Bill S4515-2011

Prohibits public employers from diminishing the health insurance benefits and contributions of retired public employees

Prohibits public employers from diminishing the health insurance benefits and contributions of retired public employees in the New York state and local employees' retirement system.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • Apr 8, 2011: REFERRED TO INSURANCE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4515

TITLE OF BILL: An act prohibiting public employers from diminishing the health insurance benefits and contributions of retired public employees in the New York state and local employees' retirement system

PURPOSE OF BILL: To protect the health insurance benefits of State and local public government retirees and their dependents.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS OF BILL:

This bill would provide that governmental employers would be prohibited from providing retired members of the New York State and Local Employee Retirement System and their dependents a diminished level of health insurance benefits than the level of such benefits provided to corresponding active public employees. The bill would apply only to retired members of the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System and their dependents. Collective bargaining agreements would take precedence over this prohibition and there would be no requirement that governmental entities offer health insurance benefits if they are not currently provided.

EXISTING LAW:

Chapter 729 of the Laws of 1994 contained a similar prohibition against diminishing the health insurance benefits of school district retirees below the level of benefits provided to active district employees. Chapter 729 originally was a temporary measure renewed annually, but was made permanent by Chapter 504 of the Laws of 2009 (Part B, ยง 15).

JUSTIFICATION:

Health insurance coverage is of tremendous importance to retirees and their dependents. This bill creates a uniform standard of protection which applies to both active and retired employees and their dependents, unless covered by a union contract. Retirees have no other protection as they have no ability, once retired, to bargain for benefits they were promised when they were hired.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

Similar bills have been introduced since 1996. They have been passed by the Legislature and vetoed from 1999 through 2008. In 2008, the proposal was joined with the creation of a Legislative Task Force (S.6457-A; Veto 113). On February 20, 2009, Governor Paterson established a Task Force on Public Employee Retirement Health Care Benefits (Executive Order 15).

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Minimal since the existing level of benefits would be continued.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately upon enactment.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4515 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 8, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance AN ACT prohibiting public employers from diminishing the health insur- ance benefits and contributions of retired public employees in the New York state and local employees' retirement system 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 public employee 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 unless a corresponding diminution of benefits or contributions is effected from the level of benefits or contributions provided to a corresponding group of active employees for such retirees. S 2. For purposes of this act, "public employee retirees and their dependents" shall mean retired members and dependents of the New York state and local employees' retirement system. S 3. For purposes 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; (v) a public authority, commission or public benefit corporation; or (vi) any other public corporation, agen- cy, instrumentality or unit of government which exercises governmental power under the laws of this state. S 4. Nothing contained in this act shall supersede or diminish the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. S 5. 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 6. This act shall take effect immediately.

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