Ohio House passes bill to assist OPERS members

The Ohio House has passed legislation that would improve survivor benefits and facilitate contribution refunds for members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

Ohio House Bill 520 includes provisions that would affect all five state retirement systems. It contains several adjustments to the 2012 pension law that are intended to streamline business practices and improve administrative efficiency.

The bill now moves on to the Ohio Senate.

For OPERS members, the measure would remove the requirement that children of a member who dies before retirement need to be attending an institution of learning or training in order to receive survivor benefits. It also would resume paying survivor benefits of qualifying children under age 22 whose benefits were terminated because they were not in school.

Another provision of the bill would reduce from three months to two months the wait period (without a return to public employment) before an OPERS member could apply for a contribution refund.

OPERS believes these changes are common-sense improvements for our members. With limited time remaining in the legislative session, passage of the bill is dependent on swift Senate action. If the bill is not passed by the end of year, it would have to be reintroduced next year.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

13 thoughts on “Ohio House passes bill to assist OPERS members

  • November 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm
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    How does it improve survivor benefits?

    Reply
    • November 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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      Tom,

      Currently, OPERS beneficiaries between 18 years and 22 years of age can receive survivor benefits (if the member died before retiring) only if they are enrolled in an institution of learning. This bill would remove that proviso.

      –Ohio PERS

      Reply
  • November 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm
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    I wish the premium would be reduced. Mine went from 70,00 to 154.00 that’s over double what I was paying. I can see an increase but more than double is awful.

    My premiums more than doubled from 70.00 to 154.00 that’s awful. I can see an increase but more than double that’s crazy. JUST AWFUL.

    Reply
    • November 26, 2016 at 10:16 pm
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      I agree totally. why, I rarely use my health insurance and besides increasing the cost they are taking away benefits.

      Reply
  • November 22, 2016 at 12:34 am
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    First OPERS and the legislature decreased the pensions and cost of living adjustments for future retirees and their spouses. Then health care was eliminated for spouses and retained for dependant children. Now survivor benefits are being extended to more surviving dependants age 18-22. Rather than taking care of young adults, how about taking care of more retirees?

    Reply
    • November 22, 2016 at 10:17 am
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      We understand that this can be frustrating. But to clarify, health care for spouses did not go away. Pre-Medicare plan participants still have access to the OPERS medical plan as well as vision and dental. Vision and dental are available to all. While Medicare spouses will no longer have an HRA allowance after 2017, they will still be able to leverage the OPERS Medicare Connector to select a medical/pharmacy plan along with the Medicare retiree that is on the account.

      -Ohio PERS

      Reply
      • November 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm
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        Don’t tell me it didn’t go away. I am not old enough for medicare and unless I want to pay $750.00 a month for my healthcare (just for me, one person)in 2017 and $1.200.00 a month in 2018, I don’t have healthcare. I cannot afford to pay that. So as of January, I’m no longer covered. That’s like paying another mortgage!
        They can’t afford to pay $1000.00 a month for a spouse/surviving spouses healthcare, but they can give $22,000.00 a year for 4 years to an able bodied adult (18-24) when they are not enrolled in full time college??!?!?!?!?!?

        Reply
        • November 29, 2016 at 11:27 am
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          I agree!!!!!!!!!

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        • January 30, 2017 at 8:47 pm
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          I see in an above post that the insurance for a non medicare spouse will be $1,200/month in 2018…is that true?
          The provision for students was news to me!

          Reply
          • February 2, 2017 at 2:40 pm
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            Marty,

            Health care premiums for the non-Medicare plan have not been set. That process typically begins in the summer.

            Julie, Ohio PERS

  • November 30, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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    What are they going to do to help the widows that have been thrown out to the wolfs???

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  • January 31, 2017 at 11:57 pm
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    What’s the status of this bill’s passage? Obtaining the refund after 2 months instead of 3 months?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • February 1, 2017 at 11:33 am
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      Cara,

      House Bill 520 was signed by the Governor on January 4, 2017, and will become effective on or about April 5 (an official date has not been assigned by the Secretary of State).

      Julie, Ohio PERS

      Reply

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