The City of Ashland holds in high regard the health and longevity of our employees. To attract and retain a highly-qualified and diverse workforce, we provide the highest quality benefits and programs to our employees. To that end, the City offers an excellent fringe benefit package which includes: paid vacation, sick and holiday leave; retirement through the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS or OPSRP); optional deferred compensation programs; employee and dependent medical, dental and vision (with 5% employee contribution); and additional wellness benefits. Additional benefits are specific to individual unions and may be found in each contract and the non-represented resolution. New employees begin coverage on medical benefits the first day of the month after hire, and there is no waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Questions about City benefits or programs should be directed to the Human Resources (Personnel) Department.
Medical Plan: Medical benefits are covered under City County Insurance (CIS) Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. The deductible is $300 per covered person or $900 maximum for a family. Once deductibles are met, covered services are paid at 90% of the usual and customary rate (UCR) for that service, up to the first $5,000 in a calendar year as long as the employee chooses a participating provider. (If a non-participating provider is used, coverage is 70%.) If $5,000 in covered expenses is reached in a calendar year, covered services are paid at 100% for the remainder of that year.
Dental Plan: Employees have a choice of dental benefits through Delta Dental or Willamette Dental. Coverage under Delta Dental begins at 70% the first year for all covered services and increases by 10% each year up to 100%, as long as the employee maintains regular dental exams. If routine exams and cleanings are not maintained during the year, coverage decreases by 10%, but never drops below 70%. The maximum benefit per person per calendar year under this plan is $1,500. A participating provider is required in order to receive full benefits under the Delta Dental Plan. If Willamette Dental is chosen, all family members must select the same provider group. Dental services under this plan are provided by Willamette Dental ONLY.
Vision Plan: Our vision plan, through VSP, provides a UCR eye care benefit for covered services as long as the employee chooses a participating provider. If a non-participating provider is used, reimbursement is available at a lesser rate.
Life Insurance: Employer and employee paid life insurance benefits are provided through CIGNA. All employee groups are provided with at least $10,000 in life insurance, with $1,000 dependent coverage. Employees may elect to purchase supplemental life insurance coverage for themselves or their spouses in $10,000 increments up to a maximum of $300,000. An additional Dependent Life Policy is an employee-paid benefit and costs a flat $1.60 per month. Please consult Human Resources for details on the amount of life insurance coverage the City provides or to obtain a Supplemental Life Insurance application. The City also provides an Accidental Death & Dismemberment policy equivalent to the provided Life Insurance policy.
Long Term Disability (LTD): The City provides an LTD benefit for employees in some bargaining groups. LTD benefits have a 90-day waiting period before benefits are payable. The maximum benefit period is to age 65. Benefits are reduced after age 65.
PERS: The City of Ashland participates in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). We pay the Employer contribution and we “pick-up” the employee portion. Contributions are made to employee accounts monthly based on a percentage of salary (6%).
Employees hired after August 2003 without prior PERS membership become members in the Oregon Public Service Retirement Program (OPSRP). The OPSRP program is part of the PERS system with some nuances. The City currently pays 100% of the retirement contributions for either the PERS or OPSRP programs.
New employees become eligible for PERS/OPSRP automatically after 6 months of employment. If contributions are made on their behalf to PERS during 5 consecutive coverage years, they become fully vested and both portions of their PERS account are theirs. If an employee leaves before becoming vested, he or she is only entitled to the “employee” portion of the account.
Oregon PERS is a complex system, and there are several options employees can choose for their retirement benefit calculation. We have workshops and training available to employees so they are able to make informed choices on their retirement options through PERS. There are three methods used for retirement benefit calculation: Full Formula, Full Formula Plus Annuity and Money Match. The method that produces the highest benefit is used to determine the member’s monthly retirement benefit.
Deferred Compensation: The City offers 457 Deferred Compensation program through ICMA. Maximum contributions are set by the IRS and change annually. Most employees qualify for a matching contribution from the City into their Deferred Compensation account as long as the employee contributes a minimum amount each month.
HRA VEBA: The HRA VEBA plan provides a tax-free defined contribution account for employees to pay for medical, dental, vision and tax-qualified long-term care premiums and non-covered healthcare expenses for the mutual benefit of the City and its employees. The City of Ashland now contributes 2% of each employee’s salary into an HRA VEBA investment account every month.
CIGNA: The City participates with CIGNA for supplemental health insurance. Participation is optional and monthly premiums are processed through automatic payroll deduction. CIGNA benefit plans include Accident and Injury and Critical Illness plans. CIGNA plans supplement and enhance the benefits already provided by the City. CIGNA pays the employee directly rather than the medical provider, allowing the employee more freedom to use the money for his or her most pressing financial concerns.
Wellness Benefits: The City offers reimbursement under our Wellness Program for assistance with membership fees at a qualified fitness facility or gym.
RBH - Employee Assistance Program (EAP): The City recognizes employees have pressures and demands placed upon them outside the work environment. At times, coping with personal issues and pressures can be overwhelming and can ultimately result in negative work performance. To that end, we offer a confidential employee assistance program to add one more dimension to our Wellness Program. The program is available to employees and their dependents.
Computer Loan Program: In an effort to promote technical skills among City employees, we offer a zero-interest loan for employees to purchase a home computer. After one year of service, employees are eligible for a computer loan up to $2,500.00 for a qualified computer purchase. The employee must pay the loan back over a two-year period (maximum) through payroll deductions.
Pre-Tax Programs: City employees can take advantage of a program through ASI Flex that offers an opportunity to lower taxable income to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax, rather than after-tax dollars. The options available are for Premium Only (which covers the 5% employee paid contribution for insurance), Healthcare Flexible Spending Account and Dependent Care Assistance Plan.
Please contact Human Resources for more information about any of the benefit plans or programs at (541) 552-2110.