Healthcare is a major issue because a lot of Americans are fat, sick, and unhealthy, and the medical system is a main cause of bankruptcy because it is obscenely expensive. Benefits are good, but they are not guaranteed, and they are going to decrease in the years to come as companies continue to try to save money amid declining wages and a silent but growing poverty. Even state governments are being forced to cut back, such as the state of Ohio, which has announced that she will slash healthcare benefits because of budgetary issues.
For the first time in years, a major public pension system has slashed benefits for retirees: The Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System voted last week to cut health care benefits provided to the pension’s current and future retirees beginning in 2022 to try and prevent the fund from plunging into insolvency in the not-too-distant future.
According to Chief Investment Officer and the Bond Buyer, if these changes had not been enacted, the fund would run out of money in about 11 years, executive director Karen Carraher said during a board meeting. The measure passed by a 9-2 vote.
“There is no available funding for health care,” a report from the board said. “All of the employer contribution[s] must be allocated to pension funding until that funding improves. Based on current projections, no funding will be available for health care for 15 or more years.”
The vote, which was undertaken after polls showed members would be open to the changes to preserve their retirement benefits, eliminated the system’s group health-care plan and replaced it with stipends that will defray costs for members who purchase plans on the state ObamaCare exchange.
Beneficiaries will receive a wide variety of quantitative cuts, depending on their age of retirement, the year in which they retired, and the number of years working in the state. “Surveys indicate members willing to accept changes/reductions in health care in the interest of preserving it,” the board’s report said.
Nearly everyone in OPERS likely will be affected by these changes. The board’s vote constituted the elimination of the pension’s healthcare group plan, and replaced it with a stipend that will help supplement for some members the cost of a new healthcare plan on the marketplace.
“Pre-Medicare group plan is unsustainable for OPERS and members as risk core and costs continue to increase,” the report said. The board “needs to reduce the cost of health care to preserve current health care trust fund until such time funding can resume.”
“Our objective is to continue offering health care. To accomplish this, we need to implement changes that will extend the solvency of the health care trust fund,” the board’s report said. (source)