Thursday, May 10, 2012
IL House Votes To End State Retirees' Free Healthcare
The Illinois House voted Wednesday to eliminate a premium-free insurance perk for retired state workers, including university employees, judges and lawmakers. The pricey perk costs Illinois more than $800 million a year. The new measure would require retirees to pay for their health insurance, regardless of how long they worked for the state.
State employees with 20 years of service now qualify for premium-free health insurance. The years of service are even lower for judges and General Assembly members, who receive the perk after serving six and four years, respectively. "Not only are these benefits unaffordable, given today's fiscal situation, but they are far more generous than those provided by other governments to their employees and those provided by the private sector," said House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who sponsored the proposal.
So far its unknown how much retirees would pay under the new measure. One possibility is having premiums set on a sliding scale based on income. The legislation places the price-setting power in the hands of the state Department of Central Management Services. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules would have veto power on any recommendations from the department.
House lawmakers debated the bill for about an hour. Opponents argued it breaks a promise to retirees. Retirees last week in Springfield pointed out that free doesn’t always mean free, and many still have to pay the cost of prescriptions and co-pays.
You can read Stephanie's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/8451/il-house-votes-to-end-free-health-care-for-state-retirees/