Bibb County commissioners want the new Macon-Bibb County government to take on a larger share of retirees health insurance costs than a consolidation task forces consultants recommend.
Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday night to keep employees premium payments at the level recommended by the task force, but also to reset retirees health insurance to those same rates. The task force consultants recommended that retirees pay a higher share. The change will cost about $150,000 a year.
County retirees and county employees would still pay more for health insurance than they do under the current county plans. Insurance consultants and human resources officials said county retirees and employees had been paying about 10 percent of the cost of their health care insurance.
Under the task forces plan, retirees in the new consolidated government would pay about 35 percent of their insurance, while employees would pay about 30 percent.
Rufus Holmes, a retired lieutenant from the Bibb County Sheriffs Office who is vice chairman of a county retirees association, praised commissioners for treating retirees fairly.
Well be treated the same as the employees. The employees are doubling, but then they turned around and were tripling it for us, Holmes told The Telegraph.
Commissioners voted to have individual retirees pay as little as a discounted $99 per month to $229.50. Family plans would run $473 to $662.50 per month. Those rates are identical to what employees would pay for a month.
BB&T Insurance Services, the insurance consultant for the consolidation task force, says retirees use more health care than employees.
County government retirees now pay as little as $33.67 per month for an individual with discounts. The most expensive family plan costs $461.64 per month.
In contrast, retirees from the city pay at least $192 per month for an individual, up to $1,058.50 for a family.
Enrollment in health care plans is supposed to start in mid-October. Macon City Council hasnt voted on the issue yet. The new Macon-Bibb County government would have to formally adopt rates in January.
County Administrator Steve Layson warned commissioners in a Thursday morning work session that theyll need to make the right decisions to save money or the new government will have to cut more jobs.
Commissioner Joe Allen said people could be forced into making their own hard choices, perhaps having to choose between buying food and paying for health insurance.
They might not have a job, Layson replied.
Allen said that for at least one county retiree, their pension checks will not even cover the insurance. An employee confirmed that was happening to a county retiree on a family health plan.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.