Governor Paterson accepts final report of Task Force on Public Retiree Health Insurance
Source: Office of the Governor
On June 23, 2101 Governor David A. Paterson accepted the final report of the Task Force on Public Employee Retirement Health Care Benefits. Established by Executive Order No. 15.
The Task Force was tasked with reviewing issues such as the level and cost of benefits received by New York State public employees and retirees, the degree to which those benefits have been impacted by difficult fiscal times, the current legal framework governing retiree health benefits, potential avenues for addressing rising health care costs, and various proposals for reform.
The Task Force included representatives of various executive agencies, the Comptroller, the Legislature, local governments, labor and retiree groups. It was chaired by Richard Berman, who has previously served as director of the New York State Office of Health Systems Management, Director of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, chair of the Westchester Medical Center, and President of Manhattanville College.
Governor Paterson said that the Task Force made the following recommendations:
• Encourage employer coalitions with labor participation pursuant to Article 47 of the Insurance Law.
• Permit the establishment of State administered prescription drug carve out plans for retired public employees.
• Implement a co-payment structure which encourages primary and preventative care by reducing financial barriers to managing disease.
• Provide a premium contribution to plan members who live outside of the service area of the employer's plan for other coverage of the retired employee's choosing.
• Continue to provide, where appropriate, incentives for providers and consumers to implement electronic medical records.
• No payment by retiree health plans, coupled with a prohibition of balance billing by providers, for "never events."
• Build relationships with and encourage use of health education and disease self management programs that promote healthy behaviors such as exercise, smoking cessation and other evidence based chronic disease self management programs.
• Require that insurers and plan administrators provide claims experience, consistent with statutory privacy protections, to local governments on request, thereby providing employers with greater audit authority.
• Actively pursue third party liability (e.g., coordination of benefits, subrogation).
• Encourage employers to provide information and assistance to retired public employees to enable them to fully leverage Medicare benefits such as health screenings and to make informed decisions about coverage.
• Establish a State insurance exchange including, but not limited to retired public employees with no coverage.
• Provide jurisdiction to the Insurance Department for oversight of the reserves and solvency of self-funded government plans.
• Encourage employers to allow retired employees who meet the plan's eligibility requirements to enroll in the employer's plan regardless of whether they were covered as an active employee.
• Implement more aggressive oversight of health care costs by the State and Federal governments.
• Create a standing task force which would represent in a fair and balanced manner the interests of retired public employees, their former employers, taxpayers and the public at large.
The Governor reported that the Task Force was unable to reach a consensus on the best approach to reform proposals that would limit the ability of public employers to diminish public retiree health benefits. Instead, it includes three position papers that set forth varying recommendations of particular Task Force participants.
A copy of the Final Report is available on the Internet at:
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