County Administrator Responds

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We did not hear back from Chuck Huckelberry by the press time for this week's story about Pima County retirees' health insurance, "Health Matters." However, the Pima County administrator was able to respond to our questions by e-mail yesterday.

When asked for comment on the age-discrimination investigation by the state Attorney General's Office, Huckelberry wrote that he had no comment.

Regarding the estimates on costs and savings discussed in memos issued Jan. 28, 2010 and Feb. 9, 2009 (mentioned in the story), Huckelberry responded: "The $112.00 per month calculation is correct. It relates to retiree only coverage and selecting the similar lowest cost plan provided by the State. If the retiree covers himself/herself as well as their spouse and/or children, or if they are out of network (out of state), they could pay more as indicated. The cost estimates have not changed."

Huckelberry was also asked if he was aware of the list of 30 claimants produced by the Pima County Retirees Association that show only four of the highest claims filed by county employees in 2009 and 2010 were retirees, with only one retiree in the top five.

Huckelberry wrote, "The highest cost claims are not the measure of retiree cost. It is total claims paid versus total premiums paid. The data, in all cases, indicates the total claims paid for retirees are almost twice those of regular employees."

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