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The OP&F Board of Trustees has approved a 2006 administrative operating budget that while continuing to make sure the organization runs efficiently, also includes important new initiatives.
The operating budget approved at the Board�s December meeting totaled $48.5 million. The budgeted operating costs for OP&F increased just 1.62 percent from 2005. A larger increase has been budgeted for investment services in 2006. This increase is required because of the success of OP&F�s portfolio. OP&F�s investment management fees are tied to the value of our portfolio. When the value of the portfolio grows, it triggers increased investment management fees. While these fees are substantial, it is an indication of successful investing.
Among the initiatives scheduled for 2006 is the applied cancer research project. The scope for the first year of this study sponsored by OP&F will examine cancer incidence and undertake a general mortality study of police officers and firefighters. The data will compare the average cancer incidence rate for the state�s police and firefighters to the overall rate in Ohio.
This project began in 2005 with OP&F entering into a partnership with the Ohio State University Research Foundation. Results from the study will be used to determine whether OP&F members die from cancer at a greater rate than other residents of Ohio.
As reported in recent issues of the Member�s Report, OP&F is also exploring several health care funding methods. One alternative that will receive attention in 2006 is the development of a retiree medical trust account for active members. These accounts would allow active members to save for their future health care expenses, including co�pays, annual deductibles, premiums and prescription drug expenses. In 2006 OP&F will examine the tax implication of different medical savings accounts to see what type of plan would best serve members. If the Board determines to move forward with establishing a retiree medical trust, OP&F will work closely with the Ohio General Assembly for the adoption of appropriate laws.
In order to measure members� satisfaction with services, OP&F will be asking for your opinions in 2006. This customer satisfaction survey will cover a variety of topics to help gauge effectiveness, awareness and satisfaction with different aspects of OP&F.
A continuing initiative will be the implementation of the New Pension Administration System (NPAS). The system went online Dec. 31, 2005, and while seamless to benefit recipients, represents a more efficient way of doing business for OP&F. Going forward, OP&F will continue to consider how to best utilize all aspects of the system in developing potential new services to members.