The Oklahoma Retired Educators Association provides a voice for retired education employees,
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Legislative UpdateNovember 13, 2014

“TRS, Other State Retirement Systems Continue Funding Improvement”

OREA has been the out front advocate for the last two years in touting the significant funding improvement of the Teachers’ Retirement System. Among the many pieces of mounting evidence supporting our position, annual actuarial reports for the system in 2013 and again this year have painted a clear picture of a massive state retirement system – long the butt of public criticism and jokes for its low funding level – getting healthier and healthier every day.

Often feeling alone in our quest to tell the truth about TRS, we’re now getting some help – from all the right folks.

Support for our positive TRS view came Wednesday, November 12, from reports and testimony submitted to the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee, which is conducting its annual review of the fiscal health of the state’s retirement systems.

Committee Chair Randy McDaniel, respected for his knowledge and leadership on retirement issues in the legislature, acknowledged in prepared remarks that all of the state’s six defined benefit retirement systems for a variety of state and local government employees have made strong financial progress in the last three years.

McDaniel noted that, in the aggregate, the funding level for the systems in 2011 was 58%. In 2014, the funding level has risen to 74%. System unfunded liabilities – standing at more than $16 billion in 2011 – have been reduced to less than $10 billion, with actuarial reports for all the systems indicating solid plans in place to achieve 100% funding within a reasonable number of years.

The prize pupil among all the systems has to be the Teachers’ Retirement System. The last two annual actuarial reports describe amazing growth in system assets, achieved through effective management, trustee leadership, and exceptional investment practices. The system’s funding level has increased by almost 10% in the last two years, and projections indicate it can achieve 100% funding in as few as 11 years. That’s a far cry from the “infinity” funding projection of a few years back.

While TRS liabilities have grown – as expected – with the addition of new retirees each year, system assets have grown even more dramatically. In fiscal year 2014, TRS erased almost $1 billion in liabilities from its books, with an increase of approximately $1.5 billion in actuarial value of assets. The current funding level of 63.2%, while impressive in its own right, would be 72.7% if based on market, rather than actuarial, value of assets.

There is much good news to share about TRS progress, but we don’t want to get carried away. Achieving a well-funded system capable of serving retired and active educators for the long haul has some distance to go, but it’s good to know we’re on smoother road with our GPS telling us where we’re headed.

Is it time to tell your state legislators not to mess with success?

Long Term Care

2014 Fall News Bulletin




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Click on the link below for a 2014-15 membership form and the simple rules of the new OREA member recruiting plan. Aimed at growing the already strong OREA membership base to strengthen the retired educator voice in all the places it's needed, the "Member Recruiting Members" program is so simple, yet has great potential. And, if you elect to take part, it could put some extra dollars in your purse or wallet. Take a look at the program, and we hope you'll utilize the OREA membership enrollment materials to recruit new members. We'll all be better off if you do.

2014 -15 Membership Enrollment Form & The Basics of the Program

“State Board Adopts 2015 Health Insurance Rates”

August, 2014

The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board (OEIBB) met Friday, August 1, in Oklahoma City to adopt premium rates for HealthChoice insurance programs for active and retired state and education employees for the calendar year beginning January 1, 2015.

The news is very good for retired educators participating in the HealthChoice Medicare Supplement with Part D pharmacy program, but not so good for those retired but not yet qualified for Medicare.

For retired educators in the Medicare Supplement with Part D program, the 2015 monthly premium rate will be $16.10 less than 2014, for a rate reduction of 4.98%. The new monthly rate of $307.28 is the result of recent favorable claims experience, combined with a monthly subsidy of $29.34 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The $307.28 monthly rate does not include the Teachers’ Retirement System subsidy ranging from $102 to $105 per month for qualifying retirees, which will further reduce out-of-pocket expense for insurance premiums.

Almost 32,000 retired state and education employees and dependents participate in the Medicare Supplement with Part D program.

For retired educators not yet qualified for Medicare, the adopted 2015 premium for the high option plan is $499.42, up $14.55 from 2014 – a hike of 3.00%. The new rate reflects an OEIBB subsidy of $24.64 per member per month. Stated differently, the subsidy will make the monthly premium $24.64 less than it would be without the subsidy.

Less than 9,000 retired state and education employees and dependents participate in the pre-Medicare program, representing less than 10% of the approximately 109,000 individuals covered by the plan.

OREA representatives were on hand for the adoption of 2015 premiums, having already provided input on behalf of retired educators early in the rate-setting process.

Members with questions about state-sponsored health, life, dental, and disability programs are invited to contact the OREA office.

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Idea!“Program Ideas for Local Unit Meetings and Activities”

Need a new, fresh program idea for your local county meeting? Thanks to the OREA Communications Committee and the Tulsa Metro Retired Educators Association for their suggestions.

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Ever wonder how OREA members become officers, board members, or committee chairs? Perhaps there are members who would like to become more active in the association but aren't certain of the way officers are elected and the responsibilities of each. Click here for an overview of officers, board members, and committee chairs and how they achieve an office.


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