Governor Pat Quinn recently signed off on a measure that will require state retirees to help pay for their health coverage. But the agency charged with figuring out who pays what is a long way from making a decision.Mike Claffey is with the Department of Central Management Services, the agency that is working on setting rates for state retiree health care. He says no other state has offered as generous a benefit to retirees as Illinois:
CLAFFEY “Up until this fiscal crisis we’ve been able to be you know, extremely generous. But, this costs $800-million a year, and approximately 90 percent of retirees are not contributing anything to the cost of their health insurance.”
So Claffey says the time has come for state retirees to contribute.
CLAFFEY “That’s why I think there was a consensus in the General Assembly and on the part of the administration that we needed to make a change in the program, to really make it sustainable going forward, for the long haul.”
He says the restructuring process will include bargaining with labor unions. The amount retirees will have to pay will depend on how much they get for their pension. But Claffey says a decision isn’t expected for months. (Rachel Otwell)