Last fall, Delaware Superior Court Judge Calvin Scott temporarily blocked the state from moving its public retirees to a Medicare Advantage plan. Judge Scott ruled that the state needs to “take all necessary and proper steps” to ensure that retirees’ current healthcare insurance and benefits “remain in full force and effect.”
The ruling came after a Delaware retiree advocacy group, RiseDelaware, sued the state in September over the plan to move retired state employees to a Medicare Advantage plan, arguing that the state’s pension benefit committee did not adequately collect input from lawmakers and retirees. The committee awarded Highmark a three-year contract in February to administer the Medicare Advantage plan for 25,000 retired state employees. The plan was set to go into effect this month.
Senate Bill 29 is the General Assembly’s response. It does the following:
- Expands the membership of the State Employee Benefits Committee by adding a state retiree to the Committee and adding an additional representative from public sector union organizations;
- Requires the Controller General to provide comprehensive biannual public reports to the General Assembly regarding the work of the State Employee Benefits Committee; and
- Establishes the Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee of the State Employee Benefits Committee, whose membership will include three state retirees and four members of the General Assembly, and whose charge includes holding public meetings and issuing recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by May 1, 2023.
The bill has already passed the Senate by a vote of 17-3-1. All Democrats voted in favor except for Darius Brown, who was absent. Three Republican Senators, Buckson, Lawson and Wilson, voted no.
|Senate Bill 29 – The RiseDelaware Response Act on State Employee Benefits||Currrent Status – Senate Passed 17-3-1. Sent to House Administration 1/19/23|
|House Sponsors – Longhurst, Schwartzkopf, Minor-Brown // Ramone, Yearick||Senate Sponsors – Townsend, Sokola, Lockman // Hocker, Pettyjohn|
|House Yes Votes –||Senate Yes Votes –Gay Hansen Hoffner Huxtable Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh // Hocker Pettyjohn Richardson|
|House No Votes –||Senate No Votes – Buckson, Lawson, Wilson|
|House Absents or Not Voting –||Senate Absent or Not Voting – Brown|