Court Sides Against Cuts to Sacramento County’s Retiree Health Subsidies
On Thursday, theÂ Third District Court of Appeal denied Sacramento County's request to review a labor board decision that barred the county from eliminating health insurance subsidies for retired county workers, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Several years ago, county officials attempted to end retiree health subsides for county workers who retired after May 31, 2007. The move prompted unions to file unfair labor practice charges asserting that the county could not unilaterally cancel such benefits.
In June 2009, the Public Employment Relations Board ruled in favor of the unions. The county then petitioned the appeals court to review the decision.
Implications, Next Steps
Thursday's court decision could require the county to repay as much as $450,000 in benefits and interest to the affected retirees, according to county estimates.
In addition, the ruling might affect a recent board of supervisors' decision to reduce monthly subsidies for retirees still receiving the benefits. Unions have opposed the recent subsidy cut but agreed to postpone any legal challenges until the appeals court ruled on the earlier case.
County attorneys say they will need to evaluate whether the latest appellate court decision will affect other subsidy adjustments.County Counsel Robert Ryan said the county also might consider bringing its petition to the state Supreme Court (Lewis, Sacramento Bee, 3/12). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.