Talking retiree health care

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By Merilee Dannemann

The news from the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority is that things could be worse, but they are not exactly great.
If you are one of the 22,000 state and local government and public school retirees covered for health insurance through this program, or a current employee looking to this program for your future, you might want to pay attention.
RHCA has managed to save itself from several financial and political scrapes and survived to this point. At the moment, the program has projected solvency for the next 15 years.  Sort of.
Because decisions will have to be made, RHCA top managers, Director Wayne Probst and Deputy Director Marc Tyndall, are traveling the state presenting the issues to covered retirees who are willing to show up for an hour or two. Some actions can be taken by the RHCA board; others would require legislation. The issues are a microcosm of the nation’s concern about the cost of health care, but they are not exactly micro.
With no changes in revenue or expenses, the projection is that in 2018 the fund has to start drawing on principal rather than income to pay claims. That begins a downward trend until the fund runs out of money in 2029. That’s what 15 years of solvency means. Nobody wants that.

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