Deficit Pushes Contra Costa County To Rework Retiree Health Benefits
On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors endorsed a plan to cut health benefits for about 1,100 nonunion county employees and retirees, the Contra Costa Times reports. The move is intended to help the county address its projected $2.6 billion deficit for retiree health benefits over 30 years.
The supervisors said the county would no longer contribute to retirement health care premiums for those hired after this year, and new hires would be released from the county health plan when they reach the age of 65 and become eligible for Medicare.
In addition, the plan calls for capping the county's health care subsidy for retirees by 2010 and creating a task force to analyze the option of providing other health care benefits for employees.
County Administrator John Cullen and the supervisors said the plan would reduce the projected deficit by 40% over the next 30 years. Without it, supervisors warned that county services would have to be reduced.
The nonunion employees who would be affected by the proposal said the board was using them as "pawns" in negotiations with unions representing more than half of the county's 8,500 employees, the Times reports.
Some nonunion employees said they would organize in opposition to the proposal (Simerman, Contra Costa Times, 4/15).