State’s high court said some employees must be reimbursed for health care overcharge
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun
6:51 PM EDT, April 8, 2013
The Baltimore County police union says county officials have ignored a ruling by the state’s highest court to reimburse some 400 retired Police Department employees for overpaid insurance premiums.
A Maryland Court of Appeals decision in November required the county to reimburse the employees for wrongful deductions, but in a motion filed Friday in county Circuit Court, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 4, says it hasn’t happened.
The union estimates the county owes retirees $572,887.10 through May 2011.
“The county’s refusal to provide the relief ordered by this court is without any justification and accomplishes nothing other than to further delay resolution of this matter and gratuitously increase the parties’ expenses by unnecessarily prolonging litigation,” the motion said.
County officials declined to comment Monday, said spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.
The union filed a grievance when county officials changed the way the county subsidized health insurance for a group of police retirees in 2007. Police department employees who retired between Feb. 1, 1992 and June 30, 2007 had been required to pay 15 percent of health insurance premiums while the county paid 85 percent, and the union believed that plan was fixed until the retirees became eligible for Medicare.
However, the county approved a change in 2007, shifting more of the cost to employees. In response, the union filed for arbitration, which allows an independent third party to resolve disputes when the county and unions reach an impasse.
The FOP argued the health care subsidy was fixed for that group, and the retirees should not have to pay more. The county argued the health insurance subsidy could be renegotiated every year.
The arbitrator ruled in favor of the union. The county then took the decision to Circuit Court, which also sided with the union. In November, that court’s decision was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeals.