Police sue Nebraska city over health insurance changes
Changes in insurance policy have led a police union and a Nebraska city’s officers to sue the city.
Four Grand Island, Neb., police officers have joined the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24 in suing Grand Island and its mayor over changes the city made to its health insurance policy, the Grand Island Independent reports. The lawsuit was filed in June in Hall County (Neb.) District Court, and a hearing will be held on Sept. 29, the Independent reports.
The lawsuit stems from changes made to the city’s health insurance plan, Nebraska TV station KSNB reports. While spouses were formerly allowed to enroll in the city’s healthcare plan, the city is now requiring spouses to enroll in the health care plans of their own employers if those employers offer health insurance.
Mayor Jeremy Jensen initially announced undefined changes to city staffs’ health insurance in August 2016, according to Nebraska TV station NTV. Employees were told in March 2017 that their spouses wouldn’t be able to get health care through the city by Oct. 1. Grand Island’s human resources director gave official notice that the changes would be made, according to the Independent.
In June, the four plaintiff officers had filed a request for a hearing to air their grievances, the Independent reports. The city denied the request, and the lawsuit seeks to reverse the request denial. In the lawsuit, the police union and the officers claim that the new agreement violates the bargaining agreement between the city and the union.
Jensen released a statement in which he revealed that the city — and therefore taxpayers — pay for health care costs for each employee up to a certain amount, NTV reports. Jensen instructed his team to find $2 million in savings and to reduce the claims the city was paying.
“By saving over $2 million we were able to retain jobs – some of which were public safety employees. I want to make it clear that if our employees choose to sue the city, they choose to sue the taxpayers, and I think the taxpayers have the right to know the details,” Jensen said in the statement, per NTV.
The Fraternal Order of Police and FOP Lodge 24 declined to comment directly on the case, multiple news outlets report.