Mulroe-Cunningham-053113br0159As the spring legislative session came to a close last week, State Senator John G. Mulroe and State Senator Bill Cunningham helped pass a crucial measure to protect  and extend the retiree health benefits that Chicago police officers, firefighters and other former municipal employees had paid for throughout their careers.
 
Senate Bill 1584 extends the state law that requires four Chicago pension funds to cover certain healthcare costs for retirees. Without the legislation, retirees would have been required to pick-up the cost of their healthcare benefits, previously paid by their respective pension funds. 
 
“This legislation  extends the expiration date of the benefits received by retirees related to their health care cost" Mulroe said.
 
Currently, the pension funds covering Chicago police officers, firefighters and other city employees provides a health insurance subsidy of $95 per month for each annuitant, including widows and children, whom are not eligible for Medicare benefits and $65 per month for each annuitant that is eligible for Medicare.  These payments are scheduled to end on June 30, 2013.  If Governor Quinn signs SB 1584 into law, the benefits will be extended.
 
Payments for these healthcare benefits grew out of the 1987 Korshak lawsuit which stopped the City of Chicago's attempt to roll back retiree healthcare benefits for former employees.   As part of the settlement, retirees and the pension funds started paying for a portion of retiree health insurance costs. The Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund, the Chicago Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund, the Municipal Employees, Officers and Official Annuity and Benefit Fund, and the Laborers’ and Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund are part of the Korshak settlement.
 
 
The bill passed the Senate on May 30 on a vote of 47 to 8.

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