About RISE Delaware
Q: What is RISE Delaware?
RISE Delaware is an organization of Delaware Public Service Retirees. The name comes from Retirees Investing in Social Equity Delaware.
RISE Delaware formed a corporation to communicate with those who will be affected by proposed changes and to work through legal and legislative channels to keep the health care benefits promised through our pension agreements.
Q: How was RISE Delaware formed?
John Kowalko, at the time a State of Delaware Representative for the 25th District, received a phone call in June 2022 about proposed healthcare benefit changes for State of Delaware retirees. After conferring with Lisa Diller,
a New Castle County 5th District Councilwoman about the issue, they decided to create a grass roots movement. The RISE Delaware organization began to form in August 2022.
Q: What are our goals?
RISE Delaware is working to ensure all
State of Delaware Public Service Retirees have the health care benefits they were promised in their retirement contracts. This specified retiree's healthcare coverage to be Medigap and Part D Prescription plans that supplement our Medicare Parts A and B.
The RISE Delaware goals are:
- Retain the Medicare Supplement Plan (Medicfill or equivalent) for current and future retirees.
- Remove Part C as an option in the Delaware Code, specifically removing the words "or constructed as a plan under Medicare Part C" from Title 29, Section 5203(b).
- Codify an additional 2% in the state budget to pay for retiree health benefits now and into the future.
Q: What has RISE Delaware accomplished to date?
- Generated thousands of emails, letters to legislators and other officials urging them to keep retiree's Medicfill supplement and stop the move to Medicare Advantage plans.
- Written and published numerous articles and opinion pieces in local media explaining what is at stake.
- Offered hours of legislative and committee testimony in support of our organization's goals.
- Brought litigation that has succeeded, so far, to stop the state from implementing the change to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Received national and local publicity and commendations for our fight.
Q: Why does RISE Delaware disagree with the State's plan to change pension health care options?
The State says their Medicare Advantage Plan is special and better than all the rest. But these plans do not spell "special" to us because:
- We currently have Medicare Parts A and B. All Medicare Advantage plans are Part C, including the proposed state plan. Although it is true that Part C plans can be modified by employers, they are still Part C plans that privatize our healthcare.
- These plans allow insurance companies to dictate what health services we receive or don't receive. They take our choice away and give it to the insurance company handling the plan.
- A Medicare Advantage plan is not as good as our current coverage because there is a frequent need for prior authorizations. With our current Medicfill plan we do not have to be confused by in-network vs out-of-network providers, or needing to understanding copay, coinsurance, and deductibles.
- Health care decisions would no longer be between the retiree and their doctor.
- Right now we can go to the emergency room if we think it is an emergency. Under the Highmark Medicare Advantage plan, the insurance company could decide it is not an emergency so those medical costs would not be covered.
- The proposed Medicare Advantage plan would mean Highmark, instead of our doctor, would take over our Medicare benefits and make medical decisions for us.