WMH Secures Permanent Injunction Halting City’s Plan to Strip New York City Retirees of Promised Medicare Benefits

State Supreme Court Rules Against New York City’s Plan to Strip City Retirees of Promised Medicare Benefits

Court Had Issued Preliminary Injunction in July; Today’s Ruling Permanently Bans City From Implementing Plan

NEW YORK, August 11, 2023  — Today, the New York County Supreme Court issued a final ruling permanently stopping the City from forcing a quarter-million elderly and disabled retirees off of their longstanding Medicare insurance and onto an inferior type of insurance called “Medicare Advantage.”  Unlike Medicare—a public program that has protected City retirees for the past 57 years—the City’s new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan is a private, for-profit endeavor that would limit retirees’ access to their medical providers, prevent retirees from receiving care prescribed by their doctors unless Aetna deemed it “medically necessary,” and expose retirees to increased healthcare costs.

The Court had issued a preliminary injunction last month, with Supreme Court Justice Lyle E. Frank noting that the retirees “have shown by clear and convincing evidence” that implementation of the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan would likely violate their rights in numerous ways.  Justice Frank also ruled that “should this plan go forward, irreparable harm would result” to countless retirees.

Today the Court ruled in favor of the retirees on multiple grounds.  Among them was the fact that, since the 1960s, the City has guaranteed every active and retired City worker—by statute and through written and verbal promises—that when they became elderly or disabled, they would be entitled to City-funded healthcare through a combination of Medicare plus Medicare “supplemental” insurance, which covers healthcare expenses that Medicare does not.

The decision is available here.

Jake Gardener, a partner at Walden Macht & Haran LLP, counsel to the retirees, says, “We are grateful to Justice Frank for again recognizing the multiple ways in which the health and healthcare rights of retired City workers would be imperiled by the City’s new Medicare Advantage plan.  Because of Justice Frank’s well-reasoned decision, hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and disabled first responders will be able to continue receiving the medical care they desperately need and to which they are entitled.”

Marianne Pizzitola, President of the New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees, one of the lead plaintiffs, states, “This is now the third time in the last two years that courts have had to step in and stop the City from violating retirees’ healthcare rights.  We once again call on the City and the Municipal Labor Committee to end their ruthless and unlawful campaign to deprive retired municipal workers of the healthcare benefits they earned.”

Media Contacts: 

New Heights Communications

Christy Setzer, President —

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