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RPEA Urges Gov. Hochul to End a Long-Standing Discriminatory Practice and Protect Healthcare Benefits for Public Sector Retirees  

RPEA asks Governor Hochul to immediately sign S.8192/A.9215 into law, which passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly earlier this year 

Albany, NY – The Retired Public Employees Association, which represents the interests of nearly 500,000 New York state and local government retirees, is urging Governor Hochul to pass legislation that would end age discrimination among retirees – a change RPEA has been advocating for since 2017.

A timeline and fact sheet on this issue is available for download here.

Under the Empire Plan, benefits are drastically reduced upon becoming eligible for Medicare at age 65 because the Empire Plan stops covering Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care. Medicare-primary retirees are allowed only 20 days’ coverage with a three-day prior hospital requirement compared with active Empire Plan enrollees, who have access to 120 days’ coverage with no prior hospitalization requirement – a clear inequity of care.

RPEA Executive Director Edward Farrell said, “Public employees work their entire careers under the promise and expectation that when they retire, their existing benefits will not diminish. It’s time for New York to uphold that promise and end inequities in skilled nursing care. With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Kathy Hochul can end age discrimination by providing 225,000 Medicare-primary retirees in the NYS Health Insurance Program Empire Plan the same access to skilled nursing care that is available to Empire Plan enrollees who are still working.”

Since the first of many attempts to correct this inequity more than five years ago, RPEA has been told by administration officials that “it’s always been this way” and so, no changes have occurred. However, following the unanimous passage of a bill sponsored by Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblyman John McDonald, this clear inequity of care can come to an end.

The Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) is a powerful advocate for current and future government retirees. RPEA represents the interests of nearly 500,000 retirees, and their spouses and beneficiaries, from New York state and local governments, school districts and public authorities. Learn more at:


For Immediate Release: Monday, December 12, 2022

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