U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski recently introduced legislation to help public safety employees with the mounting healthcare costs they face in retirement.
Lipinski’s bill, HR 4897, would double from $3,000 to $6,000 the amount of money that retired public service employees are allowed to allocate from their pensions toward health or long-term care insurance premiums on an annual pre-tax basis.
In 2006, the Pension Protection Act was signed into law, which included an important provision for local public safety officers known as the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety (HELPS) Retirees Act.
The HELPS provision allowed firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency responders to allocate up to $3,000 annually from their pensions toward healthcare costs. The $3,000 HELPS limit has remained flat since its enactment, eroding the value of the benefit even as healthcare expenses continue to grow faster than inflation does. Lipinski’s bill would double the limit.
“I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation to recognize the service of all who have worked to keep us safe in communities across the nation,” Lipinski said. “This is an important benefit for these retirees, many of whom face a financial penalty due to a shorter career resulting from mandatory early retirement. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed so we can stand up for those who stood up for us.”
Earlier this year, Lipinski looked out for the interests of working families across the country by voting to pass the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act, which would cut the 40-percent excise tax levied on certain employer health insurance plans that is set to go into effect in 2022.