Staying in touch
Here’s how to reach OPERS if you’re outside the United States
By Kristen Dohrmann, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
June 13, 2018 – We receive many questions through our social media sites, but we can’t always post responses to them.
So periodically we’ll use our PERSpective blog to answer questions we believe will have widespread interest.
Q: How do I contact OPERS if I am out of the country?
A: No matter where you go you can contact OPERS by phone or through your online account. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-222-7377, from anywhere in the United States, Australia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Philippines, Thailand and United Kingdom. Or you can call 614-222-5684 from anywhere in the world; however, long distance rates will apply.
If you are planning to move or travel outside the country, you are encouraged to register for an online account to access your personal information or send a secure message to one of our member service representatives. To learn more, check out this fact sheet.
Q: I contribute 10 percent from my paycheck to OPERS. Who determines what I contribute?
A: The OPERS Board of Trustees certifies contribution rates for members and employers based on amounts allowable by state law. Rates for local members, those who work for local municipalities, are set annually. Rates are set biannually for state workers.
Contribution rates for members of law enforcement and public safety differ from those of local and state members, and they’re set according to the same timeline depending on whether those members work for local or state employers.
In May, the Board certified 2019 rates for local members. They will be unchanged from this year, as follows:
Local: Employer rate: 14 percent; member rate: 10 percent
Law enforcement: Employer rate: 18.1 percent; member rate: 13 percent
Public safety: Employer rate: 18.1 percent; member rate: 12 percent
Contribution rates for state employees and employers were last set in 2016, for 2017 and 2018. The Board is expected to set them for 2019 and 2020 in September.
Q: What is a Morningstar Investment Profile?
A: OPERS partners with Morningstar Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, to deliver quarterly Investment Profiles for each of the OPERS Investment Options for participants in our Member-Directed and Combined plans.
Morningstar Investment Profiles present all the important facts about an investment on a single page, in a format familiar to many investors. They rank each fund’s volatility, risk, return and overall performance. You can find more information in the Investment Profile Page User’s Guide.
10 thoughts on “Staying in touch”
If I have to pay out of pocket for Medicare, will VA/opers reimburse me?
Great question. You can use your HRA for
-Medical and prescription plan premiums
-Medicare Part A and B premiums
-Qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses as allowed by the IRS
-Vision and dental premiums
A “Getting Reimbursed Guide” has been created for you, located at https://documents.viabenefits.com/website/OPERS/2018-OPERS-Funding-Guide-for-Website.pdf. Plus, there are videos on the Via Benefits website, https://my.viabenefits.com, that are helpful, too.
What is the tax rate when I start drawing out of my OPERS retirement?
As a retired Ohio PERS member, your retirement benefit must be reported on your federal income tax return. OPERS is required by the Internal Revenue Service to calculate the taxable amount of your benefit. The taxable amount is then reported to the IRS and is used as the basis for withholding calculations. You can find more information in the Tax Guide on the OPERS website at https://www.opers.org/retirees/tax-guide/.
The IRS has a section on its website to help you determine your federal income tax bracket at https://www.irs.com/articles/how-determine-your-income-tax-bracket. For additional assistance, contact your tax advisor.
As I approach retirement eligibility my wife is not offered health care from her employer. What if any are my options through OPERS?
We recently wrote a blog on spousal health care coverage that you may find helpful, https://perspective.opers.org/index.php/2017/11/07/health-care-details-for-spouses/.
Spouses have access to health care through OPERS and must pay the full cost of coverage. Please call us at 1-800-222-7377 if you have any questions.
I would like to by my military time,how do I go about it
You can use your online account to send us a secure message or call us at 1-800-222-7377. With either option, a Member Services representative can help you.
Do I have to join Medicare when I turn 65 even though I am still working full time and have no intention of retiring at that time?
We have a page on our website to help those new to Medicare located at https://www.opers.org/healthcare/newtomedicare/index.shtml. For more information about Medicare, visit Medicare.gov or call your local office.