A group that represents retired public employees in New York is concerned a reduction in the Medicare reimbursement could impact retirees who received benefits under the New York State Health Insurance Program.

Leaders from the Retired Public Employees Association on Tuesday, in testimony to state lawmakers, raised the concerns amid a pandemic that has made older people especially vulnerable.

“Retirees spent their whole career in service to the residents of New York State, and their days of earning a salary are over. These men and women deserve to live in retirement knowing they can utilize the benefits earned during their employment," said the group's executive director, Ed Farrell. “The cuts proposed in the executive budget will impact the well-being of real people, and we urge the legislature to take action to protect the healthcare benefits retirees deserve.”

At the same time, the association called for the inclusion of parity between retired and active workers. The group pointed to access under the Empire Plan to skilled nursing facilities.

Those younger than 65 who are enrolled in the Empire Plan have coverage for 120 days of skilled nursing facility care without a hospital care required. But when a recipient becomes eligible for Medicare, the Empire Plan does not provide coverage for retirees.