New York City's Medicare Advantage plan 'dead,' city leaders say

A plan to shift New York City retirees' coverage to Medicare Advantage has stalled indefinitely, the New York Daily News reported Jan. 19. 

Courts have blocked the city's proposal to charge retired city employees who opt out of a Medicare Advantage plan a $191 monthly premium, ruling it violates a city law that requires retirees receive free health coverage for life. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has asked the city's council to change the city's laws to allow the fee. Council leadership has said it has no plans to vote on the bill, the New York Daily News reported. 

In July, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield said it would pull out of the plan for retirees, given the "level of uncertainty" surrounding the contract. 

A council insider told the New York Daily News the bill is "dead," with no council member supporting it. 

In September 2021, the Organization of Public Service Retirees sued the city over the proposed switch to Medicare Advantage. The retiree association said the switch to MA would be a rollback of their benefits. 

A spokesperson for Mr. Adams told the New York Daily News the mayor and the city's Municipal Labor Committee still believe Medicare Advantage is the best way forward for savings. 

"The city and the Municipal Labor Committee worked together to take advantage of the federal funding for Medicare Advantage plans that would permit us to continue providing high-quality, premium free coverage for retirees while saving approximately $600 million a year — savings that are especially critical as we continue to face a skyrocketing healthcare crisis and other fiscal challenges," the spokesperson said.

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