An independent arbitrator has ordered the city to negotiate a new Medicare Advantage program with the Aetna insurance company in the next 25 days. He also determined that if an agreement is reached, the city’s unions would have a choice of either approving the deal or facing the necessity of paying premiums for health care.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “In the last decade the cost of health care has been rising dramatically and over the long term only action by the federal government can solve this national crisis.”
“In the meantime, the municipal unions have been negotiating with the city on how to preserve our health care benefits. Most importantly, we want to maintain plans that do not require our members to pay the thousands of out-of-pocket dollars that most workers now typically have to pay for health insurance.”
“A new Medicare Advantage plan will be negotiated to keep that premium-free status, and we will make sure that it meets our retirees’ needs, even while saving hundreds of millions of dollars that will be dedicated to other health care services.”
Arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman issued his findings Dec. 15, 2022. Scheinman, who played a key role in city/union health agreements in 2014 and 2018, has been appointed by the parties to arbitrate any potential disagreements over interpretation of the pact and to enforce its provisions. Scheinman also chairs the Tripartite Health Insurance Policy Committee, consisting of the city and the MLC, which was formed in 2018 to consider how city health care could be restructured to preserve quality while stemming the rising cost of its delivery.
Read the full decision (Scheinman's conclusions start at page 28)