LeRoy Collins Institute: Florida Municipalities On The Hook For $7.5B In Unfunded Health Benefits

Apr 20, 2016

Credit LeRoy Collins Institute

Here's something for retirees to consider: A Florida policy think tank is out with its latest report on government obligations. The LeRoy Collins Institute says the Florida legislature should reconsider a mandate allowing municipal workers to hang on to their government-backed health benefits after they retire.

The LeRoy Collins Institute says Florida has about $7.5 billion in unfunded liabilities related to retiree health benefits. Most of that is because of explicit benefits—those government agreements giving additional stipends to retirees to further subsidize their health insurance.

“Those that provide an explicit benefit as well as an implicit, make up the majority of the C, D and F categories, says the institute's David Matkin. "And in fact, all the D and F categories are governments that are providing an explicit benefit."

The Institute ranked municipalities on an A-F scale. The study found more than 80 percent of cities and counties surveyed have health benefit systems that are in good shape. Most of the unfunded costs are coming from about eight percent of municipalities surveyed.

Matkin says the way municipalities present their liabilities should be more transparent.

“There should be some state oversight providing better information and aggregation of information and recognition of actuarial proceeses."

Matkin says it’s important for people to understand not just the numbers, but how they affect overall budgets. The Institute looked at the 100 largest cities, and all counties.