The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the school district’s reduction of petitioner-employee’s (Perrotta’s) retirement health benefits below the level afforded active employees violated the Insurance Law:
The moratorium law [Insurance Law 4235] sets “‘a minimum baseline or “floor” for retiree health benefits'” which is “‘measured by the health insurance benefits received by active employees . . . In other words, the moratorium [law] does not permit an employer to whom the statute applies to provide retirees with lesser health insurance benefits than active employees'” … . Thus, a school district may not diminish retirees’ health insurance benefits unless it makes “a corresponding diminution in the health insurance benefits or contributions of active employees” … . The purpose of the moratorium law is to protect the rights of retirees who “‘are not represented in the collective bargaining process, [and] are powerless to stop unilateral depreciation or even elimination of health insurance benefits once the contract under which they retired has expired'” … .
Here, since Perrotta submitted evidence establishing that the district diminished the health insurance contribution rate for certain retirees, and the district failed to proffer evidence that it made a corresponding diminution in the health insurance benefits or contributions for active employees, its determination violated the moratorium law. … Supreme Court should have granted the petition and annulled the district’s determination … . Matter of Perrotta v Syosset Cent. Sch. Dist., 2022 NY Slip Op 06704, Second Dept 11-23-22
Practice Point: Here the petitioner, a retired school district employee, successfully contested the reduction of her retirement health benefits below the level afforded active employees as a violation of Insurance Law 4235.