Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cost of Changing Health Insurance

San Angelo City Council approved a new plan design with much higher out-of-network costs for employees and retirees.  Changes will produce $483,000 in expected savings for 2012.  The City chose to share $197,000 with employees and hold the rest for a rainy day fund. 

During the discussion Mayor New clearly expressed his desire to move a portion of the savings to the City's capital budget.
After much discussion, New withdrew his motion.

Councilman Hirschfeld, happy to push 76% of increases to employees/retirees last year, motioned for the lion's share of this year's savings to remain with the City for future health insurance increases.

Councilwoman Farmer dressed down the Employee Committee for not informing council that employees face costs for new histories when they move to SACMC physicians.  As a "businesswoman" she should be embarrassed for raining on volunteer employees/retirees, when paid city management and HR staff steered key aspects of the RFP and council set budget parameters.  HR built the RFP in conjunction with City hired consultants.  Farmer let Harold, Lisa and Holmes Murphy skate, going after the little people.

City Manager Harold Dominguez controls what information goes on the agenda and what information is presented.  It's so orchestrated, that Harold has a separate room with employees yet to present, with an on deck circle. 

HR's Lisa Marley couldn't manage to file an ERRP claim, while other Texas cities got millions in reimbursement.  Her delays led to the City's current ERRP reimbursement uncertainty. 

Summing up, benefits did not stay the same.  The cost of changing doctors is significant from both an emotional and economic standpoint.  While they didn't go as far as taking health insurance savings and buying a new fire truck, Council once again looked uninformed and insensitive to the plight of employees and retirees.

Maybe they'll strike the right combination next year.  They'll have roughly $1 million to put to bear.

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