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Letter to the Editor: End medical age bias among state’s public sector retirees

A letter to the editor by Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) President Diana Hinchcliff ran in the Albany Times Union on Saturday, June 25, 2022. Please visit our Facebook page where we have posted RPEA’s letter so you can share it with your network.

The letter can be read below.


Across New York, there are hundreds of thousands of state and local government retirees who dedicated their professional lives to public service. They kept people and communities healthy, clean, educated, governed and safe.

Public employees work under the promise and expectation that when they retire, their existing benefits will not diminish. This includes skilled nursing care.

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Kathy Hochul can provide 225,000 Medicare-primary retirees in the New York State Health Insurance Program Empire Plan the same access to skilled nursing care available to Empire Plan enrollees who are still working.

Medicare-primary retirees are allowed only 20 days’ coverage with a three-day prior hospital requirement while active Empire Plan enrollees have access to 120 days’ coverage, with no prior hospitalization requirement.

This clear inequity of care may be coming to an end thanks to the leadership of Sen. Neil Breslin and Assemblyman John McDonald who sponsored a bill to give retirees the same coverage as other Empire Plan enrollees and end this medical age discrimination. It passed the Legislature unanimously. All that’s left to make it a reality is Hochul’s signature.

This legislation is a priority for the Retired Public Employees Association and our members. Now is the time for the governor to take action on this bill, end this discriminatory practice, and ensure state and local government retirees receive the care they deserve.

Diana Hinchcliff


President, Retired Public Employees Association


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