Changing for today and tomorrow

New COLA video explores reasons, timing for current proposal

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Oct. 17, 2017 – The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has released a new COLA Essentials video, which describes the reasons for and timing of potential changes to our cost-of-living adjustment.

We explore the way that OPERS has made and implemented changes in a consistent manner through the years. We also examine why we’re proposing changes now.

For more information, including a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, refer to the OPERS COLA page.


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

  • I think that OPERS is being very responsible in re-evaluating the COLA benefit. OPERS needs to be fiscally responsible now and in the future.
    I am currently living in AZ. The public employee retirement funding here is in shambles. The city of Prescott had to ask voters to increase sales tax to help support the retirement funding deficit and avoid bankruptcy. The voters did – albeit somewhat reluctantly.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Every year the state and federal figures on the amount of annual income one can earn to be considered poverty stricken change, they go up a little. Some pensioners are already near the levels needed to qualify for food stamps, Medicaid, housing, etc. Without decent COLA’s, more OPERS retirees are going to qualify for state and federal aid, so you will be pushing this burden onto taxpayers, just the way companies that pay low wages do. Don’t think the taxpayers will appreciate this. Have you done a study to see how many are already getting subsidies and how many more will be added. When SERS chopped the COLA for its members they sent along instructions on how to apply for food stamps.

  • As I said on my survey, OPERS has given me so many benefits that I do not mind if my COLA is lowered or discontinued. OPERS pays my Medicare Part A premiums. Since July 1, 2016, One Exchange has reimbursed me for my Medicare Supplemental Plan premiums and my Pharmacy premiums. Also, my Medicare Part B premiums have been reimbursed from my HRA. OPERS also gives $405 per month to One Exchange for my HRA and $300 in 2016, 2017 and we will receive $300 in 2018.

    I believe that OPERS has been very generous with all of these monetary reimbursements. I do not know about other companies, both State funded or private industries, but I believe that OPERS offers a very generous pension. Of course, that depends upon age and number of years served and maybe some retirees do not receive as much each month due to lower age and shorter service time at time of retirement.

    I appreciate everything that OPERS has been able to provide me with based on my 31 1/2 years of service and retiring at age 62.

  • I appreciate the information about COLA and certainly understand the situation; however, I found the survey somewhat puzzling. It asked for opinions that involved underlying assumptions that were not clearly spelled out. It seemed like a forced choice survey where I would have answered “none of the above”. It would have been more helpful to provide overall information about the issue first and then ask for opinions.
    It is obvious that OPERS needs to make changes to address the issue. It is worrisome that changes continue to happen and those of us who are retired do not have many options in terms of increasing our income to handle these changes.

  • If OPERS changes the COLA, how will we offset the increase in medical premiums which occur every year? Even with increased premiums and significant increases in premiums for our families (leading to no available insurance) these benefits have gone down as well. This has resulted in increased out if pocket medical costs.

  • it appears that a reduction of the cola is a necessary evil to protect the pers system. How about after reducing the cola to 1.5% roll it over each year to increase the HRA that way it would not be taxable and benefit both opers and the retiree.

    • One of the changes the OPERS Board of Trustees has approved for the cost-of-living adjustment is a one-time benefit increase for retirees whose purchasing power is less than 85 percent of what it was when they retired. This increase will affect only a small percentage of our retirees who have been retired for more than three decades. Because of several factors, most notably the historically high levels of inflation through the 1970s, their current pensions have a value of less than 85 percent of the original benefit.

      Julie, OPERS

  • from the OPERS OPERtunities newsletter– summer 2005– page 3

    As you will see, putting
    some money away while
    you are working can help
    you enjoy a comfortable
    retirement. The numbers
    on the chart represent
    what a monthly payment
    will be per $1,000 in an
    additional annuity account
    at the time of retirement.
    Remember, annuity
    payments will increase by
    3 percent annually.

    My wife and I invested heavily in the Additional Annuity, in large part because of the promised annual 3% inflation protection.
    I have spoken to my old friend and retired legislator Ron Amstutz, and intend to forward this to other Ohio state legislators.

  • >