Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SUAA Mini Briefing

Author: The State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA)
Title: SUAA Mini Briefing
Publication: SUAA Website
Link: http://tinyurl.com/8yo7kga
Date Published: May 11, 2012

Now that State Health Insurance SB1313 HAM 8 and 9 has passed the Senate there is much  work for us to do as it moves to the Governor's Desk.  The Governor has stated that he will sign  the bill with an effective date of July 1, 2012.

The bill itself is still quite ambiguous. Not read into the Senate testimony was the Memorandum  dated May 9, 2012 to Representative Cross from CMS which stated the following:

  • Senate Bill 1313 allows the Director of CMS to set the premiums that are paid by retirees in the Group Health Insurance Program every year in order to ensure we will be able to continue providing quality health care for our retired employees.
  • The proposed retiree contributions will pay a percentage of their healthcare costs on a sliding scale.  The scale is based on (1) length of service, and (2) ability to pay.
  • The percent of cost the retiree will pay will also be based on his or her pension level.  Pension amounts will be broken up into seven tiers; the higher the tier, the more the retiree will pay.
  • Retirees who are eligible for Medicare (generally 65 years old and above) cost the state substantially less than those who are not on Medicare.  Since the contributions will be based on paying a percent of the cost of care for the state, those retirees on Medicare will pay significantly less than those (generally younger and still working) who are not. 
  • Those who have already retired when this plan goes into effect will pay based on their ability to pay, but will be given service credit at the highest level.  However, regardless of the contribution amount determined under those rules, the new plan contribution will not be less for any retiree than the amount they contribute under the current policy.

Those people who signed the Irrevocable Election of both 1997 and 2004 are not included in this bill. 

Those people who have the College Insurance Program (CIP) are not included in this bill.

Those people who have the Teachers Insurance Program (TRIP) are not included in this bill.

Today SUAA asked that the above talked about Memo be a part of the Senate "record".

SUAA will write a letter to the Governor asking him to veto SB1313.  We urge our members to  do the same.  The Governor's contact information is 312.814.2121 (voice); 217.782.6830 (voice);  312.814.5512 (fax); 217.524.4049 (fax); governor@illinois.gov is his email.

The bill was adopted under "Emergency Rules".  These rules will be published quite soon in the  Illinois Register.  SUAA will be responsible for analyzing as soon as they appear.  These rules  will be in effect for the next 150 days and cannot be changed during that period.  At the same  time those Rules are published, Central Management Services (CMS) will also publish Rules for  the period following the 150 days.  Those Rules are subject to review by the Joint Committee on  Administrative Rules (JCAR) and by any established organization.  It is possible for the 12  legislators appointed as members, to cause Rules to be withdrawn or changed.  We will have  more about the process later.

It is SUAA's intent to bring forth legislation that protects those without Medicare (especially  those who are now 65 and older). SB1313 had intent, but it was too vague.  We want certainty.

We will continue to work with the Governor's staff, CMS and JCAR for the next several days.   

Pension Reform is likely to come to a head this next week as even more important debates take  place. Medicaid is also taking serious presence.  Major cuts will be made in every area of State  government as Speaker Madigan and Minority Leader Cross try to balance the budget by making  more monetary cuts than the Governor proposed in his Budget presentation.  

It is a tough year for even tougher decisions.  If your legislator voted "no" for SB1313 be sure to  say thank you.  If your legislator voted "yes" then call to find out why.  Please be courteous  when you call. The pension reform bill is yet to come.

Please check out the SUAA website for additional information.  There are related articles;  legislation that is being watched and acted on; how to find your legislator; archives of MiniBriefings; how to get to other relevant websites, etc. 

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