For local governments, full retirement health insurance (for those employees lucky enough to have it) is a benefit that is becoming increasingly difficult to fund and justify, as is a generous fixed pension. It is one of welfare. Today’s superior life-prolonging and life-prolonging medical technologies are considered necessary as the population ages, but they are prohibitively expensive for all organizations and individuals, both public and private, to bear the increasing costs. It could become something.
It has long been widely known that something has to give when it comes to lifelong health insurance in the civil service. That’s why, in a relatively modest step, it is necessary that Nassau County’s new contract with Public Employees Association Local 830 include, for the first time, a requirement that only bargaining unit employees who have been employed by the county for a full 20 years will earn an income. This is a great first step. This much-needed boon.
So far, the vesting period for retirement health insurance is only 10 years. Another change is that workers will have fewer health insurance options to save money.
For most of the 3,800 employees covered by the contract, this concession by the union is neither harsh nor unreasonable. This will support payment of the contract for a period of 13 years, retroactively from January 1, 2018 to December 30, 2030. With a total of 25% salary increases and other employee improvements, the deal is still estimated to cost county taxpayers $810 million.
That said, relatively few CSEA members have been unduly influenced. That means they may have made a wise life-planning decision several years ago to give up a higher-paying job just to get health insurance and retire in 10 years. His new 20-year rule was something they never expected. Perhaps some consideration could be made for the 100 or so workers affected. However, it should not significantly erode the agreed savings needed to offset the still high contract costs.
It appears New York City is finally starting to face ever-increasing retirement health care costs. Officials moved to change options in Medicare plans for retirees to save hundreds of millions of dollars. But the switch, which would affect thousands of people who have already retired, was blocked in court by local government laws that require benefits promised in contracts to be paid. City retirees cannot, and indeed do not, object to the anticipated cost savings for future retirees. They simply argue that they should not have been led to plan their lives based on empty promises that the Medicare contract would never change.
Momentum has long been building to move away from the huge perk of having public employers cover lifelong health care costs. This is one of the growing pains for fiscal sustainability at a time when even the long-established funding source of Social Security benefits is causing increasingly serious problems across the United States. . What is happening in Nassau County shows that the fiscal crisis can no longer be postponed.
Editorial board members She is an experienced journalist who provides fact-based, reasoned opinion to foster informed discussion about the issues facing our community.