Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund board gets an earful from retirees in midst of coverage debacle

Insurance broker promises changes, retirees skeptical.

Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund board gets an earful from retirees in midst of coverage debacle
John Gallagher Jr. is the executive director of the pension fund, and the man who has endured much of the backlash from retirees.

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It’s a story Cleveland 19 has been staying on top of for weeks.

Police and fire retirees under the age of 65 are stuck with insurance coverage that’s far more expensive than what they once had.

Retirees confronted the Ohio Police Fire and Pension Fund Board at a meeting Wednesday in Columbus.

Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund hears complaints from retirees about health benefit cuts

John Gallagher Jr. is the executive director of the pension fund, and the man who has endured much of the backlash from retirees.

Cleveland 19 was told he wasn’t talking but we decided to see for ourselves, approached him during a break at the meeting.

He answered: “Dave Graham handles our communications, he’s in the back if you’d like to talk to David.”

Cleveland 19 talked to Graham and asked a question members have urged us to ask for weeks now: Do board members, workers, Gallagher and you have the same health care as retirees?

The answer: “No, our coverage is similar to what workers had when they were full-time employees.”

Board members asked some pointed questions and got a lot of promises from AON, the company that is running the self-pay program. Gary Mento, who heads the police and fire retirees of Ohio in Akron, said “It’s always been provided by the cities, or by the pension board and now you’re on your own.” He said his members feel like the rug has been pulled out from under them.

Sadly retirees are now aware of the lack of board resolve to do much about it, other than stay the course.

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