Retiree Medical Update

Dear OCEA member,

OCEA members have fought hard for good pension benefits and now continue the fight for a stable, sustainable retiree medical benefit.

When OCEA members negotiated new MOUs with four years of wage increases at the end of 2019, we included a reopener regarding retiree medical benefits. OCEA active members and retirees have long expressed disappointment and frustration with the County's retiree medical grant program. The program has many serious drawbacks, including the fact that the County can terminate it with little notice. Further, the current program can only be used for one purpose - to offset the cost of high-priced County-sponsored health insurance premiums.

Since negotiations ended, OCEA staff and our expert outside actuaries, consultants, and attorneys have worked diligently to develop an alternative approach - a retiree medical reimbursement plan run by OCEA members for OCEA members, safe from the unpredictable whims of the County. 

Within the past few weeks we have finally received actuarial data from the County that we have been expecting for four months. Based on that data we believe we could be on the verge of creating an OCEA Retiree Medical Expense Reimbursement Trust that will provide better benefits, greater flexibility, and more stability.

This is a rare and exciting opportunity to create positive long-term change and we appreciate your understanding as we seek to develop the very best plan possible. The OCEA bargaining team will continue to meet, and more information will be shared in the coming days and weeks.

If you want to know how you can help with this project and other exciting union activities, go to

In Solidarity,

Charles Barfield
OCEA General Manager

Publication Date: February 10, 2020