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PR- 128-05
April 4, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Randi Weingarten, Chair of the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), today announced a tentative agreement modifying the New York City Health Benefits Program affecting over 500,000 covered employees and retirees.  The agreement will maintain vital prescription drug benefits while containing costs.  Joining the Mayor at the announcement was Lillian Roberts, Executive Director of DC 37.

"City employees deserve the best possible health care available," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "But the rising costs of prescription drugs threaten the well-being of an important component of the health benefits program.  Today, I am pleased to announce that by working together, the MLC, the unions that it represents and the City are preserving the level of benefits to City employees and their dependents while controlling costs. Building on the success of last year's agreement with the MLC that averted dramatic reductions in benefits, we will continue a level of coverage that our employees rely upon."

"Health care costs are rising nationally and preserving these essential benefits afforded to City employees is becoming harder and harder," MLC Chair Randi Weingarten said. "In the absence of a nationwide solution on health care, we have been willing to work with the city and others to keep these vital benefits for our members. We are pleased we have crafted a short-term solution that saves these life sustaining benefits, while identifying creative cost-sharing measures."

The principal features of the 2005 Health Benefits Agreement include the following:

  • PICA Program - Psychotropics, injectables, chemotherapy drugs and asthma drugs will continue to be provided centrally for all employees and non-Medicare retirees through June 30, 2005.  Effective July 1, 2005, the following modifications will occur:

    1. Psychotropic drugs and Asthma drugs will be provided through the Union Welfare funds or health plan optional riders where applicable.
    Injectable drugs and Chemotherapy drugs will continue to be funded by the Health Insurance Stabilization Fund and be obtained through the PICA program.

    2. Retail co-payments will increase to: $10 for all generic injectable drugs and chemotherapy prescriptions; $25 for all brand formulary injectable and chemotherapy prescriptions; and, $45 for all brand non-formulary injectable and chemotherapy prescriptions.  Mail order co-payments will be double the rate of retail co-payments for 90-day supplies.

    3. Effective January 1st, 2006, there will be an annual deductible for injectable and chemotherapy prescription drugs of $100 per person independent of any
    other deductibles.

    4. From July 1st, 2005 through December 31st, 2005 payment of the $100 per member welfare fund increase, agreed to in an earlier Health Benefits Agreement, will be suspended.

  • Welfare Fund - Effective July 1, 2005, there will be an increase to the employer's contribution to the Union-administered welfare funds by $100 per year per employee. This increased contribution will remain in effect through June 30, 2006.

  • Labor-Management Committee - The parties will establish a Labor Management Committee to explore:

    1. Potential savings and funding opportunities resulting from the Medicare Modernization Act as related to the New York City Health Benefits Program.

    2. Reconfiguration of the current structure for providing prescription drugs.

    3. Funding and/or savings opportunities to support the continuation of the increased Welfare Fund contribution and/or enhance resources to the Stabilization Fund.

"I want to thank Deputy Mayor Marc V. Shaw, MLC Chair Randi Weingarten and the MLC Steering Committee, Labor Commissioner James F. Hanley, First Deputy Commissioner Pamela Silverblatt and their team, and Mark Page, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and his staff for all of their efforts in reaching this Agreement," concluded Mayor Bloomberg.


Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958

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