Shafting The Older City Workers - And Response (2)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

City officials argued two years ago they could not afford retirement health insurance benefits for older employees.


In July 2010, City Council members voted unanimously to pull the rug out from under older city workers with up to 25 years of service, and voted to discontinue retirement health insurance benefits.



Interestingly enough, the health insurance benefits taken from older workers are now proposed to expand to non-employees.  


What about the rights of the older workers just two years ago?


Imagine, working 24 years for a benefit promised to you, and bam your employer takes it.  That is precisely what the City Council did to older city workers just two years ago.


Prior to the city’s vote to strip retirement health insurance benefits from older workers, the retirement health insurance benefits would convert to a Medicare supplement for older retirees at age 65. This was a defined worker benefit to supplement Medicare.  


As a former caregiver of elderly parents, I can tell you that Medicare has gaps larger than the Grand Canyon. Filling that gap is very costly. Ok that was two years ago, the city argued they could not afford to continue the retirement health insurance promised to them for 24 years. 


I would like to know what has changed in the city’s financial condition where they can now expand the same health insurance benefits they voted to take from older workers.


Chattanooga government presented the following data to City Council earlier this year.


Medical Cost History:  City of Chattanooga

Year                                       Taxpayer Cost

2008                                       $24,855,880

2009                                       26,162,286

2010                                        28,426,310

2011                                        27,771,824

2012                                        33,133,799

Projected 2013                   37,902,224


The  city Finance Department reported that the city had increased health insurance benefits of over $10 million in just six years. 


What has changed in the health care costs?


If anyone is being shafted here, it is the older workers of the city of Chattanooga. They are actual employees that worked for the benefit.


1)      Why is the city of Chattanooga expanding health insurance benefits to non-employees, when just two years ago, two of the same council members voted to strip retirement health care benefits from older workers. Did the city have a financial windfall, what changed? 

2)      What about the actual employees that lost the retirement health insurance?  Is this fair to them? 

3)      Proponents of the health care benefits expansion claim that the the actuary of the health insurance is actually lowered by their enrollment.  Can the public see these calculations? 

Are we just supposed to ignore what the city did to older workers just 24 months ago, or the $10 million in increased costs? 


April Eidson   

* * * 

I strongly agree with the opinion regarding Chattanooga city employees - they were promised for years and years regarding insurance benefits at a most difficult transition period in their lives. Twenty years plus persons, some within days of the benefit, were told by the Littlefield regime that they were no longer entitled to the promised benefit. This is a shame.   

Take care of these people first. Restore what was promised to them and then consider benefits to others. How can the city abandon what is right for the deserving employees and turn around and consider this benefit for non-employees?  If you can afford both then do so. If you can't what is right for those employees that put in the time, put in the work, and put in the years.   

How can you have trust when you can see it can so easily turn into a lie? 

Larry Turner

* * * 

Let's face it.  The city is pushing an agenda regardless of whether or not it makes sense financially or in any other way.  They want to promote homosexual, transgender, lesbian, etc. rights.  This administration has made that very clear in some of their other policies, so this should not be a surprise.  

People can argue against this policy of expanding health care benefits from all different angles but it will go unheeded because they are going to push this agenda no matter what. 

They are on a mission.  

Joyce Hague

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