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Detroit EM Looks To Streamline Health Care Plans For City Employees

DETROIT (WWJ) - State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr wants to streamline 20 different health care plans available to Detroit municipal employees -- down to one individual plan, as part of his financial restructuring of the city. A move spokesman Bill Nowling says would save Detroit an estimated $12-million annually.

"The city spends about thirty-five cents of every dollar on health care, pensions, retirement. By 2018, that will grow to sixty-five cents of every dollar the city spends," said Nowling. "So one of the things we wanted to do was to see where we could find savings."

"Twelve million dollars a year is approximately enough money to put 100 more cops on the street and this is how we are looking at savings. Every dime and every penny that we can pull out of the budget - we can put it back into the budget in the form of an improved public service," added Nowling.

Under Orr's plan -- current city employee health care premiums would be maintained.

However, annual deductible limits would increase -- from $200-to-$750 for individual employees, and from $500-up-to-$1,500 dollars for families.

Bankruptcy attorney Doug Bernstein from Plunkett Cooney of Bloomfield Hills knows the real test is down the road.

"Health care is a component - which the workers knew and the pensioners knew were at risk that he could modify. The pensions though that will be a bigger battle," said Bernstein.

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