Deadline looms to address Birmingham retiree insurances hikes

Deadline looms to address Birmingham retiree insurances hikes

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The Birmingham council on Monday, August 18. Source: WBRC video The Birmingham council on Monday, August 18. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham councilors are trying to find an alternative to raising retirees' health insurance premiums.

In a special-called meeting on Monday night, council members tried to get some questions answered directly from members of the mayor's staff about the insurance programs the city offers.

The council said on September 1, the new, higher insurance rates will go into effect.

In order for that not to happen, this council will have to rescind a vote that approved the premium increase, and find roughly two million dollars somewhere in the budget to cover this shortfall, until a more permanent solution can be found for the next budget cycle.

The problem facing this council is where will that money come from. The council is looking to the Mayor's office for answers, but they feel they're not getting answers, only pieces of information.

On Monday night, the council felt they could not move forward, not knowing where this money will come from.

"We were prepared again to make a decision today but without the information we requested from the administration we cannot make a good, informed, educated decision, and I am not going to ask the council to do that," Council President Johnathan Austin said.

Last week, we told you that the city council was considering raising insurance premiums for city retires. The numbers first given were that individual coverage could go from $164 to $356 a month due a budget shortfall.

Officials say the amount budgeted for the premiums turned out to be $6 million more than was budgeted.

The council also discussed which insurance policy they may go with and some council members are leaning towards the value plan over the premium plan.

If they choose this route retirees would be responsible for 10 percent of any claims filed under major medical.

David Crews with the Fraternal Order of Police said retirees simply cannot afford that.

Reporter Christy Hutchings is following this story and will have more at 9. You can watch on air, online at FoxAlabamaLive.com or through the WBRC News app.

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