Longer lifespans could add to state pension costs

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OLYMPIA — A new report says that longer life spans for retiring state workers mean that costs of the state's pension plans are going to be higher than expected.

State Actuary Matt Smith says new money needs to be paid into pension funds to erase what now amounts to $4.4 billion in underfunding across all plans over the long haul, The Olympian reported Sunday.

The report to a legislative committee last week showed that those retiring today are living a year longer than the state's pension model has assumed, and that life expectancy will grow even more for those retiring in 2034 — under the new assumptions, men turning 65 today are estimated to live to 84.1 years and women to 86.4 years.

Lawmakers will ultimately decide how much money is needed and when.