SCAC has established a qualified irrevocable Trust that allows a county to fund all or part of their OPEB liabilities. The funds are invested solely in constitutionally authorized financial instruments. The Trust is administered by a Board of Trustees comprised of county officials from Trust member counties.
- There are no upfront administrative fees to join the OPEB Trust
What is a County’s OPEB Liability?
GASB 45, or GASB Statement 45, is an accounting and financial reporting provision requiring County government employers to measure and report the liabilities associated with the various post-employment benefits, other than pension benefits, that are offered to retired county employees. Reported OPEBs may include post-retirement medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, life, long-term disability and long-term care benefits that are not associated with a pension plan.
GASB 45 requires the following disclosures on financial statements:
As part of their annual audited financial statements Counties must provide certain information about the current and future cost of providing OPEB benefits. Counties should:
- Information about the OPEBs: what are the benefits, who is eligible for the benefits, how many employees and retirees are covered, and so forth.
- The actuarially determined liability for OPEB benefits and the assets (if any) that are available to offset the liability; also information about the actuarial methods and assumptions that were used to calculate the liability.
- The portion of the liability that must be reported as an annual accounting expense on the employer’s financial statements, and a cumulative accounting of the extent to which the plan sponsor actually makes contributions to offset its annual expense.
Typically an actuary (or actuaries) with both pension and health experience must perform the calculations following generally accepted actuarial methods. For small plans covering fewer than 100 plan members, the plan sponsor can elect to use the alternative measurement method, a streamlined method to calculate the OPEB liability. This approach is typically less expensive and was developed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.
For information about the benefits of joining the S.C. Counties OPEB Trust please contact:
Sr. Staff Attorney
SC Association of Counties
(800) 922-6081 or (803) 252-7255
GASB 45/OPEB Program — Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company
SCAC continues to assist counties in dealing with a new requirement to account for funds committed to other (than pension) post employment benefits (OPEB) for their employees.
In 2004, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) published a new standard that requires both state and local governments to compute and to publish their amount of OPEB liability as it is "earned" by employees. Although the only requirement is to retain an actuary to compute the liability and include it in audited financial statements, it is anticipated that many state and local governments will begin to set aside funds for this purpose. Failure to pre-fund OPEB requirements could eventually degrade a government's bond ratings.
SCAC has entered into an agreement with Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company, a nationally-recognized actuarial firm experienced with GASB 45/OPEB requirements, to assist counties in determining their OPEB liabilities. Additionally, SCAC unveiled a new trust agreement in June, 2008, which will allow counties to pool their OPEB funds and invest them in instruments yielding the highest rate of return—in the same manner as state agencies.