Retirees upset about proposed changes to healthcare benefits - WNEM TV 5

Retirees upset about proposed changes to healthcare benefits

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Imagine working decades of your life planning for a secure retirement you can be comfortable in, just to have it taken away.

That's the reality some could face in Mid-Michigan as the county they worked for considers retiree health plan changes it said it never would.

"How can you even trust any official document from this organization if you already know they're not going to hold a promise now," said Bill Gutzwiller, retiree.

He is one of many concerned Saginaw County retirees. They learned proposed changes to their healthcare benefits could kick in Aug. 1.

County administrators call it a move to save money. Retirees call it a breach of a fairly negotiated contract between the county and its union employees.

"This is what you promised us. You know, for our future lives. And don't renege on this because you have lost all integrity, all ethics when you do something like this," Gutzwiller said.

Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman said the county retirees will be moved to a Medicare advantage plan. He said retiree concerns will ease once they learn about the plan's benefits.

"That all gets all played into a lot of stories and a lot of fear. And I think a lot of that will be relieved when they sit down with Blue Cross Blue Shield in June.

Gutzwiller said there shouldn't be any changes. He said their healthcare has already been agreed on through negotiation. Gutzwiller believes if the county if allowed to go back on its contract it will just open up the flood gates.

"For any current employees that sign their union contracts I wish you the best of luck if they're successful with doing this to us because you're next," Gutzwiller said.

A group meeting will be held for retirees on May 25 at the Service Employees International Union Hall on S. Michigan Avenue in Saginaw.

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