Teachers Fear Losing Heath Insurance Retirement Benefits
First it was the working poor, then it was children and now there may be a new victim in America’s growing healthcare insurance crisis, our teachers. Teachers have traditionally been underpaid and under valued for the important work that they do. Yet one thing that they always fell back on, as at least one valuable benefit was keeping their low cost medical benefits after retirement. It seems in several states due to rising healthcare costs putting pressure on schools retiree health benefits for teachers is no longer a guarantee.
The thought of being denied health insurance is terrifying for retiring teachers. It also is making them very angry as it feels like a betrayal. Health insurance benefits in retirement is supposed to be one compensation for teachers salaries that are traditionally low. Like a pension it is a deferred benefit, that comes from having put aside a portion of salary for a rainy day, and now they are getting caught without an umbrella.
In a profession that has traditionally had difficulties attracting good people, the possibility of losing affordable healthcare insurance coverage even years later might make young people once again think twice about teaching. Many teachers even those far away from retirement age have openly said that if these current threats to retirement health benefits become reality, they might have to seriously consider leaving teaching.
But as healthcare costs continue to rise, schools are pressured with diverting funds from actual educational programs to guarantee teachers their retirement health benefits. The most practical solution would seem to be finding a way to continue the current funding for retirement pension programs while reducing the costs of healthcare and health insurance.
In California one of the states where teachers are seriously facing the possibility of losing retiree heath benefits across many districts State Senator Sheila Kuehl’s SB840 may be a way to do just that. SB840 calls for Universal Healthcare Insurance for all Californians.
Passage of SB840 could solve the problem for local school districts not only for health insurance coverage for retired teachers, but for the increasing costs of medical insurance for all employees, students, and their families. The public seems to agree, a recent Public Policy Institute of California found that most Californians support government sponsored universal healthcare coverage.