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Health

Retiree Medical Benefits Go Unfunded in Many L.A. County Cities

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM
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Retiree health care benefits for public employees in L.A. County are in dire straights, according to a recently released Grand Jury report.

The county's civil Grand Jury found that 56 cities in the region had funded their health care obligations for retirees to the tune of $0. That's zee-ro. Across the county only about 11 percent of such obligations were funded, and a majority of that liability comes from the L.A. County government's own lack of seed money.

In the Grand Jury's look-see, only the city of L.A.'s retirement health-care benefits seem to be relatively well-backed:

The city of L.A.'s own such benefits are funded on average at 52.2 percent, according to the Grand Jury report (PDF).

The city police and fire plan only gets 32 percent funding, the Grand Jury says.

What to do? Well, the Grand Jury points out that "there may be some opportunity to modify benefits for both future and current employees." (Yeah, over the unions' dead bodies).

The Grand Jury suggests touching the third rail of local and national politics -- the benefit give-back: It suggests governments stop paying for employees' so-called 7 to 9 percent contributions to the funds.

Longer term savings could be achieved by modifying some pension benefit provisions for new employees.

Oh no they didn't.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]

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