MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – FOX10 News continues to investigate how the Mobile mayor’s proposed budget may affect you. We are taking a closer look at city of Mobile retirees and their health care costs.
If the proposed budget is passed, Medicare-eligible retirees will be cut off from the city’s health plan. Also, retirees younger than 65 would be spending more money for health insurance.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s Finance Director Paul Wesch said for many years, the city provided a health care plan to all retirees. It’s a rare benefit most city leaders across the country have already eliminated from their budgets, said Wesch.
“We’ve been allowing our Medicare-eligible retirees to stay on the city’s health plan at a great cost to the city,” said Wesch. “(We are) doing two things: one, asking medicare-eligible retirees to rely upon Medicare, and asking non-Medicare eligible retirees to bear a larger share of the cost.”
For single non-Medicare retirees, the cost for coverage will go up about $50; for families, $70. The city will offer some help to the retirees losing the city’s health care plan.
“What the city is going to do is just to try to ease people through the transition, because this is new to them and these people are older, and we know that change is difficult,” said Wesch.
The city will provide $175 monthly subsidy toward supplemental coverage to medicare eligible retirees. That will last four years.
Donald Scott is a retired Mobile Police Officer. This proposed plan hits home.
“Retirees, they are on set income and that’s all they are going to get,” said Scott.
Scott isn’t 65 yet. So he would pay more every month toward his health care.
“That means something is going to have to be cut out. That means that food is going to be cut way back, medication you had to take is going to be cut way back, or you’re going to restrict what you’re able to do as far as meeting your financial obligations,” said Scott.
The move has already gotten the attention of city council member C.J Small.
“Those people have honorably served this city at least for 25 years or more. They took care of us. Now it’s time to take care of them,” said Small. “When a retiree is stuck on that same pay scale with Alabama Power, gas, water. medicine going up. it’s going to affect them.”
Small said he is going to discuss his concern with his fellow council members.