Monday, September 05, 2011

COSA's "Know Nothing" ERRP Update

The September 6 meeting of City Council will entertain the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) for the first time as an agenda item.  Oddly, the agenda calls the presentation an "update."   

Pertinent portions of the City's ERRP "update" are below:

History: In June 2010, the City of San Angelo learned of the opportunity to apply for the ERRP and in July 2010, submitted an application for the program. Acceptance was received on August 31, 2010. Following the 2010 open enrollment period, the Human Resources Department worked to fulfill the requirements of processing a claim for ERRP funds. The sorting and reporting of “eligible” claims is daunting and HR is simply not staffed to handle the magnitude of work surrounding this program. In April 2011, an agreement was discussed with Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) to contract their services for this program. In May 2011 the agreement was signed. Since May 2011, no claims have been submitted to ERRP for funding due to a wide variety of reporting issues surrounded with BC/BS.

Financial Impact: Unknown at this time.

Flash back to November 2010, when this issue was first discussed with City Council.  The City hadn't planned to talk about ERRP and wouldn't have, but for Retired Police Chief Russell Smith's query:  The Standard Times wrote:

One looming question after Tuesday’s extensive city health insurance plan debate — the topic took up much of Tuesday’s City Council meeting — was whether reimbursements from the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program were included in the plan’s $1 million cost increase.

The answer is no, and will likely remain that way until the end of 2011, when the city is discussing its health insurance plan for 2012.

City Human Resources Manager Veronica Sanchez said Wednesday that the city doesn’t know exactly what claims would qualify or how much it will receive in reimbursements under the program,

Little changed in a year, except the City of San Angelo can't do what other Texas cities and BC/BS have been able to do, file an ERRP claim.  Note the ERRP "update" comes a year after the city was approved.  It's the first formal staff presentation to Council.  The topic got attention in November and December 2010 solely due to citizen comment.

As one commenter, I continued researching, reporting and writing opinion pieces on this topic.  My ERRP update differs from the city's in form and scope.  It's sad when a citizen provides the public more information than elected/paid leaders.

The program that shall "not be named" has transformed into the program that shall "not be understood."  Retirees well understand they'll bear the full brunt of any increases in 2012.  This comes after last year's premium beating.

Council's unstated perspective could well be "retirees, get a job."

Update 9-7-11: The Standard Times reported "City Human Resources and Risk Management Director Lisa Marley said the city has several claims “sitting there waiting to be processed” Sitting where?  At BC/BS or HHS?  The article continued, "She said the city is expecting to receive roughly $500,000 during both years of the program, an amount she said could make a sizable “dent” in health insurance premiums."  That dent should've been made in January 2011. 

No comments: