Smith County Policy Saves $17.7 Million

Smith County Commissioners Court:

SMITH CO (KYTX) - Changes to the Smith County policy for other postemployment benefits (OPEB) in 2005 and 2012 have netted more than $17 million in savings, County Judge Joel Baker announced in Commissioners Court Tuesday.

Many state and local governmental employers provide OPEB as part of the total compensation in addition to pensions that is offered to attract and retain the services of qualified employees.  OPEB include postemployment healthcare and life insurance, when provided separately from a pension plan.


"We had situations where an employee may have worked 18 years in another county before transferring to Smith County for two years and then retiring.   Upon their retirement, the employee collected postemployment healthcare benefits from Smith County for the rest of his or her life," Judge Baker said. 


In 2005 the Court voted to make the County's Retiree Health Benefit Plan a closed program for any new hires.  However, in 2012 the Commissioner's Court adopted a policy change that placed an additional requirement of 20 years of service to Smith County before employees were eligible for other postemployment benefits.  "This was a way for the court to honor the service of true long-term employees," said Judge Baker.


This recent policy change reduced the number of active benefits-eligible employees from 342 to 276 and reduced the county's OPEB liability by 22.53%.



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