S.C. firefighter union opposes city policy that cuts retirees healthcare coverage

The Myrtle Beach Professional Firefighters pushed back at a council meeting addressing the city's move to stop paying for first responders' healthcare


Maya Brown
The Sun News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A local group is looking to change a Myrtle Beach policy that cuts healthcare coverage for retired firefighters in the city.

In a press release posted on Facebook, the Myrtle Beach Professional FireFighters will gather Tuesday at a council meeting to speak out against the city's move to stop paying for the first responders' healthcare.

"The Myrtle Beach Professional Firefighters and the Professional FireFighters Association of South Carolina have not forgotten the physical and emotional sacrifices of the retired men and women of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department," the release said. "The Myrtle Beach City Government has sadly forgotten."

A contact for the association was not reached on Monday.

The cost for covering a retiree under the age of 65 is almost double the amount for covering a current city employee, said Mark Kruea, a city spokesman.

He said the city pays about $1,406 a month for each retired city employee. In comparison, it costs the city around $830 for an active employee per month. The estimated amount paid by the city for a retiree climbs to $1,500 a month with clinic access, Kruea added.

"Continuing the coverage raises the overall cost to insure the staff, plus affects clinic availability for current staff," he said.

Kruea said the change does not only affect firefighters but all retired city employees under the age of 65, adding that the move was not made hastily.

Those receiving Social Security benefits will automatically be enrolled in Medicare during the month they turn age 65, according to the American Association of Retired Persons.

The new policy was approved as part of the city's budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which was adopted in June.

Myrtle Beach Professional Firefighters posted the following videos on its Facebook page:

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(c)2021 The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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