SAANYS STRONGLY OPPOSES Budget Proposal to Alter Medicare Part B Benefits

Legislative Memo of Opposition

March 24, 2016

Provisions contained in the proposed Executive Budget for 2016-2017 would significantly alter  reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums for retirees enrolled in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP).  The proposal would freeze the reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums at $104.90 for all NYSHIP retirees with Medicare primary insurance. In addition, it would eliminate reimbursement of the Income related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) for certain retirees. Therefore, as the cost of Part B increases year-to-year, retirees will be responsible for greater and greater health costs.

Rationale:

The proposed amendment flies in the face of the New York State Constitution. Article 5, Section 7 of the New York State Constitution states: “…membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”  This provision enacted shortly after the great depression remains appropriate and right today, on the heels of the great recession.  The governor’s proposal  constitutes a clear and material diminishment of retiree health care benefits.

There is no good reason for New York State to renege on its commitment to retired public employees who have served New York State faithfully and well. The contract with retirees should not be broken.

Legislative Recommendation

REJECT proposed revisions that fly in the face of the State Constitution and human decency. MAINTAIN full reimbursement of IRMAA Medicare premiums by the state.

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