County retirees could lose some healthcare benefits under new pl - WNEM TV 5

County retirees could lose some healthcare benefits under new plan

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Healthcare costs could skyrocket for retired county employees who draw a pension.

It is part of a new plan being considered in one local county.

"To me personally it was very offensive," said Bill Gutzwiller, retiree.

He received a note from the Saginaw County Controllers Office with possible changes to the retired county employees insurance plans.

"No negotiation, no speaking with, just this is what's going to happen," Gutzwiller said.

The former police captain for Saginaw County is pushing back. He worked for the county for years and said they are taking advantage of the people who dedicated their lives to serving it.

"County retirees were sound. They did not have to worry about this," Gutzwiller said.

If approved, the changes include a new three tier drug plan, making name brand and specialty prescription drugs more expensive. Retired employees currently pay a $2 copay for all medication under the current plan.

"We are trying to keep is comparable to what they have. We don't want to take away from them," said Amy Deford, with Saginaw County benefits.

Deford handles all of the retirement plans and the benefits for the Saginaw County employees and said they are just trying to get a handle on the rising healthcare costs.

She said the county understands the concerns and if the proposed changes get approved the most a retiree would pay for a prescription is $80.

Gutzwiller said that is too much and he will fight to keep the benefits he worked for.

"It was a privilege to work for Saginaw County and a privilege to retire out. It is not a privilege to have these benefits we worked our entire lives for be taken away," Gutzwiller said.

The county plans to hold meetings to speak with pensioners before making a decision. The dates of those meetings have yet to be determined.

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