Thousands of City of Corpus Christi employees are in for a financial pinch. They face an average $200 a month premium increase for family health coverage.
"We're introducing a brand new plan. It's a high deductible health plan," Director of Human Resources Steve Viera said.
At a budget workshop, Viera announced that out-of-pocket costs for family health insurance coverage are going to rise an average of $200 a month. That increase impacts some 2,700 City employees, including police and firefighters.
"We've had a number of high catastrophic claims impact our plans," Viera said.
The City provides its own insurance coverage but had to pass along the increase in premiums. For many of the more than 300 police officers affected by the increase, it's a burden.
"It's a definite hardship," Officer Scott Leeton said. "We all have a budget that we work on, whether it's an individual, a family or the City of Corpus Christi, for that fact."
City Council members said they are trying to make cuts to take care of streets and water, and this is something that has to be passed on to employees.
"I hate it, but in our business, in the business in the public sector, when this happens you have to cut," Council Member Carolyn Vaughn said. "And even with the premiums they've got now, with the new plan they're lower than the premiums we pay with our company."
"I just don't see us being able, unless something is done nationally on the health care side, I just don't see the City being able to maintain the number of employees that we currently have and being able to provide the benefits we currently do," Council Member Rudy Garza said.
Garza said if more cuts have to be made, he hopes there is a way citizens might be able to help with City services.