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L.A. County Supes Adjust Healthcare Benies for Union Workers

Employees hired after July 1 won't be able to pass along their medical insurance to family members after they die.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in a change to union member benefits that could save the county $840 million.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in a change to union member benefits that could save the county $840 million.

Los Angeles County could save up to $840 million on retiree healthcare over the next 30 years, based on a deal reached with labor groups, a county supervisor announced today.

Supervisor Don Knabe said the county currently pays about $488 million every year to cover healthcare costs for retired employees. Reforms -- to which the last in a series of county unions agreed last week -- represent the most significant reductions to retirement obligations in more than 35 years, Knabe said.

“We had a responsibility to mitigate spiraling retiree healthcare obligations for future employees, while still providing a level of retiree healthcare that is both sustainable and fiscally responsible,” Knabe said.

Currently, the county covers 40 percent of healthcare costs for any employee with 10 years of service, with that percentage ramping up at the rate of 4 percent a year, until costs are 100 percent covered after 25 years of service. Upon a retiree's death, benefits are extended to spouses, domestic partners and children.

“The county was on the hook paying for healthcare for people who had never even worked for the organization,” Knabe said.

The new labor agreement provides medical coverage for retirees only and Medicare-eligible retirees will be required to enroll in Medicare. The same vesting and years of service formulas will apply. The reforms will affect only new employees hired on or after July 1.

“Over the last several years, our labor partners were essential to helping the county weather the recession by sacrificing raises and cost of living increases. I'm grateful that labor has stepped up once again,” Knabe said.

In exchange, the county agreed to cover increasing healthcare premiums for existing employees.

The LACERA Board of Retirements still needs to approve the reform proposals.

--City News Service

Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 19, 2014 at 09:59 AM
So just to stir the pot, you think the government should find close to $1 billion to continue to insure employee families after death?
Don February 19, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Why should the taxpayer pick up the tab for a non employee. When there gone there gone. My obligation should be complete as the July 1 rule is telling all. Additionally, I know of two instances of LAPD friends who passed away. the wives get pensions as if they died in the line of duty, because of the internal nepotism to protect their own. These women, both of them have actually gotten re-married in other countries, not recognized by the US so the pensions continue- two things wrong, one illegal in fact. Whats a guy to do!?
nick sharpe February 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM
the problem with demobcracy is making it up as we go along. I'm not a fan of public employees, but this kind of stupidity guarantees lower quality talent to an already lacking workforce. Wait til this one comes around to bite us all in the u know where... (It's amazing we still have teachers...)
Zookeeper91326 February 19, 2014 at 02:54 PM
Now, if we can only reel-in the outrageous benes of our elected officials in State and Federal Government, and reduce welfare fraud, there might be hope for our country's financial stability.
Dawn Artinger February 19, 2014 at 08:18 PM
No wonder the county/state are broke! No one else's family gets their medical insurance after they die, except government. It's just doesn't make financial sense! But, what else is new?
Sheri Haas February 19, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Who wrote the headline Supes and Benies. Is that Twiterspeak?
MICHAEL ZITTERMAN February 19, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Simple question: why should our employees (government workers) have better benefits than us, the People (taxpayers)? mz
nick sharpe February 20, 2014 at 12:13 AM
Simple answer: because they get paid less $$ than private sector to keep govt costs in check. that's the trade off. its a "buy now, pay later" situ. now its time to pay and you wanna stiff em. after you stiff 'em, what competent person in their right mind would want to work for you? huh? why not privatize government entirely (it almost already is...) I'm guessing they didn't teach Civics in your school. All I hear is crying from a bunch of mooches who want something for nothing.
nick sharpe February 20, 2014 at 12:16 AM
@sheri haas - that predates twitter by decades! think Variety. oh, and it's benes ("benies" , slang for benzadrine)
MICHAEL ZITTERMAN February 20, 2014 at 12:17 AM
Nick, You are, absolutely, incorrect. Thus, my guess is that you are a government employee. mz
Ben Dover February 20, 2014 at 12:55 AM
Nick FYI- It's been years since they got paid less then private sector equivalent jobs. Now they get paid more, and greater benefits too. The recent Malibu City salaries were recently posted. Our city Manager who really doesn't have that much to manage is paid more then many city managers with greater populations and much more infrastructure to manage.
Scott Zwartz February 20, 2014 at 02:43 AM
No benies for anyone ever for any reason and we need to lower the minimum wage. If the employees don't like the lack of benies and lower pay, let them get a job. "Everything for me and nothing for you" That's the new American model
MICHAEL ZITTERMAN February 20, 2014 at 08:35 AM
Scott, actually, you are on tg something! It is, absolutely, wrong to give extra benefits to government employees, since we, all, are working for USA, Inc., i.e., we are ALL government employees. I will post a piece on UNIONS. mz mikiesmoky@aol.com
MICHAEL ZITTERMAN February 20, 2014 at 08:41 AM
TRADE AND SERVICE UNIONS DEFINITION: A number of persons joining together for some common purpose. TYPES OF UNIONS: Private and public FACTS: Private and public unions negotiate with employers to obtain specific goals for those persons being represented. Subjects for negotiations include wages, benefits, and working conditions. If negotiations result in additional costs to an employer: a.A private employer will absorbed those costs or will pass some or all to the customers. b.A public employer will have its “rainy-day” funds reduced or will raise additional revenue from its taxpayers. ANALYSIS: a.If a private employer absorbs additional negotiated costs, margins will be affected, which will reduce taxable income, which will cause a reduction in the value of the employer’s business. If the employer passes on the additional costs to its customers, it would be inflationary and the customers would have less spendable funds for other expenditures, which may adversely affect the economics. In most instances of higher costs, those costs will be passed on to the customers. b.If a public employer raises additional revenue from its taxpayers, the taxpayers will have less spendable funds and that may adversely affect the economics. c.When a politician, economist, or anyone else calls for high-paying union jobs, they are implying that there be a shift of wealth from customers to the high-paying union jobs. mz February 26, 2011
Sheri Haas February 20, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Nick, huh?

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