A little help for retiree health expenses

The city of Stockton has received a $870,693 federal reimbursement toward last year’s retiree health care expenses. The money is coming from the government’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, officials announced in a news release.

The money cannot be used to fund city programs, services or salaries, officials said. The reimbursement applies to benefits paid in 2010 for early retirees, or workers who retired between ages 55 and 65.

The federal reimbursement represents about 13.6 percent of the total spent in 2010 on early retiree health care benefits, or $6.4 million, officials said.

During labor negotiations this year, City Hall has targeted retiree health care for savings. Stockton’s long-term unfunded retiree health liability is estimated at $544 million, and the city has not saved any money to pay it.

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