NewYork-Presbyterian nurses push back on alleged doubling of retiree healthcare costs

Nurses at New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center are accusing hospital management of attempting to double retiree healthcare rates that were confirmed before and after a new contract was approved. Hospital leaders, meanwhile, contend they are adhering to contract provisions.

New York State Nurses Association members approved a new contract at the hospital about a month ago, according to a Jan. 26 union news release.

Union members contend the stated cost for monthly retiree healthcare premiums when the agreement was reached was $880.68, and that the hospital confirmed the rate before and after contract approval. They said the reimbursement cost was negotiated in the contract so retirees older than 60 with more than two decades of experience would have premium-free healthcare coverage, but that on Jan. 20, management sent an annual healthcare enrollment form with nearly double the monthly cost: $1,535.39. 

Union members are making other allegations against the hospital, including accusing management of unilaterally changing the reimbursement process that was agreed to from monthly to annually. The accusations come as healthcare enrollment is set to close at the end of January. 

The NYSNA negotiating committee at NewYork-Presbyterian said in a statement: "We demand that NewYork-Presbyterian respect our retirees, and allow retired NYSNA members to enroll at the original rate, be reimbursed monthly for healthcare expenses as planned, and include dental expenses. The only retirees who are eligible for this benefit have spent their lives at this hospital — they are at least 60 years old and have at least 20 years of service."

Active and retired NYSNA members scheduled public actions this week to raise awareness about their concerns.

NewYork-Presbyterian shared the following response with Becker's: "We are communicating with our retired employees to provide information about the medical plan options available to them and their families. This information includes details about the new individual supplement, recently negotiated with union leadership, that they can use to help to defray premium costs. We are adhering to all provisions of our recent contract agreement with NYSNA at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center."

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