This month: Learn details regarding health care and re-employment
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Oct. 28, 2021 – As we draw nearer to 2022 and the changes that will affect OPERS retirees next year, we will periodically post questions and answers to key topics we believe will benefit our members.
This month we’re answering several questions regarding how health care will be applied in 2022 for retirees who are re-employed in an OPERS-covered position.
Q: If I become re-employed with an OPERS-covered employer in 2022, I understand that I will not have access to the funds in my HRA. Why?
A: The OPERS HRA is a retiree-only plan. Federal regulations state that re-employed retirees are eligible to receive monthly deposits to their HRA plan, but ineligible from receiving reimbursements for expenses incurred during the re-employment period. For this reason, during your re-employment period, HRA deposits will accumulate in a separate Re-employed Accumulated HRA which is not combined with your existing HRA balance until you terminate re-employment.
Q: If I become re-employed with an OPERS-covered employer in June 2022, will I have access to my HRA deposits prior to the start of my re-employment?
A: Yes, you will have access to your existing HRA balance, but you can be reimbursed only for expenses prior to your re-employment period.
Q: I’m a Pre-Medicare retiree. If I plan to continue my re-employment in 2022, what are my health care options?
A: Like other Pre-Medicare retirees, you will opt in to the HRA and select an individual or family health care plan on the open market or through your employer. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to contact Via Benefits and set up an appointment between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15 to opt in to the OPERS HRA and explore individual and family medical plans for 2022.
Regardless of whether you plan to enroll in a new medical plan through Via Benefits, you must opt in to the HRA to begin receiving HRA deposits in 2022.
The difference with being re-employed is that you will not have access to your Re-employed Accumulated HRA for qualified reimbursements during your re-employment period. Remember, if you choose to enroll in a marketplace plan, we encourage you to work with Via Benefits so that you can benefit from the individualized support when thinking through your plan options. Learn more about Via Benefits at marketplace.viabenefits.com/opers.
Q: I’m a Medicare retiree. If I plan to continue my re-employment in 2022, what are my health care options?
A: If you are enrolled in a medical plan through Via Benefits, effective Jan. 1 you will receive monthly HRA deposits in a Re-employed Accumulated HRA. Think of this as a holding place for HRA deposits. You will not be able to receive reimbursements during your re-employment period. However, upon termination of your re-employment, you will have access to the accrued balance to receive reimbursement for expenses that are incurred outside of re-employment. To enroll in an individual Medicare plan through Via Benefits effective Jan. 1, contact Via Benefits between now and Dec. 7.
For more information on this transition, visit the Health Care 2022 page at opers.org. Also, plan to attend a Retiree Health Care Under 65 webinar. This webinar was updated with new information in February. If you have attended one of these sessions, you may consider attending again this year. Visit the Member Education Center at opers.org to register. All webinars are also available as Recorded Presentations to watch at your convenience.