Health insurance rates will surge for retirees in Illinois

By Emily Hutto

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)

New legislation signed yesterday by Illinois Gov. Quinn will significantly increase health insurance costs for retired government employees, many of whom were receiving discounted and even free benefits.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) estimates that retirees spend at least $3,000 each year on co-pays and other medical expenses. Now retired public employees in the state of Illinois will have to fund many of these costs themselves.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed new legislation yesterday that will require more than 80,000 retired government employees to lose reduced and free health insurance once promised to them as state employees. Future state retirees, approximately 200,000 of them, will also have to pay extra for their retirement health benefits. The amount of insurance rates they will pay is currently undisclosed, and will be decided upon via negotiation with unions and approval by the legislative commission.

U.S. News reports that one in six older Americans lives below the poverty line, and that Americans over the age of 55 account for 20 percent of the bankruptcies in the country. Despite the financial instability of this demographic, Illinois is moving forward with its plans to reduce the burden on younger taxpayers. Governor Quinn is also working on a plan that will reduce the pension checks of both current workers and retirees. These negotiations have been delayed for another five weeks.