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Maryland retirees get shafted on prescriptions

Carmen C. joins with other protesters demanding universal, affordable, quality healthcare for all on July 24, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Carmen C. joins with other protesters demanding universal, affordable, quality healthcare for all on July 24, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

In regard to the editorial about state retirees and prescription drug benefits (“Politics and prescription drugs for Maryland government retirees,” June 25), I would like to point out some issues which were distorted and left out.

The prescription program received by retirees was part of the overall health benefits received by state workers who devoted their working lives to serve the citizens of Maryland. Perhaps to save money for taxpayers and reduce the state's monetary obligations, Maryland should reduce each retiree’s pension. This may be ridiculous, but eliminating the prescription program, in effect, reduces a person's net income.

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The editorial does not state how much is the yearly cost of the prescription program. It certainly is not in the billions of dollars. Is it such a great burden and a budget buster that it is impossible to finance? The state could have justifiably raised the monthly cost for the prescription program and thereby lessen the cost to taxpayers (state retirees also pay taxes). I consider myself well read but it was never made clear to us that the prescription plan would end.

While the state participated in Medicare Part D, did it not save money? What happened to that savings? I calculated what my costs for Medicare Part D would be without a state subsidy and it is $1,100 as compared to my current cost of about $600. I realize that this is a low-cost option compared to those who did not work for a government agency, but this was a benefit promised to us when we became employed and when we retired.

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What happens to retirees who are unable to navigate the Medicare D plans and have no one to help them? Aren't other county and city governments continuing their prescription programs as part of their health benefits? Why should retirees suffer because of the mistakes of those whom we entrusted to guide our state government? My conclusion is that state retirees mean nothing to our governor and our legislators.

Albert Sherman, Randallstown

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