Shrinking Budget Affecting Retirees In Contra Costa County

MARTINEZ (KCBS) – Like many other Bay Area counties, Contra Costa has made changes to its health benefit plans in response to budget woes.

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa said that due to escalating premium costs, the county has had to eliminate two health benefit programs.

Former Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Douglas Pipes, who now represents the Retirees Support Group, said the cuts unfairly burden retirees.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“The first part of the changes were affecting 55 retirees and two active employees,” Pipes said. “The second change would affect 66 retirees and no active employees.”

County officials said that all retirees and retiree supervisors will have a chance to sign on to a new health benefits program with higher co-payment costs.

But the past president of the Contra Costa Retired Employees Association, Mary Louise Williams, said that the increased co-pay could break the bank for some older retirees.

“Their pensions are probably their major source of income and they cannot afford much of any increase in health care costs,” she said.

Pipes said that in the past, the county has given retirees advanced notice about changes to their health benefits, but this time, there wasn’t any notice given.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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