TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy with lingering snow into the late evening. Up to an inch will be possible. Low: 23. Winds: North 5-10 mph.
THANKSGIVING DAY: Mostly sunny and colder. High: 27. Winds: Northwest 10-15 mph.
Lawmakers Working to Implement Retiree Healthcare Changes
Government retirees will start paying part of their own healthcare premiums under a new contract between the state and the state's largest public employee union.
Today, state lawmakers are trying to track down how much money the change might save.
The state's group insurance program covers more than 350,000 people, according to the most recent numbers. That includes state workers, government retirees, and their dependents.
Lawmakers are taking the first steps to implement the changes to healthcare, specifically for retirees under a new contract with AFSCME.
Today, a committee asked leaders from the state agency that administers the program how it will work. Under the agreement with AFSCME:
- The state will no longer cover secondary charges for people enrolled in Medicare.
- Instead, Illinois will offer a contract with an outside provider to offer comparable benefits.
- For retirees who aren't eligible for Medicare but have 20 years of service, the state will offer an incentive to opt out of state health coverage and find insurance elsewhere.
Leaders from the state agency that administers healthcare didn't have an estimate of cost savings for both alternatives.
Lawmakers did not make any decisions today.
Changes in the contract are scheduled to take effect July 1.
State leaders say Illinois owes $1.6 billion in unpaid insurance bills. The payments for government employees' and retirees' healthcare are nine to 12 months behind. That's resulting in additional interest fees to the tune of $80 million.