Ohio’s Public Employees Losing Retirement Benefits


The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) plans to cut benefits to future state employees beginning with those hired after January 1, 2022. Ohio Police & Fire Pension (OP&F) already started their cuts, the Dayton Daily News reported.

This past January retired first responders were no longer eligible for the retirement fund’s group healthcare. Now the retirees receive a stipend to purchase their own healthcare, a move which caused the former firefighters and police officers to take their pension fund to court.

Its class-action lawsuit was rejected by Judge Richard Frye in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on October 23rd.

NBC4 broke the news about the lawsuit loss on Twitter, tweeting, “#BREAKING: Judge dismisses lawsuit from Ohio police and fire retirees against pension board.”

“The lawsuit, filed in December in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, claimed the Ohio Police and Fire Board breached a contract by changing rules to retirees healthcare plans,” NBC4 reported. Close to 8,000 retired first responders are affected.

The lawsuit requested a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction against OP&F to stop the board from moving to a stipend plan for healthcare. Retirees claimed, “…they were stuck with sky-high deductibles and plans that do not cover most doctors, hospitals, treatments or anything for retirees who have moved out of state.”

Judge Frye‘s ruling against the suit stated, “Despite these difficulties, it is abundantly clear in the record that the OP&F Board was thorough and conscientious in trying to accomplish the transition.”

The news for future OPERS payees is the loss of healthcare and smaller payouts for retirement. If the current plan as presented is accepted, those employees can expect,

— employees contribute 11 percent of their pay toward pension, up from the current 10 percent;

— cost of living allowances would be tied to inflation, capped at 2 percent

— down from the current 3 percent cap;

— workers would have a retirement medical account instead of the OPERS health care benefits;

— workers would have to work longer to be eligible for full retirement.”

OPERS is looking for a legislator to sponsor a bill for the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) change. It is currently reported to be, “3 percent per year for those who retired before 2012 and the rate of inflation, up to 3 percent, for those who retired 2012 and later.”

Executive Director Karen Carraher told the paper OPERS wants legislation to, “…halt the cost of living adjustment in 2022 and 2023 for all retirees and delay the COLA for two years for all new retirees.”

“The plan will morph between now and when we finally introduce it,” Carraher said.

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Building” by Wiki Historian N OH at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0.










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