Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Filing Due March 1By Paige E. Sansone, CPA, Partner, January 26, 2017
What is OPEB?
“OPEB” stands for Other Post-Employment Benefits. Pension is the most common post-employment benefit. As the name suggests, Post-Employment Benefits (“OPEB”) are benefits other than pensions. Typical examples are health, dental, vision and life insurances; prescription or other healthcare benefits; and other benefits provided to eligible retirees and, in some cases, their beneficiaries.
What is the purpose of OPEB Reporting and why is it important?
The purpose is to report for the preceding year, current liability, unfunded liability, assets, contributions, and expenses associated with non-pension benefits offered to retirees. Accounting and reporting standards for pension plans have existed for many years, but similar standards did not exist for OPEB. OPEB is a part of the compensation that employees earn each year, even though benefits are paid after employment has ended. Therefore, the cost of these future benefits is a part of the cost of providing public services today. Since most governments report only their cash outlays for OPEB in a given year, rather than the employer’s incurred cost of OPEB earned by employees in that year, the numbers can be vastly different. Due to this potential inequity, those who read or analyze financial statements do not have complete information to assess the cost of public services and to evaluate the financial position and financial health of the government. In Indiana, the OPEB reporting required by the Department of Local Government Finance via Gateway closes this gap by requiring basic information and estimates.
Who is required to file an OPEB Report?
All political subdivisions must file the report even if it does not offer OPEB. This applies to counties, cities, towns, airport authorities, libraries, townships, schools, regional sewer districts, fire protection districts, solid waste management districts, conservancy districts, and other special taxing districts.
Is an actuarial valuation required in order to complete the OPEB Report on Gateway?
No, an actuarial valuation is not required to complete the Gateway OPEB report; however, there a requirement under GASB 45 to have an actuarial valuation every 2 years (for units with more than 200 employees) and every 3 years (for units with 200 employees or less).
Information in this article was believed current as of the date of publication. As you know, changes occur frequently. The information presented is of a general educational nature. Before applying to your specific circumstances, please contact us at email@example.com.