Health care changes are coming for more than 1,000 Genesee County retirees

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GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (2/19/2020) - Major changes are on the horizon for more than 1,000 former Genesee County workers.

There are mixed feelings from retirees about what's to come.

Rising costs are putting the squeeze on the county's budget, forcing administrators to take a hard look at their bottom line. Retirees are now questioning if they'll have to pay more for less coverage.

"We've been promised things. We had contracts that indicated certain issues and concerns. I know when I retired, it was with the idea of freezing my benefits, so that I wouldn't lose them or change them. And now, we're here being told they're going to be changed," said retiree Mark Jagos.

More than 1,000 former county workers will have to make some tough choices if they have to pick out another policy.

"We all have maybe some special needs. And drug costs or medical costs maybe some plans don't cover," said retiree representative Jeff Cyphart.

One of the big problems is Genesee County is spending more than $14 million on insurance premiums, while retiree contributions amount to around $200,000 a year.

Consulting firm Plante Moran was hired to identify ways the county could more effectively control costs while still providing former workers with good medical benefits.

While nothing has been finalized, former employees are wondering just what the hit could be to their bank accounts.

"It's going to be what will filter out over the next few weeks and months to determine exactly what those plans will be," Jagos said.

Total savings by switching medical insurance could save the Genesee County as much as a $3.5 million per year.

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