Monday, October 24, 2011

Emergency Rule filed by the New York State Department of Civil Service changes the ratio of the State and the State employee and State retirees contributions for health insurance premiums


Emergency Rule filed by the New York State Department of Civil Service changes the ratio of the State and the State employee and State retirees contributions for health insurance premiums
Source: “Provision of the Health Benefit Plan for Active and Retired New York State Employees,” Item CVS411100007E; State Register dated October 12, 2011

§167.1(a) of the Civil Service Law provides that the State is to pay 90 percent of the health insurance premium for individual coverage and 75 percent of the premium for dependent coverage. The Department of Civil Service has promulgated an Emergency Rule changing the ratio of the “employer/employee” contributions for health insurance for active and retired New York State Employees effective September 27, 2011 requiring active and retired individuals to pay a greater portion of the premium for their health insurance than is now set by law.

On October 20, 2011 the Retired Public Employees Association wrote NYS Civil Service Commission President Patricia Hite objecting to this emergency rule insofar as it changed the ratios of the “employer-retiree” contribution for health insurance premiums for now retired State employees and their dependents from those set out in §167.1(a) of the Civil Service Law.

RPEA contends that “Except as otherwise provided by an agreement between the State and an employee organization entered into pursuant to Article fourteen of the Civil Service Law [the Taylor Law], §167.1(a) requires the State to contribute nine-tenths of the cost of premiums or subscription charges for health insurance coverage of each such State employee or retired State employee and three-quarters of the cost of premium or subscription charges for the coverage of dependents of such State employees and retired State employee except as otherwise provided by §167.1(a).” No such agreement covers retired employees of the State as an employer.

The letter notes that §167.1(a) of the Civil Service Law has not been amended and that “It is well-settled that a State regulation should be upheld [only] if it has a rational basis and is not … contrary to the statute under which it was promulgated,” citing Kuppersmith v Dowling, 93 NY2d 90 [emphasis in the original].

RPEA points out that the Emergency Rule is “is contrary to the statute under which it was promulgated” because §167.1(a) currently provides that the State as the employer shall pay 90% of the health insurance premium for individual health insurance coverage and 75% of the health insurance premium for dependent health insurance coverage on behalf of its retirees.

In contrast, the Emergency Rule, in pertinent part, provides that with respect to State retirees who retired on or after January 1, 1983 and current employees of the State retiring prior to January 1, 2012, the State will contribute 88 percent of the premium for individual health insurance coverage and 73 percent of the premium for dependent coverage.

As to employees retiring on or after January 1, 2012 from a title allocated or equated to salary grade 9 or below, the Emergency Rule provides that the State will contribute 88 percent of the premium for individual coverage and 73 percent of the premium for dependent coverage while for employees retiring on or after January 1, 2012 from a title allocated or equated to salary grade 10 or above, the Emergency Rule provides that the State will contribute 84 percent of the premium for individual coverage and 69 percent of the premium for dependent coverage.

The full text of RPEA’s October 20, 2011 letter to President Hite is posted on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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