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Pew Study Finds States Face $2.73 Trillion Bill for Retiree Benefits

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States have promised at least $2.73 trillion in pension, healthcare, and other retirement benefits for public employees over the next three decades, according to a December report by The Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States. The states' long-term price tag for retiree health care and other nonpension benefits is about $381 billion for state employees alone (excluding obligations for teachers and other local government workers). Among other promising approaches, at least 13 states have set up irrevocable trusts to pay for retiree health care in years to come. And for nonpension benefits, some states are increasing premiums and copays and raising the number of years of employment required for lifetime or fully subsidized benefits, among other reforms.

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