The Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) representing the interests of nearly 500,000 state and local government retirees, today expressed concern about the elimination of all private health insurance in New York, and the creation of a new single payer health insurance program.
Testifying before a Joint Legislative Committee hearing on the subject, RPEA Executive Director Edward Farrell stated “for public employment retirees who already have health insurance there are too many unanswered questions as to how this proposal would be implemented. For example, if Medicare premiums are eliminated, would seniors still be enrolled in Medicare? Also, there is no workable solution regarding the ability of public employment retirees who live out of state to have access to continued health insurance. Health insurance in retirement is a benefit that was earned through years of service – a term and condition of employment.”
The proposed New York Health Act would provide health insurance to all residents of the state. There would be no premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays, and long-term care would be provided. The program would primarily be funded through a new tax on payroll. Waivers from the federal government would be requested to access Medicare and Medicaid funds, something the federal government has expressed an unwillingness to do.
In closing, Farrell also noted another serious concern, namely travel. He asked “what happens if you are in another state and become ill? Since the coverage would be New York centric, will health care providers in other states accept the insurance card? At what rate would they be reimbursed, since there would be no negotiated contract?
Health insurance with no premiums or co-pays, plus long-term care, sounds awfully good, but retirees cannot give up current health insurance for something that may not be workable.”
To watch Ed Farrell’s Testimony CLICK HERE
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