City retirees get good news

Columbus city administrators expect to have some good news to tell retirees about a new health care plan that has raised questions regarding out-of-pocket expenses.

Starting Thursday, the city's holding a series of 6 p.m. meetings at the Gallops Senior Center, 1212 15th St., where government and Blue Cross-Blue Shield representatives will answer questions about the health insurance plan that covers more than 600 retired city workers. The other meetings will be Feb. 19 and 26.

Human Resources Director Tom Barron said some retirees have asked whether the plan requires a patient to pay $2,000 before the coverage kicks in. Barron said $2,000 is the maximum a retiree would have to pay annually in out-of-pocket expenses.

Supplemented by the city, the Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage is based on the Medicare Advantage Plan. Barron said the monthly premium has been recalculated based on new Medicare rules that took effect this year, and it turned out to be cheaper than anticipated, at $92.50 a month instead of $120.50. The city pays 25 percent of that and the retiree pays 75 percent.

Even better news, Barron said, is that the insurer has recalculated the coverage plan for a maximum of $500 in out-of-pocket expenses annually, and with that, the monthly premium would be $101 a month, of which the retiree would pay $75.75 and the city would pay $25.25. "I have those quotes right now, and there is no reason we would not go with the $500 out of pocket," Barron said Wednesday.