Summary of Statement No. 57

Statement No. 57
OPEB Measurements by Agent Employers and Agent Multiple-Employer Plans
(Issued 12/09)

The objective of this Statement is to address issues related to the use of the alternative measurement method and the frequency and timing of measurements by employers that participate in agent multiple-employer other postemployment benefit (OPEB) plans (that is, agent employers).

This Statement amends Statement No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, to permit an agent employer that has an individual-employer OPEB plan with fewer than 100 total plan members to use the alternative measurement method, at its option, regardless of the number of total plan members in the agent multiple-employer OPEB plan in which it participates. Consistent with this change to the employer-reporting requirements, this Statement also amends a Statement No. 43, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans, requirement that a defined benefit OPEB plan obtain an actuarial valuation. The amendment permits the requirement to be satisfied for an agent multiple-employer OPEB plan by reporting an aggregation of results of actuarial valuations of the individual-employer OPEB plans or measurements resulting from use of the alternative measurement method for individual-employer OPEB plans that are eligible.

In addition, this Statement clarifies that when actuarially determined OPEB measures are reported by an agent multiple-employer OPEB plan and its participating employers, those measures should be determined as of a common date and at a minimum frequency to satisfy the agent multiple-employer OPEB plan’s financial reporting requirements.

How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting

The requirements in this Statement will allow more agent employers to use the alternative measurement method to produce actuarially based information for purposes of financial reporting. As a result of this change, the cost of compliance with the requirements of Statement 45 for eligible agent employers may be reduced while achieving an appropriate balance between the goals of reliable measurement of reported information and reasonable cost. In addition, the clarification that OPEB measures reported by agent multiple-employer OPEB plans and their participating employers should be determined at the same minimum frequency and as of a common date will improve the consistency of reporting with regard to funded status and funding progress information.

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 4 discusses the applicability of this Statement.