What Delaware state pensioners need to know about new Medicare plan

The News Journal | by Meredith Newman Starting next year, the state will be offering Delaware state retirees a new type of Medicare plan, which has sparked a number of questions and concerns among retirees. What follows is an explanation of the Medicare Advantage plan and why state officials believe it will help save money – despite the unease among many. What is Medicare Advantage? Medicare Advantage, also referred to as Medicare Part C, consists of Medicare plans available through private companies. It’s often seen as a cost-saving alternative to […]

Delaware representative forms organization to fight state’s change to a Medicare Advantage Plan

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen To oppose the move to a Medicare Advantage Plan for state pensioners, Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and New Castle County 5th District Councilwoman Lisa Diller are teaming up to form Retirees Investing in State Equity Delaware (RISE Delaware). The organization is dedicated to advocating for and informing state retirees about the change from the previous Medicfill Medicare Supplement Plan to the Medicare Advantage Plan, scheduled Jan. 1, 2023. “There are about 30,000 retirees and dependents affected,” Rep. Kowalko said. “These retirees paid […]

Delaware moving to Medicare Advantage Plan for pensioners

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen State of Delaware pensioners who are eligible for Medicare will have their coverage transitioned into a new, customized Medicare Advantage Plan starting Jan. 1, 2023. After a diligent bidding process, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware was awarded a three-year contract in February to administer the change. The Freedom Blue PPO Medicare Advantage Plan, which would replace the Medicfill Medicare Supplement Plan, is the product of years of work by committees aiming to provide quality coverage while reducing Delaware’s $10 billion unfunded […]

Guest Commentary: State of Delaware retirees need to act now regarding Medicare change

Bay to Bay News | Commentary | by Rep. John Kowalko State of Delaware retirees and retired Delaware teachers, as well as college and university faculty covered through the state of Delaware’s health benefits, must act immediately and let their state elected officials know that the proposed move of all these retirees to a Medicare Advantage plan is unacceptable. What are Medicare Advantage plans? In short, it is the privatization of one of the most successful federal programs in history, and it is an embarrassment that the state of Delaware […]

State lawmaker asks Pension Benefit Committee to pause change to retirees’ healthcare plans

Delaware Public Media | by Paul Kiefer State lawmakers met with Delaware’s Pension Benefit Committee on Tuesday to discuss a healthcare change for 25,000 retired public employees. In February, the state’s Pension Benefit Committee awarded a three-year contract to Highmark Delaware, longtime insurance provider for state employees, to administer a new plan for state retirees known as the Medicare Advantage Plan. The plan would replace retirees’ existing Medicare plan. Delaware Human Resources Secretary Claire DeMatteis says the plan differs from the existing program in several ways. First, Highmark takes on […]

Opinion: Delaware’s public retirees must reject Medicare Advantage plan

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko State of Delaware retirees, retired Delaware teachers, as well as college and university faculty covered through the state of Delaware’s health benefits must act immediately and let their state elected officials know that the proposed move of all these retirees to a Medicare Advantage plan is unacceptable. What are Medicare Advantage plans? In short, they represent the privatization of one of the most successful federal programs in history and it is an embarrassment that the state of Delaware wants to […]

Negotiations on Delaware manufactured home bill tedious

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen Coming to a compromise for comprehensive legislation was no easy task for manufactured housing stakeholders, lobbyists and lawmakers this past legislative session. Typically home to seniors on fixed incomes or low-income families, residents of manufactured housing communities have been subject to rent increases that often lead to drawn-out court cases and arbitration hearings. Over the past several years, lawmakers had contemplated ways to level the playing field for residents. Legislators had been tasked with finding a middle ground in their discussions, primarily […]

Kowalko: House Speaker killed inspector general bill

Town Square Live | by Charles Megginson An outgoing Democratic member of the Delaware House of Representatives says House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf blocked his bill to create an office of the inspector general. Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, said the move was typical of Schwartzkopf’s leadership style. That leadership style can be characterized by “coercion, intimidation, incentivizing and reward,” Kowalko said, and the inspector general bill is just one example of that. “That’s not the way to lead and if that’s the way you’re leading, then obviously you have a failure […]

State lawmakers pass new rules for rent increases at manufactured homes parks

Delaware Public Media | by Paul Kiefer The only major tenant’s rights bill to pass during this year sets new rules for when and how landowners can increase rents for manufactured home owners. State Sen. John Walsh’s bill also expands the number of manufactured home owners eligible for state rental assistance and prohibits landowners from increasing rent if they do not fix outstanding health and safety problems. The bill had bipartisan support, but some House lawmakers see possible loopholes that could allow landowners to unfairly increase lot rents. They include […]

Inspector general bill on way to full House vote in Delaware

Bay to Bay News | by Joseph Edelen The bipartisan effort to implement an Inspector General’s Office continued to progress Wednesday, passing in the House of Representatives’ Administration Committee. House Bill 405, sponsored by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and Rep. Mike Smith, R-Pike Creek, would promote transparency by establishing an entity to oversee state agencies. Under the legislation, the office would be tasked with responsibilities like investigating the firms to determine if they have engaged in conduct that is harmful to public interest, as well as providing reports to the […]