‘A Tremendous Victory’: NYC Council Members Refuse to Change Code Safeguarding Retiree Healthcare

(WORK-BITES) Bob Hennelly, January 20, 2023

The City Council will not advance a controversial bill being pushed hard by Mayor Adams and the Municipal Labor Committee to change the city’s Administrative Code 12-126 that covers how the city covers its 300,000 active-duty employees and 250,000 retirees.  

The Adams administration and MLC maintain the change was necessary to preserve health care options for retirees as the city implements a Medicare Advantage type program, which they say would save the city $600 million a year.

According to the Adams administration, the city spends $11 billion a year, about 10 percent of the entire city budget on healthcare costs related to active and retired civil servants. Of that, $600 million was spent on retiree health care coverage in 2021, up from $200 million in 2000.

The Adams administration’s attempt to change how it provides healthcare for its active workforce and retirees comes as it faces serious budget challenges and a long list of expired labor contracts.  

The latest turn of events in the City Council is a major win for a grassroots campaign of New York City retired civil servants spearheaded by The NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees. The ad hoc movement opposes the code change and the imposition of a for profit Medicare Advantage plan they assert would limit their access to health care with pre-authorizations. 

The Adams administration and the MLC had claimed time was of the essence because its Health Stabilization Fund, created in 1984, used to cover healthcare obligations and help defray premium costs, is running out of money, putting at risk the premium-free health care that active and retired city employees continue to enjoy. Last year, the city said that City retirees could opt to keep their current health coverage by paying a $191 premium. 

Retirees assert that their premium free healthcare was a form of deferred compensation that the city has a moral obligation to continue to pay.  The NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees have won two rounds in state court challenging the city’s implementation of its healthcare reset. 


JAN 20