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citizen have medical insurance. "What's opened up this year are exchanges," explained Mason to the City Commission. These "exchanges" allow citizens to shop among different plans. That opportunity extends to people with pre-existing conditions that might previously have prevented them from obtaining any health insurance. Meanwhile, claims against the OPEB "lock box" are rising. A graph used during the bud- get workshop shows claims jumping nearly $3 million between 2013 and 2014 to $14.6 million. "A lot of these claims are coming from our active retirees," said Mason. "OPEB can only pay for retirees." Yet, the proposal was put forth to cut the city's contribution to OPEB by $3.9 million to balance the budget. "It's not sustainable," Mason reiterated of the recommendation. "Not sustainable in the way the plan was created, which is why we need to bring forth some recommendations or sug- gestions. And we need some feedback from the [City] Commission." "Part of this discussion needs to be for- ward-looking, at the unfunded liability," said Mason. "We're very unusual because we sub- sidize the premiums so highly. Nobody else does that." A retiree with a family plan pays 16 percent of the total premium; a retired cou- ple pays 24 percent. To couple dollars with those percentages, one line in the OPEB trust account (Fund 684) shows retiree premiums of $1.3 million. Assuming that is only one-fifth the true cost, the city is paying $5.2 million per year in sub- sidies for retired employees' premiums for health, prescription and dental care plans. "With the premiums we charge, there is no incentive to look elsewhere," said Mason. "So we've never had any movement off our plan The city has contributed $26 million in 'advance funding' to help bring down the 'unfunded liability' of the OPEB account since 2007. This year it proposes to use the 'advance funding' to balance the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The heading for the right-hand column says 'Employer,' which refers to the City of Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader August 1, 2014 Page 55

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