Earlier today I spoke with Ron Saathoff, president of Local 145, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s union. Saathoff told me that many of his firefighters still haven’t received their medical or dental insurance cards.

The fire and police departments officially switched over to a new medical and dental benefits provider on Aug. 1. The switch to the new provider was a central element of the city’s contract negotiations with public safety officials and other city employees earlier this year.

“This has become a real problem, because without that card, you can’t go to the doctor,” Saathoff said.

Jeff Jordon, one of the directors of the San Diego Police Officers Association, said the same issue has been plaguing police officers.

Jordon said the change-over from the old to the new benefits package has involved numerous bureaucratic hiccups and a lot of confusion, but that the city has been “very, very proactive in helping us out.”

However, Jordon pointed out that the city plans on bringing all of its employees into the new benefits package next year. If the chaos with police and fire is anything to go by, he said, what will happen when thousands of municipal employees are transferred over?


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