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UMaine System Changes Course, Won't Force Retirees To Switch Health Plans

After months of criticism from its retired employees, the University of Maine System says that it will allow retirees the option to maintain their current health care plan, rather than transition to a private insurance exchange.

Last week, a group of nearly a dozen retirees filed a class-action lawsuit over the issue, saying that the transition violated their contractual rights and could cost some of them thousands more every year. Jim McClymer, a UMaine professor and president of the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, says the new agreement will ease concerns of many retirees.

“People going forward can simply retain the group plan, and know they’ll have a decent plan, at a fair cost, that will cover most of their needs. And not have to deal with all the rigamarole that goes around some of the other plans. Those who wish to do the plans, for now they can keep doing those,” he says.

Under the agreement, unions and retirees will also withdraw any outstanding grievances and lawsuits on the issue.

McClymer says the union plans to take a broader look at health insurance as part of negotiations for a new contract over the next few months.