On Friday, August 11, Justice Lyle Frank issued a ruling in New York State Supreme Court permanently blocking the City from removing retired City workers and their dependents from their current health insurance plans and forcing them either to enroll in the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan or find their own coverage.
The PSC has consistently advocated for the position affirmed in this ruling.
This decision makes permanent the temporary injunction that Justice Frank issued last month. So it remains the case that no retiree will be moved into the Aetna plan, no opt-out requests are being processed by Aetna, and no waivers of City health benefits or enrollments in prescription drug riders will be processed. Your current Medicare supplemental insurance (whether it is Senior Care or something else) will not change.
The PSC applauds Justice Frank’s decision–it’s the right one for our members and the retirees of New York City. But we still have work to do. The City plans to appeal the ruling, and health care costs continue to spiral out of control. Our elected leaders need to take steps to clarify the City’s commitment to continue to pay for Medicare supplemental coverage. Stakeholders must finally be convened to devise a different way forward. The City must take alternate steps to contain the skyrocketing health insurance costs that led to the ill-advised political decision to force retirees into Medicare Advantage. We’re counting on our elected leaders to step up and ensure that in-service workers do not shoulder these out-of-control costs in the process of choosing a new comprehensive benefits plan, proposals for which are now under review. Ultimately, we need single payer health care.
At the federal level, the big pharmaceutical companies making tremendous profits by hiking prescription drug prices are suing Medicare. These companies are challenging the negotiating leverage that the Biden administration recently granted to Medicare. PSC members can join a rally in defense of Medicare and support for lower drug prices in lower Manhattan on Wednesday, August 16, at 12 pm, sponsored by Metro New York Health Care for All.
Judge Frank’s final decision is a pivotal moment in this struggle. PSC retirees can rest assured for now that the health insurance on which they and their dependents rely will not change in the near future. Please continue to consult the PSC retiree chapter website and the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund for current information.
James Davis, President
Published: August 14, 2023