GASB Publishes Other Post-Employment Benefits Implementation Guide

The Governmental Accounting Standard Board (GASB) published a Guide to Implementation of GASB Statements 43 and 45 on Other Postemployment Benefits last week. The Guide assists preparers and auditors or governmental financial statements and their advisers in implementing accounting and reporting standards recently issued by the GASB regarding healthcare and other non-pension benefits for retirees.

The Guide Answers more than 250 questions about important topics related to other post-employment benefits (OPEB), including:

  • Scope and applicability of Statements 43 and 45, including distinguishing between OPEB and other forms of employees benefits – such as compensated absences, termination benefits and pensions.
  • Actuarial issues, including the timing and frequency of actuarial valuations associated with OPEB, selection of methods and assumptions, and application of criteria related to the projections of benefits for employers that participate in community-rated plans.
  • Treatment of implicit rate subsidies that arise when retirees are insured in a group with current employees.

The Guide also includes questions, answers and expanded illustrations related to the option for certain employers and plans with small plan memberships, allowing them to apply an alternative measurement method to estimate liabilities and expenses associated with their OPEB obligations.

Statement No. 43, Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other than Pension Plans addresses accounting by plans that administer OPEB. Statement 43 will be implemented in three phases, starting with fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2005, and based on the revenues of the plan’s largest participating employer.

Statement No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions establishes accounting and reporting requirements for state and local government employers providing OPEB. Statement 45 will also be implemented in three phases, however, implementation will not start until 2006.

The Implementation Guide is available from the GASB order department at 800-748-0659 or the GASB web site at www.gasb.org.

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