EMAIL AND CALL THE MAYOR NOW TO PROTECT RETIREE HEALTH CARE!
The mayor has until April 1 to choose an option to preserve premium-free Senior Care
March 21 OLR Hearing
PSC TESTIMONY: IMPORTANT INFORMATION KEPT FROM US IN THE AETNA CONTRACT
Surprised to discover that - if the mayor chooses -the Aetna contract provides an option for NYC retirees to stay in traditional Medicare
PSC Letter to City Council
PSC LETTER PROVIDES IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION TO COUNCIL MEMBERS
Under the terms of the Aetna contract, the City has until April 1 to notify Aetna if it plans to continue Senior Care or other supplemental coverage free of charge.
EMAIL AND CALL THE MAYOR NOW TO PROTECT RETIREE HEALTH CARE! As soon as the proposed Aetna contract was posted on March 10th, the PSC reviewed it, and discovered details that we believe were not disclosed when it was under consideration by the MLC. The proposed Aetna contract allows the City to continue to offer supplemental Medicare coverage such as Senior Care at no cost to retirees. Contrary to what the public and perhaps the Council were led to believe, Aetna does not require that Senior Care be eliminated or offered only at full cost.
If it so chooses, the City, as specified in the Aetna contract, has the option to offer premium-free Senior Care for those who want to opt out of the default Aetna plan. This is so-called OPTION C under the Aetna contract. But the mayor only has until April 1 to choose it. Write the mayor – and then follow-up with a phone call. Tell the him to exercise OPTION C! Click HERE to find out how do this in a few easy steps..
“NYC RETIREES SPEAK OUT ABOUT HEALTH CARE CHANGES” — 3/23 BRIAN LEHRER SHOW: Listen to the audio here. Check out Jen Gaboury from the PSC at the 21:30 mark
NYC OFFICE OF LABOR RELATIONS HOLDS HEARING ON CONTRACT WITH AETNA MEDICARE ADVANTAGE, 10 AM, TUESDAY, MARCH 21.
Over the course of several hours, every speaker at the hearing opposed the Aetna Medicare Advantage contract. Every speaker was a retiree, with one exception, James Davis, who was the only union leader to testify. Davis’s testimony, which raises important issues about the Aetna plan, can be read here. We will also post a link to a recording of the hearing once it is made available.
Links to a “DRAFT” of the full contract are available on the OLR website at the bottom of the ‘public hearings page,”
Here are some talking points that PSC members made at the hearing.
MARCH 16 LETTER FROM JAMES DAVIS ON MOVING RETIREES TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE AND ELIMINATING PREMIUM-FREE NYC SENIOR CARE — and why the PSC continues to push back on these issues. Click HERE to read the letter.
UNDER TERMS OF THE AETNA CONTRACT, THE CITY HAS UNTIL APRIL 1 TO NOTIFY AETNA IF IT PLANS TO CONTINUE SENIOR CARE OR ANY OTHER SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE FREE OF CHARGE
In a letter to City Council members, the PSC wrote:
“New information has come to light about the proposed Aetna Medicare Advantage contract with the City, which is now available on the OLR website.
The PSC has reviewed the contract and believes it contains information that was not disclosed when the contract was under consideration by the MLC.
The proposed Aetna contract allows the City to continue to offer supplemental Medicare coverage such as Senior Care at no cost to retirees. Contrary to what the public and perhaps the Council were led to believe, Aetna does not require that Senior Care be eliminated or offered only at full cost.
The contract was posted on March 10 and will be available for public inspection until March 21. It was not available when the Municipal Labor Committee voted to support it on March 9. We offer this update to alert Councilmembers to the information and to ask you to contact the Mayor in support of the City continuing to offer no-cost supplemental Medicare coverage to retirees, as it has for decades.
Under the terms of the contract, the City has until April 1 to notify Aetna if it plans to continue Senior Care or other supplemental coverage free of charge. Notifying Aetna by April 1 would enable retirees to opt out of Aetna MA effective September 1. Given the importance many City Councilmembers placed on “choice” in their public statements about retiree health care, we believe that Councilmembers may want to focus on this provision of the contract.”
The clock is ticking. By April 1, we need to convince the City to preserve Senior Care. Watch these pages for information on how we mobilize to do this.
MARCH 9, 2023 — PSC VOTED “NO” ON THE CONTRACT FOR THE NEW MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN: The Municipal Labor Committee voted on Thursday, March 9 to approve a contract with Aetna for a Medicare Advantage plan and to remove premium-free NYC Senior Care as an option for retirees. The PSC voted “NO” together with 25 other unions. Click here to fnd out why.
TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE SWITCH TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE AND TO PRESERVE PREMIUM-FREE NYC SENIOR CARE. WRITE/CALL NYC COUNCIL MEMBERS URGING THEM TO SIGN-ON TO THE LETTER TO THE MAYOR. The PSC Retiree Chapter is mobilizing its members to enlist their NYC Council Members to sign the letter to Mayor Adams. In-service members (future retirees) should join this action. Click here to read more.
VIDEOS OF SEPTEMBER 2022 – MARCH 2023 RETIREE CHAPTER UPDATES ON HEALTHCARE: There were updates in the second part of chapter meetings on 9/12/22, 10/3/22, 11/7/22, 12/5/22, 1/23/23, 2/6/23 and 3/6/23.
- Here is a link to a video of the 9/12 chapter meeting. The discussion of reitiree healthcare begins at the one hour six minute mark of the video.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 10/3 chapter meeting. The second part of the meeting, on retiree healthcare, begins at the one hour fifteen minute mark of the video.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 11/7 chapter meeting. The second part of the meeting, on retiree healthcare, begins at the one hour twenty-nine minute mark of the video.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 12/5 chapter meeting with retiree healthcare beginning at the one hour nine minute mark.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 1/23/23 special Retiree Chapter meeting on retiree healthcare.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 2/6/23 Retiree Chapter meeting with retiree healthcare beginning at the one hour fifty-seven minute mark.
- HERE is a link to a video of the 3/6/23 Retiree Chapter meeting with retiree healthcare beginning at the one hour seventeen minute mark.
JANUARY 31, 2023: “With deadline passed, Medicare amendment appears doomed. But PSC union’s ‘third way’ proposal has some traction.” This is a headline from The Chief. Click here to read the story.
JANUARY 2023: PSC CITY COUNCIL TESTIMONY. The City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor held a hearing on January 9th on a proposed NYC Administrative Code change that would clear the path for the City to implement a Medicare Advantage plan and begin charging retirees a premium to opt out. PSC leadership and scores of PSC members testified in opposition to the change. Read their testimony HERE.
The entire 1/9/23 City Council hearing is available HERE with testimony by James Davis and a PSC panel beginning at the 5:48:15 timestamp. The committee never voted to send the proposed amendment to the full City Council. At t his point, the proposed amendment appears to be a non-starter.
JANUARY 23, 2023: LATEST ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO RETIREE HEALTHCARE. Click here for a video of the 1/23/23 special Retiree Chapter meeting on the latest developments on the continuing saga of the push to move retiree healthcare insurance fro traditional Medicare to Medicare Avantage.
JANUARY 2023: ALL HANDS ON DECK! The City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor began consideration of a proposed Administrative Code change that would clear the path for the City to implement a Medicare Advantage plan and begin charging retirees a premium to opt out. The proposed change was introduced at a City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 4; the Civil Service and Labor Committee convened a public hearing on Monday, January 9 (read PSC testmony here). Overwhelmingly in opposition to (1) chnanging the administrative code and (2) moving retirees to Medicare Advatage, several hundred NYC retirees and employees testified in person, virtually or by sumitting wrtten testimony, Their testimony was dramatic, powerful and re-shaped the narratve of the 11-hour 1/9/23 hearing. Tellingly, a vote on the amendment, tentatively scheduled for a stated meeting of the City Council on Thursday, January 19, did NOT take place.
(A NY Daily News article posted online on Thursday evening, January 19, had a headline that read, “NYC Council has no plan to pass bill that would let Mayor Adams charge retired city workers for health care: ‘It’s dead’.”)
JANUARY 11, 2023: JUDGE ISSUES INJUNCTION BARRING CITY FROM CHARGING $15 CO-PAYS FOR NYC SENIOR CARE. In a suit brought by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, Judge Lyle Frank, on Wednesday, January 11, issued a preliminary injunction stopping the Adams adminisration from charging $15 co-pays for Senior Care. Click HERE for more details in this NY Daily News story.
DECEMBER 2022: PSC PROPOSES AN ALTERNATIVE PATH FOR NYC HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM IN RESPONSE TO ARBITRATOR’S DECISION AND PROPOSED NYC COUNCIL HEARINGS ON CHANGING THE CITY’S ADMINISTRATIVE CODE. Click HERE to read the PSC’s analysis and proposal.
Share the PSC proposal with your City Council representative and urge Council members to vote “NO” on changing the adminisrative code.
DECEMBER 15, 2022: ARBITRATOR CALLS FOR NEGOTIATIONS ON MEDICARE ADVANTAGE TO BE COMPLETED BY JANUARY 9 AND IMPLEMENTED BY JULY 1. On December 15, an arbitrator issued a decision ordering the City to complete negotiations with Aetna Insurance on a Medicare Advantage plan by January 9th and calling on the Municipal Labor Committee to vote on the plan immediately thereafter, with July 1 target for the MA plan to go into effect as possibly the only healthcare option for municipal reiirees. Here is an article (NY Focus/The City) on the decision and here is the arbitrator’s ruling.
The Davis Letter. On Thursday, December 22, James Davis, President of the PSC sent a letter to members:
- Explaining the implications of the arbitrator’s decision for all PSC membera — retirees and in-service.
- Warning that such a path suggests a “classic anti-labor maneuver to pit in-service members against retirees.”
- Calling for an alternative path to the healthcare dilemna faced by NYC and the MLC.Click here to read his letter.
NOVEMBER 22, 2022: APPELLATE DIVISION OF NYS SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS JUDGE FRANK’S DECISION. Appeals court unanimously upholds decision keeping NYC Senior Care premium-free. A state appeals court on 11/22/22 unanimously upheld the decision of a lower court (Judge Lyle Frank) that prohibits NYC from charging a premium to municipal retirees for NYC Senior Care. For more detail, click here. A PDF of the decision can be read here.
SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER 2022: PSC OPPOSES WEAKENING NYC HEALTH INSURANCE PROTECTIONS. Proposed changes in NYC administrative code threaten retiree healthcare and, in the longer term, potentially in-service members. Read James Davis’ 9/9/22 message and 11/7/22 update to PSC members about these proposed changes.
You may also find this primer, written by a Retiree Chapter Executive Committee member, useful in breaking down the legal complexities of the proposed adminstrative code — and its implications for all union members.
SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2023: WHAT YOU CAN DO TO OPPOSE THE CHANGE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE: This is what we were asking members to do in September through December.
- CLICK HERE TO SEND A LETTER to your NYC Council Member to stop the change in the administrative code
- SIGN UP HERE to join the PSC in lobbying City Council members on this issue.
- REACH OUT to municipal employees and retirees to take action. HERE is a short, informative leaflet and outreach tool produced by the PSC Safety Net Committee that explains what is happening. Two important pieces with a more detailed analysis by Barbara Caress, who teaches health olicy at Baruch and Sarah Lawrence, appeared in CRAINS and URBAN MATTERS. (The Crains op/ed is unfortunetely behind a paywall). And here is a petition to the Mayor, the NYC Labor Commissioner and the City Council Speaker that makes the case against the administrative code change.
OCTOBER 2023: A PSC PROPOSAL TO SUSTAIN NYC HEALTHCARE OVER THE SHORT TERM WHILE EXPLORING LONGER TERM SOLUTIONS. Insead of forcing retirees into Medicare Advantage. The PSC has a proposal to use the Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund as a resource to sustain benefits while NYC healthcare is restructured. Read the proposal.
JULY 2022: ANTHEM/EMPIRE WITHDRAWS ITS MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN. On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) voted to approve a contract with the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) to move city retirees, including CUNY retirees, from traditional Medicare with supplemental city insurance to a privatized Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. The PSC was one of five unions to vote against the move to Medicare Advantage and the PSC retirees chapter pushed back against the plan both before and after the July vote.
NYC set 1/1/22 as the target date for moving retirees to an Anthem/Empire Medicare Advantage Plus plan. Municipal retirees were to choose one of two options:
- Move by default into a premium-free Medicare Advantage plan or;
- Opt out in order to stay in traditional Medicare with supplemental City insurance (originally premium-free but now with a premium of $191.57 a month per person).
But in December 2021, a judicial injunction pushed implementation to 4/1/22. Then on March 3, 2022, a NYS supreme court judge ruled that NYC could not charge the $191.57 premium. The City immediately appealed and lost
Then in breaking news on 7/18/22, Anthem/Empire (part of “The Alliance” administering the program) withdrew from the MA+ plan, in effect killing it. What this means is that everything is on hold — in effect status quo ante. (See PSC President James Davis’ letter to retirees.).
The PSC and, particularly, the retirees chapter, have been pushing back for two years in opposition to plans to re-engineer healthcare insurance for both municipal retirees and in-sevice employees. Many other retiree group have mobilized to fight the City’s push to move municipal retirees from traditional Medicare to privatized, for profit Medicare Advantage. For detail, context and background, click here for a more thorough overview of this history from 2018 to the present.
Here is a list of both PSC and city-wide key events on the proposed NYC changes in healthcare benefits for municipal retirees — and the pushback against them.
- January 11, 2023. Judge Lyle Frank Issues Injunction Stopping City from Charging $15 Co-Pays for NYC Senior Care.
- January 9, 2023. PSC Testimony at City Council Hearing to Change NYC Administrative Code.
- January 9, 2023. “A Better Way for NYC Retiree Healthcare,” A NY Daily News Op/Ed by Barbara Bowen and Barbra Caress.
- December 30, 2022: PSC Proposes Alternative Path for NYC Employees Benefit Program in Response to Arbitrator’s Ruling and City Council Hearings Scheduled for 1/9/23.
- December 15, 2022: Arbitrator Calls for OLR/MLC to Complete Negotiations with Aetna on MA+ Plan by 1/9/23 and Calls on City Council to Amend NYC Administrative Code. Article in NY Focus/City. The Arbitrator’s Ruling.
- November 22, 2022: NYS Appellate Division Unanimously Upholds Judge Lyle Frank’s March 3, 2022 Lower Court Decision. Article from Work-Bites. The Decision.
- November 7, 2022: “Defend Health Benefits for NYC Employees, Retirees” — Letter from James Davis to PSC members.
- September 9, 2022:”PSC Opposes Weakening NYC Health Insurance Protections” — Letter from James Davis to PSC Members.
- September 8, 2022: MLC votes to join City to push for change in NYC administrative code on healthcare. Arguing that this will diminish healthcare for retirees and ultimately in-service workers, PSC votes “NO.”
- July 25, 2022: Letter to retirees from PSC president James Davis on the Anthem/Empire withdrawal from the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan.
- July 18, 2022: Anthem/Empire withdraws its NYC MA+ plan.
- March 30, 2022: Comptroller does not reigister MA+ plan, sending it back to OLR
- March 8, 2022: Letter from PSC president James Davis with important updated information in light of Judge Frank’s ruling.
- March 8, 2022: Comptroller calls on Mayor’s office to drop MA+ plan.
- March 7, 2022: Chapter meeting update on healthcare.
- March 4, 2022: NYC announces it will not implement MA+ on April 1, 2122.
- March 4, 2022: PSC monthly retiree newsletters, from April 2021 to the present, provide analysis, updates and space for members’ voices on the City’s move of benefits from traditional Medicare to privatized Medicare Advantage.
- March 3, 2022: Judge Lyle E. Frank lifts TRO and tells City it cannot charge a premium for Senior Care and other NYC healthcare programs.
- February 14, 2022: Cross-Union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) holds “Valentine’s Day, Tell the Mayor Don’t Break Our Hearts!” rally at City Hall.
- February 7, 2022: Chapter analysis and update on healthcare.
- February 7, 2022: NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees argues in status conference before Judge Lyle Frank that all NYC retiree plans under City’s administrative code must be premium free.
- February 6, 2022: Mayor Eric Adams endorses Medicare Advantage Plus plan.
- January 1, 2022: Emblem’s co-pays for NYC Senior Care go into effect.
- December 21, 2021: CROC rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall urges Mayor-Elect Eric Adams to scrap MA+ plan.
- December 14, 2022: Judge Frank extends his injunction, pushing back implementation of the Medicare Advantage Plus plan to April 1, 2022 and the opt-out date to March 31, 2022
- December 6, 2021: Chapter meeting update on healthcare.
- November 10, 2021: Office of Labor Relations (OLR) hearing and PSC Testimony on MA+ contract.
- November 1, 2021: Chapter meeting update on healthcare.
- October 28, 2021: City Council hearing and PSC testimony on changes to retiree healthcare.
- October 20, 2021: Judge Lyle Frank hears three lawsuits and in response to that of NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees issues a TRO extending the deadline for retiree enrollment beyond October 31.
- October 4, 2021: Chapter meeting update on healthcare.
- September 24, 2021: CROC organizes a “Die-In” at City Hall to protest move to MA+.
- September 13, 2021: Chapter meeting update on healthcare.
- August 30, 2021: Information session for PSC retirees on proposed healthcare changes.
- July 27, 2021: Information session for PSC retirees on proposed healthcare changes.
- July 27, 2021: Letter from James Davis to PSC retirees explaining the July 14 MLC vote and the PSC’s dissent.
- July 14, 2021: Municipal Labor Committee MLC) votes for City plan to move municipal retirees to MA+ with PSC and four other unions voting “NO!”
- July 12, 2021: PSC calls on MLC to postpone vote on moving retiree healthcare to MA+.
- June 30, 2021: CROC march and rally in lower Manhattan in opposition to the proposed move to Medicare Advantage.
- June 24, 2021: PSC speakers join in a forum of over 600 people sponsored by NY StateWide Senior Action Council to oppose the City’s move to privatized Medicare.
- June 17, 2021: PSC speakers join in a forum of over 650 people sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) to oppose the City’s move to privatized Medicare.
- May 3, 2021: PSC retiree chapter meeting hears updates about negotiations and calls for an organized response.
- April 2021: Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations (COMRO) launches petition for a moratorium (on MLC/OLR consideration of the move to MA) which eventually enlists over 28.000 signatures.
- April 15, 2021: PSC Delegate Assembly by a vote of 115 to 0 endorses the retiree chapter’s call for a moratorium.
- April 5, 2021: PSC retiree chapter meeting addresses proposed change to Medicare Advantage and calls for a moratorium on any MLC vote,
- March 31, 2021: PSC retiree chapter, in its newsletter, first alerts members of proposed move to MA+.
- November 9, 2020: OLR RFP for Medicare Advantage plans.
- June 28, 2018: OLR-MLC agreement calls for “$600 million per year savings” in municipal employee health benefits on a recurring basis from fiscal year 2022 forward (including exploring the possible “adoptation of Medicare Advantage benchmark plan for retirees).”