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OPERS board approves one-year delay for new retiree health care plan


Ohio University employees who participate in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) should be aware of changes in the health care plan for new retirees.

The OPERS Board of Trustees recently approved a one-year delay in the implementation of a new retiree health care plan adopted last year. This one-year delay applies to all the components of the new plan with a few exceptions.

The following components of the new health care program will NOT be delayed for one year:

  • Qualifying service credit: OPERS will apply the new rules for which types of service credit will qualify in 2014.
  • Medicare Part B premium reimbursement: OPERS will retain its scheduled reduction of the Medicare Part B reimbursement in 2014.
  • Disability 5-year rule: Members who retire under a disability retirement on or after Jan. 1, 2014, will be subject to a 5-year limit on access to health care.
  • Elected withdrawal: Retirees who voluntarily elect to withdraw from the OPERS health care plan on or after Jan. 1, 2014, cannot re-enroll.
  • Minimum earnings: Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, contributing service credit for health care will be accumulated only if the member earns at least $1,000 per month.


Key components being delayed by one year to Jan. 1, 2015:

  • New eligibility rules: The new program will require members to have at least 20 years of service and be at least 60 years old to qualify for health care or have 30 years of service at any age. This means that members have an extra year to decide whether or not to retire under the current eligibility rule of 10 years of service. Members must not be on their employers’ payroll later than Nov. 30, 2014, in order to qualify for OPERS retiree health care with 10 years of service.
  • Allowance transition: The new health care plan will base the allowance given to participants for their monthly premiums on age and service. There will be a three-year transition for participants to the new allowance tables. The delay means that the transition will run from 2015 to 2017. Plan participants and their spouses will retain their current allowance through 2015. In 2016, the difference between the current allowance and the new allowance will be reduced by one third. In 2017, the difference will be reduced by two-thirds. The new allowance will go into effect in 2018.


Key component being delayed one year from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016:

  • OPERS Medicare Connector: The new health care plan includes a connector model for Medicare-eligible members, in which a licensed professional helps the member choose a plan that can be paid for with the allowance received from OPERS.

 

OPERS is making these timing changes so that current members and retirees can have more time to prepare. The delay also will give OPERS more time to educate members and communicate the details of the new retiree health care plan.

Click here to view a video featuring OPERS Health Care Director Marianne Steger sharing the reasons behind these changes.

Click here to access a summary of the health care plan approved last year and a breakdown of which components are and are not affected by the implementation delay.

Read OPERS newsletters and visit the website periodically for information pertaining to the retiree health care program. To ensure that you receive the most timely information via e-mail, sign into your online account at www.opers.org and be certain OPERS has your current e-mail address on file.