OP&F News

Court dismisses claims against OP&F in health care case

The court handling lawsuits filed against the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) unanimously dismissed all claims this week.

The cases resulted from OP&F’s decision to move away from a self-funded retiree health care insurance model as of Jan. 1, 2019, to a stipend model where retirees can select plans from the health insurance marketplace.

OP&F Executive Director John Gallagher said that OP&F made some tough decisions and that the court ruling affirms the Board of Trustees’ actions.

“It was a difficult decision to move away from the self-funded model,” Gallagher said, “but it was necessary to extend the life of the health care fund. We’re pleased the court recognized that we acted in a responsible way as stewards for our members.”

While the transition was difficult at times in the first year, the decision appears to have had the intended result – extending the solvency of the health care fund. A recent actuarial study found that without the move the health care fund solvency would have been less than seven years. After the move, the fund will be solvent for nearly 14 years.

The health care fund is separate from, and measured differently, then the actual pension fund.

Gallagher says that time is vitally important.

“We’re able to continue offering our members this elective benefit while extending out the period of time we have to address the longer-term solvency of the health care fund,” Gallagher said. “It remains a priority and urgent, but we now have time to work with members and key stakeholders on solutions for the next generation of retirees.”

OP&F’s General Counsel Mary Beth Foley said that the court’s decision was welcome news heading into a new enrollment period.

“We don’t want our members to be confused, so we’re pleased to head into the new ACA enrollment period free of legal issues,” Foley said. “We thank Judge Richard Frye for caring about our members and reviewing the merits of the case carefully and ruling accordingly.”

Posted 10/23/2019

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