Birmingham retirees will pay 30 percent more for health insurance

It will cost some of Birmingham's former city employees more money for healthcare. The city's retired workers will see a double-digit increase on their insurance premiums next month. The rates will go up 30%.

Advocates for the retirees call the increase a problem especially for those on a fixed income. A city councilman told ABC 33/40 what the council passed is not good.

People who retired from the city of Birmingham learned the cost of their insurance premiums won't double as some thought. But, the retirees aren't ready to stop watching their bank accounts.

"The problem we have with that is we only have a value plan and the deductibles on these retirees will go up," said Birmingham Fire Fighters Association President Don Baker.

Members of the Birmingham City Council approved a 30% hike.

"It's not what we asked for, but the real problem I have is all of this has been done without factual financial accounting numbers given to anybody to make this decision," added Baker.

The council faced a $5M shortfall. Councilors considered freezing positions, laying off employees and changing the type of insurance offered to retirees

Councilors Sheila Tyson and Steve Hoyt did not vote for the rate increase.

"What it tells me if they don't care about the city employees. They don't care about the retirees. All they care about is their own agenda. They find money every Tuesday for whatever they want to do, but can't find it from their employees," said Fraternal Order of Police President David Crews.

The people affected wanted to see the numbers supporting the budget deficit.

"Nobody could come up with the answers we wanted. They knew what they wanted. They took the money out of the budget. They knew they took the money out before the budget and put the increased costs on the backs of the employees. It is sad," added Crews.

"It saddens me, immensely, because I know I am the one that has choices. But, some of these folks don't have choices," said Councilman Steve Hoyt.

Councilman Hoyt has three jobs and knows the importance of working hard at one.

"You don't work for the city, give 30 years of your service and somehow realize you are not going to be taken care of when you retire. That's not right," added Hoyt.

Some of the retirees told ABC 33/40 the premiums are tolerable for the one-person plans, but get pricey on the plans including dependents.