just folded.
        If you read your history,you will see that my generation had to fight for what we got. If you worked in state government in the years before we got representation,you might not want to work in state government. No you have what you have because other people fought to improve working conditions.
        I went a lot of years with no raises,paying higher premiums,co-pays etc.
        Yep there needs to be SOME revisions. But,before you start blaming the people who made what you get now possible look around.
        If you think that this current situation isn’t another way to demean government employees you need to wake up. The ultra-conservative regime is telling you on the on hand it wants to cut taxes. BUT,on the other hand they say the state has no money to spend on necessities. Necessities like schools,infrasturcture,government services etc. etc. Get it? Its like the governor telling you you have to cut off your arm so you don’t cut your finger again!
        Ya know what I would suggest? Be willing to pay more now,like we did,in order to have some certainty of what you get in the future.

  30. Don says:

    For almost 10 years I have signed up for health care only to get funds put in the health savings account and to buy dental insurance. My son and I are fully insured under my wife’s employer. Unfortunately, the way the program is set up, I have to sign up for health insurance I do not want or need to get the the two things that I am interested in. More flexibility might result in substantial savings to OPERS.

  31. Ed Bell says:

    One of the most valuable advantages of our health insurance is its ability to negotiate discounts from health care providers. Usually doctors and hospitals are required to accept about 25 percent of what they bill, when the services are covered by insurance. Clearly what is best for subscribers is a broad range of eligible services with higher co pays. I would rather pay 25 percent of 3 services than 100 percent of one service, because it was not covered. So even if my copay were 90 percent I would be better off with more covered services. Annual physicals and basic testing are cost effective, because problems that are caught earlier are less expensive to fix. Many older people take more drugs and have more procedures than are good for them. More case management and more pre-certification can save money. Health care insurance is our only defense against a monopoly, for-profit health care system.

    • Bernie says:

      I agree with Ed’s comments regarding the ability to be in a group plan, regardless of the premium paid by the individual. I recently had a series of blood tests that my employer group plan rate was approximately 10% of the retail rate. If I were to retire and need my own health insurance and had a 20% co-pay it would actually cost me more than the negotiated group rate.

      I’m curious why the decision is to drop the option for coverage, as opposed to allowing someone to be in the plan and pay 100% of the premium. For example, in STRS (at least recently, I haven’t follow to see if they are proposing changes), retirees with less than 15 years and spouses have the option of being in the plan by paying 100% of the premium. If that’s the true cost, it would seem that PERS proposal to drop the option of coverage doesn’t save any money if retiree/spouse without the age/years were to pay 100% of the premium. What am I missing here?

      • Judy says:

        What are you missing? If your spouse gets seriously ill, the system pays 80% of his/her treatment which can include surgery, hospitalization, chemo, etc. Those are the costs PERS eliminates by removing spouse eligibility.

        • Ed Bell says:

          The system pays 80% of the negotiated fee, not what the health care provider charges. The full premium is the total cost of all of the members health care costs plus a management fee for the insurance provider (Medical Mutual etc.) divided by the number of members. When a health care member pays the full premium they are paying their share of all of the costs and OPERS breaks even. The insured benefits from the negotiated fee discount and sharing their costs with a large group.

          The risk of a full premium option is that sicker people are more likely to pay the premium and healthy people are more likely to opt out. This risk is reduced in the medicare population since they all have some insurance and Medicare Part D subsidizes their drug coverage.

  32. Jane says:

    Thanks for this important information. Hopefully, during the review OPERS will be able to grandfather in current retirees, make necessary changes in the health care option only for future retirees and be able to keep health care (in whatever form that takes) for both current and future retirees.

    • 30 and out says:

      I took retirement a year ago June with 30 years at age 55. My husband will be 60 soon and plans to retire no later than 62. I hope the board will either grandfather or use a tier systems for those of us who took 30 and out. Had the part time hours credit been looked at? It seems if employees with less than 40 hours per week would receive pro rated credit instead of 28 hours per week being “full time” year service, this may not be an issue. Just a thought!!!

  33. JCStables says:

    This is totally unacceptable for retirees. Baby Boomers didn’t just appear. You have had years and years to plan for this and so I can only conclude that you paying big bucks for inferior advice.

  34. Todd says:

    Could OPERS explain if any of these proposed changes are a result of the GASB proposals discussed in the 12-1-2011 blog post? and how (include as many details as possible) the aforementioned GASB proposals translate to each needed change.

    The adverse effect on group B is so extreme that I must ask about the possibility of Group B members having the option of a one time opportunity to move acumalated funds into an individually controlled IRA/401K/etc and then becoming a group C member( the same as a new hire). The current proposals don’t give Group B members any reason to trust OPERS. Group B is probably better off taking individual control of our accumalated funds and then moving in with group C. However, the more options and the more information OPERS provides the better we can all accept the bad news.

    The effects of these proposed plan revisions will result in more employees staying for a lot longer than 30 years. This is going to make a reduction in the size of government a lot more difficult and our current legislature is very interested in right sizing our state government. For OPERS to propose changes that conflict with the goals of the legislature and then ask the legislature to approve the proposed changes quickly appears to be a longshot. ( I am not taking sides here, but rather trying to be objective and figure out what the hell is really going on)

    I would really appreciate a response from OPERS to the blog post. thanks

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Todd,

      The proposed changes to our health care coverage have nothing to do with the GASB proposals.

      –Ohio PERS

  35. 33Years says:

    And it all could have been avoided 3 years ago…… *sigh*

  36. Hal Merz says:

    My spouse is an OPERS retiree and I am on SERS retirement, both pre-Medicare. She has had the Enhanced level on the OPERS health plan. At present, I don’t think the higher premium option is providing her much additional services, for a plan level that is much more expensive than the Intermediate or Basic levels.

    There also has been a troubling issue with the prescription services. Express Scripts evidently has been given the authority to determine what drugs are Formulary, and what are not. One of her prescriptions has just within the last couple months had a generic produced, and IMMEDIATELY Express Scripts has decided that the brand-name item is Non-Formulary in coverage. In the past she had a serious reaction to a supposedly generic equivalent for a med in the same category. Now, our physician has very limited info on this new generic to help us decide whether to go with it or not. There does not seem to be any provision for a transitional situation regarding the payment levels. As a result, some retireess may have bad reactions to “generic” meds, and then our health plan will end up paying for ER visits and possibly hospitalizations –not exactly cost effective health care!

    And then, as we were reading the latest OPERS health care booklet, we noticed other things that make no sense and could increase costs. Did you know that if you have hernias on both sides of your body, the plan will not pay for both to be corrected at the same time? What this will cause is 2 separate surgeries with greatly increased total costs for the plan and the patient!

    • Steve says:

      Bernie, completely agree with you. At least allow spousal coverage at 100% premium cost. If they eliminate spouse coverage it looks like the entire insurance pool will shrink, and the cost of premiums come negotiating time with less members covered will cost more for the remaining retirees. I don’t know the insurance business, but I guess the Board thinks they save more by complete elimination and giving us no choice to pay spousal premiums.

    • Adelle says:

      I understand your frustration with Express Scripts. Not only do they think they know better than our doctors about our treatment, they have determined what pharmacy we can use. I had to switch from Walgreens to Rite Aid. As for generic vs brand? What do you do if there is no generic equivalent? You have pay the higher co-pay for the script,

      The difference is troubling. At Rite Aid I’ve had nothing but trouble. They have lost my prescriptions, Don’t know how to spell my name. Yesterday I went to pick up a prescription that I dropped of on Wednesday. They told me that they didn’t have the medication that I needed. I mean seriously? They didn’t have the medication over 24 hours later? Then after they looked around they magically found the medication and filled the script. What should have been a 5 minute transaction turned into a 1/2 hour fiasco.

      As for the hernia operation? I hadn’t heard of that. It is ridiculous! Typical way to save the plan money. I guess if you have a hernia and they find cancer, they have to do another surgery to remove the tumor?

      I can see in the future the plan to euthanize old people who cost too much to take care of.

  37. Cynthia Porter says:

    It’s beginning to become obvious as I just recently read that most baby boomers fear working until the day they die. I used to look forward to retirement now I don’t trust anything anymore. I’ve already changed my working years from 30 years to 35 years. After reading the changes coming I guess my employer will have to put up with an old timer with 60 years. No wonder there’s such a job shortage we’re all forced to keep working. How do you begin to plan for retirement when odds are in the end it’s taken away.

  38. Virgil Arrington says:

    I seriously think implementing changes over time is essential. Those of us who are currently retired made our retirement decisions based on the benefits being offered at the time of our decision. While we know things can change, it seems most equitable that changes be made in such a fashion that people can make effective retirement decisions without having the anxiety of having the rug pulled out from under them once the decision has been made.

  39. Michael Roberts says:

    A lot of changes, but foremost is that the person working for the pension and health should be covered first no matter what. Second would be spouses. As you know, some states have tried to make changes to their pension systems and have been stopped by lawsuits. So maybe we need legal advise outside the PERS system and State Government. Also at one time I heard of a plan to combine all the health insurance from SERS the rest under one program, not pension benefits, just the health insurance.

    • Roza Sh. says:

      What does it mean exactly?

      I do not understand “provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.

      ■Eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access, but no allowance, for spouses over age 65.

      • Michael Pramik says:

        Roza,

        OPERS provides certain allowances for discounted premiums on health care coverage. Providing access, but no allowance, would mean that the covered person can be on the plan but would pay the entire premium.

        –Ohio PERS

  40. Mike says:

    Other Public Employees in other State have challenged the changes to different aspects of public retirement, we may need outside legal council. A legal opinion outside PERS and State of Ohio influence. It could not hurt to start calling the other States unions or other representation and find out how they mounted a legal challenge.

  41. Spouse under 60 says:

    PLEASE allow spouses access to a health care plan. I understand the need to cut costs, if OPERS cannot afford to pay for our coverage then at least allow us to pay for it ourselves under the group plan. Enrollment in a plan allows us the discounted negotiated rate instead of the retail rate that is beyond reasonable.

    Without the OPERS coverage I’d have to find an individual plan that would accept me with a few pre-existing health issues.

    Also, consider offering us access to a lower cost High Deductible Health Plan ($5000-$10,000 deductible) for retirees or spouses that will allow us to have a Health Savings Account.

    • Ed Bell says:

      High deductibles are not the solution that we want. We would be better off with high co-pays and a stop loss. That we would only pay co-pays on the much lower, negotiated rate that the insurance company has with the provider.

  42. Peter J. Tolson says:

    I wonder how much of the shortfall in our health care program is due to losses from risky investments such as Enron and, more recently, collateralized debt obligations. I’ll bet we won’t see that posted in PERSpectives.

  43. OPERS Member says:

    The PERS Board is right (in a previous blog) – their committment should be to the long-term, career employee. Everything else (including supplements for spousal coverage) is just icing on the cake.

    Many of us have stayed with limited career choices, no performance incentives (as in private industry), and no accross the board pay increases for many years because we are vested in PERS – and starting over in Social Security is not a viable option at a certain stage in one’s career. I also hope that there is a grandfathering clause for health insurance for single life health insurance to benefit the employee who is within 1 -2 years of retirement. This is only fair.

    Spouses and dependents should be covered, but at no cost to PERS. And yes, retirees should share the cost. Many of those retirees on PERS pay less for health insurance (with better coverage) than those of us working in government today. Fair is fair.

    We need to urge the Board to make fair changes that are fair to long-term career employees.

    • Mary A Wright says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. I retired at the age pf 59 with 40 years of service Decmber 31, 2011. I have a undergraduate degree and would have worked longer. The type of work I did paid much more in the private industry. My salary was at least 45-47% less. I chose to remain in public service.. In retirement,I my prescription drugs and medical copays are staggering. I chose the highest level of participation on all llevels. I am not eligible for medicare for several years. Should we be sanctioned or punished because we chose government. I was grateful for the job, did my job, and was loyal. There were many years we did not get raises but I hung in there and thanked God for what was provided.

      • Ed Bell says:

        The insurance provider offers case management services for high cost users such as yourself. Maybe you could get better health care service with less cost.

  44. Arnold Frye says:

    OPERS’ proposal to eliminate health care coverage for spouses under 65 is horrible! I feel betrayed by OPERS board members, and I strongly believe that their draconic proposals, which will hurt both OPERS retirees and their spouses, is clear-cut proof why they should be replaced as soon as possible!!!

  45. Wayne says:

    I find the following proposals unacceptable for those who have already activated thier retirement. (1) More out of pocket cost. (2) increased premiums. (3) No allowance for spouses over 65. (4) The elimination of medicare premium re-imbursement. Current retirees must be grandfathered in and these and other proposals must be phased in.

  46. Mary says:

    Please notify me of any upcoming meetings in the Cincinnati area. Has OPERS given consideratin to adjusting the amount of insurance coverage or eliminating it for spouses who can be covered by other retirement plans?

  47. Dean says:

    Working 15 years, in some cases part time, is a career? The standard for insurance should be 30 years in the standard division and 25 years in the public safety division with a substantial earnings requirement. Awarding health care for 15 years of service with earnings as little as $250 a month is nuts.

  48. tom says:

    Have to ask. Did the Columbus Dispatch and its puppet Kasich come up with these proposals. Both have constantly expressed their hatred of public employees and their (our) retirement plans. This health care revision will sure make them happy. And let’s be real here, this whole situation has been caused by inaction by our legislature, probably by design. I predict the loss of spousal coverage will cut retirements by 50% at least. I recall just a few short years ago ten years of employment was all that was needed to be vested with health care.

    I think the legislature needs to step up to the plate with additional support to correct the situation they created. Any bets on that?

    • Bill says:

      These proposals were started during the Strickland Administration. But he chose to kick the can down the road.

  49. Sharon M says:

    Please explain what “eliminate coverage for spouses under age 65, and provide access,but no allowance,for spouses over age 65. My husband is on my health plan and his medicines alone cost almost $400 per month- we thought when he retired and went on my insurance ,because he wouldn’t have coverage from his former employer, that we were doing the right thing. Now you decide to take this insurance away from our spouses- we can’t afford to pay for private plans and be able to afford his medicines. I worked 32 1/2 years for Montgomery County and had all the faith in that world that OPERS had our best interest, but now it looks as though we are being sold out.
    Please don’t do this to the current retirees who gave all their years of service. We can’t even get Social Security benefits because we gave all our working years to OPERS; all we have to live on is our pension. Don’t take our coverage from our spouses when we so desperately need it. I would be willing to give up the reimbursement we get for our Medicare premium in order to keep our spouses insured. Please consider this an alternative and let our spouses have the peace of mind of not being dropped from our plans.

  50. jeff says:

    well just take all the money left towards health care and close it out and divide among retirees
    i believe that would be a substantial amount and with the obama health care plan we will all probally qualify for health care

  51. JS says:

    I would like to see an actual proposal not a random list of possibles. Better yet, several different proposals to discuss that each meet the the funding available. I can’t see going to a meeting without having proposals to discuss.

  52. Marion Reddy - Retiree says:

    I have been working on and off my entire adult life, putting into Soc Security, then into OPERS. Both SS and OPERS want to cut what I get each month because of tough times. Who helps the retiree in tough times? No one wants to hire someone over 65, yet we are forced to retire and live on what we put into the system….then to have it cut. I agree with the above statement, start raising the younger working class to help pay for what they will need. Do not mess with what we have already paid into. We need all the that we paid into. The fact that SS takes away from me just because I have OPERS is terrible to start with, I paid in, thus I should collect, but they are cutting my SS next month because of OPERS and now you want to cut my OPERS…….this is terrible.

  53. c. anderson says:

    State employees that retired basically had a contract with the state, working so many years will entltle one to certain benefits. That is what one determines when they will retire. Retirees have earned these benefits and now they are being taken away??? Leave retirees alone – grandfather them in. Employees thinking about retiring will at least know what to expect and then decide when to go. Class action suit may be in the future. Retirees are not going to sit back and let this happen. They worked all these years under said rules. This is what they counted on upon retiring…….

  54. Jack says:

    I think that this proposal opened the door on the health care debate for current and future retirees. It would have been better to introduce these new “ideas” when the original legislation had been proposed. Of course it wasn’t introduced because of the majority of current and future retirees would oppose most of what is being proposed. I understand that health insurance is not guaranteed. However, to have your health insurance eliminated if you are between 50 or 55 or whatever age and you have worked 30 years is very unfair. At the very least increase premiums but allow retirees who worked 30 years access to the group health insurance.

    The Health Insurance industry believes that pre-existing conditions are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. MOST people over 50 have these conditions. I knew someone who was 55 had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was a PRE diabetic and she paid $600 a month for her individual health insurance plan. She never took medication for diabetes and six months later she lost weight, had excellent AC13 blood test scores and her “pre diabetic” label was eliminated from her health records. She still paid $600 a month.

    OPERS please do a better job of communicating to your members about all benefits. We do deserve that much!

  55. linda says:

    Mr. Bell is correct I had a weekend hospital stay, then released, They thought I had a heart attack, which after tests and a stay of two or three days turned out not to be true. I got a bill for $32,000. because no one at the insurance company was in, on weekends. After review because I had insurance the hospital amount was adjusted down to around $9,000. and I only paid several hundred. Also you may want to talk to people retired from the other retirement systems I was shocked at what they have been paying all along. OPERS has been telling us this was going to have to happen, so lets turn our attention to the legislators, in a civil way to get this done.

  56. cher says:

    This is a nightmare. All of these years we have put our faith in our Board to plan ahead to help make our lives decent when we retire. It is now apparent that no one on our Retirement Board bothered looking more than a couple of years into the future. If they had been proactive all of these years they would have made better choices and we would not be under such dire circumstances at this time.

  57. Anthony says:

    Career public employees hired prior to 1986 have not paid into Medicare and are dependent on OPERS only for health care. OPERS needs to keep this mind as the health care system is redesigned.

  58. Quality of Health Care says:

    The following statement was included in possible health care changes…Introduce a new, personalized plan model for recipients with Medicare that will allow them more choices and greater affordability. Not mentioned in this statement is “quality of health care.” If the emphasis is on affordability alone, the health care will be mediocre. OPERS’ members over the age of 65 need “quality health care.” Raise the premiums!

  59. Mike says:

    I believe the State paid our Medicare prior to 1986, because I had a break in service, started in 78 and then my department was eliminated in 96, was able to start State service again in 98 and was told because I had a break in service that I had to pay Medicare, if there was no break and I had switched Dept or something then they would still be paying my portion. So I had to pay the Medicare from 98 to I retired in 2012 because I lost my job due to no fault of mine as my Dept was eliminated. We need an opinion outside OPERS and State of Ohio on this.changes to health care. I have already e-mailed all my State representatives and suggest everyone do the same.

    • Thoms says:

      I’ve written to my state senator, representative and the ‘honorable’ Gov. Kasich on the lack of action on pension reform. They wrote back with the usual politick speak and really saying nothing. “I’ll keep your views in mind when this issue comes up; Sure.

      They know how I feel, but I probably just wasted 3 stamps.

  60. Deb says:

    I have read the blogs. Unreal . You all sound like spoiled brats. Let me remind you all, OHIO PERS is not required to provide healthcare. I feel pretty privledged to have it like we do. Do you know how many people that are out there that dont have it. My kids have to pay in the private sector and they are paying out some money!! 2. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT required the coverage of kids to age 26, believe me, I am sure those retirees are now paying a pretty price for those that still have kids. I would suggest that you people instead of bitching get on the band wagon and right the OPERS Board and that Retiree Board to get those changes passed as soon as possible so we can still have some healthcare.

    • Debra says:

      You are exactly right. OPERS does not have to provide healthcare to us. But in reality they do provide it. So since they are providing healthcare to us are you saying they are freely providing it. Don’t you realize that some of funds you paid into OPERS is how they are providing our healthcare?

      • Michael Pramik says:

        Debra,

        Actually, your last point is incorrect. By law, the money that members pay into OPERS goes only toward their retirement. Health care is funded from the employer contribution.

        –Ohio PERS

        • Tischer says:

          By law wouldn’t the employer be required to contribute to medicare as well as the employee? So when the OPERS board says they can eliminate funding for health care what happens to that contribution from employer? Does it reduce what OPERS will be receiving from the employer so that they can pay for medicare? That begs the question can OPERS legally fail to fund healthcare? This comment is directed at your April 20, 2012 comment to Debra.

          • Michael Pramik says:

            Employees hired after 1986 pay into Medicare, at 1.45 percent of their salary, and their employer matches that. That contribution pays for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage). OPERS provides equivalent coverage to Med A for employees hired before then. It is one of two things OPERS is required to provide. Very few people fall into this category, and no one with a hire date after 1986 does. OPERS is obligated to fund the pension benefit but not health care coverage. Should OPERS for any reason be unable to provide health care coverage, OPERS employees and their employers still are obligated by federal law to pay into Medicare. (The Medicare payment by employers is separate from the portion of their contribution that OPERS uses for health care coverage.)

            –Ohio PERS

    • Mr. C. Cleveland says:

      I think we all feel privileged to have enrolled in such a great retirement system…BUT..once enrolled I do not think members should be misled about future benefits. You sound as if you do not push for benefits possibly because your spouse is getting you coverage through their plan…or maybe you receive some type of assistance. Your kids are probably younger, healthier and get better insurance rates right from the start than the retirees do. The majority of persons now retired who were told that spouses are not included now is overwhelming. Perhaps the shoe would be on a different foot if PERS came back and told you your monthly benefits would be cut because your spouse is getting other compensation that covers you.
      When I got my job I looked at the benefits and although the pay wasn’t great, the retirement and job benefits were. I did a job at that time no one else my age wanted too. I think the spoiled brats you mention are the ones who say after thirty or more years of hard work and low pay..you shouldn’t be entitled to what you worked for. Now tell me and the others here different!

    • Dean says:

      Let’s wait to see what you say after they take away all your benefits and leave you paying all you retirement income for your own health insurance!

  61. Lonnie says:

    If I remember correctly, as little as 3-5 years ago OPERS was assuring us that our healthcare was totally solid for at least 17 years into the future. Now all at once that is gone? Explain please! Is this because of Obama Care or our illustrious Governor trying look tough on the budget? I was always under the impression that OPERS was run BY the PEOPLE , and FOR the PEOPLE. Also, except for the few (or quite a few?) retirees in the $100,000 range, for us normal retirees $15-1600 a month for insurance is unthinkable. Over half of retirement to be spent for insurance doesn’t leave a lot for food and shelter. How the masses got the idea that we live “high on the hog” is beyond me.

    One last thing, OPERS is attributing a lot of this problem to the baby boomers. Have they not paid their fair share into the system? If not, why not? If yes, has this money not been invested properly? Or did this come about by OPERS being mandated to invest a certain percentage into state businesses or bonds or funds or whatever at a time when businesses were running from the state?

  62. Chris Hartlaub says:

    The Coverage for spouses must not be allowed to change for already retired couples.I pay a nearly $900/month premium since my wife doesn’t turn 55 until early next year.This has already depleted much of my retirement savings If you need to make changes,grandfather them in,but don’t rip the financial life out of current retirees and their families who will not be able to survive if these obscene changes are implemented.

  63. Carl says:

    I have 31 years of service. My wife will not be covered for 6 more years until she is 55. Who knows now? We have to be able to plan what is in our future. OPERS reps always stress that healthcare is not required by law. It is a covanent however. Many of us have to take the political crap and favoritism for 30+ years knowing we can leave with a decent benefit to support us and our spouses in retirement. The retirement system is a major factor in attracting and keeping good employees. If this goes away, public service careers will have no attraction. I think most folks would pay an addition 1 or 2% of their salary to keep the healthcare in place. I think it is amusing that someone can keep their kids on the plan until they are 26 but my wife can not be covered.

  64. Spouse under 60 says:

    What is OPERS current cost of coverage for retirees and spouses? Is this posted online anywhere?

    We always knew that the purpose of OPERS was to provide pension payments and that the health insurance was an extra benefit. In the 2 years since my husband retired our portion of the cost has increased substantially and the coverage has decreased slightly. We expected that the cost would rise every year.

    We never expected that OPERS would consider dropping coverage for the spouses.

    If OPERS stops covering all the spouses under 65, how many people would that leave uninsured? 20,000? 50,000? Does anyone have an idea how many?

    Would it be possible for us to form a group and shop for coverage as a group? We could call the group “Dumped by OPERS” and maybe a health insurance company could put together a plan offer for us.

    • Michael Pramik says:

      The self-funding rate of the current OPERS health care program is 7.6 percent of member payroll. The available funding in the future is scheduled to decrease to zero by 2014 without pension legislation. If the Ohio legislature passes the Board’s recommended pension changes, we anticipate a 4 percent funding rate to be available. As you can see, changes to our health care coverage must be made if funding in the future will be 4 percent, rather than the current 7.6 percent.

      –Ohio PERS

  65. David says:

    The United States is the only remaining major industrial democracy that doesn’t provide its people with some kind of public, nonprofit health insurance. Even Costa Rica does! They have two health insurance systems, a public one and a private one. Americans living there can join either – or both – by paying premiums. The cost for a FULL YEAR of coverage is less than some US seniors pay PER MONTH for private health insurance. A similar situation exists in many European nations.

    Costa Rica has plenty of downsides, and no one would claim that its public health care is perfect. Yes, treatment is prioritized. If your condition isn’t life threatening, you may have to wait. But look at the fights some people have with their insurance companies here in the US. Some are driven into bankruptcy by uncovered medical costs. Is that really better? And look at life expectancies – they’re exactly the same, 78 years, in the US and in Costa Rica.

    You have to wonder, if a relatively poor nation like Costa Rica can ensure that none of its residents go without essential health care, why can’t the world’s wealthiest country do even better? The answer is that commercial interests have an iron grip on our legislators and our media, and they control the debate.

    One solution is for public employees’ retirement systems across the nation to band together, combining their purchasing power and ours to obtain reasonably priced health coverage for all of us. If even, say, one-third of the states’ retirement systems signed on, the negotiating power would be almost unbeatable, and soon most of the rest would hop on board.

    Today OPERS can say that the vast majority of its retirees stay in Ohio and contribute to Ohio’s economy. That’s a good thing. But if OPERS continues to trim its commitment to health care, and if Congress turns Medicare into a voucher program, what can we do?

    If the US isn’t going to deal with this problem, we as public-sector retirees and near-retirees will have to. We must take decisive action. If we can’t get good, affordable health care here in the US and Ohio, at least some of us are going to have to find it elsewhere in the world.

    • Thomas says:

      David,
      One reason other countries can afford to insure their citizens is because the Doctor’s parking lot is not filled with BMW’s, Lexus and other luxury cars. And i’d bet that the CEO’s of their hospitals don’t pull down 7 figure salaries and bonuses. Our system is corrupt.

  66. S.Palka says:

    I think that the same should go for legislation cut benefits to their familys.
    We could have paid into health care a long time ago with our plan. Instead of coming up with this crazy reform
    Start a savings now with current staff, which should have been done long ago with the projected retirement.

  67. Bill says:

    How can OPERS go from a good healthcare plane to no healthcare overnight? How can people plan for this? Why no grandfathering of retirees? You say you have to do this because pension reform legislation has not passed, but you are well aware that they are only waiting till after the election and that it will be passed early next year. Everyone knows changes have to be made, but your”shock and awe” plan is over the top.

  68. James says:

    A number of the proposed healthcare changes are unacceptable to me and, I suspect, to many other OPERS retirees and members. I urge all OPERS members and retirees to take this issue into account when we next have the opportunity to vote for new OPERS board members.

  69. Debra says:

    Most retiree’s are all ready strapped with the constant health care cost increases. While we don’t pay a monthly premium, for health care our office co-pay and deductible costs very high, and we can’t even apply our office co-pays to our annual deductible.

    Although I am not old enough to apply for Medicare Part B yet – I wonder what those costs will be if OPERS decides to reduce or eliminate Medicare Part B. Please let me know when meetings will be held in Cincinnati.

  70. b. walkenshaw says:

    These changes in retiree benefits have already lead to privatization in utilities. This trend could extend to all types of government from local to city and state. Typically utility performance decreases a result of privatization due to lack of commitment to replacement of infrastructure. Many privatization contractors operate a utility, never repair it, and continue until it completely stops working.
    These changes are encouraging zero government employment. In many instances government employment is too high. Are we ready for such a sudden transition?
    I can forecast another round of retirements in the near future with no one to do the work.

  71. Dj says:

    LOL, ME ME ME and SPOUSES! ONLY people that should be grandfathered period and not touched in any way is THE ONE WHO WORKED FOR STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your spouses could have worked and probably did but why should anyone have to pay for someone else’s insurance? Feel lucky your spouses got the free ride as long as they had PERIOD! My spouse works and recieves medical from me and should as long as I work then if I retire and have to pay to insure her so be it! Once you retire, which sure most of you retired young or went out easy way — Disability for a toe nail — and receiving benefit you got it off. SUCK it UP like us still working who have medical issues and time in the system 20 + and could retire but keep working cause we have to.

    • opers member says:

      A family is like a corporation,with retirement planned on the basis of projected income.
      Once that goal is met,After 30- 35-,or more years,if the plan has spouses covered it should continue to do so.
      I’m glad that my contributions are covering spouses of members,and hope they continue to do just that.
      If you can improve the quality of life for your fellow workers,you should do so.They’ve earned it!
      I’m sorry, Dj, that you are so bitter over this issue.
      .Retirees and their spouses are not your enemies.

    • jeff says:

      very well said

    • Not Quite as Recent but Close says:

      I wish I still had the option to get my old job. I would have worked until Medicare eligibility if I wasn’t misled by OPERS who told me that Health Care was solvent for 20 years and I had nothing to be concerned about. This was at the end of 2008 and I paid into the system for almost 32 years. I have a pre-existing condition and cannot get health care unless I can get it through an employer. However there are not many employers out there looking for workers in their mid 50′s and if someone does hire you, they hire you part time to keep from providing health care. And I’m speaking from experience. With over 10 years to go until Medicare and my health issue, I probably won’t be around that long.

  72. Virginia says:

    OPERS received $70.5 million as a participant of the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The federal government provided $5 billion to be used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reimburse claims for early retirees (age 55 – 64) and their dependents, who are otherwise not eligible for Medicare. This program is suppose to reimburse 80 percent of annual claims dollars between $15,000 and $90,000 per year for services that Medicare Parts A, B, and/or D would cover.

    Was the $70.5 received by OPERS allocated for retiree healthcare or was this money invested?

    OPERS is considering not covering spouses for healthcare. Will OPERS then consider having health care exchanges in January 2014 which might reduce the number of uninsured (due to the unsubsidized spousal healthcare premiums) by providing individuals one place to compare health care coverage levels and prices and then choose the plan that’s best for them?

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Virginia,

      OPERS has until 2014 to use the funding it has received from the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. While it will be used to help us continue to provide health care for our retirees, our staff is working with our acutaries to determine how best to use the money.

      –Ohio PERS

      • Virginia says:

        Will OPERS consider the health care exchanges to better assist retirees about their healthcare?

        • Michael Pramik says:

          Virginia,

          A lot depends on what the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the health care reform law. The exchanges may be a viable option for those under 65, although it would be their choice.

          –Ohio PERS

  73. Robin Barto says:

    Eliminating Health Care for spouses is the worst proposed idea. What is our country coming to with republicans in office. My wife had cancer last year and she was under 55…We went through hell keeping up with out of pocket and insurance premiums for her because she had to be on a different plan because of the no spouse below 55 rule. This year she turns 55 and until then we pay almost 800 a month for her..Next month I can finally breathe because she will go back to full coverage, she turns 55. Now you indicate you may take healthcare from spouses…this is barbaric..Given she had cancer we are going to have a horrible time getting her affordable coverage and if the Supreme court rules against health care…The preexisting condition goes back into effect..COME ON DON’T DO THIS..HAVE A HEART..YOU WILL DESTROY THE LIVES OF MANY PEOPLE WHO WORKED HARD FOR THE STATE 30 YRS OR MORE.

  74. Steve says:

    I would have to say the new changes considered are going to have a huge effect on retirees. I retired with 32 years of service. One of the benefits of OPERS is the health coverag for the retiree and spouse. If the change would be enacted it would be terrible. I am a recent retiree and saw my coverage cost go up around a $100.00 a month that was hard to accept, but I did. the proposal for eliminate for spouses between the ages of 55 and 654 is unacceptable. Where would they get coverage?. While the health coverage is a benefit of the retirement system I would ask the members to look at all options and not look at elimination of spousal coverage or increase the amount of covered expenses. Since deciding to retire I have seen amounts just keep going up and without any increase in benefits.

  75. Donald Hiney says:

    I understand the frustration of so many respondents. My wife and I are both OPERS retirees, so the spousal issue is not an issue for us. The changes that have already taken place in the last couple of years, and those coming (especially dropping or reducing Medicare part B reinbursement will be huge. However, OPERS is not to blame for the situation being what it is. OPERS MUST live within the budget, and that means hard choices. Many if not all will be effected,and my appreciation is extended to those who are trying to do the least harm.God bless.

    • Dean says:

      What will you two do if they drop the insurance for both of you? That has been mentioned. We are in he same boat and therefore I will have to continue working past what I thought I would so IN case they take it away, I can get back on my employers expensive plan.

  76. jeff says:

    ■Initiate a minimum age between 55-65 for members to become eligible for health care coverage. this also is a good idea but leave current retired people as it is

  77. Art Iacofano says:

    You have outlined a number of potential changes that appear to affect retirees in many different ways. Before I make any judgement I would like to see how much money you are trying to save, and what are the potential savings in each of those areas you have outlined. If I don’t have all the facts its hard to make any comments on what you are proposing.

  78. Mike says:

    This is crazy !!!!!!! I guess my wife is right. We are moving to her home town in Mexico when I retire.

  79. Phyllis says:

    I am 65 yrs. retired after 30yrs. service I understood that health cover could change, but retirees with 30yr. service should be grandfathered in.

  80. recent retiree says:

    Before I made my final decision to retire last year I went to Columbus and had a face to face meeting to get some questions answered. My biggest concern was healthcare. It was so important to me that I had the same question written twice on the paper I took with me. I still have that paper and on it are the answers I was given by an OPERS representative in Columbus in Dec 2010. She told me both times that healthcare was solvent for 20 years. That was the determining factor on which I made my decision to retire in 2011. She also told me that they did not foresee the pension bill being passed before the third quarter of 2011. How much of a change can there have been when in 2010 they did not expect the bill to pass before the end of 2011 that now that it is the beginning if 2012 we suddenly have to make drastic changes to our healthcare coverage? I am not yet 55. Is OPERS going to tell me that come next January I will no longer have healthcare or tell me I have to pay a premium I cannot afford? I made my decision to retire based on what OPERS told me. They need to take care of their current retirees who can no longer go back to the job they wouldn’t have left had they not been told healthcare was solvent for 20 years. I know those who are not yet retired don’t want to feel they are taking the brunt of the changes but at least they still have the option to continue working. I wish I did.

  81. linda schuetz says:

    Must OPERS continue to provide and pay for comparible Medicare part A coverage for those of us who do not qualify for this coverage, thru Medicare, because we do not have enough , 40 Units, of Social Security earned? This has been a major concern of mine since I retired. The last quote I had from SSI would be a monthly cost in excess of $450. I have been trying to accumulate the 40 required but it has been very slow going. I understand that OPERS may stop the Medicare Part B reimbursement which is capped at $96 and change.

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Linda,

      Employees hired after 1986 pay into Medicare, at 1.45 percent of their salary, and their employer matches that. That contribution pays for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage). OPERS provides equivalent coverage to Med A for employees hired before then. It is one of two things OPERS is required to provide. Very few people fall into this category, and no one with a hire date after 1986 does.

      –Ohio PERS

  82. May says:

    I do understand requiring a certain number of years of work to get the insurance, but retirees who have retired with full benefits should still have health insurance until they qualify for Medicare. After we are on Medicare then don’t offer us any health insurance. With spouses retirees should be able to purchase health insurance through OPERS if the spouse does not have any insurance where they work.

  83. Dean says:

    The fairest solution to this problem is to credit each retiree with an allotment for health care based on their years of service and their career income. If you are a worker, you know x% is being credited to you health care and the OPERS Board isn’t giving you health care to someone else.

    Work 30 years averaging $30k, you are going to get more and know how much you have for the remainder of your life. Pay for your spouse if you like. Retire with a handful of years averaging $20k, things are going to be tough. Retirees who go back to work, your funds aren’t being given to someone else. This should apply to current retirees, but I fear some would have an allotment of zero because they have already exhausted more than their share.

    This is the only way current retirees aren’t spending the contributions of the workers and receiving a benefit amount representing what the employer contributed for them.

  84. cheryl says:

    I had worked for over thirty years under OPERS, Worked thru treatment for breast cancer including chemo for over three years, radiation and surgery. Missed work only on treatment days. Paid my share of medicare thru payroll deduction. Retired at age 67, at which time the Social Security I also had worked for and paid into was drastically reduced, When I questioned Social Security, the answer was ” Well you didnt pay into it.” If I hadnt paid into it, I would not have received any benefit. Ohio is one of only a few states that takes back peoples earned Social Security benefits. My pension is less than $2000 monthly and I have no spouse, so if my income is reduced drastically, and if the cancer returns, I have no idea what I will do. Getting another insurance is highly unlikely at my age and with my health history. My employer insurance was a god send for the treatment, not PERS. Now that it would be next to impossible for me to cover these expenses, apparently the coverage I worked so hard to keep, for so many years is going to be taken away. I worked for a poor county, with low wages for the job I did, I have lived frugally, I dont take vacations. Certainly not living high. At 68, with health issues, where can I go to get a job? The Baby Boomers have paid their way, and lots of other peoples way, for years, sometimes working two jobs. If the state can afford to give non productive citizens the “golden” Medicaid card, which covers virtually everything, at no cost to the recipient, not even a small copay, why are the people who have worked to provide the money these benefits, being penalized so severely? People who are over 65 and retired cannot pick up the slack. There is no where to go. If there is a catastrophic condition like cancer, savings will be gone in three months due to the cost of treatment. So we should just lose our homes, or choose to die because we cannot afford the cost of treatment. Here’s a wake up, folks. EXAMPLE: I had ONE injection that cost $6000 during treatment. Do the math for the deductible. That is just one injection, not any ongoing treatment. It could happen to you. I have no answer for spouses who are not covered, or people who retire in their early fifties. I understand those broken promises hurt, but there may be available answers for those situations. There is no answer for those of us who are older or who have serious health issues if our benefits are so compromised. What are the people in Columbus thinking??? Do they have ANY idea of the hardships they are imposing? Most of us are not the lucky recipients of free Medicaid, or elected officials with big salaries and great investments. This is just not right.

  85. Thomas says:

    I can adjust to a lot of changes, but the loss of spousal coverage would be devastating. If OPERS opts to drop spousal coverage, they should grandfather people who are at least 60, or keep them in the system and let us pay the whole premium for the spouse. If they won’t do that, they should at least help the spouse transition to another plan. I’m sure there are a lot of people who just won’t know where to turn for help, me included.

  86. cathy says:

    I want it to stay at minimun 10years service and not to go higher and not loose what I worked for . I was laid off from PERS job after 11 years over decade ago . I dont want to loose what I worked for.

  87. chico says:

    I really like some of the changes,some Idont.Sometimes life isnt fair. If it helps save health care then go for some of the changes. If a non opers spouse wants insurance than let them pay a higher cost then a opers member. I like the idea of raising the age from 10 years to 20 years, but you should grandfather people in. I like the idea of not being able to get insurance until the age of 60. Because I have seen many people get county jobs right out of high school because dad knew the right person. Age 60 until able to ge on medicare.I now work in the public world and our insurance goes up a lot each year.Health care cost are a mess everywhere and elected people dont care because they know they are going to get it plus their high salary.I lucky to get a raise and if i do it never is enough to cover the raise in insurance.If elected people cant hear us then vote them out.

    • Ann says:

      A non-OPERS spouse already pays extra to have medical insurance. I am the OPERS person and my husband pays about 115 per month for the same thing that I pay about 15 per month. So that higher premium that you suggest is already in place and has been going up each year in “an attempt by OPERS to preserve health care for all” All of us who are retired with OPERS are paying more each year, for the same reason. Taking away the spouse’s healthcare when we desperately need this coverage to stay afloat was not something we have planned for. I hope that OPERS will be able to find other ways to make necessary cuts without taking away that. With medicare part B, the monthly premium cost goes up if the person is high income, and I wonder if OPERS has considered that as a way to bring in more money. I am not thrilled with taking away the monthly reimbursement for the Medicare premium for the OPERS member, but taking that hit is better than having spouses not covered. Many people have not been able to get health insurance in their jobs and rely on the other spouse for coverage. The higher costs to keep spouses insured has been creeping up for a number of years not and we have realized and accepted that it was necessary. But now it is too much all at once.

  88. Mary Dustin says:

    On fixed incomes, eliminating coverage for spouses, raising the age of eligibility, and increasing costs, the only option is not to get health care. Some of us are already in this situation This will be the real “death panel” conservatives have pasted on the federal healthcare bill.

  89. J Power says:

    I’m 67 in July with 28 years service. I’ve been looking forward to retirement for a while. I’m on my own and now I’m too scared to retire.

  90. Bill says:

    Where are the presentations around the state? Where is the survey of members? When will these things happen?

  91. Bill says:

    My biggest concern is that OPERS appears to not offer a plan that spouses can buy into under the new healthcare rules. I understand the need to cut costs, but why not offer a plan for spouses without insurance that is cost neutral to OPERS?

  92. Rhonda says:

    How solvent would OPERS be if all of the people who are eligible to retire resigned and collected refunds? I’ve heard many people considering doing just that.

  93. John says:

    So if we are under age 55 they can take away our health care coverage even though I worked over 32 years? The entire OPERS board should resign if they couldn’t foresee the baby boomer explosion coming, we’ve only known about it for 50 years. I’ve had a one on one meeting in Columbus and been to a retirement seminar put on by OPERS and losing healthcare was never discussed. This is gross incompetence.

  94. Doreen says:

    If you are eliminating the spouses, why do employees who have worked 30 or more years have to wait until they are 60 to get health insurance. What this means is that people are not going to work for the state until they are 30 + years, the younger folks will take jobs elsewhere. There has been a lot of talk where I work that people will just retire before 60 and get jobs elsewhere. so disappointed in PERS.

  95. ChrisAndKorena says:

    ■Initiate a minimum age between 55-65 for members to become eligible for health care coverage.
    ■Increase minimum years of service for health care eligibility from the current 10 years to 15 or more years

    I am planning on retiring in the next 4 years with 30 years of service at the age of 48. Does the above mean I wouldnt be able to get health care till age 55? I relize health care for my spouse is a big question in the future, but is 30 years sevice going to be enough to have affordable health care coverage when I retire?

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Chris,

      Please keep in mind that the OPERS Board’s decisions so far on health care are tentative. We are soliciting feedback through Town Hall and Education Fair meetings this summer before the Board will make final decisions on the next stage of health care this fall.

      The proposal that we now are considering would require members to have at least 20 years of service and be at least 60 years old to be eligible for health care coverage. They also would be eligible at any age with 30 years or more of service. That would cover your proposed plan. However, there is a possibility that in the next few years that 30-year minimum service criterion could be increased by a year or two as more members of Group B and C become eligible to retire.

      –Ohio PERS

      • Spouse under 60 says:

        When would the changes to the health care plan (no access to coverage for spouses) take effect? Should we expect to be dropped as of Jan.1, 2013? Or Jan. 1, 2014?

        What about changes to the retiree’s health care coverage? Should we expect that at the same time?

        Why can’t OPERS offer access to coverage that we pay for in full? If the cost is the reason for these drastic changes then why can’t we pay our own way within the OPERS health care plan, just as spouses under 55 have been doing since 2011?

        • Michael Pramik says:

          Spouse,

          The earliest that any new health care changes could take effect would be Jan. 1, 2014.

          –Ohio PERS

  96. J.S.F. says:

    I had over 34 years of service when I retired from the D.R.& C.. I did not want to retire but with the reduction in pay/freezes and pension reform looming to our retirement system I was very fortunate to be in the position that I could. My problem with OPERS is; they have become a “WELFARE SYSTEM”. At the prison I worked at, for every 1 (one) person who retired with years and age there were hundreds that retired under medical disability and only a fraction are legitimate. These people draw a higher percentage of pay and have medical coverage. If their percentage of pay was based only on the years they worked most of them would still be working and OPERS would not be paying all that money out and maybe our retirement system would be in better shape. I would love to see statistics on people who retired with years and age compared to people who left on medical disability. There are people deserving of medical disability benefits but most of the ones I knew were bogus and fraudulent. Also, once a person retires with years and age, OPERS should not punish the person and change the benefit package they and their spouse recieve. Retirement is a life changing event and the rules I retired under should not be changed.

  97. David Smith says:

    The loss of insurance benefits for spouses does effect the employee greatly. Those who are looking toward retirement and may be in their early sixties, like myself, now have to change their plans due to the loss of a benefit for their spouse. I, and any one like me, will have to work longer because of this. I know OPERS does not have to offer Health Care and am pleased that they do. But please rethink the cutting of all health care from spouses. It hurts the employed. Since you have been shoring up the pension system with money for health care; did you not expect it to come home and bite you, or should I say us. Just one bit of memory. When I started working for the State, it was not the money but the pension and benefits I was working for, and now it is neither. Change is needed and as with everything else we will accept it and go on. Would you please make every effort to save health care for spouses.

  98. Lee Adams says:

    Please do not set a minimum age to be eligible for health care benefits. Thats not only extremely unfair to people who have worked 30+ years in the system,but it will ruin some people who have no other access to health care coverage and would have to pay out of pocket.

    Stop the contribution of excess health care premiums to the RMA;raise co-pays;lower NOT ELIMINATE the amount paid for Medicare-B;raise vesting to a minimum of 15 years in the system.

  99. Pingback: Health care plan details to be decided this fall | PERSpective

  100. Valerie says:

    I retired 3 years ago with 30 years of service. If you stop providing health insurance for our spouses, there is no way we will be able to survive. My husband is disabled and on medicare, however the insurance does cover his prescriptions which cost in excess of $1200.00 a month. I stayed on my job because health insurance was promised in retirement. I could have earned much more money over the years had I not worked for the county. I will be forced to look for work but who is going to hire a 64 year old? Please do not drop health insurance for our spouses, I know there are many of us retires who will not be able to make ends meet. Our raises don’t cover increases in gas and food, let alone health insurance costs.

  101. SATISH S KOKRADY says:

    ELECTIONS DO HAVE CONSEQUENCES!REMEMBER NOVEMBER 6TH 2012!!

  102. Josh says:

    So the bottom line after reading all posts and PERS replies is that these changes are mostly due to Obamacare. We just need to wait for the Court to rule this unconstitutional at the end of June then see how PERS reacts.

  103. Lee Adams says:

    How anyone could come to the conclusion that so called ‘Obamacare’ is responsible for the issues with the retirement system in Ohio is almost beyond comprehension. We are assuming that you are indeed receiving benefits from OPERS? The problems exist because of the number of people receiving benefits through OPERS and what that costs is not matched by whats coming in at the front end. We can also thank the conservative attacks on anything that has to do with government employee wages/benefits for the situation as it currently exists. We can also look at the multi-billion dollar health care system that has been able to command that economy unchecked.
    We can only assume that people like you who make comments such as you have are indeed receiving OPERS benefits. We also assume that you will be willing to make great sacrifices along with the rest of us?

  104. DLB says:

    Dear OPERS Board of Trustees

    On June 4, I attended one of a series of meetings that are being held around Ohio by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Along with the legislative changes that were discussed, there were also some non-legislative changes being floated by the OPERS Board. Those changes pertained to the health care benefits for retired state employees. Many in attendance were shocked and outraged by an OPERS Board proposal to eliminate health care benefits for the spouses of retired state employees. This would eliminate health care coverage for hundreds, if not thousands of older Ohioans.

    As a cost cutting measure, over the past decade the State of Ohio, has periodically offered “early retirement buyouts” to older state employees. While this proposed health care change could be financially overwhelming to many seniors, it is most problematic for the State’s employees that were enticed into retiring early though an early buyout offer. Depending on their age, the spouses of these early buyout retirees may not be eligible for Medicare benefits for many years. Numerous state employees have accepted the State’s buyout offers with the understanding that their family could obtain their health insurance through OPERS.

    There are many factors to consider before accepting an early retirement buyout offer. The most obvious being the reduction in monthly income. When one is trying to decide if they can afford to retire, health care cost is a major concern. Many retired state workers, especially those who accepted an early buyout offer, are now feeling deceived and ripped-off by OPERS and the State of Ohio.

    Under this new OPERS proposal, current state employees might choose to continue working until their spouse is old enough to receive Medicare benefits. Unfortunately, those who have previously retired have no options. To entice State workers to retire early, then pull a “bait & switch” on them with their health coverage is outrageous. OPERS officials repeatedly say that they are not required by state law to provide health care benefits for their retirees. The State of Ohio and/or OPERS may find themselves in a whole different legal position with retirees that the State has enticed into retiring early though an early buyout offer. It is one thing to institute policy changes for those who can make informed choices. It is quite another to do it retroactively to persons that relied on a set of implied representations to make their decisions.

    Please stop this gross injustice that is about to be perpetrated against early buyout retirees.

    Sincerely,
    A Retired State Worker

    • Lee Adams says:

      DLB,in certain respects I have to agree with you. One of my major concerns(not the only one) when deciding whether or not to accept a buyout was health care coverage. Again,we understand that EVERYBODY will have to sacrifice to a greater or lesser degree. But,the largest part of the burden should fall on those who are furthest from retirement. Just because OPERS is not ‘required’ to offer health care coverage makes them no less guilty in not implementing changes INCREMENTALLY YEARS AGO. Part, not all of the reason that this is happening the way it is,is due to the conservative political winds blowing through Ohio.

      • Michael Pramik says:

        Lee,

        OPERS has made incremental adjustments to the health care plan. For instance, in 2003 we established three plan tiers and began requiring 10 years of service time for members to become eligible for coverage. We also made many changes in 2007. Among them: We initiated a wellness program, required increased member cost shares and set a threshold of 55 years of age for covered spouses.

        –Ohio PERS

  105. SATISH S KOKRADY says:

    my wife is 58 years old with preexisting condition.i am 73 years old retired 8 years ago.if drop the coverage for spouses under 65 it will be nothing but the death panels for both of us.

  106. Ellen says:

    It is really funny that once again, blue collar workers have to worry about the future of their healthcare that was promised when they started working. The one question I have is will this have an effect on all the politicians or will they once again be exempt. You know people, we all sit back and watch these politicians get away with murder yet we do nothing. It is time that we organize a group that challenges all the decisions they make for us!!!! It frightens me to think that our monthly income is on a steady decline instead of increase. If something isn’t done soon we will be like my parents were during the depression and God know we don’t want to go there!!!!!

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Ellen,

      There are no “carve outs” for health care coverage.

      –Ohio PERS

    • Lee Adams says:

      The very conservative politicians who will be dceiding OUR fate don’t have to worry about paying for health care. Most of them have had or will be given jobs by the businesses or lobbying firms that influence their votes. Their health care will be paid for as part of their employment package with those multi-million dollar firms.

  107. Helen kleinman says:

    I have already retired and receive my pension benefits check and health care from PERS, I worked 25 years under SS and 11 years under PERS, will I no longer receive a pension check or have Health Care from PERS if this rule of having to work under PERS for 15 years is the new rule?

    I gave up most of my SS benefits ybecause the PERS health coverage was better than just Medicare and the fact that the plan I chose from PERS even though my monthly pension check would be less,my spouse be covered when he retired and would no longer have health care. My husband retired at 65 and was covered under my plan with a reasonable cost and still worth the cost being raised every year its
    still a lot lower than all other private plans. Now we are most likely going to lose that coverage for him
    and maybe be offered a plan that we can pay full price for and most likely will be beyond what we could
    afford to pay.

    I am sure there are many others just like me who only worked less than 15 years under PERS and though the pension received is OK for the amount of years we work under PERS we get in pension what we deserve for what we paid into the system but were looking ahead to retirement knowing how important Health Care Costs were going to be so we gave up most of our SS benefits to have Health Coverage from PERS.

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Helen,

      The legislation we are promoting will not affect your pension benefit in any way.

      –Ohio PERS

  108. Michelle A says:

    I am very upset with the proposed healthcare change to elimate spouse coverage. I am 2 years from retiring, yes at a young age, but only because I began working for the state at a young age. The one and only reason I stayed working for the state, getting paid less money than those in the private sector doing the same job, is for the retirement benefits. Not that I plan on not working anymore at the age of 50 but because I plan to work part time and spend time with my aging parents. It is not right to change things for those already employed by the state. While there is not a “written”contract regarding retirement benefits when you are employed, it is listed as your benefits when you become employed and is essentially a contract. These proposals are a breach of the “contract” that was in place when I became employed with the state. Disgraceful!

    • Michael Pramik says:

      Michelle,

      Changes to health care coverage cannot be construed as a breach of contract. No public pension system in Ohio is obligated to provide health care coverage to retirees.

      –Ohio PERS

      • Lee Adams says:

        Certainly there is no LEGAL breach of contract if OPERS or other pension systems choose to cut back or eliminate health care. However, the point is well taken that ONE of the important selling points when considering public employment is the package of benefits,including some sort of health care offering. That has existed for almost 40 years now. Current employees and retirees are willing to make sacrifices. We already have. But,this continues to appear to be in part a continued attack on public employees by extremely conservative law makers. On the one hand those law makers say they want to cut taxes. Then they tell us that they don’t have enough money to pay for basic necessities and services. Why is the amount of employer contribution going toward health care coverage being cut to 0 in 2 years? To keep the pension side aloat? OK. But its the same thinking. Yes I am including those who run the public employee pension funds as being in a sense politically motivated.
        Why not get the Legislature to raise the current employee contribution and dedicate a percentage of that toward maintaining ‘meaningful’ healthcare coverage? You can raise co-pays and deductibles for those already reitred. My guess is that current employees would be agreeable as long as there was some certainty as to the availability of healthcare coverage for them wupon retirement.

  109. Paula Michael says:

    I attended a town hall meeting in Lima today. If the proposed changes are adopted…my monthly allowance for age and years of service (66 years old and 27 years of service in 2014 when I want to retire) would be $286. OPERS says they “will not sponsor a plan for over 65 retirees, but will provide assistance and allowance to select a plan on the individual market.” Why would we be forced to go through the “Connector” to find our Medicare supplemental insurance? If we have earned an allowance, give it to us and we will get our own supplemental insurance. Thousands of people do it every year… Who will pay the “Connector”? It seems to me someone is going to get very rich doing something that is FREE by contacting an insurance agency, Humana, AARP, etc. Please consider allowing the allowances through an HSA.

  110. Bob Pendleton says:

    OPERS in just about all of their newsletters about healthcare state “We are a retirement system and not responsible for providing health insurance”
    I’m sorry but OPERS took on that responsibility when they offered health insurance to retirees all of these years and you made your retirement plans on what was available at the time of your retirement. Now after retiring with 32 years in OPERS I can look forward to starting a job search at my age to help pay for health insurance for my wife who is 8 years away from Medicare.
    So much for the golden years, But I can’t imagine what it will be like for those retirees who are unable to work. Eliminating spouses for currently retired persons is unreasonable and Callous.

  111. Carolyn Blair says:

    I just reitred in May. After a 40% reduction in my Social Security, based on the years I worked in OPERS, and the cost of insurance, I varily bring home enough to live. If the Medicare Part B reinbursement of $96.40 is eliminated and cost of insurance keeps going up, I will have no choice but to try and get a job….at my age? not likely. It is bad enough that I can’t draw my full S/S and OPES because they call it “double dipping” ,now it is proposed that the Medicare Part B reinbursement from OPERS be discontinued. How are we suppose to live?

  112. Goins md says:

    Work from 18 to 48 full time and you find out that hard work is for broken promises…..time to get involved in opers and change the policy makers….or see that retired persons sit in position of authority there to make decisions!

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