Retirement Board Names Chair, Vice Chair
During its June meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board elected retired teacher member Rita Walters as its vice chair for the coming year. According to Board Policies, contributing teacher member Carol Correthers (Lorain City Schools, Lorain County), who is currently serving as vice chair, automatically moves into the position of chair. Walters and Correthers will assume their new responsibilities on Sept. 1, 2019. Board members receive no compensation for serving on the board other than reimbursement for actual, necessary expenses.
Board Adopts Fiscal Year 2020 Investment Plan
The Retirement Board voted to adopt the fiscal year 2020 Investment Plan presented by staff. The plan details staff’s investment strategy for each asset class in the system’s investment portfolio. The 2020 Investment Plan projects returns for the upcoming year at or near STRS Ohio’s policy objective investment returns of 6.84%.
The board’s investment consultants, Callan and Cliffwater LLC, reviewed and expressed support for the fiscal 2020 Investment Plan. Staff will evaluate the need to issue an addendum to the Annual Investment Plan once market levels are set on June 30, 2019. STRS Ohio will post the fiscal year 2020 Investment Plan on its website in early July. A copy of the plan may also be obtained by calling STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.
Board Approves Health Care Premiums for 2020 — More Than 90% of Enrollees Will See No Premium Increase; Medicare Part B Reimbursement Extended for 2020
The Retirement Board approved health care premiums for the 2020 plan year along with several changes to the STRS Ohio Health Care Program for 2020. The approved premiums reflect favorable claims experience and result in little or no cost increase in most plans. A complete list of these premiums is posted on the system’s website or can be obtained by calling STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877. In 2020, about 92% of enrollees will have premiums equal to or less than their current premium. STRS Ohio staff works with health care consultants and actuaries to develop expected costs for the health care plans. As noted above, lower than expected health care claims during the review period for STRS Ohio’s self-insured plans had a positive impact on the 2020 premiums. For the fifth year in a row, board-approved premiums for the Aetna Medicare Plan — the plan with the highest number of STRS Ohio enrollees — have not increased. Below is a sample of monthly premiums for calendar year 2020 for a benefit recipient with 30 or more years of service.
|Plan||Total Cost||STRS Ohio Pays||Benefit Recipient Pays|
|Aetna Medicare Plan (Medicare Advantage PPO)||$340||$214||$126|
|Medical Mutual Basic Plan (Indemnity or PPO)||$320||$200||$120|
|AultCare PrimeTime Health Plan (Medicare Advantage HMO-POS)||$368||$214||$154|
|Paramount Elite HMO (Medicare Advantage)||$364||$214||$150|
|Plan||Total Cost||STRS Ohio Pays||Benefit Recipient Pays|
Medical Mutual & Aetna Basic (Indemnity or PPO)
|Paramount Health Care (HMO)||$936||$557||$379|
Board approves health care plan changes for 2020
Approved health care plan changes include:
- Extending the current Medicare Part B partial reimbursement program for one year. Under this program, benefit recipients currently enrolled in the STRS Ohio Health Care Program and Medicare Part B receive $29.90 per month to reimburse a portion of the Medicare Part B premium. The reimbursement was set to be reduced to $0 beginning Jan. 1, 2020. This impacts about 85,000 benefit recipients.
- Increasing the prescription drug maximum out-of-pocket limit to $6,350 from $5,100 for the Medicare plans to align with the 2020 standard Medicare prescription plan.
- Modifying the specialty drug coinsurance for Medicare enrollees — changing the specialty drug coinsurance to the lesser of 13% or $450 per 31-day period from the lesser of 13% or $550 per fill. The cost for a 32–60 day fill will be the lesser of 13% or $900, and the cost for a 61–90 day fill will be the lesser of 13% or $1,350.
- Adding SaveonSP manufacturer copay assistance program — manufacturer pays higher copay with a $0 balance to the enrollee and the net cost is lower for STRS Ohio.
- Adding a 24-hour nurse line to the Medical Mutual Basic Plan for non-Medicare enrollees.
- Requiring transplants to be performed at Organ Transplant Centers of Excellence for Medical Mutual Basic Plan non-Medicare enrollees.
- Moving Medicare Parts A & B enrollees in the regional AultCare PPO plan to AultCare’s PrimeTime Health Plan.
Additional information about the 2020 health care program will be provided in upcoming newsletters and on the STRS Ohio website. In late October, all plan enrollees will receive personalized health care plan information in preparation for the fall open-enrollment period that will take place Nov. 1–26.
Retirement Board Adopts Fiscal Year 2020 Budgets
The Retirement Board voted to adopt the proposed system budgets for fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020). The fiscal 2020 budget totals $104.4 million, an increase of 2.6% over the fiscal 2019 budget. The Retirement Board and staff continue to keep a close eye on expenses, and the fiscal 2020 budget calls for a sixth straight year of declines in the total number of associates, as technology automates more processes. STRS Ohio is budgeting for 535 full-time equivalent associates, down from a high of more than 700 associates in 2001.
The adopted capital budget for fiscal 2020 totals $4.9 million, an increase of about $735,000 over the current year’s budget. Capital projects for the year include a recap of the roof on STRS Ohio’s South Building, an HVAC system upgrade and enhanced building security initiatives. STRS Ohio reviewed its budgets with the Ohio Retirement Study Council at the Council’s June 2019 meeting. Expense information is posted on STRS Ohio’s website each month and detailed payments by vendor are also uploaded to the Ohio Treasurer’s Open Checkbook site each year.
The Retirement Board approved 584 active members and 69 inactive members for service retirement benefits.
Other STRS Ohio News
Superintendent names Hunt as designee on State Teachers Retirement Board
On June 6, 2019, Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced his appointment of Dr. Scott J. Hunt to serve as his designee on the State Teachers Retirement Board. Hunt is the field relations director for the Ohio Department of Education. He has 29 years of experience in the K–12 and postsecondary education settings, including serving for six years as Superintendent of Cardinal Local Schools in Geauga County. Hunt has also served as an adjunct professor at Lake Erie College and currently teaches educational leadership courses through the American College of Education.
The 11 members of the State Teachers Retirement Board receive no compensation for service on the board other than reimbursement for actual, necessary expenses.