Other Post-Employment Benefit Liabilities, 2017
by Thurston Powers, Erica York, Jonathan Williams & Joel Griffith, ALEC, March 28, 2018
Introduction: Other Post-Employment Benefit Liabilities, 2017 surveys the more than 100 state-administered post-employment benefit plans, such as health insurance, Medicare advantage, life insurance, and other non-pension benefits. Controlling for differences in discount rates, five states have accrued more than $10,000 dollars per capita of unfunded OPEB liabilities. On the other hand, two states have eliminated their unfunded liabilities entirely through OPEB reform in recent years. The report highlights some of the questionable actuarial assumptions and how some states have minimized their risk.
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Hawaii-Related Excerpts from Report
…Total unfunded state OPEB liabilities approach $1 trillion Using a risk-free discount rate for prefunded plans, the total OPEB liability stands at $894 billion. The fiscal condition of individual states varies greatly. In fact, five states account for half the total unfunded liabilities: Texas, New York, California, New Jersey, and Illinois. Furthermore, five states also account for half the total unfunded liability per capita: Hawaii, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut. Alternatively, three states have effectively eliminated their liabilities entirely: Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas….
…Notably, the severity of the problem varies widely between the states. In 22 states, unfunded OPEB liabilities are less than $1,000 per capita. In these states, prudent actions (such as adopting Nebraska’s defined contribution model) can immediately resolve the problems. On the other hand, some states face more troubling numbers. Hawaii and Alaska have accrued $30,000 and $28,000, respectively, of unfunded OPEB liability for every state resident. …
2013: Act 268 Hawaii Unfunded Liabilities Plan: Pot of Gold for Corrupt Union Leaders