Urgent: Bills Would Impact Current, Future State Retiree Health Care

We Need Strong Turnout for Hearings on Wednesday

There are hearings set on two bills that would have a massive impact on state employee retiree health care. The hearings are both on Wednesday with the first starting at 1 p.m. We need to make sure we pack the rooms for these hearings, and we strongly encourage members to testify. Here’s the gist of the bills, which are both sponsored by Rep. Neal Kurk:

HB 653: This bill would require that Medicare-eligible state retirees begin to pay a 12.5 percent premium for their state-provided health insurance. Currently, that would amount to around $47 a month. While that might not sound like much to some, for those on a fixed income or who have been retired for some time, it’s a lot of money to come up with. What’s worse, that 12.5 percent amount is the lowest the premium would be — there is no limit for how high it can be. Hearing is 1 p.m. Wednesday in Rooms 301-303 of the Legislative Office Building.

HB 645: This bill would do several pretty destructive things. Here are two of the key things it does: 1. Anyone hired by the state after July 1 will no longer be eligible for retiree medical benefits upon retirement. 2. Starting Jan. 1, 2018, anyone still receiving state retiree health coverage would no longer be enrolled in a state provided health plan, instead the state would provide money to buy coverage on their own in an open market. Hearing is at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Rooms 301-303 of the Legislative Office Building.

Please be there on Wednesday to tell your story of how this change would impact both your health and finances. If you have questions about the hearing or testifying, you can email Brian Hawkins at bhawkins@seiu1984.org.

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