The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that will require retired state employees to pay premiums on their health insurance.
Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the bill into law.
The state says 90% of retired state and university employees don't pay any premiums for their health insurance. That is estimated to cost at least $800 million this year.
Supporters of the legislation says it preserves access to health care for retirees. Otherwise, co-payments would rise and coverage might be reduced.
But John Cameron of AFSCME, the state's largest government employee union, says the legislature is taking away a benefit employees worked hard to earn.
He said, “I think we have to be clear here what the intent of this legislation is, which is to take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of the state's 114,000 retired state and university former employees.”
The proposal requires the state to negotiate with AFSCME. Their deal would apply to all retirees.
The governor's administration says it wants a seven-tiered payment structure based on pension income and years of service.