Retired Pedernales Electric Cooperative board president R.B. Felps filed a lawsuit against the electric cooperative in December after the current board voted to discontinue the Medicare supplemental insurance program, paid for by the cooperative, that covered the former director.
In July 2008, the PEC board of directors adopted a resolution that provided board members aged 65 or older, who left the board after at least 10 years of service, with Medicare supplemental insurance paid for by the cooperative. Felps was president when the resolution was passed and later retired in 2010 after 16 years on the board.
The current board decided to discontinue the supplemental coverage in October 2011. At that time, nineteen former directors, dependents, and surviving dependents were receiving the insurance, according to PEC, with a total cost of approximately $65,884 per year. The board voted to discontinue the coverage on December 31, 2011. PEC continued to pay for the former director’s benefits after Felps filed the lawsuit on December 19, 2011. Coverage for the other recipients expired on December 31 as planned, PEC spokesperson Kay Jarvis said.
The suit went before Judge Dan Mills on January 6. Felps’ lawyer, Abe Kuczaj, asked for an injunction against PEC discontinuing the benefits until the case was resolved, according to the Austin American Statesman. The Austin paper reported that the lawsuit stated, “Felps is 75 years old, making it difficult to secure such Medicare supplemental insurance on an individual basis,” and that the termination of benefits would be a breach of contract and would “pose ‘a threat of imminent and irreparable harm to Felps.’” Judge Mills denied the injunction.
“Mr. Felps’ benefits are scheduled to expire January 31, consistent with the Court’s ruling,” said PEC’s Jarvis.
“PEC has not received notice of further court proceedings,” Jarvis concluded.