The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday regarding the appeal
of Sangamon County Judge Steven Nardulli's March 19 ruling, which found
that retirees' state-subsidized health insurance is not a
constitutionally-protected pension benefit.
Four lawsuits that looked to stop a 2012 state law that
allows for changes to health care premium rates for retirees were
dismissed after Nardulli's ruling.
In court Wednesday,
the state retirees' attorneys argued that imposing insurance premiums on
retirees could diminish collective bargaining agreements and would go
against the state Constitution, which says pension benefits "shall not be
One of the retirees' attorneys, Edward Kionka, also said
health insurance was deemed a contractual right when the state set up a
health insurance premium sliding scale for retired workers back in the
But attorneys for the state said in court that health
insurance is not a constitutionally-protected pension benefit. And
Assistant Attorney General Richard Huszagh argued that the law
establishing the sliding scale included no such contractual right for
retiree health coverage.
After being questioned by the justices, Huszagh said that if the court rules in the state's favor, nothing
would prevent it from bumping up future retiree premiums.
The state's high court didn't give a specific date when it would issue a ruling.