Several retired New York police officers are in federal court to protect their free health insurance. Several of the retired officers are currently living on Social Security benefits and have relied on their free health insurance to cover medical treatments and health conditions as well as their prescription medication costs.
The resulting court case stems from Mayor Thomas Roach and his decision to charge retired officers 15% of their health insurance costs. The White Plains Common Council approved the measure in 2010. The change also affects retired firefighters and civil service workers. A total of 640 former New York employees serving in those capacities have filed lawsuits.
In July of 2010, the retired officers and employees were told by the city council they would risk losing their insurance if their first installment payment was not made. US District Judge Stephen Robinson then issued a temporary injunction that kept the city from collecting the payment. The case was transferred when that judge retired and the new judge ordered the retired officers to make payments unless a financial hardship could be proven, which three officers did file.
Retired employees now much come up with several thousand dollars by January 2012 to retain insurance coverage. In most cases, the employees cannot afford the amount as their pensions are not enough to cover the payment and their living expenses.
The plaintiffs in the federal case are angered by what the city has done and their attorneys are looking forward to taking the matter to trial.