City retirees concerned over proposed health care change - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City retirees concerned over proposed health care change

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Retired Memphis workers and family members of those killed while serving our city are worried about a proposal that could reduce their benefits.

Wednesday, City of Memphis announced a proposal that would move health care benefits of those people into a private exchange medical plan.

"We cannot afford to pay these premiums. We just can't," Donna Kirk said. Kirk is a widow of a Memphis firefighter who died while putting out a fire at a Memphis dollar store in 2003.

She and many other people in her position are afraid of the private exchange.

I'm looking at an additional $6,200-7,500 a year out of my "own pocket," Kirk said.

Supporters of the city's plan said it is actually a good thing. They think it will help the city recruit and train more employees.

Supporters also said the private exchange will give the beneficiaries more health care options.

"Really what we are allowing for is people to talk with a benefits counselor and get a customized support and understanding about the best health care option for them," Memphis' chief human resources officer, Alexandria Smith, said.

Thomas Malone heads up the Memphis Firefighters Union, and he said the new proposed plans are just not clear. 

"I have no clue what to tell our people about what they're getting for the money," Malone said.

Retirees have until next Monday to give feedback. The Mayor will make a decision on the proposal by October 25th.

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