Speak Up: State retiree benefit panel recommendation responses, Round 2


The Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee, tasked with providing recommendations on proposals for retired state workers’ coverage, met Aug. 24 and considered several motions opposed by committee members who are part of the governor’s administration.

A motion to remove Medicare Advantage from consideration was presented by committee vice chair Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, and opposed by Department of Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger, who noted that the subcommittee’s job is to evaluate retiree health care options in a fiscally sustainable way. Claire DeMatteis, committee co-chair and secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources, said the motion altered the committee’s authority that is limited by state law. The motion that Medicare Advantage be taken off the table was approved. Another motion was passed recommending the state follow its previous format of a three-year contract with two optional one-year extensions.

The subcommittee meets again Sept. 28, and its report is due to Gov. John Carney and the legislature by Oct. 1.

How much say should state workers have over what the state offers them in retirement benefits? What is currently missing from the equation that should be considered?

  • It’s good to remember that the lawmakers didn’t do this. They were misled into believing the Medicare Advantage plan had all the same benefits as Medicfill, plus more. This appears to be a common tactic when trying to force people onto these privatized plans. And this was just one part of a large budget bill. Yes, they should have paid closer attention and remembered the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it’s probably not true.” But many are paying attention now because they’re hearing from a lot of constituents. Some have been willing to learn what those plans really are and to step in to try to be sure retirees get the benefits they were promised. The ones who are still swallowing the state’s line should pay for that with lost votes. Anyone who is or ever expects to be on Medicare should not support these privatized Medicare replacement plans. Definitely anyone who is or ever expects to be on state retirement benefits. — Tery Griffin C.
  • I worked full time for the University of Delaware for 46 years. Throughout the majority of that employment, the university promised me insurance that supplements regular Medicare. Now, the university and the state, in their search for what they define as “sustainability,” want to renege on that commitment. The attempt to force enrollment in Medicare Advantage is unjust and unacceptable. — Peter Weil
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