Despite a pending lawsuit at Manhattan Supreme Court, New York City mayor Eric Adams has ordered the implementation of the controversial new Medicare plan for retired city workers on Sunday.
The decision of Adams’ to implement the new Medicare plan angered many retirees who have for months contended it could water down their benefits.
“The Medicare Advantage Plus plan, first unveiled by former Mayor Bill de Blasio last fall as a cost-saving alternative to the city’s current retiree coverage, will maintain “premium-free” insurance for the roughly 250,000 ex-municipal workers who stand to benefit, Adams said in a statement.
“That is why after a careful and thorough review by my administration, I am announcing my support for this plan,” Adams added.
In view of the concerns of some retirees, Adams said he will do his best to address them all.
“As a blue-collar mayor and someone who himself will collect municipal retiree benefits, I am sympathetic to those who have voiced concerns about how this plan will affect their coverage,” he said.
“Our administration will continue to work to assuage these concerns before and after the plan is implemented,” he added.
Sources said the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees has expressed anger on the decision of Adams.
“We are disappointed that Mayor Adams came out in support of the proposed Medicare Advantage plan — without ever meeting with retirees or hearing about alternatives. We understand how tempting it must be to ‘find’ $600 million in new revenues, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of senior citizens and disabled first-responders,” Steve Cohen, an attorney for the group, which is made up of retired cops, firefighters, and other municipal workers said.
In filing the lawsuit earlier, the group said the Advantage plan would result in inferior health coverage, including by implementing convoluted new preauthorization processes for certain procedures.
Cohen said they plan to take more court action to block its implementation on April 1.
“The city actually knows this is an inferior plan, which is why they are forcing retirees to pay thousands of dollars annually to opt-out and keep their current insurance,” he said.
“We are fully confident that the proposed plan is a violation of both law and past contracts, and we look forward to seeing the city in court,” he added.