Heated meeting over possible insurance increase in Johnson City

By Scott Sasina

June 6, 2014 Updated Jun 6, 2014 at 11:47 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Johnson City Board of Trustees clashed Friday night with local retirees over the possible health insurance changes on their current contracts, which could empty retirees' pockets.

According to retired members, the potential change could cause retirees to pay double normal costs and five times more for prescriptions.

On Friday night, the Village Board met with close to 70 outraged residents who would be impacted by the change.

The new insurance plan will save the village money, but could cost retirees more.

"Right now we are paying for premium insurance family plans, which is $27,000 a year for a family plan. We could do a supplemental plan for a little over $6,000 for both people on that plan, both retirees, both over 65," said village trustee Bruce King.

At the meeting, trustees added that the new plan will cover more tests, which are not on the current insurance, but the new tests could come at the expense of the retirees’ wallet.

Some retirees at the meeting said they don't believe that this is a better plan in the long run.

"I do not have faith in the new plan and there are a few reasons: the cost increase, six months to a year from now, what will happen? Will the village have to come back in a renegotiate? The village hasn't budgeted for this, they're not going to be able to cover that and I think they indicated that as well," said Johnson City retiree Paul Burnett.

Mayor Greg Deemie noted that the board may look at additional insurance plans after Friday night's meeting and hearing from those it would impact.

"We've got to look at cutting costs anywhere we can in the village and we don't want to put it on the backs of the retirees," said Deemie.

Deemie also mentioned that the new plan would include a debit card which would cover some medical expenses.

The board plans on meeting next week to further discuss the insurance possibilities.

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