Beginning next year, state lawmakers would no longer automatically get free healthcare when they retire, under legislation sponsored by Senator Tim Bivins and approved by the Illinois Senate.
Senate Bill 2292 requires any member of the General Assembly after January 2019, who retires as a participating member of the General Assembly Retirement System, to be responsible for 50 percent of the applicable premiums, charges, or other fees for the basic program of group health benefits.
Senator Bivins says this legislation demonstrates to many lawmakers what most citizens already understand about health insurance coverage – that it comes with a price tag.
“Really, nobody in the private sector gives free health insurance after eight years,” Senator Bivins said. “We do not want to kick anyone out of the health insurance system. But, at the same time, as we talk about requiring others to pay more for their health insurance, legislators should be first in line to pay something for their health care.”
Senator Bivins says ultimately, taxpayers pay the bills, even the costs of government office.
“Government is funded by taxpayers. There is always this talk about state and federal funds, about grants – it’s all taxpayer money. It goes to pay the cost of government, including these benefits,” Senator Bivins said. “At some point in time, you have to ‘pay the piper,’ you have to pay up, and legislators should be first in line to do that.”
Senate Bill 2292 also allows retired lawmakers who served prior to January 2019 to choose to pay 50 percent of their healthcare insurance costs upon retirement.
“The change I am proposing is constitutionally prohibited from being imposed on current legislators, but my bill allows them to voluntarily contribute to their health care after they retire,” Senator Bivins said.
Approved by a 50-0 vote of the Senate May 1, Senate Bill 2292 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.