Update on Retiree Health Benefits: December 2016

Members of the S.O.A.R. Retiree Health Benefit Subcommittee recently met with our legal representative regarding the following issues:

  • How many members have responded to the letter mailed out this summer to move to the next step of our legal action?
    We have received many responses. According to our legal rep, everyone that responded retired prior to the Blue Value Plans going into effect. This is a good thing because all contract language is the same for retirees that retired prior to 2006, including 2005. The contract language states that retirees of the county shall receive fully paid BC/BS protection and dental insurance which was in effect at the time of retirement.
  • The status of our legal action regarding involuntary changes to retirees’ health care plan. There was no real good news. Our legal representative is still undecided on how to pursue an action regarding changes to our healthcare plans. Our legal representative explained that until there is a decision in the CSEA and the Social Workers pending cases he cannot determine whether we should pursue a Grievance process or a Class Action litigation. Therefore, there is no way he will be able to file a suit before the end of the year.

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Deadline to Submit Your Response to S.O.A.R.’s Legal Representative

Several months ago and under the guidance of our legal team, the S.O.A.R. Health Benefits Subcommittee mailed out a letter to all past and present S.O.A.R. members.  The letter requested that any individual who experienced involuntary changes to their retiree health benefits respond to the office of Trevett Cristo Attorneys with information on their particular case. 

This is a reminder that the deadline to contact our legal team to give them the details of your situation is the end of the business day on November 21, 2016.  

Changes in Health Insurance Coverage

Over the last month, S.O.A.R. Board members have received several telephone calls from retirees advising us that a representative from the Monroe County Human Resources Department informed them that their child (or children, all of whom are under 25 years of age) had been removed from their health care coverage. As the Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage for dependent children up to age 26, we pursued the matter on their behalf.

We have been in touch with a staff member in the local office of Congresswomen Louise Slaughter, who has informed us that, based upon our knowledge of each incident, the children of these retirees are indeed still covered. That being said, this staff member advises any individual who believes that their child has been improperly removed from coverage needs to write a letter to her office so that she can initiate an official inquiry and determine the truth. In addition, ALL individuals that have had their health insurance coverage affected in any way by the actions of Monroe County employees are also urged to write a letter describing their experience to the following individual:

US House of Representatives
Congresswomen Louise Slaughter’s Office
ATTN: Ms. Patricia Larke
3120 Federal Building
100 State Street
Rochester, New York 14614

No phone calls please; a written inquiry must be submitted for the Congresswoman’s office to initiate an investigation.

Status Update: S.O.A.R. Retiree Health Benefits Subcommittee

Before last year’s local elections, members of the S.O.A.R. Retiree Health Benefit subcommittee scheduled a meeting with then-candidate for Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. The meeting was held at a local restaurant and lasted over an hour. The purpose of the meeting was to share with Mrs. Dinolfo information on the involuntarily changes that have been made to retirees’ health insurance as well as to answer any of her questions on the matter.

During the meeting, several subcommittee members explained the history of this issue. They described how long S.O.A.R. has been attempting to meet with representatives of the county government to reach a resolution, how those attempts have been rebuffed, how the changes arbitrarily affected some retirees and not others, and finally how some of our older retirees were experiencing hardships due to their increased health costs. Both Ms. Dinolfo and her assistant took many notes.

The meeting was concluded with remarks from Ms. Dinolfo that as a candidate she could not make any decisions at that time, but that if she won the election, S.O.A.R. should contact her after the she took office to meet again and discuss this matter further.

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