Retired State Workers May Have To Pay For Health Care

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) — Illinois lawmakers may consider steps to reduce the cost of health care for retired state workers.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, the Chicago Tribune notes the medical coverage costs the state nearly $500 million a year, and more than 90 percent of the retirees and survivors pay no premiums.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

One idea that may come up, the Tribune says, is to start charging those retirees who can afford to pay for their health care. The average annual household income for a retired state worker younger than 65 is nearly $78,000.

This is the result of state workers taking advantage of generous early retirement plans that allow them to leave government jobs while in their 50s, start collecting pension benefits and still have time for a second career.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), said he will push legislation to put in place a means test for retirees and a sliding scale of charges based on an individual’s ability to pay.

  • About time!!!

    Spoiled public sector employees, PAY UP!!!!!!! It’s about time someone looked into this “novel” idea. Now we’ll wait and see IF they actually do something about it!!!!!

  • Dennis Fritz

    This article is just another example of mindless public secotr worker bashing. “The average HOUSEHOLD INCOME if a retired state worker is $78,000.” That’s HOUSEHOLD income–i.e. it includes the retiree’s spouse. The wording is deliberately designed to mislead the reader into thinking state workers are getting $78,000 is pension benefits. That is a blad faced LIE.

    • KE

      It is an AVERAGE.
      The retired state worker I currently work with get $134,00 a year!
      Pays no health and dental benefits, gets CAPS (Cost of living increases),
      His spouse is covered too.

      • KE

        BTW — the still working STATE EMPLOYED spouse makes about $150,000/yr

  • robert

    how about the fact that noone points the finger at the hundreds of thousands who NEVER GET OFF OF MEDICADE AND PUBLIC AID FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES!!!! instead of bashing people who worked their entire lives, start looking at the people WHO NEVER WANT TO WORK FOR ANYTHING AND ARE TOO LAZY TO GET OFF THEIR ASS AND WORK FOR A LIVING.

  • Sara Spitz

    Even though that is probably not the pension amount, government workers get pretty generous pensions, much more generous than the average private sector worker, as well as health care benefits. We have all had to tighten our belts, and I thoroughly resent having to tighten my belt so that retired government workers don’t have to tighten theirs.
    I am closely watching to see whether government workers will get raises this year – isn’t this, after all, how the French Revolution started? We peasants are getting tired of supporting those in power. I for one, want to have bread instead of cake.

  • GreedyTooWillingToShare

    I believe that $78,000 between two people is enough to live off of per year. Greedy, greedy, greedy, there are people living off of less with children. Greedy, greedy, why shouldn’t they get the same education our grandchildren get? Greedy, greedy, greedy, so why can’t we help by paying just a little more for our healthcare? Greedy, greedy!

  • Clara Schroeder

    I haven’t noticed a single elected official taking any cuts in pay or reduction in healthcare costs.

    Meanwhile, I cannot receive my husband’s Social Security benefits nor did I receive a distribution for the amount he paid in.

  • reired

    That 78,000 is a lie I retired after thirty years at age fifty and I do not get that much a year try about 46,000.00 plus I do pay a portion for family coverage. If you work thirty or more years your insurance should be covered. cut spending, get rid of all of the political appointed positions that are not needed. HAVE A NICE DAY !!!

    • GreedyTooWillingToShare

      I couldn’t post that I was getting $46,000 a year and complaining as if it was so little. What did you think you were supposed to be a millionaire after working thirty years for the state? So, retiring at fifty and collecting $46,000 a year isn’t enough? You could still do something else.

  • Vet

    It is ridiculous to expect most private sector employees (who have already lost pension and all other retirement benefits) to pony up for the retired state workers. I am a veteran and did not have medical coverage during two periods of unemployment. I will need to work until I die and to think I will be driving by the retirees who are sucking up as much as they can. Where is the AARP or Tea Party or the “free” press to address their concerns (with and without bias)?

  • Joe

    Awwww! Gee, that’s too bad. Now they can see what the real world is all about! What makes a retired state worker sooo special? Meanwhile, the rest of us get a 65% increase in State Income Tax to pay for THEIR benefits!!!!

  • The wife

    My husband is a state worker and doesn’t even get 78k while working. I think they’ve put the political retires in there too and the spouses. I agree with the poster that talked about the people who are getting a free ride on tax payers. There needs to be cuts with those programs for those who don’t work. My husband has taken cuts. He’s taken furlough days volunteerily. He also pays into that pension. Also, as an IDOT employee he has one of the most dangerous jobs. More of them get killed than fire and police. When the roads are horrible out, he’s driving to work like last night when everyone else is sleeping. I’m not trying to make it out like he’s a saint(although to me he is), but he shouldn’t get the bad wrap. He works soooo hard.

    • KE

      Thank your husband — that is a very dangerous job that we the drivers of Illinois take for granted. IDOT workers like your husband SHOULD GET HIGHER PAY than they currently do and I would not hesotate to contribute to HIS pension,
      BUT not to all the lazy loser State politicians and workers who have no skills, no education, no business abilities, show little or no courtesy to the public, and get paid unbelievably well just becuase of their political connections or the color of their skin

  • fed up with govt spending

    Reality, Private sector workers are not allowed to collect a pension at age 50. Very few private sector workers receive free medical coverage after they retire. Many receive none. We also have paid for coverage while we work, paid for our pensions, paid social security, will pay for medicare, and have longer work weeks with fewer holidays and less vacation than our public sector counterparts. Assuming we start work at age 21, we will spend 45 to 50 years in the workplace before we can think about retirement. I agree spending needs to be cut across the board. That means everyone, including you. The public trough is dry, and no one is entitled to a free ride. Would you like some cheese to go with your whine>?

    • KE

      Well said.

  • Anonymous Neighbor

    I worked my entire life and have no pension, no health benefits, and no sales tax to fund my ridiculous lifestyle. I would be happy with ANY part of $46,000.

  • ileen

    This is one hot mess. Everybody should help fix the budget problem. I can’t believe anyone is expecting free health insurance and premiums being paid by someone else.

  • 73444

    make em pay……………………… most low income, working full time, get less then $17,000.00 A YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! with children, and They grip about $45,000.00 a year!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE, S H U T U P ALREADY, STOP POL I T I O NS AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES, THEY DON’T DESERVE IT, 99.9 % OF THE TIME DON’T!!!!!!!!!

  • Name withheld

    What about the senators and respresentatives……..they have everything padded for themselves and want to take everything away from state employees. Do some research at what they are taking home, what they receive after how long etc. It will make the general public sick!

    • KE

      YES IT WILL!!!

  • ta

    to the wife I agree that some of the idot workers have a dangerous job but don’t beleive more are killed at work that fire and police. Fire and police except for the State Police are not in a State run pension fund thank goodness for that.

  • HeorShe

    73444: You are Sofa King We Todd Did.

    Go back to school!

  • jeff5270

    They should, everyone else, not a politician or elected official does!

  • retired

    All state employees pay to the retirement system, social security, medicare,state and federal taxes until you retire. Then they pay part of their families insurance, life insurance on them, federal taxes. They just took more out of my check for federal taxes. like I said earlier cut waste I seen a lot of it in thirty years, Been through one facility closing under one republican Gov. almost another had my position eliminated and had to take a pay cut by a democratic Gov. Maybe years ago you should have thought about working for the STATE. stop crying…

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  • Broke Retiree

    Most municipal employees pay the full boat for their retiree insurance – that’s $500 plus out of that pension. As for the $78k – that’s just a pipe dream for the average Joe plowing your streets, fixing water main breaks, keeping the sewers functioning, etc. Aim your barbs where they deserve to go – administrators boosting salaries and benefits right before they take ‘early retirement’.

  • retired

    Broke retiree you are right or they create a new position for someone so they make more money and then when they retire their pension goes up. If my position had not been eliminated by Rod my retirement would have been higher.

  • KE

    It is ABOUT TIME!!!
    If I have to hear one more now retired State worker talk about how they were given a 50% increase in their retirement a few years back and brag about how they do NOT have to pay ANYTHING for their health and dental benefits (spouses too), I WILL SCREAM!!!

  • My thoughts

    make sur the politcial lackies, state reps, slime that was voted in or appointed those are the best jobs that their pay is cut first since they are getting the most!…..

  • Watching Out

    The retirees receiving the pensions and health benefits earned them through negociated agreements. Members of unions and other employee rights advocates lived and died for employee/retiree wages, pensions and benefits. For the Illinois lawmakers of today to reduce the already settled plans is an injustice to those retirees and present workers in the established system. If anything the ILL lawmakers could perhaps review the existing benefit packages for future changes for the new employee/future retirees. Once the new proposal of benefits is presented to the new employee/future retiree those employees will organize as our forefathers did for the right to decent wages, pensions and benefits. We’re watching the world go backward in our life time…keep it up, the future for most will have to start all over again.

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