Retired public employees to see cuts in health care benefits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Thousands of retired public employees will have to pay more of their health care costs starting in 2022 after trustees for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System voted Wednesday to reduce health care benefits.

The trustees voted 9-2 on changes that will affect current and future retirees, beginning January of 2022. Those changes include cutting the monthly allowance paid to retirees who are eligible for Medicare — ages 65 and older — and eliminating the health care plan for retirees who aren’t eligible for Medicare.

The changes will result in cuts in health benefits for 304,000 workers when they retire and 213,000 current retirees.

Without the changes, the retirement system projected its $11.3 billion health care fund would run out of money by 2030.

Under the changes, the monthly allowance to help offset health care costs that is paid to retirees who are Medicare eligible will drop from between $225 and $405 per month to a range of $178 to $315 per month. The system plans to give retirees not eligible for Medicare money that they can use to buy insurance on the individual market.

The retirement system has $94 billion in assets for pension benefits and serves 1.14 million people.