Pension board takes no firm actions to help police, fire retirees with health insurance

Pension Board staying the course.
Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 at 5:05 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 went on a search for answers from John Gallagher Jr, the executive director of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund who has served since 2013; the same year funding cuts to the health portion of the fund began.

Gallagher was at a pension board monthly meeting where AON, the company the fund hired to manage the funds, was to face questions concerning members' enrollment difficulties and massive hikes in deductibles and prescription costs.

Gallagher said he wouldn’t answer questions, but when told that he was the focus of many members anger, he responded “Yeah, I don’t know why. I’m just doing my job.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, he gestured a reporter to the fund’s communications manager.

Despite getting blown off, we left a business card. Given the body language, we were pretty certain the phone wasn’t going to ring any time soon.

The meeting of the board was supposed to provide answers from AON for retirees impacted when the board got out of its long-standing group coverage. The questions were pretty tame given the predicament many of the people they’re elected to represent are in.

One board member describes a complaint he hears repeatedly, “They get different messages of what they’re allowed to do and not allowed to do and it changes day to day or phone call to phone call.”

That’s about as contentious as it got from the board. AON even was given a free pass from Gallagher, the man who led the switch to AON.

A retiree’s facebook page is brimming with people complaining. Their concerns were minimized.

Another board member said of the retiree’s posts, “They’re not being truthful. Whatever they were paying for health care before Jan. 1, 2019, they’re not paying any more.”

That is true. They’re paying four or five times what they used to pay, with higher deductibles.

Take the instance of Kevin and Diana Gunn, who said, “We had a $750 deductible, now we have a $6,700 deductible. Our out-of-pocket on United Health was $2,000. It’s $8,000 now.”

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