Huntington Beach Employees Ask City Officials To Reject Planned Increases in Health Insurance Payments
Huntington Beach employees have asked city officials to reject a planned increase in the amount that they will have to pay for health insurance next year, the Los Angeles Times reports. This summer, Huntington Beach officials and eight unions, which represent about 1,100 city employees, began negotiations on new contracts to replace those that will expire on Dec. 31. Huntington Beach officials plan to end the city's self-funded health insurance program, which has required $1 million in cash infusions in each of the last two years, and implement other programs and cost-control measures to reduce that amount that the city must pay for health coverage for employees; the city currently pays between $236 and $814 per month per employee for health insurance premiums this year. Huntington Beach officials plan to increase to $352 per month from $63 per month the amount that city employees must pay for family coverage in a health plan that allows them to select their own physicians and increase to $221 per month from $38 per month this year the amount that they must pay for a less-flexible health plan. Huntington Beach employees did not pay for health insurance before 2002.
According to Huntington Beach officials, the city cannot afford the recent "staggering" increases in the cost of health insurance for employees, the Times reports. "The costs of taking care of people is just becoming more and more expensive," Assistant City Administrator Bill Workman said. However, the eight unions have "balked" at the planned increases in the amount that Huntington Beach employees must pay for health insurance, the Times reports. Ray Whitmer, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 911, which represents the Huntington Beach Municipal Employees Association, said, "This is the most draconian proposal we've seen from a city. It's not hard to understand why employees are up in arms." The planned increases in the amount that Huntington Beach employees must pay for health insurance will take effect unless the city and the unions reach an agreement before the end of the month (Pasco, Los Angeles Times, 12/2).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.