Retired NYC staff sue to dam new ‘inferior’ Medicare protection

A bunch of practically 4,000 former public servants, together with firefighters, law enforcement officials, lecturers, and EMTs, say town is stiffing them on their medical health insurance — by forcing them onto a brand new plan that prices extra for fewer advantages, new courtroom papers allege.

Underneath the brand new Medicare complement plan, known as Alliance Medicare Benefit, town’s retired heroes can be required to pay $15 co-pays for a lot of routine companies, together with specialist visits, diagnostic exams and journeys to pressing care, in keeping with the Manhattan Supreme Court docket lawsuit filed Sunday.

At the moment, no co-pay is required.

As well as, not all docs have to simply accept the plan and sufferers will want prior authorization for procedures that “may result in a serious delay of medical tests or procedures,” doubtlessly endangering their well being, the swimsuit alleges.

The well being plan, which fits into impact Jan. 1, was additionally struck quietly between town and the Municipal Labor Committee — “a purely advisory group” that the retirees are “not represented by,” the submitting claims.

The 2 sides “engaged in a charade of ‘negotiating’” to achieve the deal that affected some 250,000 retired authorities staff with out their session, the swimsuit fees.

And as soon as the plan was finalized — with out a public listening to being held — it was solely introduced on the Workplace of Labor Relations’ web site on July 14 the place it wouldn’t be extensively seen, the swimsuit claims.

Town “does not have the right to impose materially diminished benefits upon people who are long-retired and have depended upon vested benefits that were negotiated under earlier [Collective Bargaining Agreements] that were in place when they retired,” it fees.

Marianne Pizzitola, President Fire Department NY EMS Retirees Association
Marianne Pizzitola mentioned town is pulling a security web out from beneath former metropolis staff.

The deal does technically permit the previous public servants to opt-out of the brand new plan by October, however remaining on their present plan will price them, the submitting notes.

On prime of additionally imposing the identical co-pays as the brand new plan, the retired metropolis staff may also need to cough up practically $200 further a month in the event that they select to stick with their present protection, the courtroom papers allege.

Supplemental insurance coverage, known as Medigap, covers the 20 % that Medicare doesn’t. The backed protection is costing town over $500 million a yr.

“Understandably, the City would like to reduce its healthcare costs. But it cannot do so by shifting those expenses onto the retirees,” the swimsuit mentioned.

Marianne Pizzitola, the president of the Group of Public Service Retirees, Inc., the group suing town, mentioned it’s pulling “the most critical of safety nets” out from beneath hundreds of aged and disabled former metropolis staff — lots of whom now reside on fastened incomes.

A lawyer on the swimsuit, Steve Cohen of regulation agency Pollock Cohen LLP, mentioned “Importantly, the obligation to pay for that insurance is not only established by law … but is incorporated into most of the collective bargaining agreements that the City has entered into for decades.”

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman with town Regulation Division mentioned, “Town is dedicated to choosing suppliers which are in one of the best curiosity of town and its retirees.

“We’ll review the case.”

A spokesperson with the Workplace of Labor Relations deferred remark to the Regulation Division.

In the meantime, on Friday, some 100 retirees had a die-in press convention at Metropolis Corridor the place they dressed because the Grim Reaper and mimicked choking to demise in protest of the plan.

Sarah Shapiro, a retired trainer with the Cross Union Retirees Organizing Committee, mentioned they’re being thrown “under the bus after decades of service to this city.”

“We are in the midst of a pandemic. We have frail and sickly retirees who are in the middle of cancer treatments,” she mentioned.

Earlier this month, Aetna — town’s largest personal Medicare administrator — sued over the $34 billion Alliance plan calling it a “tainted” contract that was awarded to their unqualified rival bidder throughout a hard and fast bidding course of.

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