Ventura Cuts Subsidies for Retirees’ Health Coverage
The Ventura City Council on Monday voted unanimously to eliminate by the end of 2008 $440,000 in increased health care subsidies for 140 retired city employees, the Ventura County Star reports.
The council did agree to pay half of the subsidy -- $220,000 -- next year. It is not yet clear how it will be distributed among retirees, but officials say it will be done in the "most equitable" manner.
If the City Council had voted to eliminate the full subsidy at the end of 2007 as recommended, monthly HMO premiums for retirees under 65 with no dependents would have increased from $302 to up to $529, according to city calculations.
Retirees supported phasing out the subsidy over four years.
The City Council last year agreed to restructure its current premiums in order to reduce its future health care liability, estimated at $5 million, the Star reports.
A special task force this spring assigned to identify a more affordable plan for retirees found a plan, called Exclusive Care Select, designed for public sector retirees. The plan offers three levels of benefits using Riverside County's hospital network and Blue Shield's nationwide network of hospitals and physicians.
Orange County soon plans to join, and other municipalities are considering it, Jenny Roney, Ventura's human resources director, said (Clerici, Ventura County Star, 8/1).