NEW CITY — After CSEA retiree and active members in Rockland County spoke out against county officials’ planned changes to its retiree health insurance plan, the county has backed away from the changes.

CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo, at a news conference, thanks county officials who stood with us.

CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo and several dozen Rockland County retirees recently held a news conference in New City to publicly thank officials who stood with our members.

“Thank you to all of the legislators who stood up both for our retirees and our current members who hope to retire from county service,” Riccaldo said. “Our retirees invested decades of their lives serving the people of our county knowing that their salaries weren’t lucrative, but that their health care benefits could not be diminished in retirement. Our work with legislators these past few weeks demonstrates how collaboration benefits not just our workers and retirees, but the entire county.”

A bipartisan group of county legislators and their staff worked with us to halt County Executive Ed Day’s attempt to abruptly switch county retirees’ health insurance coverage from NYSHIP to Aetna. Following media coverage questioning Aetna’s claims approval process, Day announced that he is backing away from this plan.

In addition to violating a county law protecting county workers’ health insurance in retirement, the plan was expected to force Medicare-eligible retirees from a traditional Medicare plan under NYSHIP to a privatized

Medicare Advantage plan that excluded certain local providers and hospitals.
Retirees said the effort to stop the switch to Aetna was not a political issue, but a matter of keeping a commitment to the men and women who worked in county service at the time in their lives when they need consistent, quality health care coverage the most.

One remaining concern is clarification over the language used in the county’s letter rescinding its withdrawal from NYSHIP. With the letter stating that the county won’t be withdrawing from NYSHIP for the “foreseeable future,” retirees said they want Day to make a clearer commitment on this issue.

— Jessica Ladlee

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Jessica Ladlee

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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