WNEM TV5 Investigates: Health Benefits For Life? 11-04-2010 - WNEM TV 5

WNEM TV5 Investigates: Health Benefits For Life? 11-04-2010

People in Mid-Michigan are outraged after discovering some counties are shoveling out millions of dollars to pay for county retirees' health care benefits.
"As it is right now, I don't have health care. Nothing. So when I go to the doctor I pay out the wazoo for medical bills," said resident Lisa Maddox. “I'm a little frustrated with that because if I can't get health care, and I’m paying for somebody else's, that is a little frustrating."
In Saginaw County, TV5 found the board has budgeted $5.2 million to cover health care cost for 437 retirees.
TV5 spoke with many disgruntled tax payers who were a little unhappy with that price tag, while others say you worked for it, that's your right to get those lifetime benefits.
"That's part of putting your time in and serving in your job is getting the coverage you looked for when you took that job," said Saginaw County resident Ginger McInnis.
The county controller admitted footing that bill is draining the budget. He says county officials met with retirees to inform them changes need to be made to the pricey plan. For instance, the controller told us the county could save $2 million if the retirees agreed to use generic drugs.
The numbers in Saginaw County were startling once we discovered this year Bay County only paid $963,311 for about 200 retirees to have benefits.
In Bay County, they have time served measures in place. Meaning if you retire after 10 years the county pays 50 percent of your benefits. If you work 20 or more years, the county chips in 85 percent for the retirees health care.

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