City Employees Health Premiums May Increase

Longview city employees may soon see their health insurance premiums increase by the hundreds. At an open meeting today, city trustees discussed insurance options for retired employees.

Right now, the city pays almost 5 million dollars a year in liability costs which they say they just can't afford anymore. So Longview trustees have recommended the City Council vote on a different plan that decreases the liability to less than one million dollars a year, but increases the amount of money retirees pay out of pocket, something they say is unfair.

"I think they ought to do the moral thing and pay for it and cover us. I mean, we can't as retirees we can't keeping paying a higher premium every other year on a fixed income," says Lee Tucker, a retired Longview firefighter.

Rickey Childers, the city manager says, "their concern is they were promised free insurance and that's really not something realistic anymore in the medical environment that we're in."

City officials say while the plan would cost retirees more, it will help reduce taxes in the long run. If the plan is approved, it will go into effect October 1.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: