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City will reduce health care costs for police widows beginning Nov. 1


The 10-month wait for reduced health care costs is almost over for widows and children of Baltimore police officers killed in the line of duty. They had been stymied in their attempts to claim the promised reductions.

City police and officials from the labor commissioner's office, meeting yesterday after an article on the widows' plight appeared in The Sun, decided to implement the program Nov. 1, along with checks for back pay.

"They will get their money," said Col. Joseph R. Bolesta, chief of the human resources bureau. "The officials felt very badly. It was nothing intentional."

About 30 widows and children -- nine less than the department estimated Tuesday -- are eligible for the reduced benefit costs.

To keep their health insurance, they had paid what a retired officer is charged. But under the police contract that took effect Jan. 1, the widows will pay only what their spouses were charged. In most cases, it is a substantial cut.

For Betty Miller, whose husband, Richard Miller, was killed in 1986, the change means she will be paying $16.82 every two weeks, instead of the $50.72 she is paying now. The city owes her $682.

Labor Commissioner Melvin Harris said the delay was due to staff reviews of the contract.

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