RPEA has recently been involved in health insurance issues for retirees of both Rockland and Schenectady Counties.
The Rockland County Executive planned to pull its retirees out of the New York State Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP) and move them to an Aetna Medicare Advantage plan. RPEA President Jack McPadden contacted the Chairman of the County Legislature, pointing out that under the County Code, retirees are guaranteed “the same level of health benefits” consistent with the benefits received on the last day of employment. Such a comparison of “same level of benefits” had not been presented to retirees. To see the letter click here.
The County Legislature strongly supported the retirees in opposition to the withdrawal from NYSHIP, unless a thorough review were undertaken. The County Executive subsequently withdrew the proposal. To see RPEA’s Statement click here.
In Schenectady County, the retirees issue was somewhat different. The County considered a change in the service provider for retirees health insurance. There had been no meetings with retirees to review any potential impact on benefits. After hearing from both RPEA and individual retirees, the County decided to re-bid the insurance, and ultimately did not change providers. Benefits and services continued as in the past.
These two situations reinforce what we have been saying. RPEA is the ONLY organization whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of retirees. Individuals, on their own, are up against formidable resources in instances such as these. Unions, by law, cannot represent the interests of retirees, as we are not current employees and part of the bargaining unit.