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Cash Basis Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB)

Information regarding BARS GAAP Other Post-Employment Benefits can be found in the BARS GAAP Section 3.4.17 Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). The information below is for BARS Cash Basis local governments:

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Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) – Cash Basis

Beginning with the 2019 annual report to SAO, cash basis local governments will report their OPEB liabilities on Schedule 09.

What is OPEB? 

Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) = post-employment benefits other than pensions.  This includes:

  • Post-employment healthcare benefits (medical, dental, vision, hearing, etc.) – whether provided through a pension plan or separately;
  • Other benefits (death benefits, disability, life insurance, long-term care, etc.) – when provided separately from a pension plan.

Do I provide OPEB?

The most common OPEB benefits provided by local governments are:

  • PEBB – Participating employers in the state’s Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) plan provide OPEB through the plan’s implicit and explicit rate subsidies for retirees. 
  • LEOFF 1 – Under state law, employers are obligated for lifetime medical expenses of their LEOFF 1 retirees.

If you provide OPEB through any other plans or are uncertain about whether or not an arrangement qualifies as OPEB, please contact the SAO HelpDesk.

What is an “implicit rate subsidy?”

This is also known as a “blended premium rate.”  It is caused by the inclusion of retirees in the same cost pool as active employees.  As a result, retirees have the same premium rates as active employees and the rates for active employees implicitly subsidize the rates for retirees.  This implicit subsidy is OPEB and must be included in your OPEB liability – even if retirees pay 100% of their premiums.   

Where do I get my numbers?

For employers participating in the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) program and LEOFF 1 employers, the Office of the State Actuary provides on-line valuation tools (see link above).

If you provide OPEB through any other plans or are uncertain about whether or not an arrangement qualifies as OPEB, please contact the SAO HelpDesk for guidance.

When will the BARS Cash Manual OPEB Section and Notes be updated?

The BARS Cash Manual will be updated to reflect these changes for the 2019 annual reporting requirements. The update will occur in January 2020.  

Questions?

Please contact SAO via the HelpDesk for assistance.