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Councilwoman raises concerns over City's healthcare budget defic - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Councilwoman raises concerns over City's healthcare budget deficit

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This past Tuesday, city leaders went through something we're all familiar with -- how to pay for rising health insurance?

It's a topic that's been on the forefront for quite some time, the city's budget. But this time it's not streets or even waste water plants that are demanding more money, it's the city employee healthcare plan. 

Councilwoman Carolyn Vaughn said, "Well I'm concerned because to me if we keep doing this, it's going to be a crisis for the city."

During Tuesday's council meeting, the human resources department asked council members to approve the move of $10 million from the healthcare reserve fund to pay for it's employee's claims. The move was okayed, but councilwoman Vaughn warns, dipping into the city's healthcare reserve -- for the second year in a row -- could eventually as she put it, "bankrupt the city." 

Vaughn said, "You cant keep dipping into reserve, it's there for a reason. But I think what they have to do now is say, 'What does it look like next year?' so you can prepare in the budget, so you won't have to pull from those reserves."

Steven Viera, Director of Human Resources with the city says they're working hard on the budget deficit. He says, nationwide, the healthcare budget has been hit hard by the Affordable Care Act and locally, Viera says, there's been a lot more catastrophe claims.

But he says the city is already working to mend it's budget and considering other healthcare options for it's general employees.

Viera said, "We're looking at some changes for next year or for this coming fiscal year and that's going to mean employees are going to see once again, some pretty dramatic changes to the healthcare that we offer them."

The city will have a new healthcare plan in effect by October 1st of this year. It's important to note, this new plan wouldn't impact the Fire or Police Department's healthcare programs.

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