There is trouble in Illinois for retired teachers health care benefits.
1) Governor Rauner wants to end state subsidies to retired teacher health insurance.
2) Comptroller Susan Mendoza hasn’t made the payments for 17 months.
Governor Rauner wants to cut the state subsidy to retired teacher health insurance entirely. Some of you may think that retired teachers don’t pay anything for their state health insurance. While that is true for some state employees, it is not true for teachers.
The Teacher Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) is paid for out of the Teacher Health Insurance System (THIS).
Active teachers may see THIS in the list of their paycheck deductions and may not know what it is. Active teachers pay into the insurance bucket called THIS.
Also paying into the THIS bucket are school districts, the feds and the state of Illinois. The state subsidy is supposed to match the retiree payment. Rauner wants to end the state subsidy.
The Illinois Supreme Court has already ruled that public employee pension benefits cannot be reduced or impaired. And in the Kanerva decision the courts ruled that health care benefits were a part of pension benefits and were also protected from reduction or impairment.
Unknown to us until a few days ago is that the state of Illinois simply hasn’t paid their legally required contribution into the THIS bucket.
They haven’t paid it for a year and a half.
Mendoza just told us.
That would be $10 million a month.
Our lawyers believe that this is a violation of the pension protection clause if it impacts payments to our health care providers.
So here are the questions:
Will the state pay back the $170 million in payments they have missed?
How many more months will Comptroller Susan Mendoza, a Democrat, skip making the state’s payment into THIS?
Is the shortfall currently affecting retirees? Has any retired teacher been asked to pay their health care provider for services up front because the state won’t pay the bill?
If that has happened to you, the state is in violation of the pension protection clause and IRTA wants to know.