Here’s how much more city employees will pay for insurance

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On June 17, the Memphis City Council voted to amend the health benefits offered to current and retired city employees due to rising costs and money city leaders say is need for the pension.

There are three types of plans offered to employees and there are different classifications such as active, retired 65+, retired under 65 and retired who also qualify for medicare.

The biggest hit is felt by those who retired before they were 65 years old, many of whom are safety workers due to injuries and stress on their bodies.

The 24% insurance fee increase is effective Oct. 1. The end of the 70% subsidy for certain retirees is Jan. 1, 2015.

Not affected are families of city employees who have died in the line of duty according to Mayor A C Wharton.

The council vote was 7-5 to approve the proposal from Mayor A C Wharton.

Council members Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert, Lee Harris, Joe Brown and Bill Boyd voted against the change, Harold Collins was out-of-town.

Here is how healthcare benefits for current city employees will change according to information from the City of Memphis:

There will be a 24% premium increase, though a 57% hike was originally proposed.

Those who smoke will pay more.

Spouses will not be covered if their employer offers insurance.

Currently, a single employee pays $175 for the Premier plan per month and a family would pay $355. The new rate will be $218 for a single person and $440 for a family.

How retirees are affected:

City of Memphis retirees have received a subsidy to reduce their cost.

That subsidy has been eliminated for those who retired before reaching the age of 65 and those who retired after turning 65 and are eligible for Medicare.

Currently, a single, post 65 retiree pays $365. The new rate will be $452.

A single employee who retired before reaching age 65 currently pays $184 for the premium plan,  that will increase to $836. For a family, the current cost is  $365 for the premier plan, but with the loss of their subsidy they will pay $1,656.

City leaders have said they will continue subsidies to those retirees who do not qualify for Medicare.

The Pension:

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton has proposed changing city employees from a pension to a 401 (a) plan. Wharton has said the current pension plan is unsustainable.

A consultant for the city estimated the pension is underfunded by  $467 million.

A report commissioned by the Memphis Firefighters union put the number at $301 million and a report done by PricewaterhouseCoopers which put it at $682 million.

Pension proponents say the plan has worked well and would actually save the city money compared to funding a 401 style contribution plan.

The council will take up the pension plan debate October 7.




  • Hank Jr.

    I know this is not what was promised to you guys but a $43 increase and an $85 increase is not that bad. We have all had to tighten our belt buckles a little bit more over the past few years. I know i have. And if I’m reading right (which i hope i am) the city will still offer subsides for retirees who have not reached the age of 65, which means those you are 65 and older can now qualify for Medicare (which also might not be the greatest) but at least it won’t be as expensive?

    • Scooby Doo


      The city will not offer a subsides for people under 65. That is why everyone is so angry. Their premium will go from around $400 a month to $1600 a month.

      This is after the employees paid into the system for 25-30 years to have this benefit.

      The city did not put their part of the pension into the pension fund. Now to make it up they want to force retirees to pay the huge premium.

      It is just a way to steer money out of the pension fund back to the city.

      The city is trapping the retirees by not terminating their coverage. As long as the city offers coverage the retirees cannot get coverage through the ACA exchanges because they won’t qualify

      Many retirees entire pension is not enough to pay the new premium

      At the same time the city wants to spend money on pet projects to steer money to their cronies after a long list of money wasting ideas going back to the pyramid

    • Greg

      Then you add in the additional $200.00/ month for the spouse that gets tossed because they tried to be a working, productive citizen.

    • Just Saying

      This is a prime example of elected officials need to be elected for qualifications not color of skin. Wake up Memphis just because they’re the same color as you does not mean there going to stand by you!

  • DetlaEB

    Now does anyone care how much my Medicare Supplemental has increased? I have to have it, so I tightened my belt on every expense I have, But sure would like to get my A/C working again, They can do it too. Those increases were a lot less than mine. Just be glad you have benefits. Many don’t.

    • Get Informed

      You misunderstand. Most employees are not happy with the 24% increase, but they will live with it I think. But bankrupting retirees and making them pay 1675 instead of 355 is wrong. I dont know what you did in the private sector, but do you feel like policemen and firemen have the same risk of life you did at your job? Should they be considered special for risking their lives for people they don’t know? Should they have anything different than a data entry person for running into a burning building a bringing out a child that the childs own parents didnt go get because they thought it was too risky or too late anyway. Should a police officer who chases an armed suspect into a building and trades gunfire with him get anything different from a salesman. Or even an officer who has to watch hours of footage of heinous crimes (you know what kind I refer to) to children to find a clue in the footage to see who did it or something to seal the case against the defendant. What about the officer that dives into a drainage ditch to save a child swept into it and almost drowns or the one that goes home and tries to forget he just saw an infant child at a scene that had a straight razor taken to it by a mentally ill parent. I will argue that they do deserve something more. . How would you like it if in retirement your 401k was all saved up and safe until you checked the balance and your company somehow managed to spend it and now you will get nothing. Thats what just happened here via insurance. I met a clerk that made 1500 a year in pension 3 weeks ago. Nearly 30 years I think she said she had with the city. She has no social security. Her insurance was 355 and is now 1600. She is negative 100 bucks a month at 62 years old or so with no other source of income. She will probably lose her home and car. She will be destitute. But nobody cares. If this is the way people are around here, if they are all about themselves, and care nothing for whats right and keeping their word, then I do not want my kids to grow up here. I do not want them to be like that.

  • Interesting

    Thanks for sharing information about the increase in the insurance rates. The increase is a lot less than others have paid over the years with the increase in insurance premiums. I agree fully with the Mayor of holding those who have called in accountable for their actions. If I was looking to hire an officer in another city, I would not consider anyone who has called in during this time. Because if you are doing now, you will do it later. I actually thought you all took an oath to protect and serve or was there a clause that says as long as my money is right?? The retired group who retired with promises when they retired should be the only group given priority consideration. Thank you to all the police officers still working until this issue gets resolved. You are truly our heroes and deserve the praise.

    • Red

      You need to look at the increases. Over $800 for single and $1600 for family. The $1600 is most of their pension. They risked their lives for. 25-30 years to recieve these benefits. Also, I have to pay the increase for family insurance for me and my daughter. They are kicking spouses off. My family now has to pay for two insurance policies. By the way, we were completely ignored before the Blu Flu. Now they want to hear our ideas. Do you really believe that we didn’t already offer other suggestions? We did and they’re telling a lie when they say that we didn’t. Do you risk your life at work? We love our jobs but the benefits protect us and OUR families and we were promised them for taking the chance of not making it back to our families!

      • dkbruce

        they are not “kicking spouses off” – only requiring those that work and have insurance available through their own employers utilize those benefits and stop using the city’s, fair request, my employer made the same rule AFTER I was hired I might add.

    • Susan

      No one has mentioned the change in the deductibles. My parents will pay a premium of $1600/month (currently $400) and the per person deductible will increase to $9000/year per person (currently ~$400). They have saved and budgeted their entire life and retirement depending on the current numbers. Now, the irresponsible city decides it didn’t budget well enough and passes the cost onto retirees. What a joke.

    • FireWife

      The retirees are who these current officers and firemen are fighting for bc the retirees can’t!!! This is SO MUCH MORE than our 24% increase. These retirees went on strike in 1978 to secure what the current public safety officers have today. WE OWE THEM. This is an ATTACK on the elderly, many of whom RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR THE CITIZENS OF MEMPHIS. We WILL NOT STAND BY AND ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO THESE PUBLIC SERVANTS WHO COMPLETED THEIR DUTIES HONORABLY! Therefore, you should COMMEND ALL THOSE STANDING UP TO THIS INJUSTICE. #helpmemphispd

    • FireWife

      The retirees are who these current officers and firemen are fighting for bc the retirees can’t!!! This is SO MUCH MORE than our 24% increase. These retirees went on strike in 1978 to secure what the current public safety officers have today. WE OWE THEM. This is an ATTACK on the elderly, many of whom RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR THE CITIZENS OF MEMPHIS. We WILL NOT STAND BY AND ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO THESE PUBLIC SERVANTS WHO COMPLETED THEIR DUTIES HONORABLY! Therefore, you should COMMEND ALL THOSE STANDING UP TO THIS INJUSTICE. #helpmemphispd

  • Bill Zebub

    While you’re at it post the salaries of ALL City and County Employees or at the very least top 200.

      • E Hall

        Just wondering why the news media hasn’t checked the Mayor’s math… 57% of $1155 in not $428. It’s $658, that is a $300 a month increase for active employees which equals an almost $4000/yr pay cut on people who don’t make a lot. The mayor has waged all out war on the city employees since he took office. The employees paid for the school debt and have already paid for the pension debt and because the city leaders won’t pay what the should have, we have to make up for their mistakes again. This isn’t about lack of money it’s about misappropriation of funds.

  • ECB

    Maybe you should ask every home owner in Memphis how much thier insurance went up thanks to Obamacare. We know unions supported him. I can tell you my insurance went up 250.00 per month. These increases are not unreasonable. If Memphis doesn’t do something soon these increases will seem mild when we can no longer honor pension payments. Detroit is an example of where Memphis is heading. I agree AC and those before him are responsible and many of the appointed positions should be eliminated. I have a big problem though with the blu flu, the ones calling in really do not have to pay that much more. The union though seems to think by taking the citizens hostage is the way to get what they want. We had the bill boards over pay and now this. These scare tactics really do not seem like people that want to serve and protect. It really comes off as a group that is very self serving.

    • Speak it!

      I can tell you what happened with my mother’s… I requested several healthcare quotes for her before Obamacare and was quoted a best rate thru Blue Cross for $1600/mo because she is a smoker. I simply could not afford that and take care of my family, too. After Obamacare, I received a best rate quote thru Humana + Dental and Vision for $400 per mo. I constantly read complaints about the program, but it makes me believe that MOST of the complaints have little to do with healthcare AND more to do with dislike and hatred towards the President and even those feelings make me wonder where the real reasons beneath this hate lies. Hmmm?

      • UTMMAN

        You are comparing apples to oranges. Before AHC (or Obamacare) pre-existing conditions were in play and that most likely was the reason for the very high Blue Cross rate. Under AHC, pre-existing conditions don’t apply. Then the big question is, can you qualify for AHC based on low income? If you do and get the low premium, guess who pays for the difference? The taxpayer!

    • Susan

      The blue flu is in response to ALL the affected parties. Are the retired policemen who will suffer the most immediately supposed to strike? Would that bring any attention to this? Obviously not, the officers are protesting for the entire group.

      • Tink

        Well said Susan! No..The ones with the Blu Flu may not be as affected but they are standing up for their brother and sisters as well as their future.

  • larobb

    Yep i work for one of the places.that got one of those big tax breaks from the ins doubled in price this yr and i probably have half the coverage these ppl have..i dont get to catch a case of bluflu

  • takenobull

    Well what ever. I all boils down to this. Just off the top of my head the 40 million in concrete expense at the end of Mud Island would made a big chunk out of the 400 million needed for the pension fun rather then rob retirees of their health insurance. Or taxing just a little on the Corporations in Memphis who pay NO TAXES. Or the million spent by the City Council and Mayor on a ball stadium that few of the taxpayers of Memphis can even afford to visit. Or the Millions spent on Community centers for folks to play checkers. Some one help me here I know the waste list is long. What we talking about are people running a huge government who cannot even deal with their personal lives according to episodes in the news. If this Mayor and City Council get their way you going to have a Fire Department and Police Department with positions filled with transit or part time workers. The only reason people stay decades on the job is the promise of health care and retirement. The only reason you have departments with personal who try to be professional and protect their jobs is because the job now is a profession not just a lay over from some other occupation. Trust me few are going to deal with what firemen and cops deal with on a daily basis for a city who considers them transit and part time employees;

  • Ryan

    Active employees with a spouse and child who are on the city insurance plan went up about $85 PLUS the insurance premium and deductible for our spouse. In some cases it is over $200 a month. My personal case, this change is costing my family $10,000.

  • Steve

    The problem is, these fire fighters and police officers were promised things when they signed a contract. Now the City does not want to fulfill their obligations to the contract, so why should the employees fulfill their obligations.

  • Terrie

    Where did the money go?? Seriously, has anyone asked to see this? Can’t they be forced to show this? Did it go into their pockets?
    Did it go to pay for care rentals of all the city workers? Car Tags? We all know that they have squandered millions by lying & not charging family/friends for things like car tags, handicap stickers etc. If they didn’t hold up their end isn’t that against the law? Can’t they be prosecuted and MADE to pay ? Are the PD still in a union>? Where are they in all this??
    This is just sad, immoral & they should dig backward to see where & who it all started with & make them pay!!

  • Sherry Fisher-Belton

    I am a city pre-65 retiree, i worked for 28 years and the main reason i stayed with the City so long at a lower wage than i could make out side the City employment was for the benefits i knew i would have the rest of my life. The City also knew there would be many people that would have to be covered by the Benefits for many years to come, So why now are they saying we don’t have to money to take care of US. Yes i have a husband that has insurance through his place of employment. But why should his insurance have to cove me when i worked for many years to have my own, what if for some reason his insurance no longer covers me then what, am i to be left out in the cold with no insurance because the city did not keep up their end of what they promised the employees, who put in many years of less pay than they could make in the out side world. Also we pension paying employees did not pay social security there for we are not entitled to that benefit. Wake up people the City wants good people to take care of the City things but if your not going to take care of these people then why would anyone want to work for the City. How can the people of Memphis let this pass this will just bring the city down even more because they will not longer have people working for them that care about their jobs or what happens to the city. I need my Insurance but if it goes up the $450.00 and month they are saying i can no longer afford it. I may be retired but i still have bills to pay. Why should i have to go get a job that i am sure many other people need much more than i because the promise mad by the City will no longer be kept. If the City wants to change the way they do their new hired employees by letting them know up front how and what benefits they have that is fine but don’t go back and hurt allllll the employees who have given and will give you loyal service. The city needs to get the BIG Companies to fund the major improvements and stop using up all the monies promised to the employees who have taken care of this City and will take care of this City in the years to come. Many Many people out there have no idea what all the city takes care of and how many employees it takes to meet these needs. You want a safe City , a clean City, where the water, sewers, streets, garbage and parks are taken care of, a place where some one will come put out the fires. and so many other things but you don’t want to take care of the people who do these things and have done them for many years. Well all i can say is if you don’t take of the employees then you will before long not have a City worth living and working in.

  • Huckelberry

    The Detroit comparison is very accurate. It was destroyed by years and years of corrupt government (not my opinion, look it up). Memphis is bearing the same. The CIP budget continues to grow (money for “special” projects) and the operating budget continues to shrink. That’s like saying I’m going to spend more and more on going to the movies and less on my mortgage because movies make me feel better..

    The pension is underfunded because the city has not payed their legally obligated share. They have re-directed that money every year into more “special projects”. The time has come to STOP special projects until you pay your requirements. Just ONE year of hold on funding their own pockets would correct the pension.

    “Oaths”. All those who put themselves in harms way to protect and help others, do so because they want to. They make that sacrifice knowing the risk. The very LEAST you can do is honor your “oath” by fulfilling the contract you agreed to when they stepped up to protect you and your family.

  • jackie

    How many people upset over this voted for Obama ? Isnt this because of Obamacare? How many are there in the private sector that hasnt already been through this? Wait till after the election when the employer mandate kicks in. You thinks things are bad now, it will be a nightmare brought to you by democrats !! How do you like your democrat run government ???

  • rebecca

    If you risk your life daily for the safety of complete strangers you should never have to pay anything but a small co-pay as far as I’m concerned. Cut into the salaries of the people making these decisions to make up the difference for that matter!

  • Just Saying

    This is a prime example of elected officials need to be elected for qualifications not color of skin. Wake up Memphis just because they’re the same color as you does not mean there going to stand by you!

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