On July 18, 2022, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield issued the following press release:
“We requested the City of New York provide us with a start date and details regarding the exact benefit plans the city would be offering their retirees by July 15, 2022. The City of New York did not provide us with the details we requested. This timeline was important because delaying any further would not give retirees enough time to fully understand their options, benefits, and coverage in advance of open enrollment prior to January 1, 2023. Given the level of uncertainty at this time, we informed the city that Empire BlueCross BlueShield is not able to participate in offering the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan.”
On the same date, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) sent out a NYC Medicare Advantage Plan Update to UFT retirees informing them that Anthem, the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield, has notified the City of New York that it is withdrawing from the proposed retiree health care plan.
The UFT reported that the City and the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) are exploring their options to develop a Medicare Advantage plan for retired employees. The notice advised UFT retirees that they will be kept informed of the process going forward and assured members that the UFT would never stop the fight to preserve premium free health coverage.
There are no changes to current health care coverage of retirees on Medicare. Blue Cross Blue Shield will not be offering the Medicare Advantage Plus plan. The City’s appeal of the lawsuit brought by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees is still scheduled for a hearing in the Fall by the Appellate Division.
MEA will continue to provide updates on the City’s and MLC’s actions.