This article on retiree healthcare for NYC government worker retirees is from The City-New York Focus. It was sent to us by a number of people.
The first few paragraphs:
Nearly 250,000 retired New York City employees and their spouses could have their health insurance changed to “Medicare Advantage” plans managed by private insurers as soon as July 1, New York Focus has learned.
Retirees, who are pushing to delay the switch, say they are worried that a switch away from their current Medicare plan could lead to dramatically higher out-of-pocket costs and a smaller network of providers.
“It’s a little frightening,” said Jane Roeder, a retired city administrator. “The word on the street is that these Advantage plans are fine as long as you don’t get sick, as long as you don’t need the chemotherapy that my friend is having right now, or radiation treatment, or infusion treatment, or skilled nursing.”
The proposed switchover follows a June 2018 agreement between the Municipal Labor Committee, a group that represents retired New York City employees, and the city Office of Labor Relations.
Under that pact, both sides agreed to reduce health care costs for retirees by $600 million a year relative to 2018 forecasts, starting in 2021. Switching to Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, was one of eight possibilities proposed at the time.
Under Medicare Advantage, the city projects it would save that sum by paying a fee to a private insurance company to manage a Medicare plan. Documents reviewed by New York Focus indicate a deal is being negotiated between the city and private insurance companies seeking to administer the coverage.
Please permit me to remind everyone that part of our opposition to the 2018 contract was unknown medical givebacks. Here is the portion of our October 2018 piece opposing that subpar deal that covers healthcare.
Healthcare givebacks are for all of us in this contract, not just new teachers. The Municipal Labor Committee agreed to huge healthcare savings in June. This is from the City Hall Website article on the new UFT contract: “The agreement will provide total health care savings of $1.1 billion through Fiscal Year 2021 and $1.9 billion of annual savings thereafter.” Putting new teachers on HIP managed care for their first year, which is a major contractual concession as our contract says the city has to offer us a choice of free health plans, will not save the city $1.1 billion or $1.9 billion annually after 2021 as the city will still be paying their health insurance. Where are the new $1.1 billion in healthcare savings ($600 million must recur annually) going to come from?
New city employees have already been placed into managed care for year one of their employment. City retirees could be next. Retirees are talking about what we can do about this. I won't personally be impacted for a few years but I stand ready to support any action opposing privatization as should those of you who are decades away from Medicare eligibility.