OP&F leaders are making no promises that even stipends will be available after 2032.
Though it is not mandated by state law, the retirement system has provided retiree health care coverage since 1974. Starting in 2003, retirees started shouldering more costs as the health care plan became more expensive for OP&F and its members.
If OP&F does nothing, its $900 million health care fund will be drained within nine years, consultants told the system. In 2016, OP&F health care costs hit $223 million.
“Even with these significant changes, current trends in health care and prescription drug costs, health care support beyond a 15-year projection may not be possible without a new income stream,” said OP&F Executive Director John Gallagher in a written release. “The OP&F Board, staff and our outside partners are all dedicated to searching for that funding source to assist future generations of retirees with their health care needs.”
Gary Monto, president of Police & Fire Retirees of Ohio, said he is reserving comment on the matter until more details are released.
Related: Pension cuts looming for Ohio teachers and retirees
OP&F has $14.8 billion invested for the benefit of 58,000 police, firefighters, retirees and beneficiaries.
Among the system’s assumptions is an expected annual rate of return of 8.25 percent — the highest of the five public pension systems in Ohio. That rate will be reviewed this fall. The other four systems recently reviewed and lowered their expected rate of returns to between 7.45- and 7.75-percent, based on recommendations from consultants and actuaries.
A big drop in the expected rate of return can mean unfunded liabilities balloon, which force pension fund trustees to consider cuts in benefits or other changes.
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