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Retirees in Action

   Jim Carr  A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr

Help us fight BIG cut to your Medicare reimbursement

The New York State budget season is in full swing and once again the governor wants retirees to pay more for health insurance. The governor’s plan to cap and eliminate certain Medicare Part B reimbursements and increase health insurance costs is unfair and bad policy.  These proposals, which seem to appear in one form or another every year, must be rejected.

The governor’s 2020-21 Executive Budget proposal would cap reimbursement of the Medicare Part B standard premium at the current levels, and end reimbursement for the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) for higher income state retirees.  Specifically, it would cap the standard premium reimbursement at $144.60 per month for retirees and their eligible dependents.  Any future increases would be hard to come by as they would be subject to budget negotiations.

In addition, the state would retroactively discontinue the IRMAA Medicare Part B reimbursement back to January 1, 2020.  The new IRMAA burden alone will cost affected retirees anywhere from $694 to $4,164 annually.  The governor also proposed a sliding scale for retiree health insurance costs for new state employees that would increase the share they would pay. That would create yet another barrier for recruitment and retention of state workers.

Capping and eliminating these insurance reimbursements and increasing retiree health care costs will greatly affect retirees who dedicated their lives to public service and are now on fixed incomes.  Retirees do not have the financial flexibility to go out and earn extra money in response to budgetary whims.  It is patently unfair to pick on these individuals and ask them to fill budget shortfalls long after they have left the workforce.  Balancing the state budget should not be a burden that retirees have to bear.

When retirees reach age 65, we are required to signup and pay for the federal Medicare program while we also continue to pay for our New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), which could be The Empire Plan or any of a number of health maintenance organizations (HMO) programs. The state saves money when retirees older than age 65 have Medicare, because NYSHIP then becomes their secondary insurance.

Since we are paying for NYSHIP the state pays us back or reimburses us, for what we have to pay for Medicare. All the money comes and goes directly out of our monthly pension payment. This arrangement has been going on since 1966.

Since we are already paying for health insurance from the state, the state saves money when we are on Medicare. Retirees need to care enough to fight back. PEF Retirees is fighting back, and we need your help!

Please click on the link to write to your state legislators today!

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