A reader writes:
Despite the denials of many organizations at the time, Senate Bill 1313 is the reason we are in the mess we are in with retiree insurance.
Many groups said SB 1313 affected ONLY State employees, and not teachers.
SB 1313 passed the Illinois House on May 9,2012, by a vote of 74 yes, 43 no; and the Illinois Senate the very next day, May 10, 2012, by a vote of 31 yes, 20 no.
On May 11, 2012, the education newsletter of Jim Broadway stated:
“We recently observed how quickly dramatic changes in state policy can be made and advised vigilance. In some cases, the action comes in such a rapid blur that vigilance does no good. When SB 1313 passed both chambers by the morning after its language surfaced, the question was: What did they do?
“SSNS has received other questions. Who is affected? Are the legislators cutting their own health benefits too? How about the judges? I pay my health premium, so how does this affect me?
“The answers: Members of all five state-administered retirement systems, active and retired, are affected. That includes legislators, state employees, judges, university employees and downstate educators.
“The ‘free’ health care enjoyed by 78,000 retirees is ended. (My note: Teachers did not receive free health care.) Others should expect their premiums to rise.”
Please find below the wording of the relevant part of SB 1313 as signed into law on June 21, 2012, by Governor Pat Quinn:
“Beginning on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, the Director of Central Management Services shall, on an annual basis, determine the amount that the State shall contribute toward the basic program of group health benefits on
behalf of annuitants (including individuals who (i) participated in the General Assembly Retirement System, the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois, the State Universities Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois,
or the Judges Retirement System of Illinois and (ii) qualify as annuitants, survivors (including individuals who (i) receive an annuity as a survivor of an individual who participated in the General Assembly Retirement system, the State Employees’ Retirement
system of Illinois, the State Universities Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement system of the State of Illinois, or the Judges Retirement System of Illinois and qualify as survivors and retired employees. The remainder of the cost of coverage for each
annuitant, survivor, or retired employee, as determined by the Director of Central Management Services, shall be the responsibility of that annuitant, survivor, or retired employee.
“Contributions required of annuitants, survivors, and retired employees shall be the same for all retirement systems and shall also be based on whether an individual has made an election under the Illinois Pension Code. Contribution may be based on annuitants’, survivors’, or retired employees’ Medicare eligibility, but may not be based on Social Security eligibility.”