The city responds:

The following are ways that the City has attempted to keep health care costs low for both the City and employee:

1. City has gone out to RFP on several occasions over the past 10 years to provide health coverage to our employees/retirees at the most competitive rates. We have changed carriers as needed to achieve this result. When not competitively bidding the City reviews the annual renewals for appropriateness and justification and negotiates with the carriers for lower rates if at all possible.

2. Various co-payments have been increased or added over the years which increases the out of pocket expense to employees/retirees at the time of service but reduces the monthly insurance premiums as well.

3. Implemented a prescription formulary that limits the drugs covered by the health care plan to those that are most cost effective when there are several from which to choose that will cure the ailment equally.

4. Ancillary type benefits such as chiropractic, acupuncture, hearing aids, etc. have either been excluded or limited for the health plan coverage.

5. Through the City’s Flexible Benefits cafeteria plan, the City has shifted more of the cost burden for dependents coverage to the employee by not increasing the annual allotment at the same pace of health care costs.

Through union negotiations eliminated retiree health coverage for employees hired after 7/1/05.

Frankly, I’m skeptical about these past “efforts” to keep health care costs low. The facts and figures are loud and clear, and I think the city can do much better.

LANI LUTAR

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