Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is relying on the City Council to change a local statute as part of a long-running attempt to shift thousands of retired municipal workers onto a controversial, cost-cutting Medicare plan, aggravating seniors who claim such a change would jeopardize their health coverage.
The administration’s push to enroll the city’s about 250,000 eligible retirees in a so-called Medicare Advantage Plan was thwarted in March when Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank ruled it was illegal.
The plan proposed imposing a $191 monthly penalty on retirees who chose to keep their traditional Medicare rather than enroll in the Advantage plan — and Frank ruled that the financial levy violated an administrative law that prohibits the city from charging its retired workers for health-care benefits.
To avoid Frank’s decision, the Adams administration last week authorized the issuance of a formal request to the Council to rewrite the law in question, making it legal for the city to impose monetary penalties on retirees who do not enroll in the city’s preferred health plan, according to mayoral spokesman Jonah Allon.
According to Harry Nespoli, the committee’s chairman, the administration received support from the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella body for the city’s leading unions, which voted Thursday to support the administration’s proposal to the Council.
Marianne Pizzitola, president of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees and a retired FDNY emergency medical expert, said her group is still confident that the Advantage plan is inferior to their present coverage.