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State leaves its retired workers out to dry

Maryland government retirees face changes coming to their prescription drug coverage.

I read with interest the article "Retired state workers upset by change to drug coverage" (June 20). I found it did not adequately address the substantial financial burden placed on state retirees due to the loss of a state sponsored prescription drug plan.

I have carefully researched plans available to me and the annual costs for the prescriptions that I currently use on the Medicare.gov web site, as instructed by correspondence from the Department of Budget and Management. For the each of the 21 plans available to me, my out of pocket costs will increase by 900 percent from $4,000 per year to $40,000 per year, and this does not include the insurance premiums I will be paying. Needless to say, this is unacceptable and more than unaffordable.

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I have written to both the governor's office and the Department of Budget and Management and have not received any response providing recourse to address this financial burden. They have only focused on blaming the prior administration for eliminating the benefit and the legislature for accelerating the effective date. My husband has also written multiple letters including to our representatives in the legislature and received similar inadequate responses.

The governor's office, DBM, and our representatives are missing the point that the issue is not accelerating the effective date but that the prescription drug coverage has been eliminated, causing great financial hardship for retirees who take a number of medications. My husband and I have combined years of service approaching 80 years. We were dedicated career employees who worked for lower than market salaries as a trade off for a good benefit package that we expected to have continued throughout our retirement years.

Retirees are living on reduced incomes and typically have increased medical and prescription costs as they age. Removing the prescription drug plan and placing unaffordable costs on its retirees shows bad faith on the part of the decision makers. Why didn't DBM, the governor and legislature implement changes to the plan to address cost containment rather than hanging its retirees out to dry?

Rachel Monks

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