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Center For Excellence to Fund Analysis of Michigan State Retiree Health Care Reforms
Date:11/15/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for State and Local Government Excellence has awarded a $14,000 grant to the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) at Michigan State University to help the state identify solutions to the state's unfunded retiree health care liability.

Michigan has future unfunded retiree health care obligations exceeding $20 billion. To help policy leaders develop thoughtful solutions, IPPSR will examine models in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, to gather information on how those states are structuring their retiree health programs so they are competitive in attracting and retaining talented employees.

In July 2007, the Michigan House of Representatives formed the Committee on Retiree Health Care Reforms to find strategies to address this unfunded liability. The Committee is also charged with recommending more efficient health plan options for retired employees of Michigan's public schools, the state, state police, judiciary, and the legislature.

The research project will provide a framework for decision makers to evaluate health care reform options. It will include structured interviews with policymakers, financial experts, and employee association leaders. Michigan State University researchers will develop and test analytic tools designed to clearly present the scope of benefits, administrative costs, financial impact on beneficiaries, prescription drug costs, and the relationship of state plans to Medicare (Part B- physician, C- advantage, and D - drugs).

"All states are grappling with the critical issues surrounding retiree health care benefits," said Center Executive Director Elizabeth K. Kellar. "Taking steps now to develop thoughtful solutions will pay dividends in the years ahead. This research will help Michigan leaders identify promising strategies and eliminate strategies that have not worked well."

The Center awarded two other grants earlier this year: to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College to establish a data clearinghouse on state and local pension plans and explore their funding status and economic impact, and to North Carolina State to assess the status of state and local government health care benefits, alternative plans and approaches, and costs and estimated future liabilities.

About the Center for State and Local Government Excellence

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence supports efforts to make state and local governments knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain a skilled and committed workforce. The Center identifies best practices and conducts research on competitive employment practices, workforce development, pensions, retiree health security, and financial planning. Please visit http://www.slge.org for more information.

About Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research

The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) is the nonpartisan policy network at Michigan State University. Housed within the College of Social Science, the institute is dedicated to connecting legislators, scholars and practitioners through survey, evaluation and applied research, public forums, and political leadership instruction. Visit http://www.ippsr.msu.edu for more information.


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SOURCE The Center for State and Local Government Excellence
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