Baltimore County Retiree Health Care Dispute Drags On

BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD – Baltimore County officials are continuing to fight a court ruling ordering the county to pay millions of dollars to retired police officers who were overcharged for health insurance.

After losing at the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in December, the county has appealed the case to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

The case dates to 2007, when the county moved to set the amount that police retirees pay for health insurance at a standard rate of 20 percent.

Retirees, who had been paying different rates depending on when they retired, argued the change was an improper increase. The case affects more than 400 officers who retired between 1992 and 2007.

In 2013, the county was ordered to change the insurance rates and pay $1.7 million to the retirees. When the county made no move to pay, the police union asked a judge to hold County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and other top officials in contempt of court. The county relented and paid the money last year, but continued to appeal.

The money is being held in an escrow account while the case continues to be litigated.

“The county continues to believe that all county retirees should pay the same health care premium. However, we have fully complied with the lower court rulings pending any further response from the Court of Appeals,” county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said in a statement.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4, which represents county officers, says 10 of its retirees have died waiting for their reimbursement.

FOP officers were planning to send out checks next week when they learned of the appeal Wednesday, said Dave Rose, the lodge’s second vice president.

“This just keeps going around and around and around and they keep finding a way to waste taxpayer dollars and time to try and renege on what every court at every level found is a negotiated, vested benefit for our retirees,” Rose said.

“They’ve made the same arguments at every level, and lost at every level,” he said.


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