Retired state and public university employees receiving free health care coverage could soon be contributing to their health plans under legislation passed today by the Illinois Senate. The current system grants retirees who have accumulated 20 years of service free health insurance coverage, as the state picks up 5% of health care costs per year of service. Every year, Illinois pays nearly $900 million in costs associated with retiree health care benefits.
Senate Bill 1313, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston), would institute means testing for retirees, with higher income recipients contributing more towards their health care than those with more modest incomes. How much retirees would be required to contribute would be determined by the Director of Central Management Services (CMS). Premium rates would not be solely decided by the state, however, as unions would have the opportunity to negotiate premium rates with CMS. In addition, the General Assembly would gain oversight of decisions made by the Director, allowing legislators to respond to any action through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).
Senate Bill 1313, having already passed the Illinois House, now heads to Governor Quinn for his consideration.