Farmingdale weighs making retirees pay portion of health insurance

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand says employees and officials

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand says employees and officials paying towards health insurance would save "oodles" of money. (June 01, 2012) (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

The Farmingdale village board is expected to vote Monday night to make future retired employees and elected and appointed officials pay for a portion of their health insurance coverage for the first time.

Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said all vested village employees and elected and appointed officials get free health care for life after they retire. Under the proposed changes, those who have already retired will keep their current level of benefits.

But starting next year, appointed officials and employees who are not part of the employee union when they retire will pay the same percentage of their health cost that they did while they were working: 10 percent if they had worked part time and 20 percent if they were full time.


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Those levels were instituted two years ago. Before that, there was no contribution by employees or officials for their coverage.

Elected officials who retire after the end of the year will pay the highest percentage of their benefits allowed by state law: currently 50 percent for an individual and 62 percent for a family.

Another change involves current employees and officials who are vested for retirement health care benefits after 10 years of service, regardless of when they retire. Going forward, employees and officials would have to retire within five years of their mandatory retirement age to have the village pick up part of their benefits.

"It will save the village taxpayers oodles of money over the years," the mayor said of the changes. "Even though we put in a lot of hours, we shouldn't get a free ride for the rest of our lives."

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