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New health care costs for City of Memphis employees

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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.


  • What did you say

    April, please pretend to be a journalist and find out which premiums haven’t increased. Mine has increased every year. Let me repeat, every single year.

    • Ed

      A bold face lie as usual from Wharton and his cronies. They raised the employees insurance . check me out and you will see im telling t
      He truthrates twice in 2013. One and a half percent in jan 2013 and once and a half percent in dec 2013

      • Ed

        This auto type totally messed up my response. Check into my allegation and you’ll see I’m telling the truth unlike that liar Wharton and little. Two increases in 2013. Please investigate and call them out on their lies.

      • What did you say

        Ed, WREG doesn’t believe in the truth. They never told the truth about obamacare. NEVER. They lied all the way.
        What the city has done, like the VA(government insurance) has just proven that there are death panels.

    • John T. Dwyer

      “The philosophy of the City of Memphis is to provide the best possible, most cost effective services to the citizens within it’s confines. In order to provide these services, it calls for hiring the best people to provide it.
      In seeking these people, a plan has to be presented to them in order to entice and retain them. This plan has to be better than the private sector. It must provide for the security, safety, and at times, the comfort of these workers and their families, in order to retain them.”
      ….Edward Hull Crump

      At one time, the City of Memphis was the best place to work second only to the United States Post Office. It had the best health insurance, the best retirement system, and the best benefits around. Not even the mighty Federal Express, Holiday Inn, or International Paper has ever come as close to taking care of it’s workers as the City did.
      Over the years, political intrigues, misguided, misinformed leadership, and just plain old asleep at the wheel attitudes, changed all of that. Political leaders with a so called “plantation management” attitude, changed the attitudes of the employees.
      Union formations, strikes, EEOC, Federal Consent Decrees, etc., came about and changed the landscape. The City went from self insured for employees to “Blue-M” insurance to Blue Cross at reasonable/cheap cost and now, outside corporate entities like CIGNA, Untied Health and others which are strictly profit oriented. The bottom line is these changes all came about as a result of mistreatment and unfair management practices which had no oversight at all.

      Now we have the “Piper” demanding his payment! It won’t just be some director of services receiving this hike in premium, nor some political stooge/hack appointee in charge of weedeaters or cultural religious “whatever it is”.
      It will be the little guys you see cutting the grass, cleaning out a sewer drain, patching a pot hole with hot asphalt on a 100 degree day, picking up a stinking, leaky fly infested load of garbage!

      This situation can be turned around rather easily. However, it will take some time. Re-Read Mr. Crump’s statement and you will find the formula for it. At one time, any city employee, and I mean ANY, would throw rocks at you if you tried to lure them away to another job.

      I’d bet my father’s name on the front of City Hall it could be that way again!

    • takenobull

      No mention in the article of the retired employee who lives on a 1500 dollar pension paying all of it for health insurance.

    • Richard Holmes

      Ask ANY retiree from City of Memphis and they will tell you the premiums go up each and EVERY year. They go up more than the annual retirement percentage increase, ergo sum you LOSE $$ each year. Do your blooming research!!!!

  • momtojsb

    Hell, the premium + 24% is still MUCH less than what most are paying for basic, and I do mean VERY basic coverage, and like you said “What”, those premiums go up EVERY year, sometimes twice. In other words, it is what it is.

    • What did you say

      So, you are saying you pay more than $1,700 a month for insurance? I call you a liar. My insurance will increase from $400.00 to $1,700 a month, according to the above chart. Please stay up and don’t drink the kool-aid.

  • Looking for another job

    Size by side comparison is a false representation. The private sector moves and promotes as well as grants raises to their employees. I’m lucky to get the 4.6 back well there it just went and then some. Now I will pay more for the family plan for me and my child as well as now buy a separate police for my wife through here work. All while being stuck at a patrolman pay grade for a minimum of 15 years. I do t want to pull the hero line but I will say I joined the department with benefits as an in incentive and now they are slipping away. I chose this place over other departments. Now after 12 years I’m looking elsewhere. I fear for the working “professional” that’s going to settle for such benefits. Sorry memphis as much as I love you I can’t do it any more.

  • Looking for another job

    Lol sorry posting from phone. I’m not illiterate as you would expect from an MPD officer.


    I want my one thousand dollars a month stipend like AC gave the garbage men. He and the council had no right to give them a stipend because they were too stupid to go with the pension. Their stipend will pay for their increase in insurance. Where is our stipend? It is only fair. We are Men and Women, also.

  • Mike

    I don’t live Memphis anymore (and glad) by if I did & worked for thr city my question is how much did the city coucil give up if any. By the way Memphis has been run in the pass they most likely didn’t give up anything

    • Fred

      No they gave up nothing. Wharton still riding around smiling in the 1200 mo caddy with the 100k year driver. Why we’re on the subject why is George little driving home a new Chrysler 300 company car with free city gas. Is he gonna get called in? Why is quinton Robinson driving home a new company car with free city gas. Is he gonna get called in? And as for 426 a month city vs 235 a month county, that’s not “just a little more”. That’s 2000 dollars a year. Pathetic.

      • Fred

        2292.00 dollars a year to be exact. How about giving me one of those nice company cars with free gas, maintenance and insurance and I’d be giddy. That’s about a twelve thousand dollar a year benefit to the city hall big wigs already making 150,000 plus salaries mon-fri. bankers hours with weekends and holidays off!

  • John G

    I agree with you we got too many executives pulling in these big salaries,perks etc and especially when you call this “so
    called mayors 311 line” and don’t get any results for months the only way to get any is to call the local news and tell them to investigate.This Mayor is worse than Willie.You can bet I will be working hard to try and get him out of office along with his flunkys

  • Jen

    Channel 3 failed to include the spousal carve-out cost. Not only will premiums go up, spouses will now have to buy a single rate plan from their workplace which, for most people, will cost about $200-$300 per month. Shame on you for not including this. For my family, our cost will go from $344 (which the article does state) to $426 PLUS $225 for my spouse’s individual plan for a total cost of $651 per month. We will also need to meet two different deductibles (over $500 each) and two different out-of-pocket expense limits. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE PUBLISHING THIS MISINFORMATION!!!

  • Major Bubba

    All Current City employees should sit up and take notice of what they did to the insurance and pensions of those who retired long ago. They are next inline not to receive what they worked for. They should come together and do something rash for the good of those who served before them. They will be next, some day in the future.

  • takenobull

    Many ways to measure the quality of a city. One thing that makes a city one to quality is its city employees. I suspect you will now have firemen, policemen and others who are transitional workers. They will not be held to the job but looking for jobs that will secure them in their old age. I suspect also that that they will show little loyal service to a city who are not loyal to them. A city who hires them with promises to be broken. I think you going to have cops and firemen who tread water in their jobs. As the old saying goes you get what you pay for :)

  • Long Gone

    This is the city’s attempt to move employees to Barrycare and for them to get out of the insurance business. Check with the AHC and find out what subsidies you qualify for. The average plans are costing @ sixty eight dollars a month.

  • John Young

    Austin PD is accepting Lateral Transfers: The Memphis PD couldn’t even begin to touch the benfits offered by the Austin PD, including a 23 year retirement at 3.2%/year–even before the heath benefits cuts.

    Police Officer 2 Year Anniversary Salary: $69,851, an officer with the same general description as the 1 Year Officer but also receives Field Training Officer pay ($2,100 per year) and Crisis Intervention Officer pay($2,100 per year) could earn $82,391 per year.
    Benefits and Pay Incentives
    •Field Training Officer $175 (monthly)
    •Crisis Intervention Officer $175(monthly)
    •Bi-Lingual Pay $175 (monthly)
    •Shift Differential Pay $300 (monthly)
    •Health Insurance
    •Long Term Disability Insurance
    •Vacation Leave 150 hours accrued yearly
    •Holidays (11)
    •Personal Holidays- 16 hours
    •Emergency Leave- 40 hours
    •Tuition Reimbursement
    •Court Overtime- Minimum 4 hours
    •On Call Compensation-8 hours per week
    •Call out from home Overtime- 3 hours minimum
    •Dental Plan/Eye Plan
    •Patrol Officers work 4 ten hour days with 3 days off
    •Life Insurance
    •Sick Leave 145.92 hours accrued yearly
    •23 year retirement plan (3.2 multiplier)
    •Clothing allowance for select units $500
    •Uniforms and associated equipment provided (including pistols)
    •Associates Degree or 60 or more college credits $100 (monthly)
    •Bachelors Degree $220 (monthly)
    •Masters Degree $300 (monthly)
    •Master Peace Officer Pay $150 (monthly)
    •15 Military Days per year
    •Sick time buyback at retirement up to 1400 hours
    •Longevity Pay- $100 per year up to 25 years (yearly)
    •Deferred Compensation Plan

    The Austin Police Retirement system pays a pension based on a minimum 23 years of service at any age for a full retirement. It is based on the following formula: Years of service (23) X multiplier (3.2%)= percentage of base salary (73.6%). Officers may stay additional years past 23 to accrue additional retirement funds with no limit. Military personnel are eligible to purchase an additional 2 years into the retirement system added on after 23 years of service with the Austin Police Department. Compared to most police departments in Texas and the United States our retirement system ranks as one of the best. Most police agencies offer a 20 year retirement at 50% of their pay.

  • Claire H

    This city is so corrupt! They manipulated the Memphis City Schools to give up their charter so that they could save money. Then they dumped the auto inspection—I bet they are still charging for the inspection on the license renewal forms. And they passed on the cost of lighting the city streets to the citizens. It seems to me that they should have an excess of money. Where is the money going?
    Maybe there are a few people in city government making way too much money. Do away with the mayor’s and others city paid automobiles. Get rid of all the appointed jobs. No city should have pages and pages of appointed jobs like Memphis has. I wonder if some of the people on the appointed jobs list even show up for work.
    Investigate all the nepotism and cronyism that goes on in City Hall and then arrest and prosecute all of our crooked officials. Maybe then the city can treat her employees and citizens with the respect they deserve.

  • John

    The article states: “All of this is projected to save millions of dollars”. What they left out was: “That they can squander elsewhere”.

  • Nicolep

    Yeah they deserve more but they still make more than most working people in this city who are not in mgmt. The pay grade is sad all over the US. We must vote people in who want to do better even if it means a pay cut for them to help someone else. J

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