Guinn signs bill making locals provide for their retirees |

Guinn signs bill making locals provide for their retirees

Gov. Kenny Guinn has signed a law designed to give local-goverment retirees a break on the cost of their health benefits.

AB286 requires local governments help subsidize premiums for their retirees and mingles active and retired members of employee groups so retirees won’t pay more a month than those still working.

In addition, the money committees earlier agreed to increase the assessment on state agencies needed to cover the $5 million needed to maintain the state subsidy for retired state worker health benefits.

AB286 was introduced by Assemblywoman Ellen Koivisto, D-Las Vegas, after local government and school district retirees complained they were being hit with upwards of $700 a month to maintain health insurance. In most of those cases — including the Clark County and Carson City school districts –retirees receive no subsidy from their former employers.

By contrast, the state subsidizes more than half the total premium cost of coverage for its retirees.

AB286 requires those local governments to cover a share of the retiree premiums equivalent to the share the state pays to cover its own retirees.

And, instead of rating the older, less-healthy retiree groups separately, AB286 requires they be rated together with the active workers in each group. This will lower the premium costs for retired public employees across the state.

But it will cost local governments money. While a number of Nevada cities and counties failed to submit an estimate of how much, Washoe County estimated it would cost about $1 million for a two-year budget cycle. Clark County was unable to submit any numbers but indicated there would be a cost.

In addition, local governments who pushed their retirees into the state plan must give those retirees an opportunity to return to the local plan if they prefer it to the state Public Employee Benefits Program.