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Memphis promises health care options for retirees and families

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The City of Memphis is making a promise to provide health care coverage options for retirees and their families. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The City of Memphis is making a promise to provide health care coverage options for retirees and their families. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) -The City of Memphis is making a promise to provide health care coverage options for retirees and their families.

In addition to continued medical insurance coverage for surviving spouses and dependents of employees who died in the line of duty and certain Medicare ineligible retirees, the City of Memphis and its partners are putting plans in place for a multi-year, guaranteed healthcare assurance plan with good coverage options for all City retirees.

An application process will help determine the retiree's level of need. Local hospitals and insurers have pledged to work with each retiree to ensure they are getting the care and help they need.

Faced with a $551 million pension fund deficit and $1.3 billion Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) debt, the Wharton administration recommended and Memphis City Council approved phasing out the practice of paying 70 percent of retiree's healthcare insurance, saving Memphis $23 million to be used to pay its pension obligation.

Councilman Ford, chairman of the City's Healthcare Oversight Commitment has proposed the creation of a $2 million safety net fund that would give further assurance that all city retirees will have access to good coverage.
 
The coverage options include BlueCross BlueShield and Cigna plans offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and the Church Health Center's Memphis Plan.

In the coming weeks, the City of Memphis will be launching an aggressive education campaign to apprise retirees of their options. This educational campaign will include community meetings that provide retirees and their families with opportunities to ask questions.

One-on-one counseling regarding recent changes to their benefits will also be provided.  Those impacted will also receive information in the mail. Individual appointments, phone calls, social media and a website will serve to provide information to retirees and their family members.

WMC Action News Five's Justin Hanson is visiting Memphis City Hall and talking more with city officials about their promises to make sure all retirees are covered, no matter what. 

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