Illinois lawmakers look to abolish free health insurance for retirees

health insurance for retirees

health insurance for retireesBill would have retired state officials pay for their health coverage

Illinois legislators are currently debating a bill that would abolish premium-free health insurance for retired state officials. Senate Bill 1313 was approved by the House Executive Committee this week and will continue its legislative journey, which has yet to be met with any significant opposition. The bill would require retired state officials to pay for their health insurance coverage. These retirees would pay for their coverage regardless of how long they have worked for the state.

Initiative could solve some of the state’s financial problems

Legislators believe that this bill would help alleviate some of the financial problems that state is currently facing. Retired judges and lawmakers currently enjoy health insurance benefits free of charge, which is being increasingly considered excessive given the state of the country’s economy. If the bill passes into law, these retirees will have to pay for their coverage, but are likely to be privy to discounts that reflect their former status.

Lawmakers estimate more than $870 million annually on coverage

Illinois lawmakers note that the state currently spends more than $870 million on health insurance coverage for retired state officials. These policies are held by 78,000 retirees throughout the state. These policies are estimated to worth at least $7,400 per person. If the bill is passed, retirees are expected to pay a similar price for their coverage. The bill has won widespread favor from the state’s Legislature, but is not free from opposition. Despite this opposition, however, lawmakers insist that the state cannot continue to sustain the health care of retired officials.

Opponents concerned that health insurance may become unavailable for retirees

Opponents claim that the state boasts of more than 114,000 state and university retirees, all of whom rely on free health insurance due to their limited income. If the bill is passed, the Department of Central Management Services would be tasked with determining what payments retirees would need to make for their insurance coverage. It is expected that the agency would not require retirees to pay the full value of their policies.

The bill is currently heading to the Illinois House, where it will be subjected to vote at some point next week.

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