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Questions about retiree healthcare, retirement plans come up at meeting

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MPA President Michael Williams says that it is hard to trust individuals that continuously change. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) MPA President Michael Williams says that it is hard to trust individuals that continuously change. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - The City of Memphis pension overhaul may be put on hold, but that hasn't stopped city employees and retirees from trying to reverse cuts to their health insurance plans.

Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. proposed a resolution Tuesday providing retirees a $2 million safety net to help pay for doctor co-pays and deductibles.

However, police officers and firefighters want to know why that $2 million is showing up after their benefits were cut.

"Where has this been all these months we've been begging them to sit down and work this out," said Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Thomas Malone.

Malone joined Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams to share frustrations about a resolution giving city retirees help in covering their health care costs. City leaders say this money comes from a rebate from Cigna, the city's third party health care provider.

"Once again, 'the checks in the mail ... trust me.' It's hard to trust individuals that continuously change," said Williams.

According to Ford, 72 percent of retirees are non-Memphians. While they were not required to live in Memphis when they worked here, Ford says residents should not have to split the bill now; something police and fire unions strongly disagree with.

"Our last two firefighters who got killed in the line of duty ... they didn't live in the city, but it was good enough for them to give their life for this city. Now they want to talk about spouses or families shouldn't deserve insurance or pension," said Malone.

City officials say in the next two weeks, they'll be working to determine how the $2 million will be spent. They will also be talking to local healthcare providers to see how they can also help retirees.

Councilman Ford's resolution would help city retirees pay for things like deductibles and co-pays. This safety net issue will be discussed again in council on July 15.

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