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Retiree Health Benefits Update: MLC Votes for Medicare Advantage Plan

August 2, 2021

Dear PBA Retirees,

I am writing to update you on an important issue involving the city’s health-care coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees.

As you may be aware, the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization comprised of unions representing city employees, voted on July 14 to adopt a customized group Medicare Advantage Plan for NYC retirees, which would the replace the current Senior Care plan that provides additional medical coverage (Medigap) to Medicare-eligible retirees.

The PBA did not participate in this vote. On June 7, well in advance of the vote, the PBA sent a letter to City Labor Commissioner Renee Campion advising that the PBA has not consented to health benefit changes for our retired members, and we object to any retired members being placed into a Medicare Advantage plan unless or until an agreement to do so is reached through collective bargaining.

Our letter to Commissioner Campion reiterates our long-standing objections to the MLC’s purported attempts to bargain with the City over health benefits and other matters on behalf of all city employees. Over the years, the PBA has consistently refused to surrender our bargaining certificate to the MLC or any other group.

In this instance, the Medicare Advantage plan proposal arises from a 2018 health-care savings agreement between the City and MLC, which was adopted by many individual unions as part of their overall contract settlements in the most recent bargaining round.

Since the PBA has not adopted the terms of the 2018 health-care savings agreement in collective bargaining, we have filed a Step III grievance with the Office of Collective Bargaining objecting to the application of any of the agreement’s health benefit changes to our members. That grievance is awaiting arbitration.

As you are no doubt aware, the PBA is also awaiting interest arbitration for the 2017-2019 bargaining round. The City’s demands to the arbitration panel include a proposal for PBA retirees to be placed in a Medicare Advantage plan. Arbitration hearings are set to begin this fall.

The City has not yet indicated whether it will attempt to unilaterally impose the Medicare Advantage plan on PBA retirees when it goes into effect on January 1, 2022. Nevertheless, as the details of the MLC-adopted Medicare Advantage plan may be relevant to our upcoming arbitration proceeding, we are providing the enclosed information so that you will fully understand the changes the City is contemplating.

The attached information was produced by the City of New York and MLC regarding the Medicare Advantage Plan the City wants the PBA to voluntarily accept or would like to submit to the PERB arbitration panel for decision. The PBA has not agreed to this new plan and is challenging the City's submission of this proposal to arbitration. This information is being provided for information purposes only.

As always, we will continue to update you on any significant developments with this issue going forward.


Patrick J. Lynch