Sacramento County Evaluating Options on Retiree Benefits
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to postpone until May 17 a decision on whether to reduce medical and dental benefits for current and future retirees, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The supervisors were expected to vote on a county proposal to cut subsidies for retirement benefits for current employees and those who retired after June 29, 2003. Employees who retired before the cut-off date would receive the county contribution for at least one more year, according to the proposal.
The board on Tuesday told staff members to study the financial implications of three options in addition to the county proposal.
The options are:
- Continue to provide benefits without any changes;
- Extend the cut-off date from June 29, 2003, to May 31, 2007, allowing more time for employees considering retirement; or
- Extend the cut-off date to March 31 and terminate benefits at age 65, the eligibility age for Medicare (Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 1/31).
A summary of an editorial and opinion piece regarding the county's proposal appears below.
Sacramento Bee: The county's plan "makes sense only if all retirees have access to the county's cheaper group insurance rate," a Bee editorial states. Supervisors should also "do whatever they can to ensure that all county retirees have access to insurance that is affordable," the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 1/30).
- Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee: "The county can expect to be sued by retirees if the board adopts the staff recommendation," Weintraub writes in his Bee column. Retirees "would argue that even if the health care subsidy was never explicitly promised to them, they had a right to expect it after other retirees before them had received it for so many years," according to Weintraub. "The sooner the legal questions are resolved, the better it will be for retirees," Weintraub concludes (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 1/30).