Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed vetoed an ordinance passed by the Montgomery City Council last week.

The Montgomery City Council passed an ordinance by a margin of 5-4 last week sponsored by Councillor Glen Pruitt that stops changes to health insurance for 65-plus retirees without council approval.

However, Reed vetoed the measure on Friday.

"Mayor Reed has vetoed the City Council's ordinance attempting to block AMWINS from taking over the City's contract to manage the City's supplemental health insurance program for retired Medicare-eligible employees. The Mayor's veto will save the City at least 6 million dollars it would have owed providers for breach of contract and, according to the City Attorney, other potential legal exposure," a spokesman for the City of Montgomery said on Friday.

City officials announced in November that the administrator managing the City of Montgomery's supplemental health insurance program for retired Medicare-eligible employees would be changing next year. AMWINS Group Benefits, LLC, will assume administrative responsibility beginning in January 2024. Blue Cross Blue Shield was the previous administrator of the program

Insurance plans are being altered for some 930 retired city employees over the age of 65, according to WSFA.

Montgomery City Councilman Glenn Pruitt told WSFA he'd received many phone calls from frustrated retirees about the change.

"These people worked in the '60s and '70s for $400 and $500 a week. We have left them out of our budgets for many, many years," Pruitt told the outlet. "And wow, the one thing that they worked at the City of Montgomery for, we want to change them. That's not fair. These people have worked. They have had it. They have done their duty, and now we're changing it on them."

A City of Montgomery spokesman said in November, "The primary health insurance provider for the City of Montgomery retirees over 65 is Medicare." 

"That is not changing. What's changing in January is the third-party administrator for health claims Medicare does not cover. The administrator works behind the scenes to ensure the additional costs are paid with as little out-of-pocket expenses to the retirees as possible," the spokesman said. "The City is making this change because AMWINS offered similar benefits through United American Insurance at a lower monthly cost to retirees. If the City stays with its current supplemental health insurance administrator and without adding new revenue, the premiums for retired city employees would continue to increase, which the City is trying to avoid."

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