New York City Labor Unions Agree To Reductions In Health Benefits
"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and city labor officials announced a tentative agreement Tuesday to amend health benefits for more than 550,000 current and retired city employees, guaranteeing the city $400 million in savings over the next two fiscal years," The New York Times reports. The arrangement imposes "$50 to $100 co-payments for about one-fifth of current and retired city employees, and eliminates coverage for preventive dental care at certain offices." The paper adds, "For most other city employees, the plan would restrict certain hospital, ambulatory and hemodialysis coverage to network providers and would implement several other administrative cost-saving measures." The agreement requires union approval.
The plan "if ratified, represents a victory for the Bloomberg administration in its quest to force unionized civil service employees, who have inexpensive health insurance, to pay for more of their benefits at a time when the city is scrambling to balance a budget devastated by job losses and the nationwide financial crisis" (Zielbauer, 6/3).
Bloomberg adds that it is the first time 550,000 employees covered by the city's HIP-HMO program would make co-payments and participate in networks of hospital and ambulatory services. The plan will save New York City $200 million next year, according to the mayor (Goldman, 6/2).