Health care deadline looms for Detroit retirees

(WXYZ) - Saturday at midnight is the deadline for some 10,000 Detroit City retirees and their spouses to sign up for health care coverage who are not Medicare eligible. 

Detroit City medical coverage for all 23,000 ends March 1.  It is mostly police and fire retirees who are not Medicare eligible because their pension system also opted out of Social Security. 

In another unprecedented move, Detroit is asking Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to invalidate $1.45 billion of pension obligation Certificates of Participation (COPs) or loans the city took out in 2005. 

Detroit is suing those lenders on Wall Street.  Detroit Emergency Manager Spokesman Bill Nowling tells 7 Action News, "we believe the city under state and federal law did not have the authority to issue those."  A hearing on that is set for Wednesday. 

Next week, Detroit will submit its revised Plan of Adjustment and Disclosure Statement which will outline how the city will improve services in the future and how much creditors and retirees will get: 10 cents or 20 cents on the dollar. 

"There are 17 classes of creditors that have debt the city owes.  It will talk about how each class is dealt with," Nowling said.

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