|A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr|
Speak up now to save our retiree health benefits
I hope you are staying safe, healthy, engaged and energetic as we approach spring. Spring is a time for new growth and warmer weather. As retirees, we can enjoy the change in seasons here in New York and we can hope for a bright COVID-19-free future when we can once again meet in person, gather with friends and family and dine out without fear.
Right now, we all need to do our part in protecting our earned benefits. We need every retiree and future retiree in PEF to step up and contact their legislators about state budget proposals that would negatively affect current and future retirees.
As retired PEF-represented state, we are extremely concerned about budget proposals that once again target fixed-income retirees. The plans to cap and eliminate certain Medicare Part B reimbursements, and to increase our health insurance costs are unfair and bad policy. These proposals, which seem to appear in one form or another every year, must again be rejected by state legislators.
The governor proposes to cap an annually increasing reimbursement of the Medicare Part B standard premium at the current levels and cease reimbursement for the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) for higher income state retirees. He would cap the standard premium reimbursement at $148.50 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 $713 to $4,277 annually.
The governor has also proposed a sliding scale for retiree health insurance costs for new employees, which would pose yet another barrier for the 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. Many PEF 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 we have to bear.
Please take the time to help us as we work to help you by following information below to reach out to your legislators and secure their help to stop these unfair costs increases.
We only have until April 1 to contact our elected officials throughout the state. Due to COVID restrictions, this year will be a very difficult time to physically perform legislative visits. So, it is even more imperative that we each send a letter, email, or call our state senator and assembly member; and let them know why it is so important to defeat these proposals.
Call the state Assembly at 518-455-4100 and ask for your state Assembly member, or follow this link to find your Assembly member: https://nyassembly.gov/mem.
Call the state Senate at 518-455-2800 and ask for your state senator or use this link to find your senator: https://www.nysenate.gov/senators-committees
To send a pre-written letter to your legislators online, use the link below to login and select START WRITING. Please add your name and address to the bottom of the letter. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/retirement-health-care-costs-for-state-retirees-3
Talking points or for letter writing:
As a constituent and a retired state employee represented by the Public Employees Federation (PEF), I am extremely concerned about the proposals in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget that once again target our fixed-income retirees. 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.
As my elected representative, I kindly ask that you work with the leadership in your house to remove Parts CC, DD and EE of the Public Protection and General Government Article VII Budget Bill (A.3005/S.2505) to reject these bad proposals that would increase health care costs for state retirees. Thank you for your time, attention and consideration of this very important issue.
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