Summary - Statement No. 75

Summaries / Status

Summary of Statement No. 75
Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions

(Issued 06/15)


The primary objective of this Statement is to improve accounting and financial reporting by state and local governments for postemployment benefits other than pensions (other postemployment benefits or OPEB). It also improves information provided by state and local governmental employers about financial support for OPEB that is provided by other entities. This Statement results from a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of existing standards of accounting and financial reporting for all postemployment benefits (pensions and OPEB) with regard to providing decision-useful information, supporting assessments of accountability and interperiod equity, and creating additional transparency.

This Statement replaces the requirements of Statements No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, as amended, and No. 57, OPEB Measurements by Agent Employers and Agent Multiple-Employer Plans, for OPEB. Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans, establishes new accounting and financial reporting requirements for OPEB plans.

The scope of this Statement addresses accounting and financial reporting for OPEB that is provided to the employees of state and local governmental employers. This Statement establishes standards for recognizing and measuring liabilities, deferred outflows of resources, deferred inflows of resources, and expense/expenditures. For defined benefit OPEB, this Statement identifies the methods and assumptions that are required to be used to project benefit payments, discount projected benefit payments to their actuarial present value, and attribute that present value to periods of employee service. Note disclosure and required supplementary information requirements about defined benefit OPEB also are addressed.

In addition, this Statement details the recognition and disclosure requirements for employers with payables to defined benefit OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria and for employers whose employees are provided with defined contribution OPEB. This Statement also addresses certain circumstances in which a nonemployer entity provides financial support for OPEB of employees of another entity.

In this Statement, distinctions are made regarding the particular requirements depending upon whether the OPEB plans through which the benefits are provided are administered through trusts that meet the following criteria:
  • Contributions from employers and nonemployer contributing entities to the OPEB plan and earnings on those contributions are irrevocable.
  • OPEB plan assets are dedicated to providing OPEB to plan members in accordance with the benefit terms.
  • OPEB plan assets are legally protected from the creditors of employers, nonemployer contributing entities, the OPEB plan administrator, and the plan members.

Defined Benefit OPEB

Defined Benefit OPEB That Is Provided through OPEB Plans That Are Administered through Trusts That Meet the Specified Criteria

For OPEB that is administered through a trust that meets the specified criteria, requirements differ based on the number of employers whose employees are provided with OPEB through the OPEB plan and whether OPEB obligations and OPEB plan assets are shared by the employers. Employers are classified in one of the following categories for purposes of this Statement:
  • Single employers are those whose employees are provided with defined benefit OPEB through single-employer OPEB plans—OPEB plans in which OPEB is provided to the employees of only one employer (as defined in this Statement).
  • Agent employers are those whose employees are provided with defined benefit OPEB through agent multiple-employer OPEB plans—OPEB plans in which plan assets are pooled for investment purposes but separate accounts are maintained for each individual employer so that each employer’s share of the pooled assets is legally available to pay the benefits of only its employees.
  • Cost-sharing employers are those whose employees are provided with defined benefit OPEB through cost-sharing multiple-employer OPEB plans—OPEB plans in which the OPEB obligations to the employees of more than one employer are pooled and plan assets can be used to pay the benefits of the employees of any employer that provides OPEB through the OPEB plan.

Measurement of the OPEB Liability to Employees for Benefits

This Statement requires the liability of employers and nonemployer contributing entities to employees for defined benefit OPEB (net OPEB liability) to be measured as the portion of the present value of projected benefit payments to be provided to current active and inactive employees that is attributed to those employees’ past periods of service (total OPEB liability), less the amount of the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position.

The total OPEB liability generally is required to be determined through an actuarial valuation. However, if fewer than 100 employees (active and inactive) are provided with OPEB through the plan, use of a specified alternative measurement method in place of an actuarial valuation is permitted. An actuarial valuation or a calculation using the specified alternative measurement method of the total OPEB liability is required to be performed at least every two years, with more frequent valuations or calculations encouraged. If an actuarial valuation or a calculation using the alternative measurement method is not performed as of the measurement date, the total OPEB liability is required to be based on update procedures to roll forward amounts from an earlier actuarial valuation or alternative measurement method calculation (performed as of a date no more than 30 months and 1 day prior to the employer’s most recent fiscal year-end). Unless otherwise specified by this Statement, all assumptions underlying the determination of the total OPEB liability and related measures set forth by this Statement are required to be made in conformity with Actuarial Standards of Practice issued by the Actuarial Standards Board.

Projections of benefit payments are required to be based on claims costs, or age-adjusted premiums approximating claims costs, and the benefit terms and legal agreements existing at the measurement date. For purposes of evaluating the benefit terms, consideration is required to be given to the written plan document, as well as other information, including other communications between the employer and employees and an established pattern of practice with regard to the sharing of benefit-related costs with inactive employees. Certain legal or contractual caps on benefit payments to be provided are required to be considered in projections of benefit payments.

This Statement requires that projections of benefit payments incorporate the effects of projected salary changes (if the OPEB formula incorporates future compensation levels) and service credits (if the OPEB formula incorporates periods of service), as well as projected automatic postemployment benefit changes, including automatic cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs). The effects of ad hoc postemployment benefit changes (including ad hoc COLAs), if they are considered to be substantively automatic, also are required to be included in the projections. This Statement also requires that projections of benefit payments include certain taxes or other assessments expected to be imposed on the benefit payments.

Projected benefit payments are required to be discounted to their actuarial present value using the single rate that reflects (1) a long-term expected rate of return on OPEB plan investments to the extent that the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position is projected to be sufficient to make projected benefit payments and OPEB plan assets are expected to be invested using a strategy to achieve that return and (2) a tax-exempt, high-quality municipal bond rate to the extent that the conditions for use of the long-term expected rate of return are not met.

This Statement requires that the actuarial present value of projected benefit payments be attributed to periods of employee service using the entry age actuarial cost method with each period’s service cost determined as a level percentage of pay. The actuarial present value is required to be attributed for each employee individually, from the first period in which the employee provides service under the benefit terms, through the period in which the employee exits active service.
Alternative measurement method
This Statement includes an option for the use of a specified alternative measurement method in place of an actuarial valuation for purposes of determining the total OPEB liability for benefits provided through an OPEB plan in which fewer than 100 employees (active and inactive) are provided with OPEB through the plan. The alternative measurement method is an approach that includes the same broad measurement steps as an actuarial valuation (projecting benefit payments, discounting projected benefit payments to a present value, and attributing the present value of projected benefit payments to periods using an actuarial cost method). However, it permits simplification of certain assumptions.

Single and Agent Employers

In financial statements prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and accrual basis of accounting, a single or agent employer that does not have a special funding situation is required to recognize a liability equal to the net OPEB liability. The net OPEB liability is required to be measured as of a date no earlier than the end of the employer’s prior fiscal year and no later than the end of the employer’s current fiscal year (the measurement date), consistently applied from period to period.

The OPEB expense and deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB that are required to be reported by an employer primarily result from changes in the components of the net OPEB liability—that is, changes in the total OPEB liability and in the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position.

This Statement requires that most changes in the net OPEB liability be included in OPEB expense in the period of the change. For example, changes in the total OPEB liability resulting from current-period service cost, interest on the total OPEB liability, and changes of benefit terms are required to be included in OPEB expense immediately. Projected earnings on the OPEB plan’s investments also are required to be included in the determination of OPEB expense immediately.

In circumstances in which the net OPEB liability is determined based on the results of an actuarial valuation, the effects of certain other changes in the net OPEB liability are required to be included in OPEB expense over the current and future periods. The effects on the total OPEB liability of (1) changes of economic and demographic assumptions or of other inputs and (2) differences between expected and actual experience are required to be included in OPEB expense in a systematic and rational manner over a closed period equal to the average of the expected remaining service lives of all employees that are provided with benefits through the OPEB plan (active employees and inactive employees), beginning in the current period.

Under all means of determining the net OPEB liability, the effect on the net OPEB liability of differences between the projected earnings on OPEB plan investments and actual experience with regard to those earnings is required to be included in OPEB expense in a systematic and rational manner over a closed period of five years, beginning in the current period.

Changes in the net OPEB liability that have not been included in OPEB expense are required to be reported as deferred outflows of resources or deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB.

Employer contributions subsequent to the measurement date of the net OPEB liability are required to be reported as deferred outflows of resources.

In governmental fund financial statements, a net OPEB liability is required to be recognized to the extent the liability is normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources. OPEB expenditures are required to be recognized equal to the total of (1) amounts paid by the employer to the OPEB plan, including amounts paid for OPEB as the benefits come due, and (2) the change between the beginning and ending balances of amounts normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources.
Notes to financial statements
This Statement requires that notes to financial statements of single and agent employers include descriptive information, such as the types of benefits provided and the number and classes of employees covered by the benefit terms. Single and agent employers also are required to disclose information that includes the following, as applicable:
  • For the current year, sources of changes in the net OPEB liability
  • Significant assumptions and other inputs used to calculate the total OPEB liability, including those about inflation, the healthcare cost trend rate, salary changes, ad hoc postemployment benefit changes (including ad hoc COLAs), and inputs to the discount rate, as well as certain information about mortality assumptions and the dates of experience studies
  • The date of the actuarial valuation or calculation using the alternative measurement method used to determine the total OPEB liability, information about changes of assumptions or other inputs and benefit terms, the basis for determining employer contributions to the OPEB plan, and information about the purchase of allocated insurance contracts, if any.
Required supplementary information
This Statement requires single and agent employers to present in required supplementary information the following information, determined as of the measurement date, for each of the 10 most recent fiscal years:
  • Sources of changes in the net OPEB liability
  • The components of the net OPEB liability and related ratios, including the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position as a percentage of the total OPEB liability, and the net OPEB liability as a percentage of covered-employee payroll.
If an actuarially determined contribution is calculated for a single or agent employer, the employer is required to present in required supplementary information a schedule covering each of the 10 most recent fiscal years that includes information about the actuarially determined contribution, contributions to the OPEB plan, and related ratios. If a single or agent employer does not have information about an actuarially determined contribution but has a contribution requirement that is established by statute or contract, the employer is required to present a schedule covering each of the 10 most recent fiscal years that includes information about the statutorily or contractually required contribution rates, contributions to the OPEB plan, and related ratios.

Significant methods and assumptions used in calculating the actuarially determined contributions, if applicable, are required to be presented as notes to required supplementary information. In addition, the employer is required to explain certain factors that significantly affect trends in the amounts reported in the schedules.

Cost-Sharing Employers

In financial statements prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and accrual basis of accounting, a cost-sharing employer that does not have a special funding situation is required to recognize a liability for its proportionate share of the net OPEB liability (of all employers for benefits provided through the OPEB plan)—the collective net OPEB liability. An employer’s proportion is required to be determined on a basis that is consistent with the manner in which contributions to the OPEB plan are determined. The use of the employer’s projected long-term contribution effort as compared to the total projected long-term contribution effort of all employers as the basis for determining an employer’s proportion is encouraged.

A cost-sharing employer is required to recognize OPEB expense and report deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB for its proportionate shares of collective OPEB expense and collective deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB.

In addition, the effects of (1) a change in the employer’s proportion of the collective net OPEB liability and (2) differences during the measurement period between certain of the employer’s contributions and its proportionate share of the total of certain contributions from employers included in the collective net OPEB liability are required to be determined. These effects are required to be recognized in the employer’s OPEB expense in a systematic and rational manner over a closed period equal to the average of the expected remaining service lives of all employees that are provided with OPEB through the OPEB plan (active employees and inactive employees). The portions of the effects not recognized in the employer’s OPEB expense are required to be reported as deferred outflows of resources or deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB. Employer contributions to the OPEB plan subsequent to the measurement date of the collective net OPEB liability also are required to be reported as deferred outflows of resources related to OPEB.

In governmental fund financial statements, the cost-sharing employer’s proportionate share of the collective net OPEB liability is required to be recognized to the extent the liability is normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources. OPEB expenditures are required to be recognized equal to the total of (1) amounts paid by the employer to the OPEB plan, including amounts paid for OPEB as the benefits come due, and (2) the change between the beginning and ending balances of amounts normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources.

This Statement requires that notes to financial statements of cost-sharing employers include descriptive information about the OPEB plans through which the OPEB is provided. Cost-sharing employers are required to identify the discount rate and assumptions made in the measurement of their proportionate shares of net OPEB liabilities, similar to the disclosures about those items that should be made by single and agent employers. Cost-sharing employers, like single and agent employers, also are required to disclose information about how their contributions to the OPEB plan are determined.

This Statement requires cost-sharing employers to present in required supplementary information 10-year schedules containing (1) the net OPEB liability and certain related ratios and (2) if applicable, information about statutorily or contractually required contributions, contributions to the OPEB plan, and related ratios.

Defined Benefit OPEB That Is Provided through OPEB Plans That Are Not Administered through Trusts That Meet the Specified Criteria

For employers that provide insured benefits—defined benefit OPEB through an arrangement whereby premiums are paid or other payments are made to an insurance company while employees are in active service, in return for which the insurance company unconditionally undertakes an obligation to pay the OPEB of those employees—this Statement requires recognition of OPEB expense/expenditures equal to the amount of premiums or other payments required in accordance with their agreement with the insurance company. In addition to the amount of OPEB expense/expenditures recognized in the current period, a brief description of the benefits provided through the arrangement is required to be disclosed.

For defined benefit OPEB, other than insured benefits, that are provided through OPEB plans that are not administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria, this Statement requires an approach to measurement of OPEB liabilities, OPEB expense, and deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB parallel to that which is required for OPEB provided through OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria. Similar note disclosures and required supplementary information are required to be presented. However, the requirements incorporate modifications to reflect the absence of OPEB plan assets for financial reporting purposes.

Defined Contribution OPEB


This Statement requires an employer whose employees are provided with defined contribution OPEB to recognize OPEB expense for the amount of contributions or credits to employees’ accounts that are defined by the benefit terms as attributable to employees’ services in the period, net of forfeited amounts that are removed from employees’ accounts. A change in the OPEB liability is required to be recognized for the difference between amounts recognized in expense and amounts paid by the employer to (or benefit payments through) a defined contribution OPEB plan. In governmental fund financial statements, OPEB expenditures are required to be recognized equal to the total of (1) amounts paid by the employer to (or benefit payments through) an OPEB plan and (2) the change between the beginning and ending balances of amounts normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources. An OPEB liability is required to be recognized to the extent the liability is normally expected to be liquidated with expendable available financial resources. Notes to financial statements of an employer with a defined contribution plan are required to include descriptive information about the OPEB plan and benefit terms, contribution rates and how they are determined, and amounts attributed to employee service and forfeitures in the current period.

Special Funding Situations


In this Statement, special funding situations are defined as circumstances in which a nonemployer entity is legally responsible for providing certain forms of financial support for OPEB of the employees of another entity. Relevant forms of financial support are contributions directly to an OPEB plan that is administered through a trust that meets the specified criteria, including benefit payments as OPEB comes due for OPEB provided through such a plan, or making benefit payments directly as the OPEB comes due in circumstances in which OPEB is provided through an OPEB plan that is not administered through a trust that meets the specified criteria. Such support is a special funding situation if either (1) the amount of contributions or benefit payments, as applicable, for which the nonemployer entity legally is responsible is not dependent upon one or more events unrelated to the OPEB or (2) the nonemployer entity is the only entity with a legal obligation to make contributions directly to an OPEB plan or to make benefit payments as OPEB comes due, as applicable.

This Statement requires an employer that has a special funding situation for defined benefit OPEB to recognize an OPEB liability and deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB with adjustments for the involvement of nonemployer contributing entities. The employer is required to recognize its proportionate share of the collective OPEB expense, as well as additional OPEB expense and revenue for the OPEB support of the nonemployer contributing entities. This Statement requires that the employer disclose in notes to financial statements information about the amount of support provided by nonemployer contributing entities and present similar information about the involvement of those entities in 10-year schedules of required supplementary information.

The approach that is required by this Statement for measurement and recognition of liabilities, deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources, and expense by a governmental nonemployer contributing entity in a special funding situation for defined benefit OPEB is similar to the approach required for cost-sharing employers.

The information that is required to be disclosed in notes to financial statements and presented in required supplementary information of a governmental nonemployer contributing entity in a special funding situation depends on the proportion of the collective net OPEB liability that it recognizes. In circumstances in which a governmental nonemployer contributing entity recognizes a substantial proportion of the collective net OPEB liability, requirements for note disclosures and required supplementary information are similar to those for cost-sharing employers. Reduced note disclosures and required supplementary information are required for governmental nonemployer contributing entities that recognize a less-than-substantial portion of the collective net OPEB liability.

This Statement also establishes requirements related to special funding situations for defined contribution OPEB.

Effective Date


This Statement is effective for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2017. Earlier application is encouraged.

How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting
The requirements of this Statement will improve the decision-usefulness of information in employer and governmental nonemployer contributing entity financial reports and will enhance its value for assessing accountability and interperiod equity by requiring recognition of the entire OPEB liability and a more comprehensive measure of OPEB expense. Decision-usefulness and accountability also will be enhanced through new note disclosures and required supplementary information, as follows:
  • More robust disclosures of assumptions will allow for better informed assessments of the reasonableness of OPEB measurements.
  • Explanations of how and why the OPEB liability changed from year to year will improve transparency.
  • The summary OPEB liability information, including ratios, will offer an indication of the extent to which the total OPEB liability is covered by resources held by the OPEB plan, if any.
  • For employers that provide benefits through OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria, the contribution schedules will provide measures to evaluate decisions related to contributions.
The consistency, comparability, and transparency of the information reported by employers and governmental nonemployer contributing entities about OPEB transactions will be improved by requiring:
  • The use of a discount rate that considers the availability of the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position associated with the OPEB of current active and inactive employees and the investment horizon of those resources, rather than utilizing only the long-term expected rate of return regardless of whether the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position is projected to be sufficient to make projected benefit payments and is expected to be invested using a strategy to achieve that return
  • A single method of attributing the actuarial present value of projected benefit payments to periods of employee service, rather than allowing a choice among six methods with additional variations
  • Immediate recognition in OPEB expense, rather than a choice of recognition periods, of the effects of changes of benefit terms
  • Recognition of OPEB expense that incorporates deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to OPEB over a defined, closed period, rather than a choice between an open or closed period.




 


Unless otherwise specified, pronouncements of the GASB apply to financial reports of all state and local governmental entities, including general purpose governments; public benefit corporations and authorities; public employee retirement systems; and public utilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and colleges and universities. Paragraph 6 discusses the applicability of this Statement.