Taxpayers owe $56B in unfunded retiree health care costs - New York News

New report: Taxpayers owe $56B in unfunded retiree health care costs

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A new study forecasts that health insurance for retired state employees will cost billions of dollars more than previously thought. That makes efforts to control those costs more urgent than ever.

In most states, retired government employees pay about half the cost of their health insurance. In Illinois, though, those retirees pay less than 20% of the cost of a very rich health plan with very small co-pays. A new study -- completed before Gov. Quinn's recent cost control efforts -- finds taxpayers face a staggering $56.4 billion in unfunded retiree health care costs, up from $54.2 billion estimated in 2011. One reason: state workers may retire at age 55 with full benefits.

"If you're looking at a retiree in their 50s, the state pays more than $14,000 a year for this unheard of benefit. The retiree is paying less than $1,000," The Illinois Police Institute's Kristina Rasmussen explains.

For the first time ever, many retired government workers last year began to pay health insurance premiums: ranging from 1% to 2% of their annual state pension. Together with other reforms, it has reduced taxpayer costs by more than $100 million a year. But facing $80 billion in unfunded pension costs, and $56.4 billion in unfunded retiree health insurance, taxpayers here are on the hook for more than $136 billion in unfunded retirement benefits.

Analysts at the Illinois Policy Institute said reforms adopted by Democrats in Springfield don't go far enough.

"And now looking forward we need to make some tough choices," says Rasmussen. "It's not fair to ask union members in the private sector to continue working -- the plumbers and the steamfitters -- until they're 67 so someone else can retire in their 50s with gold-plated health insurance."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Mayor: NYC will learn from 2004 RNC 'mistakes'

    Mayor: NYC will learn from 2004 RNC 'mistakes'

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:35 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:35:46 GMT
    Brooklyn's final pitch to hold the 2016 Democratic national convention was centered on New York City's robust mass transit system -- and a pledge to learn "from the mistakes" from the last time the city hosted a presidential convention. The Republicans gathered in New York in 2004 to re-nominate President George W. Bush, choosing to meet in deep-blue Manhattan less than three years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
    Brooklyn's final pitch to hold the 2016 Democratic national convention was centered on New York City's robust mass transit system -- and a pledge to learn "from the mistakes" from the last time the city hosted a presidential convention. The Republicans gathered in New York in 2004 to re-nominate President George W. Bush, choosing to meet in deep-blue Manhattan less than three years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
  • Union says city too dangerous to host convention

    Union says city too dangerous to host convention

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:32 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:32:12 GMT
    One of New York City's police unions says it is opposed to the city's bid for Brooklyn to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, saying that crime is on the rise and criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio's public safety policies.The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which has 13,000 members, says the city was "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime."
    One of New York City's police unions says it is opposed to the city's bid for Brooklyn to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, saying that crime is on the rise and criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio's public safety policies.The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which has 13,000 members, says the city was "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime."
  • NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:12:52 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday. Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff's officials said.
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday. Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff's officials said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices