Retired Ross police officers feel ‘betrayed’ by huge jump in insurance costs
A group of retired Ross police officers say an increase of more than 50 percent in next year’s medical insurance costs will handcuff their personal finances.
“Fifty-three percent is not an inconvenience, it’s a hardship,” Tom Koedel told township commissioners at their meeting Wednesday.
Koedel, 63, of Ross produced an Oct. 8 letter from Ross Finance Director Dawn Lane informing him of the rise in insurance costs by Municipal Employers Insurance Trust, the township’s health care provider. Dental and vision costs will remain the same.
Under the new rates, medical, dental and vision care would jump from $546 a month to $828 for an individual; from $1,473 a month to $2,160 for a retiree and spouse; and from $1,788 a month to $2,634 for a family.
“They have betrayed the officers and their families because when you become a police officer, it’s not just the man that takes the job on, it’s the families, too. It’s the missed concerts, the missed birthday parties, the missed holidays, the missed dinners,” said Koedel’s wife, Harriett, 60, before the meeting.
Retired officers and their spouses said the change will especially hurt retirees who did not get another job with medical coverage or whose wives work and lack medical benefits.
Tom Koedel receives a $3,000-a-month pension and pays $820 a month for the mortgage, utilities and real estate taxes. His wife is a real estate agent whose pay varies. She does not get health insurance from her employer.
“I would like to eat and pay my other bills,” he told the commissioners.
Don Dreier, 63, of Ross, who retired in 2011 with 29 years on the force, said he did not expect health insurance costs to go up so drastically. The plan covers him, his wife and their two sons.
“It’s going to be a crimp in our finances a little bit,” he said, tongue-in-cheek.
Commissioner Daniel DeMarco assured the retired officers that the township was not behind the higher rates.
“We’re looking at it now,” he said.
After the meeting, Robert Zegar, president of the Ross Township Police Association, said, “We’re hoping we can work out a resolution with the township.”
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-772-6353 or [email protected].