Officials say health plan will save millions

    Philadelphia officials say they will save more than $6 million dollars with changes to some employee’s health care benefits. City employees who are not represented by the four labor unions got word Thursday of changes that will take effect January 1.

    Philadelphia officials say they will save more than $6 million dollars with changes to some employee’s health care benefits. City employees who are not represented by the four labor unions got word Thursday of changes that will take effect January 1. The new plan could have an impact on the current union negotiations.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091112spcity.mp3]

    The union’s sacred cow is their current health care plan, and they want to keep it.

    With the new non-union plan, some out of pocket expenses could go up, but employee contributions will remain the same. The savings would come from switching to a “self-insured plan”. That means the city pays the health care bills directly, instead of giving the insurance company a premium for each employee.

    Managing Director Camille Barnett says this is a competitive package in line with other public and private health care plans. Barnett would not comment directly on what this would look like if it applied to union health plans.

    Barnett: We’re leading by example. This is the kind of health plan change that we think makes sense for the city as well as for the employees so we’re initiating it with those portions of the workforce that we can immediately and these kinds of proposals are the kinds of things that we hope the other negotiations and arbitrations will help us do with the other plans.

    About one-quarter of the city’s workforce is either not represented by the union, or chooses a non-union health care plan.

    A union spokesperson says their current plan is better administered and provides better benefits than the city plan.

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