Judge: Sacramento Retirees Not Entitled to Permanent Subsidies
Last week, a U.S. district court judge ruled that retired Sacramento County employees have no right to permanent health care subsidies offered by the county, the Sacramento Bee reports.
In 2010, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors cut health care subsidies for retirees by $100 per month -- from $244 to $144 -- in an attempt to reduce costs. In 2011, the board reduced the subsidies to a maximum of $80.64 per month.
The subsidies help pay for medical and dental care.
The Sacramento County Retired Employees Association and six individuals filed a lawsuit against the county in 2011, challenging the reductions and proposals to end the subsidies. The group argued that there is an implied contract guaranteeing retirees a minimum level of continued coverage based on the long history of such subsidies being offered.
Details of Ruling
In a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller rejected the association's claims, saying that the group was unable to prove the existence of "an explicit contract" guaranteeing ongoing health care subsidies.
Mueller wrote, "The undisputed evidence shows that, although the Board (of Supervisors) consistently ordered the subsidy to be paid over a period of time, it did so by adopting a policy, not a ... contract."
County Counsel John Whisenhunt said the decision officially closes the case unless the association decides to file an appeal (Walsh, Sacramento Bee, 10/6).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.