Today the OPERS Board of Trustees approved a plan that will provide financial assistance for healthcare to surviving spouses whose income is at or below 100% of the federal poverty level and meet other criteria including age and years of service by their spouse. They reviewed several options and after spirited debate voted to approve a three year pilot program to begin in 2018.
This was a proposal that was championed by PERI for several months. Our lobbying efforts combined with testimony at last month’s OPERS Healthcare Committee meeting was persuasive enough to convince a majority of the board to approve the program.
PERI President and CEO Geoff Hetrick was delighted with the outcome and praised the work of OPERS board member Steve Toth, who championed this effort. Hetrick said, “The neediest of OPERS surviving spouses who at their age cannot return to the workplace will now be able to apply for financial assistance to help with healthcare premiums. It’s important in our society to help those most in need, especially the elderly, and we appreciate OPERS’ recognition of this reality. PERI stands ready to work with OPERS to communicate more information regarding eligibility and the process to apply with our members once information is available.”
Please visit the PERI and OPERS websites in the coming weeks for more information as more details become available.