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November Board News

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 11/16/12.)

Retirement Board Resumes Health Care Strategic Planning Discussions
At its November 2012 meeting, the Retirement Board reviewed the three primary goals of the health care strategic plan:

·         Establish Medicare as the health care program's cornerstone, to help the largest number of retirees for the longest period of time;

·         Achieve 30 years of solvency for the health care program by 2016;

·         Extend forecasted solvency to 65 or more years by 2025.

The Retirement Board discussed ways to extend the solvency of the Health Care Stabilization Fund, as health plans around the nation wait to see just how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will shape the industry. One key issue surrounding the ACA is if and how the health care exchanges will develop in Ohio. These exchanges are expected to provide guaranteed issue coverage for pre-Medicare individuals. In most health care plans, pre-Medicare individuals are now subject to preexisting condition restrictions and underwriting requirements.

The Retirement Board's challenge is to balance plan solvency and a plan that offers meaningful benefits while continuing to attract and retain healthy members to the plan.

Retirements Approved
The Retirement Board approved 387 active members and 116 inactive members for service retirement benefits.

Other STRS Ohio News
Brooks Reappointed to Retirement Board; Rafeld to Represent The Superintendent of Public Instruction
Craig C. Brooks was reappointed to the Retirement Board as the joint appointee of the Ohio Senate President and Speaker of the Ohio House. His term extends through Nov. 4, 2016. Mr. Brooks was first appointed to the board by the Treasurer of State in 2007.
The Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michael Sawyers, recently designated Jason Rafeld to represent him on the Retirement Board. Mr. Rafeld replaces John Childs, who served as an ex officio member of the board since January 2011.

STRS Ohio Completes CEM Pension Administration Survey; Service Levels Increase, Costs Decrease
STRS Ohio staff completed and returned the annual CEM Pension Administration Benchmarking survey, with results expected to be published next spring. CEM Benchmarking is a leading global research company that measures the performance of public pension plans and uses comparative analysis among peer groups to rank the service level of the plans. STRS Ohio consistently scores in the top quartile for performance. Based on this year's reported data, STRS Ohio's service level scores increased in nine of 15 categories. STRS Ohio's cost per active member and annuitant dropped again this year. STRS Ohio's cost per member measurement has been trending lower for several years, while peer group system's costs have increased.

CEM Benchmarking also performs cost effectiveness analysis for the investment programs of more than 300 pension funds around the world. This year's study showed that STRS Ohio's total investment costs were the lowest in its peer group. The study also confirmed the value of STRS Ohio's internal investment strategy, noting that STRS Ohio saved about $91 million by using internal managers for about 80% of the system's assets. The savings is based on the peer group's median external management costs.

Satisfaction Survey Responses Ranked Outstanding For First Quarter
During the first quarter of the 2012–13 fiscal year, more than 1,800 members who met with a counselor completed a satisfaction survey, with 96% responding that the service met or exceeded their expectations. Of those members who met with a counselor, 55% provided a perfect 10 score for overall service. Staff continues to be rated the highest in the areas of professionalism, courtesy and knowledge, with more than 70% of members providing a perfect 10 rating.

In addition, about 700 members who attended a Member Education program completed satisfaction surveys for the quarter, with 98% stating that the program exceeded their expectations and 45% rating the program a perfect 10. More than 73% of respondents rated the Member Education staff a perfect 10 regarding professionalism, courtesy and knowledge.

Call Center staff was evaluated by 4,000 callers with 97% providing a positive satisfaction rating and 84% stating that they were extremely pleased.

Retirement Board Election Process Begins This Month
On Nov. 9, notices were sent to all STRS Ohio reporting employers and other interested parties about the upcoming Retirement Board election for one contributing member seat and two retired member seats. In addition, election information was in the October newsletters and is posted on the STRS Ohio website. Individuals interested in running for a seat on the State Teachers Retirement Board can request petitions from STRS Ohio. The deadline for returning petitions is Feb. 22, 2013.

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