Q:

What benefits does the Ohio Public Employment Retirement System provide?

A:

Quick Answer

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, or OPERS, offers health care benefits as well as survivor benefits and disability insurance coverage, depending on the retirement plan. Some OPERS retirement plans also include a cost-of-living adjustment, according to OPERS. Employers also contribute to retirement plans on the employees' behalf.

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Full Answer

OPERS offers three retirement plans to eligible employees: the member-directed plan, the traditional pension plan and the combined plan, according to Wright State University. With a traditional pension plan, employees' benefits are calculated based on age, final average salary and service credit. In the member-directed plan, the benefits are determined by the value of the account, including the investment earnings an employee acquires. The combined plan features elements of the other two plans and also provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits.

Employees with the traditional pension plan or the combined plan can access comprehensive health care coverage. This coverage includes hospitalization, physician and prescription costs. This coverage may also include dental and vision benefits, explains OPERS. Employees enrolled in the member-directed plan have a portion of the employer's contribution placed into a retiree medical account. The retiree medical account can be used to cover qualifying vision, health and dental expenses. Members become fully vested in a retiree medical account after five years of service.

Each year OPERS provides a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment to members of the traditional pension plan and the combined plan. If a member has been receiving benefits for at least 12 months, he is eligible to receive the cost-of-living adjustment, notes OPERS. Employees in the member-directed plan can receive a cost-of-living adjustment provided that the funds are converted to an OPERS annuity.

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