Bill to end free retiree health benefits advances

Governor expected to sign legislation

University and other state employees could be on the verge of losing the free health insurance received in retirement, as legislation to end the benefit was approved 31-20 in the state Senate and will go to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Under the new plan contained within Senate Bill 1313, retired state employees, legislators, judges and university employees would pay a premium based on their years working for the state and ability to pay.

Quinn is expected to sign the bill and released the following statement this morning:

“I am encouraged that legislators have taken this step towards restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. This legislation will help ensure that our retirees continue to have access to quality health care, while also lowering the cost to taxpayers.

“I would like to thank Senate President Cullerton, Senate Minority Leader Radogno, House Speaker Madigan and House Minority Leader Cross for their collaboration and leadership. I plan to sign this legislation and look forward to continuing to work together to make the difficult decisions necessary to return Illinois to sound financial footing.”

Retiree health care costs the state $800 million, according to the Department of Central Management Services. Illinois is the only state to offer free health care coverage to retirees after 20 years of service.

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