NYC Mental Health Crisis presser. Tuesday, November 29, 2022 NYC mayor Eric Adams and the city officials held a Mental Health Crisis presser inside the City Hall Rotunda in lower Manhattan today. The 11:30AM presser was attended by more than a dozen city and state officials, including FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh, NYC Health commissioner Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD., Dr. Katz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, NYS senator Simcha Felder, Deputy Mayor of New York City for Public Safety Philip Banks III and others. NYC Mental Health Crisis presser

The Verdict: Mayor Adams Dismisses “Option C” for NYC Retirees

In a stunning move, Mayor Adams’ administration has outright dismissed the “Option C” Medicare alternative for retired city workers, according to an official spokesperson. As a result, retirees hoping to stay on traditional Medicare without extra costs will face disappointment. Budgetary concerns dictated this decision, as providing “Option C” would yield minimal savings, thus jeopardizing the city’s capacity to deliver premium-free care to workers and retirees alike.

The Medicare Advantage Saga: A Brief Recap

When former Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated the push to transition retirees to Medicare Advantage plans back in fall 2021, controversy was inevitable. Adams inherited this contentious issue, asserting the city could pocket an impressive $600 million annually by opting for Advantage coverage over traditional Medicare. The mayor has also been steadfast in his claim that retirees would receive comprehensive coverage under the Advantage plan.

The plot thickens, however, as countless retirees argue that access to particular doctors, treatments, and medications would be lost under the Advantage plan. Their concerns are not unfounded: Federal studies demonstrate that Advantage plans frequently deny “medically necessary” care, as private insurance providers necessitate preauthorization for specific patients.

Legal Battles and the Aetna Deal

In response to lawsuits launched by a grassroots retiree group, courts blocked the original Advantage plan, deeming that charging monthly premiums to those who wished to remain on traditional Medicare broke local law. Mayor Adams, backed by public sector union leaders, subsequently struck a deal with insurance behemoth Aetna. Beginning September 1, Advantage will be the sole premium-free health care choice for the city’s workforce.

“Option C”: A Glimmer of Hope, Now Dashed

“Option C” presented an opportunity for retirees to stay on traditional Medicare without incurring extra costs. However, it would necessitate the city shelling out $20 per month for each member selecting this option. Aetna’s recently unveiled Advantage contract included this alternative as one of three possible implementation routes. Nevertheless, Mayor Adams’ administration has now spurned this option, leaving Options A and B to vie for supremacy.

The City’s Stance on Traditional Medicare: Unwavering

When it comes to choosing between Options A and B, Mayor Adams’ spokesperson, Charles Lutvak, remains tight-lipped. Furthermore, he refused to explain why “Option C” even featured in the contract if it was never a genuine contender. Lutvak emphasized that the city would only consider subsidizing traditional Medicare through Senior Care if retirees coughed up a premium.

Marianne Pizzitola, NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees’ leader, speculates that “Option C” was added to the contract as a fallback in case the new Advantage plan faces legal roadblocks. She accuses the city of prioritizing savings above the well-being of retirees.