NYS will guarantee affordable health insurance if Kodak’s reorganization is unsuccessful
Posted at: 08/02/2012 1:02 AM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com
Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy had good news for Kodak retirees Wednesday night. The state will guarantee affordable health insurance in the event Kodak’s reorganization is unsuccessful.
This affects 5,000 Kodak retirees in the Rochester area, as well as future retirees. Many of them, especially people who have not yet reached the age of 65, are breathing a lot easier.
Sue Powers could have paid as much as $1,300 a month if Kodak’s reorganization fails. She retired in 2004 after 27 years. She pays $91 a month for health insurance. Thanks to help from Albany, she can keep her benefits.
“With this plan in place, it probably would be about $400 to $450 a month,” Powers said. “So when you talk about the cost, it probably would be outrageous.”
Governor Cuomo signed a bill that allows retirees to purchase comparable health insurance. The health coverage is experience rated, so retirees would be able to keep their benefits, and the premium rates would be based on the previous claims filed by this group of Kodak retirees.
“It’s there, it’s a safety net. It’s there in case it’s needed,” Duffy said. “It might not be needed at all, but it’s there for these men and women.”
It’s a relief for current employees like Tom O’Connell, who at 58, is thinking about the future.
“If you don't have the security of a health care plan, you have to find other ways to pay for it,” he said. “You have to cut things or come up with some other kind of funding. Maybe you have to work some more, come up with another job, those kinds of things because you really can't be without healthcare. Having that there and a program like that will do a lot to ease people's fears.”
This law takes effect immediately, and again, it’s only in the event Kodak is not successful. Senator Joe Robach and Assemblyman Joe Morelle co-sponsored the bill. It’s the first of it’s kind in New York.