Orange County Deputy Sheriff’s Union Will Disclose Costs of Health Coverage
The continuing debate over Orange County's health insurance payments for its deputy sheriffs "escalated" this week as two county supervisors "demanded" that the union that represents the deputies disclose how much it spends on health care, the Los Angles Times reports. Supervisors Chris Norby and Chuck Smith asked what portion of the county's contribution for deputies' health benefits -- which the Board of Supervisors last week approved at $620 per month for each of the 1,805 employees, totaling $13.4 million annually -- was spent on the actual cost of health insurance and how much was used for other costs, such as administration, brokers fees and union costs. Norby said, "We shouldn't just be handing [the union] money without any accountability," adding, "We have to understand these costs, and right now we don't." Robert MacLeod, general manager of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, said that the union would provide the requested information Wednesday. Under the current contract, the union must provide the board with information about the cost of its health care premiums, increases in rates per carrier and the beginning and ending cash balance for the union's health care fund. The board voted down an earlier proposal calling for an audit of the union health fund.
Smith said that the board asked for disclosure of the costs "months ago," but the union declined to provide the information, the Times reports. Union officials declined to disclose the information in last week's board meeting but noted that the annual cost of providing coverage through the three health plans that the union offered was $6 million less than providing coverage through the county plans. However, board members said that providing health coverage for deputies was less expensive than coverage for other employees because deputies typically are younger, more fit and usually retire by age 50 (Pasco, Los Angles Times, 11/5).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.