NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city’s impressive move to change the health benefits of hundreds of thousands of retired workers has prompted them to say they are being forced to accept a low-cost and costly plan that could ruin them in their golden years.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer, who received an e-mail from the resignation, asked for a response from Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday.
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You know that something must be going wrong when you are filled with petitions from retired police officers, police, and other former city workers asking for help in trying to overthrow the city’s plan to change their health insurance.
They say they used to take on lower-paying jobs because the benefits were good, and now the city is going backwards.
“I am outraged, saddened and feel betrayed,” said retired New York City Housing Authority employee William Shenton.
Shenton, who worked for the agency for 30 years, was referring to an agreement reached by Mayor de Blasio with savings agencies for $ 600 million a year and a major change to health insurance granted to 250 retirees.
Shenton and his wife, Susan, who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are now facing the option of accepting a new city plan, Medicare Advantage Plus, or choosing to keep their existing insurance, at a cost of $ 200 each month.
“We were promised that this would be for life, that we would have the same insurance that we had when we were working and that would cover our families, and now it is being taken away from us,” said William Shenton.
Shentons said they have to pay to stay in the old system because the new one only contains one of Susan’s favorite medications. One remedy costs $ 130,000 a year.
“I would say to the mayor that he may be looking under his control, but he is not looking after the people,” said Susan Shenton.
Shentons are not alone. CBS2 is filled with complaints and emails.
“I will not be able to get treatment for cancer immediately from my doctors because this new program requires permission to start delaying my treatment for weeks, if I can get treatment at all,” wrote retired teacher Rose.
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“The contract for the back room in the smoky room,” angrily recovered retired Loraine Motola.
Still others say that most physicians do not accept the new program or that they need to make adjustments in their treatment. They say they were sold on both sides. First, because they were promised benefits when they were fired, and, second, because the agreement was negotiated with the unions, which they say does not represent their interests.
United Federation of Educators President Michael Mulgrew said the new initiative seeks to “maintain free health care for working and retired workers even though medical costs are rising in the city and the world.”
“… With the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus program, retirees can go to any doctor or hospital receiving Medicare,” stressed District Council 37 chief Henry Garrido.
“They’re accusing you of working in the back room in a smoky room, that they can’t get the same benefits and most doctors won’t take this plan.” How do you avoid this step? Kramer asked de Blasio.
“What they are telling you is not true. There are no deals or anything like that. “This was an open, continuous, and proven approach by the Manical Labor Council to look at ways to maintain health from the long run,” de Blasio said. “There needs to be more communication with physicians as well to make sure they understand that this is the same kind of system and closure that we expect to see from physicians.”
“It’s heartbreaking to hear their stories,” Kramer continued.
“Marcia, it hurts to hear their stories, unless they, sadly, are given false information,” Blasio said.
The activists have gone to court to challenge the city’s right to change its status and the right of organizations to negotiate an agreement.
The City Council scheduled a trial by the end of the month.
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published October 13.