R.I. behind on funding post-employment benefits, but better than rest of region

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s “other post-employment benefit liabilities,” which typically consist of retiree health plans, are only 16.5 percent funded, still the highest in New England, according to S&P Global Ratings.

The Dec. 4 report found that of states with OPEB liabilities, only six had OPEB-liability funding greater than 30 percent for state workers.

Rhode Island ranked No. 13 in the country for its OPEB liability funded ratio.

Rhode Island’s total OPEB liability was reported to be $770 million as of June 2016, of which $643 million was unfunded.

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Rhode Island’s net unfunded OPEB liability per capita was $607, less than half of the median U.S. unfunded liability per capita at $1,296 and U.S. average at $1,777 per capita.

The report also noted Rhode Island was contributing 100 percent of its annual required contribution at $53 million per year – the sixth-highest OPEB contribution as a percentage of annual required contribution in the country.