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UMaine system retirees consider legal action over health insurance changes

UMaine holds virtual Engineering Job Fair
UMaine holds virtual Engineering Job Fair
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - University of Maine System retirees protested outside the office of the chair of the board of trustees over changes to the health insurance system.

The retirees said under the new system about 3,000 of them will lose their current plan and the new one will be more expensive, with higher out-of-pocket costs and less coverage.

The retirees said they are considering taking legal action against the UMaine system.

“It’s absolutely cruel to be kicking elders to the curb after years of dedicated and loyal service. It’s not what we bargained for, and it’s why we have a union,” retiree Brian Kaufmann said.

The protesters said many of the retirees are on fixed incomes, making it more difficult to pay for health care out-of-pocket.

The UMaine system issued a statement in response to the protest saying it is committed to providing retirees with supplemental health insurance on top of their Medicare coverage.

Spokesman Dan Demeritt said with only 3,000 retirees a traditional group health care plan with rising costs and out-of-pocket expenses was no longer the best option for retirees or fiscally sustainable for the system.

“Chancellor Malloy and the Board of Trustees understand the concerns of beneficiaries and are monitoring communication and enrollment programs closely to ensure that no retiree loses supplemental coverage as a result of this transition,” Demeritt said.

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