Retirees Blast Budget

ALBANY, NY (01/19/2017)(readMedia)-- Calling the Governor's assertion that this was his best budget laughable if it didn't betray such an arrogance to the needs of retirees, RPEA President Jack McPadden criticized the proposal which would cap Medicare reimbursement.

McPadden noted that "Medicare premiums are scheduled to increase this year meaning retirees will pay more for their healthcare. The New York State Health Insurance Plan forces eligible retirees into using Medicare as their primary coverage as a way of saving the State money. Since retirees pay both NYSHIP & Medicare premiums, the State has, since 1966, reimbursed them for their Medicare premium. This Governor has repeatedly sought to reimburse Medicare eligible NYSHIP retirees at a rate less than what they are required to pay out-of-pocket. Thankfully, our friends in the Legislature have stood up for retirees and defeated this ill-conceived and unacceptable proposal in the past. We urge the Legislature to do so again."

The proposal is perplexing since, just last month, the Department of Civil Service which administers the NYSHIP informed retirees that, effective January 1, they would be reimbursing them at the new higher Medicare premium rate. Now the Governor proposes capping that reimbursement at a lower rate, effective May 1. McPadden said "retirees should not be constantly be subjected to these games. They should be reimbursed what they paid."

McPadden concluded that "the Governor states that these cuts are necessary because the NYSHIP costs for retirees 'exceeds the benchmark growth rate of 2% per year.' Here's a news flash for the Governor, health insurance for ALL participants exceeded 2% a year. The justification just doesn't hold water. Retirees deserve to be treated fairly."