For as long as many of the County employees remember in my small county, any eligible retiree of the County was given the option regarding continued health coverage. The retiree could either stay on the County's health plan wherein the County would pay $200 towards the premiums, or opt out of the County's group health plan and receive $200 per month. The $200 payment was in essence, to be put towards some other health plan that the retiree selected.
I recently came across an AG's opinion that stated that the County has authority under Chapter 157 of the Local Government Code and sections 3.51-2 of the Insurance Code to offer health insurance to its employees including retirees. The authority also states that the County may pay all or any portion of the premiums on the policies using county funds. See Letter Opinion 92-85. The opinion addressed whether a payment in lieu of health benefits could be paid to employees who opted out of the County's group health plan. The opinion concluded that there was no authority to provide payment in lieu of health insurance coverage to its employees.
It seems that the AG's opinion is right on point with the situation in my county with the only real difference being health insurance for retirees rather than current employees.
However, the opinion is from 1992 and as I mentioned above, the County has been making these payments to retirees for quite some time. I would like to know if there are any other counties in the State that offer some similar benefits to its eligible retirees before I advise the court and start busting up the status quo here in the county. Or does anyone think that perhaps I am misinterpreting the opinion? Cheers!
Here is the URL for the AG opinion if anyone is interested.
I would be reluctant to blow this up. 1. LO opinions are not nearly as reliable in Attorney General land. 2. Footnote 1 is the whole authority for the rationale of LO 92-85. 3. There is a real cost benefit to the county of paying some for non-participation in the county medical system. (We self-insure and must pay a base amount for every covered life. Plus, whatever they spend on medical care. We require that they have insurance from someone else, school system or corporation.)The Attorney General admits that there is a statute that could authorize the $200 payment. I have not looked at the Insurance Code provision does it still exist in the same fashion as in 1992?
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