Dear Editor: The following is a letter to Richard DeCosmis from Mayor Turner
Dear Richard DeCosmis:
As most people are aware, controlling the rising cost of health care has been one of the leading issues discussed at both the national and state level. As the Mayor of Weehawken, I can say without a doubt that no one, veteran or non-veteran, has been denied any health care benefits in our township. Any accusation to the contrary is ridiculous.
As such, it is important to outline the actual health care facts for New Jersey Public employees:
New Jersey Public employees have some the best health care plans in the country. Specifically, the Township of Weehawken pays approximately $28,000 per year per retired couple for New Jersey State health and prescription coverage.
As required by state law, all current employees, veterans and non-veterans now pay a share of their health benefit cost. Based on the average police officer salary this will soon reach an excess of $9000 per year. In accordance with state law, all current and past retirees will continue to pay nothing towards their health care costs.
Retirees, regardless of Medicare part B eligibility and enrollment, have their benefits paid for by the township for life.
All citizens who are eligible for Medicare must now join Medicare part B and have the cost deducted from their Social Security, which equals approximately $100 per month.
When Weehawken Township was self-insured, it volunteered to reimburse this cost. Many government organizations do not provide this reimbursement. We are in the process of phasing out this voluntary reimbursement. We are also exploring ways to assist our current employees (veterans and non-veterans) in offsetting some of their reimbursement costs. We are already in discussions with the Police Benevolent Association leadership on this issue.
Remember, very few private citizens, veterans and non-veterans, enjoy the same level of coverage that New Jersey public employees receive. Here in Weehawken, we are always striving to do what is fair and just for everyone. For over 24 years I, and the entire Township council have supported our brave veterans, and we will always continue to do so.
Richard F. Turner