Update for Current Employees impacted by changes to Retiree Prescription Benefits

Below read a letter from Patrick Moran sent to all members about the impact of changes to Retiree Prescription Drug benefits for current employees.

Read more about the history of AFSCME Maryland advocacy for the best prescription drug benefits 

October 16th, 2019

Brothers and Sisters,

Many of you have reached out with serious concerns about the confusing information surrounding changes to the Retiree Prescription Drug Plan. AFSCME Maryland has been closely monitoring the development of the lawsuit filed by certain retirees (Fitch v. State of Maryland) and the impact of the 2019 law (SB 946) creating new prescription benefit programs.

On September 1st, the Department of Budget and Management sent a certified letter to all current state employees eligible to retire causing the rapid spread of misinformation and confusion about the timelines and different available programs created by SB 946. AFSCME Maryland members responded by launching a petition demanding the deferment of the 12/31 deadline for retirement. Sign here!

 As of the present moment, the benefit plans available for current employee for calendar year 2020 remain unchanged, and should not affect open enrollment choices for 2020.

 Last week, the AFSCME Maryland Council 3 Executive Board voted to fund legal action by the Council on behalf of current employees who are being forced to make an irreversible decision about retirement based on uncertain coverage and insufficient information.  Our Union’s attorneys were instructed to stop the end-of-year retirement rush called for by SB 946, and they have corresponded with the United States District Judge to whom the case is assigned asking to participate in the case.

As many of you know, the course and outcome of Fitch v. State of Maryland has not been decided at this time. In addition, with the 2020 legislative session approaching the possibility of further legislative action creates potential for still further changes for calendar year 2021, and more confusion for current state employees who are contemplating retiring by December 31st, 2019 because of SB 946. 

We will update you quickly as we get more information. In the meantime, please join us in Annapolis on October 29th when the Special Joint Committee on Pensions will be hosting a Hearing on Retiree Prescription Plan changes at 2pm. We need all current employees to stand together and send a clear message: we deserve fair prescription drug coverage and sufficient time and information to make a decision about retirement.  

RSVP for the hearing here!

In Solidarity,

Patrick Morn