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Health & Science

OPERS Board Members Approve Changes, Reductions In Healthcare Assistance

OPERS board sitting at a table discussing health care assitance meeting
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
OPERS board members discuss healthcare at a meeting in Columbus.

Thousands of retirees in the state's largest pension fund will see changes to their health care benefits. The leaders of the Members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System have voted to change the way retirees receive health care, and a portion of those would have to find their own plan. 

The change eliminates what's known as the group plan for OPERS retirees under 65 and will instead give them a stipend for their own plan.

Retirees over the age of 65 on Medicare will receive less aid intended to fill in the gaps in coverage.

OPERS spokesperson Mike Pramik says right now there's no more money going into the health care assistance fund.

"What we're trying to do is to preserve health care long enough, sort of extend it long enough to the point where we can start funding it again," Pramik said.

OPERS, which has provided health care coverage but isn’t legally required to, has also asked the legislature to approve a cost of living adjustment freeze for retirees in order to reduce a $24 billion unfunded liability.