Speak Up: State retiree benefit panel responses, continued


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?

  • As a retired state senator and a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the state, I can assure you that this is not a “political circus.” If it were, the court would have thrown it out. — Karen Peterson
  • I worked for the University of Delaware for several decades. I had excellent benefits as of the time I retired and was promised those would continue. So, as far as the state/the university reneging on that, I think I, and other UD retirees or current employees, should have plenty of “say” about this, especially if the proposed substitute plan (Medicare Advantage) is foisted on us, instead of the superior current plan. If I had been hired with a different plan and had agreed to it, then I could not complain, but to hire and retire someone on an excellent plan and then try to replace it with a much inferior one (and we all know Medicare Advantage is inferior) is dishonest and shameful. — Linda Dion
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