The Board of Trustees at The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund heard from some of its members today who are angry and frustrated about changes in their health insurance benefits.

The pension fund is changing from a self-insured group plan to a system of stipends that allows retirees to buy their own insurance but only from within the insurers offered through the insurance broker Aon.

For some retirees, the change means the inconvenience of finding new doctors and new hospitals. 

For others, like Gary Church, it was the process that was so frustrating.

“It was basically pull up the screen and close your eyes and point to one because there was no information that I could find that was beneficial,” Church told the trustees during their monthly meeting Wednesday.

The pension fund determined that the current health benefit is unsustainable.

Board Chairman Timothy Patton called it a “math problem.”

Patton said that after a rocky start to the sign-up period, more than 21,000 members are now enrolled.

“Not everybody is happy and we know that,” Patton said. “But this change has allowed us to extend the healthcare solvency from seven or eight years out to at least 15 at this point. This choice was made for the benefit of all of our members.”

The pension fund says about 70 percent of retirees under the age of 65 and more than 80 percent of those over the age of 65 are enrolled in the new plans.