RSS

Current Legal Actions: Motion in Kanerva Case

Linked below is a copy of a motion that has been filed in the Kanerva case, which is the case on whether the state can begin charging for health care for retirees. Remember that a promise was made to reduce healthcare payments by 5% for each year a person worked. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that this promise is part of the pension benefit covered by the ILL constitution.

This motion was filed by other plaintiffs on this issue. SUAA is filing a similar motion.

motion.pdf

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Legal

 

Tags:

GSU SUAA Meetings and Fall Focus

GSU SUAA meets monthly on the third Thursday of the month at noon in the GSU cafeteria. All are welcome to attend. Minutes for the August meeting can be found by clicking here.

The focus this fall is twofold.

1. For each legislative district in which a GSU SUAA member resides, we would like to organize a visit with the candidates prior to the election. The GSU SUAA Board is compiling materials that can be shared with the candidates. Let us know if you would be willing to join a group in your district.

2. Our chapter has about 350 members. We would like to increase the membership to 400 because then we would have an additional Director on the statewide Board that governs SUAA. If you have ideas on how to increase membership or would like to be active in that effort, please contact Colleen Rock at ckrock73.

Finally, don’t forget to donate to the Legal Fund at www.suaa.org. We hope to see you at the September meeting.

 

Minutes from 7/17/14 GSU SUAA Meeting

Click here to read/download the minutes from the July 17, 2014 GSU SUAA meeting.

(The file is in MS Word .doc format.)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2014 in GSU SUAA, Meetings

 

Further Health Care Clarification

Someone asked for further clarification of the communications from SUAA on the health care costs for retirees. It is a complicated situation that I will try to unravel.

A couple of years ago, a law was passed to require retirees to pay some of their health care costs. CMS was charged with setting the rates. AFSCME negotiated that retirees on Medicare would pay 1% of their pension in year 1 and 2% in year 2. Non Medicare retirees would pay 2% and 4%, respectively. Payments began July 1, 2013. The higher rates were scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2014. SURS implemented the new rates in July. Other events, however, have occurred to call the health care premiums into question.

A court case was filed challenging whether the state can begin charging retirees for health care after promising a 5% reduction in healthcare cost for each year of employment. The lower court ruled that they did not need to consider the question because health care benefits were not part of the pension benefit and not protected by the IL constitution. The Supreme Court then heard the case and ruled that health care premium promises in fact are part of the pension benefit and must be viewed in terms of the constitutional protections. They sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider. The question now being, ‘can the state change this part of the pension in view of the protection for pensions that is provided by the IL constitution?’

As you know, last year a law was passed with drastic implications for SURS members. It reduces the annual automatic increase (COLA) and changes the retirement terms for current employees. SUAA, as well as others, filed a case challenging this law. A judge issued a stay on the implementation of that law pending a ruling by the courts. A fundamental issue in the case is the constitutionality of reducing pension benefits. If the courts find this law unconstitutional, they probably will also find the the former law on health care benefits also to be unconstitutional.

In view of this, SUAA asked that the increase in health care payments not be implemented. They were successful. The lower payment rates that were initiated last year will continue to be in effect. If you saw a reduction in your pension payment in July because of the application of the 2% or 4% rate, you should see a decrease back to the former amount based of the 1% or 2%.

In addition, SUAA plans to ask the court to issue an injunction to stop these deductions for health insurance until the constitutionality of the law is determined. The rationale is that the law may well be found unconstitutional, and these premiums would have been collected in error. It is doubtful that the state will return the past premiums, but the court could insist that the state stop collecting them until the case is decided.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

UAA News Alert Follow-Up

August 14, 2014

To All SUAA Members and Friends!

Some of you were confused by yesterday’s email – SUAA News Alert! “CMS Withdraws New Rule Doubling Pension Deductions at SUAA Urging”

For clarification –

The Department of Central Management Services (CMS) enacted an emergency rule in July which went into effect immediately. That rule caused deductions for health insurance to double (1% to 2% for retirees on Medicare and 2% to 4% for retirees without Medicare). Because the rule went into effect immediately, you will have already seen those deductions on your recent pension checks.

Normally, an emergency rule goes into effect and remains in effect for 120 days. During that time, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) takes comments on the rule. At the end of that period, JCAR either objects to the rule or approves it.

However, in light of Kanerva v. Weems, SUAA Executive Director Linda Brookhart sent a letter to Governor Quinn’s office complaining that the rule was inappropriate. As a result, the emergency rule was placed on JCAR’s radar and set for an immediate review at its August 12, 2014 hearing. This is not a normal step in the process.

Once the rule went onto JCAR’s agenda, SUAA followed up on Ms. Brookhart’s original letter to the Governor’s Office with a second letter from SUAA’s attorney, Aaron Maduff. Mr. Maduff’s letter included a legal analysis of the Kanerva v. Weems opinion. Mr. Maduff’s letter went to both CMS and JCAR. On Monday, August 11, Mr. Maduff was contacted by one of the JCAR members. At this time, Mr. Maduff provided a detailed explanation of why SUAA believed the rule was inappropriate in light of Kanerva.

CMS confirms that it has indeed withdrawn the emergency rule and expects to be publishing a new rule on August 22nd. This does not mean that a wand will be waived to change your health insurance withholding for July and August. It also does not change the 1% and 2% deduction that has been occurring since July of 2013. What should happen is that on your next pension check you should see a return to the 1% and 2% deduction.

Yesterday, SUAA filed a Petition to Intervene in the Kanerva case that has now been returned to the Sangamon County Court. SUAA intends to argue that, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion, the Sangamon County Court should order that all deductions for health insurance premiums (i.e. the 1% and 2% that is still in effect) should cease. Legal battles like this, however, can take time and effort and there is no guarantee that those deductions will cease immediately. We do hope that we will prevail on the Court to do so within the next few months.

As always, SUAA will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

SUAA is represented by the Law Offices of Maduff & Maduff, LLC and by John D. Carr.

(A timeline of filings etc. with be provided soon)

Linda L. Brookhart

Executive Director

State Universities Annuitants Association

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

CMS Withdraws New Rule Doubling Pension Deductions at SUAA Urging

CMS Withdraws New Rule Doubling Pension Deductions at SUAA Urging

On August 12, 2014, the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) appeared before General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) with a new proposed rule to double the deduction taken from pension checks for health insurance premiums. Currently, deductions are being made at the rate of 2% of the pension annuity (1% for people on Medicare). Had the rule been adopted, the deductions would have increased to 4% of the pension annuity (2% for people on Medicare).

Last week, SUAA Executive Director Linda Brookhart sent a letter to the Governor’s Office complaining that this Rule was inappropriate. That letter was followed by a letter from SUAA’s attorney Aaron Maduff, which included a legal analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Kanerva v. Weems. Mr. Maduff’s letter went to CMS and to JCAR. On Monday, August 11, Mr. Maduff was contacted by one of the JCAR members and provided a detailed explanation of why SUAA believed that the rule was inappropriate in light of Kanerva.

As a result of SUAA’s efforts, CMS withdrew its proposed rule. The good news is that the pension annuity deductions will not be doubled as anticipated and that is a clear victory for pension members. But there is still work to be done. The fight to eliminate the current deduction of 1% (2%) continues. SUAA is also still fighting to block the Pension Reform Act known as SB1 (Public Act 98-599) passed last year.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Health Insurance, Legislation

 

Attorney Maduff Interview on the Pension Status Hearing

To All SUAA Members and Friends!

As a follow-up to the Pension Status Hearing held on July 22, we are providing a third interview with SUAA’s attorney Aaron Maduff. We hope that you will watch in its entirety as the interview provides an overview of recent activity. The interview runs about 25 minutes.

Link to Interview

To contribute to the SUAA Legal Fund,

Send a check to:

SUAA Legal Fund

217 East Monroe Street
Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701

OR

Contribute by Credit Card
Click Here to contribute by credit card to the SUAA Legal Fund

Thank you for your continued interest in SUAA as our legal representation continues to be focused on SURS members, both actives and annuitants.

Linda L. Brookhart

Executive Director

State Universities Annuitants Association

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.