Vt. officers float plan to denationalise state retirees’ well being care

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – Retired state workers may very well be getting a brand new non-public well being care plan however the union representing them is sounding the alarm.

State worker retirees proper now have Medicare by way of the federal authorities and supplemental well being care plans by way of the Vermont State Workers Union. These supplemental plans are just like what present state workers have. However a brand new plan from the Scott administration would change some 6,000 retired workers into a personal Medicare Benefit plan.

“It provides extra benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover. It provides a lot of extras that you wouldn’t get with Medicare,” mentioned Vt. Human Assets Commissioner Beth Fastiggi.

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She says these advantages embody financial savings on chiropractic and acupuncture providers, imaginative and prescient advantages, and health club memberships. The change is projected to save lots of the state $9 million yearly. We requested state officers the place the financial savings come from however they couldn’t present particulars and referred us to the quite a few non-public carriers.

However the Vermont State Workers’ Affiliation is skeptical of privatizing well being look after its members. “We strongly oppose any effort to move retirees to a system where health care executives have a bigger say than bargaining teams,” mentioned VSEA’s Steve Howard.

Vermont will undergo the aggressive bidding course of to pick out a medical health insurance firm to associate with and so they nonetheless must provide you with a particular plan for retirees. In the meantime, the union plans to problem the proposal in courtroom. Howards says state legislation requires retirees’ well being care plans to undergo the collective bargaining course of. “You can’t ignore the law and the law is pretty plain on this issue. Retired state employees are in the same plan as active state employees,” he mentioned.

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Fastiggi says the intent of the legislation is to make sure retirees obtain advantages equal to lively workers.

1000’s of retired academics quietly converted to the same plan again in January known as Blue Benefit, a Blue Cross Blue Protect product.

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Within the months forward, the state will likely be making its pitch to retirees and their households on what may very well be altering and what these plans imply for them. “I don’t want anyone to be concerned that they’re not going to know what’s happening. We will be sure to communicate with them to be sure that whatever transition we make will be smooth and work for everybody.”

The College of Vermont and Vermont State College retirees have additionally moved to Medicare Benefit plans.

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