Philly firefighters win help on health insurance

A court ruling could help the Philadelphia firefighters’ union deal with rising health insurance costs. 

 Judge Idee Fox has ordered the city of Philadelphia to increase its payments to Firefighters Local 22’s health plan from $1,270 per person per month to $1,620. Before the order, firefighters have had to absorb rising costs.

Local 22 head Joe Schulle says the union’s reserves have been depleted by a combination of rising expenses and no raises.

“Our health fund balance was $28 million. As of now, it was down to $2 million, so in essence our health fund was going broke trying to maintain the level of benefits for the membership of Local 22,” Schulle said.

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Mayor Michael Nutter has been challenging in court a contract awarded by an arbitrator that would provide raises. Nutter says he’s not sure yet what the city’s next move is.

“We’ll evaluate that as we do everything else and make a decision relatively soon,” Nutter said.

The union says Fox also has ordered the city to make retroactive payments totaling $6.7 million.

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