We’re already halfway through 2017, and 2018 is quickly approaching! GASB Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, is effective for fiscal years ending in 2018.
Implementing this complex standard requires planning and information sharing. The State Auditor’s Office participates in several OPEB standards implementation workgroups to help identify and share common questions and concerns.
On the national level, the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) OPEB implementation workgroup includes representatives from all U.S. states and territories. The workgroup meets monthly by telephone to discuss common implementation challenges and issues. Many states face the same challenges that we do in Washington.
In Washington, the largest health care program is the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) program, which is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). The PEBB program purchases and coordinates health care benefits, including OPEB, for more than 300,000 eligible public employees and retirees. The program has about 1,000 member employers, including state agencies and local and tribal governments.
The state has formed an implementation workgroup that includes HCA, the Office of Financial Management, the Office of the State Actuary (OSA) and the State Auditor’s Office. The workgroup’s goal is to provide to the PEBB program’s participating employers the information they need to successfully implement GASB Statement 75. The workgroup meets monthly to discuss issues and develop an implementation plan and timeline.
For local governments, the State Auditor’s Office has formed an implementation workgroup that includes representative governments such as counties, cities, schools and ports. The group’s goals are to work with HCA and OSA to identify and provide implementation resources for local governments, and to identify and resolve implementation issues.