Councilman John Nickelson explains how the city overpaid for employee insurance premiums for more than ten years and it could have gone unnoticed.

"That was the report we initially received," says Nickelson, responding to reports that the city had overpaid as much as $30 million over ten years, "I've received information subsequent to that conversation that suggests that's not correct. Based on what I've seen...I don't believe we overpaid $30 million."

"The time frame you're discussing is correct," he continues, explaining that federal law (Obamacare) required the city to overpay. "There was a discrepancy between what the city was paying and an ordinance that a previous council put in place required."

Here's Councilman Nickelson's complete explanation to KEEL listeners:

So, how much did the city overpay? "I don't know the answer to that yet. I'm hoping we get to the bottom of that.

"Overpaying, I think, is not the right word. Did the city of Shreveport pay more than was authorized by the ordinance that was in place? Yes, but it's not as though the money went out the door to some third party. This is all internal. We're talking about how much of the healthcare cost was paid by the city versus what was paid by employees."

But what about the underfunding of Shreveport's healthcare trust fund? If the self-insured city was overpaying, how could there be too little money?

"The city. historically, has not made sufficient payments to the healthcare trust fund," Nickelson says, "It's really easy for administrations to kick problems like this down the road...I do think that (Shreveport CAO Henry) Whitehorn and Mayor Perkins deserve credit for addressing problems that (previous) mayors and councils have not addressed."

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