91
      Sunday
      95 / 76
      Monday
      93 / 75
      Tuesday
      92 / 74

      Birmingham City Council looking for solutions after retirees told insurance will double

      {}Retirees packed City Hall Thursday night - they want to know why their health insurance is more than doubling, but there aren't many answers. A special called meeting was aimed at looking {}for solutions. {}Councilors are calling this a crisis. Letters went out Friday telling former Birmingham city retirees their premiums and co-pays are rising - more than double the typical cost. Councilors spent the evening trying to figure out where the shortfall came and how to pay - an almost $5 million deficit. {}Hundreds of these Birmingham city retirees got letters last week - saying they'll be shelling out double for insurance. Under the single coverage plan, the monthly rate would go from $164 to $356."I think it was a lack of information," Steven Hoyt, Birmingham City Councilor said. "I requested a copy of the order. I requested the RFP - it would have given us an understanding of what we're asking these companies to provide. I think the fact that they deliberately went around the benefits committee and went before the budget and finance."The special called meeting became a battle ground for councilors and city administrators. Trying to figure out who's at fault and why there's a difference between insurance they thought they had and what they ended up with. Councilor Hoyt says the insurance decisions went to the wrong committee. Councilors say city employees didn't spend enough time talking insurance in meetings - now it's creating a crisis. {}"We negotiated premiums down between the administration and employees to an incremental increase expecting you to bring us a solution," Kim Rafferty, City Councilor said."I don't think you do that to people who stuck with you through thick and thin," LaShunda Scales, City Councilor said.Councilor Hoyt says the aim now is to find that $4.9 million deficit somewhere in the fund balance so the burden doesn't fall on taxpayers, current employees, or retirees. They're set to take up the topic again during the next council meeting on Tuesday.
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