Governor Pat Quinn’s tentative agreement with the state’s largest government-employee union would finally implement a law to make retired state workers pay for their health care, regardless of ability to pay, or how long they worked.
According to a memo (.pdf) AFSCME confirms was written by the union’s director, Henry Bayer, most retired state and university employees will have to put two percent of their pensions toward health care premiums starting in July. The next year they’ll have to pay two percent more.
Retirees who are eligible for Medicare will pay less — one percent this summer, then one percent more in 2014.
The deal’s part of AFSCME’s latest contract agreement, which if approved will also reportedly require current workers to pay more for health care.
In the memo, Bayer says the health care costs retirees will have to pay are “dramatically” less than what the Quinn administration had proposed.
All state and university retirees – whether they were in AFSCME or not – are subject to the terms agreed to by the union.
Long-time state workers have not had to pay any health insurance premiums, but a new state law strips them of that benefit. A lawsuit challenging its constitutionality is ongoing.
Health care costs are part of a larger battle, as lawmakers look to reduce retirement benefits to cut the state’s nearly 100 billion dollar pension debt.
– Amanda Vinicky