Printer Friendly

STATE REP. SALOOM INTRODUCES LEGISLATION FOR RETIRED STATE EMPLOYEES

STATE REP. SALOOM INTRODUCES LEGISLATION FOR RETIRED STATE EMPLOYEES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- "What the governor has done is like a submarine captain who orders his vessel to sail away from a ship he has just torpedoed, without bothering to pick up survivors," said state Rep. Eugene G. Saloom (D-Westmoreland).
 With those words, Saloom introduced legislation that would rescue close to 4,000 retired state employees who were faced with the loss of their health insurance or, at best, having to pay premiums they were told they would not have to pay in their retirement.
 In the past, state employees were offered two options for their retirement health benefits, Medicare Part B and Blue Shield 65-special, which has a premium of $31.80 monthly, or the Blue Shield portion of Basic Health Coverage, which required no premium from the retiree.
 Recently, an administration-created trust fund board decided that it no longer would pay to provide the coverage in the second option. This forces those nearly 4,000 pensioners, already living on fixed incomes established upon their retirement, to suddenly be forced to pay $31.80 monthly at age 65, along with a penalty of 10 percent per year for every year over 65, to continue insurance coverage.
 In a letter to retirees explaining the situation, William J. Moran, board chairman of the State Employees' Retirement System, wrote: "I am very sympathetic to the financial hardship and anxiety experienced by those members affected by this adjustment. While I am unable to reverse this policy decision, be assured that as chairman of the State Employees' Retirement Board, I will continue to convey my concerns regarding this matter to the Office of Administration."
 Saloom said, "What we have here is a governor playing a game with the retirement of 4,000 people to make his budget figures more attractive. The governor will allow these people to be thrown overboard to save a few million dollars a year.
 "These are people who planned carefully for their retirement like every other person does. Most of these people aren't getting a whole lot of money, contrary to what some in the public might think. So we're looking at a situation that could place a great deal of strain on their retirement finances."
 Saloom charged that the state made an agreement with these people upon their retirement to provide medical benefits, and now the governor's board is arbitrarily canceling the pact.
 "We gave our word to these people who dedicated much of their lives to serving the commonwealth. We must live up to that promise," Saloom said.
 "I realize the governor is having difficulty balancing the budget in this continued national recession. But, why can't he be above board in his solutions? Why must he play 'stealth slasher' with pensioners? I think his action is unconscionable."
 Through his legislation, Saloom said a life preserver would be thrown to the people whose health insurance plans the governor is torpedoing.
 His bill (H.B. 2472) would grant relief in three ways:
 -- Require the state to retain the Blue Shield portion of Basic Health Coverage for those who have signed for it.
 -- Require the commonwealth to pick up the cost and penalty for those retirees who enrolled in the Medicare Part B coverage after learning the other option was being eliminated.
 -- Make the state liable for costs if the pensioner enrolled in another comprehensive health insurance program as a result of elimination of the second option.
 Saloom's bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/11/92
 /CONTACT: Jay Purdy of the Office of Democratic Legislative Information, 717-787-7895/ CO: Pennsylvania House of Representatives ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA-MK -- PH019 -- 7364 03/11/92 14:30 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1992
Words:621
Previous Article:NEWS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE $10,000 NEIGHBORHOOD ENRICHMENT AWARD FROM THE EAST OHIO GAS COMPANY
Next Article:SEC CHAIRMAN TO RING IN EMERGING COMPANY MARKETPLACE AT AMEX ON MARCH 18


Related Articles
Small distributors seek to restrict discounts.
American Ambulance Association Commends Reps. Coburn and Shadegg for Covering Emergency Ambulance Services.
Following is the Latest Development in the NiSource-Columbia Energy Group Takeover Attempt.
Ramstad, Breaux Introduce Bills to Protect Retirement Savings Plan; Program Will Complement Social Security for Tens of Thousands of Workers.
Association Health Plans Legislation Introduced.
Rep. Huizenga's Anti-Spam Bill is Pro-Business, Michigan Manufacturers Association Says.
Congress introduces bill to lower health care costs.
EC for rape survivors.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters