NBC4 has learned a lawsuit will soon be filed that could potentially maintain the health insurance benefits thousands of Ohio police and fire retirees are set to lose in less than 2-weeks.
Sources say a class action lawsuit will be filed seeking a temporary restraining order. If a judge agrees it would temporarily put the pause button on before a changeover to what many public safety retirees say is an inferior, limited, complicated health insurance program. John Gallagher, chairman and CEO of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Board blames the change on the battle over the Affordable Care Act in Washington.
“Unfortunately the demands of funding the pension fund reduce the ability to support a health care trust,” said Gallagher.
The change means health insurance coverage for retired first responders would be eliminated. Retirees not old enough to qualify for Medicare would get a stipend to go toward private insurance.
The deadline to sign up came and went last Saturday.
Many of the retirees also say they’re frustrated that the stipend can only be used through a company called Aon which has far fewer choices of doctors or hospitals compared with their current plan.
The temporary restraining order being filed in federal court would be good for 14-days or could be extended.
Roughly 8,000 retired police officers and firefighters in Ohio are affected.