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June 5, 2001

Governor Ryan Pledges to Find Funding Solution for Retired Teachers' Insurance

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced his commitment to finding a long-term funding solution for the state's Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program. Meanwhile, in an effort to provide some relief for retired teachers hit by skyrocketing premiums, the Governor announced he is cutting in half the proposed premium increase Illinois Retired Teachers were scheduled to pay beginning July 1, 2001.

"I am committed to working with legislators and the retired teachers to find a way to ease the burden on our retired teachers," Governor Ryan said. "It's the right thing to do. These teachers worked hard educating our children and we need to find a way to fund their health insurance on a long-term basis."

Illinois Retired Teachers and their dependents enrolled in the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program were facing an average 45 percent premium increase beginning in the new fiscal year. Governor Ryan today ordered Central Management Services to cut the premium increase to 21 percent, which will enable the program to continue operating through December of this year.

At Governor Ryan's direction, CMS will meet this summer with Illinois Retired Teachers, the education community, and state legislators to find a permanent solution for funding insurance for Illinois Retired Teachers.

"This month we will begin meeting with legislative leaders, representatives of the Teacher's Retirement System and retired teacher's groups to explore potential funding solutions," said Michael S. Schwartz, Director of Central Management Services, which administers benefits for state employees, retirees and their dependents. "Our goal is to work together with all interested parties so that there is no interruption in coverage for our state's retired teachers."

Currently the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program is funded by half of one percent of active teachers' payroll, a state match and retired teachers contributions. Governor Ryan will introduce his solution during the General Assembly's fall veto session.

"We're pleased Governor Ryan has taken this issue on to find a long-term funding solution for our members," said Tim Lee, Executive Directive of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. "We look forward to sitting down with all parties this summer and hope to have this problem finally resolved this fall."


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