New health care costs for City of Memphis employees

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City of Memphis employees will be doing some budget adjusting of their own now that City Council dumped a 24-percent health care cost increase in their laps,  the first hike in four years.

“Keep in mind that increase also hits the city coffers because the total premiums are split roughly 70/30,” Memphis Human Resources Director Quintin Robinson said.

Robinson made the comments before the City Council vote Tuesday, but he says despite the 24-percent bump and cuts to retiree benefits, the city’s offerings are still among the best around.

We checked it out.

With a 24 percent increase in health care costs, a city worker under the basic family plan will go from paying $344 a month for health insurance to about $426, about 30 percent of the entire cost.

Single employees pay less, and the Premier Plans cost a little more.

Click here to see the full chart.

By comparison, Shelby County Government workers pay $235 a month for their present standard family coverage. Nashville workers pay $375 a month.

Both are about 25 percent of the entire cost,  so just a little less than Memphis.

Some city retirees are now wondering if all their work paid off.

“We are just getting by now on what he brings home now, so what are we gonna do,” Barbara and Grandville Cleveland told us.

They’re worried what the changes mean for them. Grandville retired from the Memphis Fire Department 27 years ago.

Some retired workers will have to pay the full 100 percent to stay on their current plan or find other options, such as Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, to fill the gap.

“They don’t care anything about the retirees but next year is an election year. One thing I know how to do is campaign against somebody,” Barbara said.

The idea is for those retirees who have other options for health care to use them.

All of this is projected to save millions of dollars.

Add on the $3 million the city is saving by no longer covering some spouses and the $700,000 dollars to be generated from an increased surcharge to smokers, there will be millions going to restore the city pension.

The city says some premiums paid by employees haven’t increase since 2011. In the private sector, premiums often go up every year.

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