CHICAGO (CBS) – A sizeable group of retired city workers are set to lose their health insurance just days from now and are scrambling to figure out how they will afford coverage.
CBS 2’S Jeremy Ross has their story.
“Maybe 86 years is enough” sighed retired City of Chicago employee, Julia Tyagay.
The strain of Julia Tyagay’s situation adds to her list of ailments requiring physical therapy and prescription drugs.
Years ago the retired civil engineer relied on the City of Chicago for her health insurance, but next year that’s scheduled to change costing her thousands.
“They charge an awful amount,” Tyagay said.
“The city promised them it should follow through with its commitment, these are retirees where are they going to get this kind of money,” said Attorney Clint Krislov. “That’s the problem.”
“I have pension and savings, but I don’t know long savings will cover this,” Tyagay said.
The city said people like Tyagay who retired after 1989 and do not qualify for Medicare will need to get their own insurance.
Tyagay is now facing a monthly cost of at least $1,466.
The city said the move saves taxpayers more than $100-million per year.
Former workers received a warning letter back in October. The city said they began notifying retirees in 2013 in preparation for the switch.
“We’ve taken steps to insure people got coverage,” said Mayor Emanuel.
“Saving a taxpayer a dime or a dollar on your annual properly tax at dumping an 85-year-old woman into no coverage, no treatment for the rest of her life, it’s not right,” Krislov said.
Attorney Clint Krislov believe about 1,000 are in Tyagay’s situation, adding a change in coverage could be lethal to more than their wallets.
“Some of them have heart transplants,” Krislov said said. “It is a life or death matter.”
There is a motion in the Illinois Supreme Court that would force the city to continue paying for worker health insurance near term, occurring Wednesday night.
A decision is expected to be made any day now.