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State Retirees to Start Paying for Health Insurance
State government retirees are paying for part of their own healthcare premiums starting Monday.
It's a provision in a new contract between the state and the largest public employee union.
Many Springfield area retirees are upset. They say they had a contract, and the state broke it.
But, they're also worried. They say chipping in for health care is going to chip away at their budget.
Mike Woodcox retired from the Illinois Department of Revenue five years ago. That's where he made a career working 25 years in the income tax processing section.
Now, a few years into retirement, Woodcox says it's difficult to plan for the future. He says he doesn't know if his benefits might change again.
"It's going to hurt everybody," Woodcox said. "Groceries might be less. I might not be able to take the grandkids somewhere because you don't know what they're going to do if they'll take that money away."
Under the new contract with AFSCME, retirees will now pay one percent of their benefits if they're enrolled in Medicare, and two percent if they aren't.
Prior to now, the state paid for healthcare for retirees with 20 years of service.
State retirees say they feel uncertain.
They're concerned the move sets a precedent for the state to change its contract with the union again.
They're also worried about planning for the future while it's unclear what lawmakers might change in reforming the state's pension systems.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates about 87,000 retired state government employees are affected by the changes.
Some say the changes could save the state as much as $100 million a year.