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State retirees wait and wonder about health coverage costs

Wed, 04 Jul 2012 15:04:57 CDT

A lengthy career in Illinois government used to guarantee state workers virtually free health care upon retirement. But a new law requires they pay for their own insurance premiums. The law doesn't say how much retirees have to pay for health care coverage. The agency in charge of deciding says it could take months to figure out. Mary Larson is an 89-year-old widow who lives on a pension of $750-dollars a month after spending 20 years with the Department of Children and Family Services.

"We are in a state of not knowing and until we do know, it's very hard to make a decision."

Unlike younger retirees, Medicare covers Larson as well. But she says she's unsure whether the new law will allow her to afford the state plan as a supplement. Union bargaining with the Governor's administration will set the amount retirees pay for health coverage. Those negotiations are happening now. The size of a retiree pension will also increase the amount people must pay.

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