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Program Description

  Retiree Health Benefits Trust

Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust: Beginning in FY08, the County implemented a plan to set aside funds for retiree health benefits, similar to the County's 50 year-old practice of prefunding for retiree pension benefits. Due to exponential growth in expected retiree health costs, the County had determined the cost of funding these benefits, which were being paid out as the bills came due, would become unaffordable. Setting aside money now and investing it in a Trust Fund, which is invested in a similar manner as the pension fund, not only is a prudent and responsible approach but will result in significant savings over the long term.

The County's approach to address retiree health benefits funding is to determine an amount which, if set aside on an annual basis and actively invested through a trust vehicle, will build up over time and provide sufficient funds to pay future retiree health benefits and any accrued interest on unfunded liability. This amount, known as an Actuarially Determined Contribution or "ADC", normally consists of two pieces - the annual amount the County would usually pay out for health benefits for current retirees (the pay-as-you-go amount), plus the additional amount estimated to fund retirees' future health benefits (the pre-funding portion). The pay-as-you-go amount can be reasonably projected based on known facts about current retirees, and the pre-funding portion is estimated on an actuarial basis.

The County's policy is to pay the full amount of ADC each year. In FY11, the County Council enacted Bill 17-11 which established the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust. The Bill amended existing law and provided a funding mechanism to pay for other post employment benefits (OPEB) for employees of Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County College. In FY15, the County and all other agencies implemented the Medicare Part D Employer Group Waiver Program for Medicare eligible retirees/survivors effective January 1, 2015. This has reduced retiree drug insurance costs and the County's OPEB liability. The County achieved full pre-funding in FY15, consistent with Council resolution No. 16-555. In FY19, these contributions were budgeted at $43.6 million (County General Fund), $79.4 million (MCPS Consolidated Trust), and $2.8 million (Montgomery College Consolidated Trust). Due to a significant shortfall of originally estimated tax revenues, the County initiated several cost containment measures to restore current year reserves. On a one-time basis, the County will reduce FY19 pre-funding to the Consolidated Trust by $89.6 million.

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Program Contacts

Contact Lindsay Lucas of the Office of Management and Budget at 240.777.2788 for more information regarding the operating budget for the Non-Departmental Accounts.

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Program Budget Changes

FY20 Approved ChangesExpendituresFTEs
FY19 Approved435626600.00
Decrease Cost: County Contribution Based on Actuarial Valuation-88818300.00
FY20 Approved346808300.00