State retirees would have to pay more for healthcare under legislation approved Wednesday in the Illinois House. But as Brian Mackey reports, it’s not clear how much money the change will save.
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Depending on length of service, state government and university retirees get a discount on health insurance. Once employees put in 20 years, coverage is free. That would go away under the measure that passed the House.
Speaker Michael Madigan says 90 percent of retirees pay nothing for their coverage. Under his proposal, the governor’s administration would determine how much retirees have to pay.
But as you can hear in this exchange between Madigan and fellow Democrat Karen May, from Highland Park, that uncertainty leaves the upside of the proposal an open question.
MAY: “Do we know how much this will save this year?”
MADIGAN: “The answer is no, but I would reference you to my earlier remarks that the program cost the state about $800 million a year right now.”
MAY: “OK, but it’s not fleshed out. And then do we know how much it would reduce our unfunded liability down the road?”
Even if the measure becomes law, no matter what rate the administration decides retirees should pay, a legislative committee would have to approve the new health insurance premiums.
I’m Brian Mackey.