Mayor Reed vetos insurance ordinance

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By Gumptown Magazine Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed today vetoed a City Council ordinance attempting to intervene in the management of the City’s supplemental health insurance program for retired Medicare-eligible employees. In addition to keeping a coverage plan that includes lower premiums, little or no copays, and fewer out-of-pocket expenses for those retirees, the mayor’s veto will save the City from paying at least $6 million it would have owed providers for breach of contract, which the Council has not budgeted.

Medicare is the primary health insurance provider for the City of Montgomery’s retirees 65 and up. However, Medicare doesn’t cover all expenses. Among the state’s “Big Ten” cities, Montgomery is one of two that makes supplemental insurance coverage available to retirees to cover those additional costs, and it is the only city to offset coverage costs.

The City of Montgomery recently announced that AMWINS Group Benefits, LLC would administer the City’s supplemental health insurance beginning in January 2024. The one-year contract with AMWINS was signed and executed in September after a months-long review, conversations with City Council members during the city’s budgeting process, and talks with representatives from the City’s retiree community, including the president of the City of Montgomery Retirees Association, Lloyd Faulkner. With the new plan, the City projects $1,921,456.13 in savings compared to the 2022-2023 charge rates. The projected retiree premium savings are approximately $655,613. The projected savings enabled the City to reduce the Medicare-eligible retirees’ premium and offset the cap on tier two, three, and four drugs.

The City Finance Director helped Mayor Steven Reed to find a way to keep premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses for retirees from going up. “What she found was a supplemental benefit package that provides more options at a lower cost for retirees” said Reed. “My office has heard from many retirees who have thanked the City for making this plan available — pointing out the hundreds of dollars they will save each month for their prescriptions and treatments.”

On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, a split City Council voted to cancel the City’s contract with AMWINS. Their action, however, would leave the retirees without supplemental coverage after December 31, 2023. The City would likely be unable to return to the previous, higher-costing plan until the end of the first quarter of 2024.

“Even if the City can get out of its legal and financial obligations with AMWINS, there would have been a lot of confusion about what is covered and by whom when retirees head to the doctor next month,” said Reed

All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine, LLC. Copyright 2023. 

1 COMMENT

  1. This is not true. The prescription program is the problem. We (Retirees) will have much more out of pocket cost for prescriptions. I personally have a prescription I pay $10. Per month for now. Starting in January I will have to pay $75.00 per month. This new plan premium is only saving us $25.00 per month. How is this saving us money??? It is costing us more.

    I seriously doubt the Mayor has received positive feedback concerning this change. Most of us weren’t aware of it until after the paperwork was signed!!

    I haven’t even received new insurance cards as of yet!!!

    This is a sorry move the City has made!!!

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