Friday, July 11, 2014

Why are 602 teacher retirees who live in Illinois still paying more for their health insurance?

Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability
703 Stratton Bldg.
Springfield, IL 62706
April 3, 2014

Mr. Dan Long and members of CoGFA:

Having noticed the agenda of the CoGFA hearing scheduled for April 7, 2014 relates to retirees' Health Insurance, I wish to once again relate some major concerns.

Many "downstate" teachers who retired in 2004 were required to notify the Teachers Retirement System a year or two in advance that they were going to retire in 2004. One month after we retired, there was a TRS buy into Medicare Plan, which began on July 1, 2004. We were not able to take advantage of that opportunity. That information was not given to us in 2002-2003. Without Medicare, we do not qualify for secondary health insurance.

According to a recent FOIA request of the Comptroller's Office, there are 602 of us who do not have the needed 40 quarters for Social Security/Medicare and who made the choice to continue to reside IN Illinois since 2004; as a result, we have been charged more than $64,709.62 for single coverage health insurance premiums with the State self-insured CIGNA plan.

At the same time, those retirees who are 65+ and enrolled in the very same CIGNA Health Insurance Plan but made the choice to move OUT of the State of Illinois have been charged 1/2 the cost for their premiums at $32,354.81.

According to CMS, retirees age 65+ and without Medicare (and who made the choice to reside IN Illinois during 2013-2014) pay a monthly premium of $719.96 for their CIGNA health insurance. Retirees age 65+ and without Medicare (and who made the choice to live OUTSIDE of Illinois) pay a monthly premium of $359.99 a month for the very same health insurance coverage using the CIGNA network of Doctors.

Some of us who also reside IN the school districts where we retired from have been charged disproportionate (double) premiums as a result.

As you address issues relating to retired teachers' health insurance plans, I respectfully request you consider these facts. May I also bring to your attention the many, many audits related to the TRS TCHP Health Insurance Plan and the lack of a written methodology for setting the premiums, as stated by the Office of the Auditor General.

I have submitted (pdf.) documents related to this issue to CoGFA and JCAR.

Thank you.

Jeri Shanahan

For more information about this injustice, Click Here.

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