Senator Robach Introduces Bill to Protect Kodak Retiree Health Care

Joseph E. Robach

February 03, 2012

Legislation would provide safety net in the event retiree health benefits are eliminated

Eastman Kodak’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month has prompted much uncertainty for employees and retirees of the company. To try to mitigate these fears, Senator Robach joined with Assemblyman Reilich and Brighton Securities last week to host an informational forum which addressed potential implications Kodak’s bankruptcy may have on employees, retirees, vendors and local municipalities.  The one concern heard over again, which there was no clear answer to, was the potential fate of health benefits for retirees. 

If Kodak eliminates health benefits for retirees, those who have not yet reached the age of 65 (when they qualify for Medicare) will be left uninsured.  For this reason, Senator Robach  has introduced legislation (Senate Bill S.6331) to make these individuals eligible for Healthy NY.  Specifically, this bill would make any retired person who is ineligible for Medicare and who lost employer sponsored health insurance coverage during the course of their retirement eligible for the Healthy NY program. 

Senator Robach said “Retirees are worried that sooner or later, they will be without the health care benefits that they previously received from Kodak.  This legislation will help put these retirees at ease by providing them a safety net and making them eligible for Healthy NY program.”

"Healthy NY" was introduced as part of The Health Care Reform Act of 2000 to provide comprehensive health insurance to those citizens who need it most.  All HMOs in New York State offer the streamlined, yet comprehensive Healthy NY health insurance benefit packages to eligible businesses and individuals. Healthy NY includes health benefits that cover essential health needs including inpatient and outpatient hospital services, physician services, maternity care, preventative health services, diagnostic and x-ray services, and emergency services.

This legislation is currently pending in the Senate’s Committee on Insurance.  In addition, Assemblyman Reilich has introduced a companion bill in the NYS Assembly.  

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Click here to read the full details of this legislation.