Detroit retiree stipend changes confusing many say

First Detroit's retirees lost their healthcare, now many are purchasing healthcare from the exchange while also navigating deals made in bankruptcy and retirees are receiving a letter detailing even more changes as of April 1. 

67-year-old Clarence Cooper is one of those Detroit retirees left stranded. 

Cooper, a Vietnam veteran spent 28 years as a fire prevention inspector with the Detroit Fire Department. Cooper says it was the greatest job in the world. He retired as an inspector in 2001.

Now keeping up with his healthcare is a job in and of itself. 

The latest move by Detroit stops Cooper's $125 stipend and moves it instead to a health reimbursement arrangement flex plan where customers can submit expenses and be reimbursed.

That is good news for some but not for Cooper who has to choose between his stipend and his federal subsidy on the healthcare exchange.

Cooper says the whole process is just a headache. "Everybody's trying to figure out what's going on. Retirees did their job, now we're expected to carry the weight for everybody."

Attorneys for the retirees say there will be more changes coming next year and retirees should consult their accountant or financial planner before opting in or out.