Don’t cut employee benefits

Benefits are meant to be an advantage, a convenience and a reliable fallback. Without them, we are strained and uncomfortable. Employees deserve benefits. They are important for financial, medical and economical reasons.

According to, the district and the unions came to an agreement that would continue Los Angeles Community College District full-time employees’ yearly $1,500 in health care reimbursement for another two years.

Now that those two years have passed, employee Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) are set to not be renewed and it is a huge problem.

It is important that employees get reimbursed for many medical expenses due to extremely high fees that aren’t covered by basic insurance plans.

This non-renewal will hurt many faculty members who depend on this establishment.

Although the LACCD can cancel an HRA at any given time, it is unethical to do so. Many Pierce College employees have had life-changing experiences due to this benefit, so why take away something that only goes to aiding the right of well-being?

According to Richard McMillan, instructor of history and humanities, the HRA benefits have been a godsend.

“In January of 2013 my wife was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and, because of this little card, we were able to pay for her treatment,” McMillan said.

Part of McMillan’s wife’s treatments included shots that cost about $1,500 each. McMillan said that he had to give her one everyday for about two months.

The HRA benefits help employees through financial needs, but it also eases the burden during desperate, emotional and sentimental times that they’ve gone through.

Health fees are constantly on the rise and the average U.S. Citizen cannot afford to pay these expenses without any personal budget cuts.

According to, there are nearly 30 million Americans with hearing loss and the average price of a single hearing aid is $2,300.

“We need the HRA… I have a two year old and a five year old. You want to know what I use [HRA] for? My son has a hearing aid, he’s two years old. It’s very expensive. Both pregnancies were very difficult,” assistant professor of history Brian Walsh said.

Medical expenses are utterly high-priced, and it is unreasonable to have an employee pay for such a cost by themselves.

A board member trustee for the LACCD can earn from $200,000 to $450,000 a year, according to Why is it that budgetary needs are being subsided while administrators continue to get rich?

These extra funds should be used toward beneficial areas, not toward someone’s new handbag or hot rod ride. Money doesn’t seem to be lost, but rather hidden.

So, with that being said, there should be no excuse or reasoning toward the loss of HRA benefits.

Director of the Health Center, Beth Benne, said at a Board of Trustees meeting that her husband had a heart attack less than a year ago. Benne’s husband spent 47 hours in the hospital, and the bill turned out to be about $50,000.

Benne and her husband recently finished paying off their portion of that bill.

“We all know our healthcare system is broken, but until we as a country can control the hemorrhaging costs of healthcare, our HRA’s are critical to many of us who are struggling to make ends meet,” Benne said.

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