WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Retirees to Help Pay for Healthcare

Mar 4, 2013

Retired state workers in Illinois now know how much they will be required to contribute to their health care costs. The details are in the tentative contract agreement between the state and AFSCME.

The pact also will give the state the savings it had already been counting on.

Credit Rich Egger

Until now, state and university employees who retired after long government careers had not been required to pay any health care premiums. A new state law changed that, but how much they would pay was subject to contract negotiations, which dragged on for 15 months.

If union members approve the tentative deal, retirees will have to put 2% of their pensions into their health insurance starting this July.  They'll have to add another 2% next summer. 

Older retirees who are eligible for Medicare will pay 1% each year.

The information is contained in a memo that AFSCME confirmed was written by its director, Henry Bayer.

In the memo, Bayer said the Quinn administration wanted employees to put as much as 20% of their pensions toward health insurance.

It said the Quinn administration also proposed using a sliding scale  so those with bigger pensions would have to pay more.

Although AFSCME negotiated the terms, it applies to all retired state and university employees -- even those who were never members of the union.

The contract still has to be ratified by union members.