Retired construction laborers in N.J. get hammered with six-fold increase in healthcare contributions

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Retired members of Local 394 of the Laborers International Union of North America, or LIUNA, recently received a dose of bad news regarding their monthly health care contributions, right before the holidays this year.

According to NJ.com, a letter sent on Nov. 30 by the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Building Laborers Statewide Welfare Plan told 1,360 retirees over age 65 that their healthcare contributions were being raised from $50 to $305 for plans with prescription coverage, and from $50 to $156 for plans without prescription coverage.

Younger retirees, ages 62 through 65 were hit even harder. Their monthly contribution for full coverage was raised from $50 to $864, and coverage without prescription medication was upped from $50 to $678.

The health fund is financed through current contributions from employers, and since the economic slowdown has impacted new construction projects, there are fewer employers to pick up retirees’ monthly healthcare costs.

Healthcare costs are largely unfunded within the union’s plan, so when times are good, employers and current members pick up the tab for retirees’ monthly bill. However, when business is slow, everyone suffers, including those unemployed, and those already retired.

New Jersey residents, both in the private and public sectors are being hit hard by the increases in healthcare costs. Gov. Chris Christie is attempting to address the issue within the public sector by increasing the retirement age and requiring larger employee contributions to health and pension plans

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