Springfield… On Wednesday, the Illinois House passed Senate Bill 1313, Amendment #9 that aims to stabilize the state’s health care system by requiring state retirees to pay a portion of their healthcare premiums. This bill does not affect public school teachers or community college employees who already contribute premiums to the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) or the College Insurance Program (CIP).
“This was one of the most difficult votes I have ever had to make, but believe it is necessary to stabilize our state’s health care system for generations to come,” said Rep. Sandy Cole. “This bill does not take away retiree health care benefits, but will require them to contribute to their premium to help offset rising healthcare costs.”
Currently, there are 78,000 retirees who pay no premium for healthcare. Another 7,400 pay a portion of their premium and 36,000 dependents are enrolled but whose premium does not cover the true cost of the healthcare benefit. This bill does not affect public school teachers or community college employees who already contribute premiums to the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) or the College Insurance Program (CIP).
The change puts in place a mechanism that allows the Director of CMS to determine the State’s premium payments on behalf of retired employees – including lawmakers and judges. CMS has proposed guidelines for determining what retirees’ contributions will be based upon a sliding scale that takes into account length of service and ability to pay. The percent of cost the retiree will pay will also be based on his or her pension level.
If the remaining payment determined for retirees is deemed unacceptable, the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) may object. In addition, the suggested retiree contributions will be subject to union negotiations.
Senate Bill 1313 House Amendment 9 passed through the House 74-43-0 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.