Prohibits the diminution of health insurance benefits of public employee retirees and their dependents or reducing the employer's contributions for such insurance; defines employers to include the state, municipalities, school districts, and public authorities and commissions.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to prohibit public employers from diminishing the health insurance benefits and contributions of certain retired public employees
PURPOSE: This bill would prohibit state and local governments from diminishing the health insurance benefits of retirees below the level of benefits that are in place 30 days after this act shall become law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Prohibits the State and local governments from diminishing the health insurance benefits of retirees and their dependents, as well as the employer contribution toward such health insurance, below the level of benefits in place 30 days after this act shall take effect. This bill does not apply to school districts and BOCES because they have been recently covered under the current law.
Section 2: Grants precedence to collective bargaining agreements.
Section 3: Provides for future retirees from positions not subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
Section 4: Ensures that a public employer which does not now offer health insurance benefits to retirees is not required to do so under this bill.
EXISTING LAW: Chapter 729 of the laws of 1994, as amended by Chapter 22 of the Laws of 2007 and the laws of 2009, prohibits school districts and BOCES from diminishing retiree health insurance benefits, unless there is a parallel diminution affecting active employees. Article XI of the Civil Service Law provides that retires from the State and participating agencies in the New York State Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP) shall receive the same health insurance benefits as negotiated with active employees. There is no existing law protecting health insurance benefits of retirees from local governments.
JUSTIFICATION: Given the increasing costs of health care, health insurance coverage is of tremendous importance to retirees and their dependents. Although there have been a number of attempts to protect retiree health coverage, there is no consistent standard for all retirees. Education retirees are now protected by a law. Some workers have retired under union contracts with stronger protections. Many retirees, however, have no protection. This bill creates a uniform standard of protection which applies to all retirees and their dependents, unless covered by a more favorable union contract.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S.4371 - Referred to Civil Service and Pensions / A.2007 - Referred to Ways and Means 2011: S.4371 - Referred
to Civil Service and Pensions / A.2007 - Referred to Governmental Employees
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None. This bill merely requires the State to continue the level of benefits which it is now providing.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 30 days after enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3627 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 7, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Civil Service and Pensions AN ACT to prohibit public employers from diminishing the health insur- ance benefits and contributions of certain retired public employees THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. On and after the effective date of this act, a public employer shall be prohibited from diminishing the health insurance bene- fits provided to retirees and their dependents or the contributions such employer makes for such health insurance coverage below the level of such benefits or contributions made on behalf of such retirees and their dependents by such employer as of the effective date of this act. For the purpose of this act, "public employer" shall mean the following: (i) the state; (ii) a county, city, town or village; (iii) any governmental entity operating a college or university; (iv) a public improvement or special district including police or fire districts; (v) a public authority, commission or public benefit corporation; or (vi) any other public corporation, agency, instrumentality or unit of government which exercises governmental power under the laws of this state. The term public employer shall not include any school district, board of cooper- ative educational services, vocational education and extension board or school district as enumerated in section 1 of chapter 566 of the laws of 1977, as amended. S 2. Nothing contained in this act shall supersede or diminish the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. S 3. Notwithstanding the provisions of section one of this act to the contrary, a public employer shall be prohibited from diminishing the health insurance benefits provided to retirees who retire after the effective date of this act from positions not subject to a collective bargaining agreement and their dependents, or the contributions such employer makes for such health insurance coverage, below the level ofEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02918-01-3 S. 3627 2
such benefits or contributions made on behalf of active employees in such positions as of the retiree's date of retirement. S 4. Nothing contained in this act shall require a public employer which does not provide health insurance benefits to retirees and their dependents as of the effective date of this act to offer such benefits. S 5. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.