More than 700 retirees will notice changes to their healthcare - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

More than 700 retirees will notice changes to their healthcare plan

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(05/23/13) - More than 700 city of Saginaw retirees will notice changes to their health care benefits come July 1.

Those changes are bringing bigger health care expenses.

Retirees received a letter last week that states, in order to pay all retirees health care costs for current and future retirees, the city of Saginaw needs to come up with $211 million.

Ed Brown was an employee with the city of Saginaw for nearly 26 years. He left the city with high hopes when he retired in February of 2012.

"I have two children. I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. I would have never retired if it wasn't to lock in my healthcare retirement," he said.

When he received the letter last week stating that retired city employees will have to pay higher deductibles and prescription co- pays, Brown wasn't happy.

When he was the union president for the Saginaw city supervisors, he says his healthcare and others were negotiated.

"Unfair to everybody they negotiated with at the table, we negotiated in good faith. We signed an agreement in good faith and for them to take it away, just unfair," he said.

Council members and other city leaders say this type of change is necessary in order to pay all projected retiree healthcare.

Dennis Jordan, who's the director of employee services with the city, says this could save the city at least $3 million every year.

"The retirees won't have to participate in any premium contributions. They will be responsible for $500 deductible for an individual and co-pay, the plan will pay at 80 percent after that and up to $1,500 a year," he said.

Brown is concerned about the retirees who are living on a fixed income.

"They've worked their whole lives. They don't have the ability to go make more money," Brown said.

Some have even said that they would support a lawsuit against the city.

Jordan says there are going to be informational meetings next month - June 11, 14 and the 25.

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