(BEDFORD) – During the Bedford City Council meeting, officials announced that health care coverage for City of Bedford employees, their families, as well as retirees may change this year.
Over the last several years the city has partially funded the health care insurance of its employees and retirees. In addition, the city has maxed out on insurance claims.
When the claims are high, the city has only two viable options – either increase its portion from the general fund or increase the employee’s premiums.
The city has used money from the general fund to pay a large portion of the employee’s health insurance over the last several years.
The main discussion on Monday night was how to address retiree health care coverage. The ordinance states that retirees can participate in the city’s group insurance plan at the sole expense of the retiree.
However, because of the way the plan is funded and the wording of the ordinance, the amount they would have to pay was vague.
The ordinance states that retirees would pay 100 percent of the cost to participate, but over the years retirees have paid the same amount as current employees.
In addition, is was discovered that retirees have come on and off the plan over the years. The new ordinance would set the timeframe in which a retiree would have to enroll. After that time, the retiree will not be able to be on the plan.
According to Mayor Sam Craig, in 2018 the city collected $46,000 from retirees for health insurance but paid out around $135,000 in claims.
The premiums for a single person is approximately $744 and may increase up to $849.
City Councilmember Dan Bortner asked about and discovered that there are a total of six retirees currently on the city’s health insurance plan.
The ordinance was voted on up to a second passage. However, the third and final passage was held up until retirees could express their feelings regarding the new plan.
City Councilmember Brad Bough abstained from voting on the ordinance because of a relative who is a Bedford Police officer.
City Councilmember Dan Bortner expressed that this big of a change to retirees who already planned out their retirement may cause a burden and he did not want to ‘pull the rug from out from under them’.
The ordinance dealing with current employees health insurance was placed on hold until the issue could be researched and considered further.
Renewal of insurance policies usually takes place around June of each fiscal year.