Statement No. 74
Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans
The objective of this Statement is to improve the usefulness of information about postemployment benefits other than pensions (other postemployment benefits or OPEB) included in the general purpose external financial reports of state and local governmental OPEB plans for making decisions and assessing accountability. 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 Statements No. 43, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans, as amended, and No. 57, OPEB Measurements by Agent Employers and Agent Multiple-Employer Plans. It also includes requirements for defined contribution OPEB plans that replace the requirements for those OPEB plans in Statement No. 25, Financial Reporting for Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Note Disclosures for Defined Contribution Plans, as amended, Statement 43, and Statement No. 50, Pension Disclosures.
Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, establishes new accounting and financial reporting requirements for governments whose employees are provided with OPEB, as well as for certain nonemployer governments that have a legal obligation to provide financial support for OPEB provided to the employees of other entities.
The scope of this Statement includes OPEB plans—defined benefit and defined contribution—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, and the OPEB plan administrator. If the plan is a defined benefit OPEB plan, plan assets also are legally protected from creditors of the plan members.
Defined Benefit OPEB Plans
Defined Benefit OPEB Plans That Are Administered through Trusts That Meet the Specified Criteria
Financial Statements For defined benefit OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria, this Statement requires two financial statements—a statement of fiduciary net position and a statement of changes in fiduciary net position.
In addition to the requirements of this Statement, those plans also are required to follow all accounting and financial reporting requirements of other standards, as applicable.
Notes to Financial Statements
This Statement requires that notes to financial statements of all defined benefit OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria include descriptive information, such as the types of OPEB provided, the classes of plan members covered, and the composition of the OPEB plan’s board. Such OPEB plans also are required to disclose information about OPEB plan investments, including the OPEB plan’s investment policies, concentrations of investments with individual organizations equaling or exceeding 5 percent of the OPEB plan’s fiduciary net position, and the annual money-weighted rate of return on OPEB plan investments. Other required note disclosures include information about contributions, reserves, and allocated insurance contracts.
For single-employer and cost-sharing OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria, the following information also is required to be disclosed:
- Information about 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
- Significant assumptions and other inputs used to measure the total OPEB liability and information about the sensitivity of the measure of the net OPEB liability to changes in the discount rate and changes in the healthcare cost trend rate.
All defined benefit OPEB plans are required to present in required supplementary information a schedule covering each of the 10 most recent fiscal years that includes the annual money-weighted rate of return on OPEB plan investments for each year.
For single-employer and cost-sharing OPEB plans, the following information for each of the 10 most recent fiscal years is required to be presented as required supplementary information:
- Sources of changes in the net OPEB liability
- Information about 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.
In addition, all OPEB plans, including agent OPEB plans, are required to explain certain factors that significantly affect trends in the amounts reported in the schedules of required supplementary information, such as changes of benefit terms, changes in the size or composition of the population covered by the benefit terms, or the use of different assumptions.
Measurement of the Net OPEB Liability
This Statement requires the net OPEB liability to be measured as the 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 an OPEB plan has fewer than 100 plan members (active and inactive), use of a specified alternative measurement method in place of an actuarial valuation is permitted. Actuarial valuations, or calculations using the specified alternative measurement method, of the total OPEB liability are required to be performed at least every two years, with more frequent valuations or calculations encouraged. If a valuation or calculation is not performed as of the OPEB plan’s fiscal year-end, 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 24 months prior to the OPEB plan’s fiscal year-end). Unless otherwise specified by this Statement, all assumptions underlying the determination of the total OPEB liability are required to be made in conformity with the guidance in 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 OPEB plan’s fiscal year-end. For purposes of evaluating the benefit terms, consideration is required to be given to the written plan document, as well as additional information, including other communications between the employer and plan members and an established pattern of practice with regard to the sharing of benefit-related costs with inactive plan members. 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 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 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 plan member 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 plan member individually, from the period when the plan member first provides service under the benefit terms through the period in which the member is assumed to exit 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 OPEB plans in which there are fewer than 100 plan members (active and inactive). 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 so that the method potentially could be applied by nonspecialists.
Assets Accumulated for Purposes of Providing OPEB through Defined Benefit OPEB Plans That Are Not Administered through Trusts That Meet the Specified Criteria
This Statement requires that, for accounting and financial reporting purposes, assets accumulated for purposes of providing OPEB through OPEB plans that are not administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria not be accounted for as OPEB plan assets. Instead, any assets accumulated for OPEB purposes are required to be reported as assets of the employer or nonemployer contributing entity.
If an OPEB plan is not administered through a trust that meets the specified criteria, a government that holds assets accumulated for OPEB purposes in a fiduciary capacity is required to report those assets in an agency fund. The amount of assets accumulated in excess of liabilities for benefits due to plan members and accrued investment and administrative expenses is required to be reported as a liability to participating employers or nonemployer contributing entities. If the agency fund is included in the financial report of an employer whose employees are provided with benefits through the OPEB plan or a nonemployer contributing entity that makes benefit payments as OPEB comes due, balances reported by the agency fund are required to exclude amounts that pertain to the employer or nonemployer contributing entity that reports the agency fund.
Defined Contribution OPEB Plans That Are Administered through Trusts That Meet the Specified Criteria
In the notes to financial statements, defined contribution OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria are required to disclose the classes of plan members covered; the number of plan members, participating employers, and, if any, nonemployer contributing entities; and the authority under which the OPEB plan is established or may be amended.
Effective Date and Transition
This Statement is effective for financial statements for fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2016. Earlier application is encouraged.
How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting
The requirements of this Statement will improve financial reporting primarily through enhanced note disclosures and schedules of required supplementary information that will be presented by OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the specified criteria. The new information will enhance the decision-usefulness of the financial reports of those OPEB plans, their value for assessing accountability, and their transparency by providing information about measures of net OPEB liabilities and explanations of how and why those liabilities changed from year to year. The net OPEB liability information, including ratios, will offer an up-to-date indication of the extent to which the total OPEB liability is covered by the fiduciary net position of the OPEB plan. The comparability of the reported information for similar types of OPEB plans will be improved by the changes related to the attribution method used to determine the total OPEB liability. The contribution schedule will provide measures to evaluate decisions related to the assessment of contribution rates in comparison with actuarially determined rates, if such rates are determined. In addition, new information about rates of return on OPEB plan investments will inform financial report users about the effects of market conditions on the OPEB plan’s assets over time and provide information for users to assess the relative success of the OPEB plan’s investment strategy and the relative contribution that investment earnings provide to the OPEB plan’s ability to pay benefits to plan members when they come due.
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. Paragraphs 5–8 discuss the applicability of this Statement.