Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is looking to end the nearly free ride Cook County judges have when it comes to health insurance.
In her upcoming budget proposal, which is scheduled to be released next week, Preckwinkle is expected to propose that county part-time employees, including judges, either pay for their health insurance coverage or get it elsewhere, like the health insurance marketplace. Currently, judges are considered to be part-time employees of the county because they receive $500 annually from the county. As a result, they are eligible to get their health insurance through the county's system and pay a percentage of their income for the coverage, which amounts to less than $1 a month. Meanwhile, the county is reportedly paying $400 to $1,700 a month for the coverage.
Preckwinkle's spokesman Owen Kilmer told the Chicago Sun-Times that the plan is "about creating a more fair system and a more responsible management of employee health-care benefits,” implying that is not about sticking it to Chief Judge Timothy Evans, who she has been battling with over the county's criminal backlog, according to the newspaper.
About 400 part-time employees of the county would be affected by the change, including commissioners and crossing guards, but most of them would be judges, who are also eligible to get coverage from the state, which pays the lion's share of their six-figure salaries.
The plan is expected to save the county $4.4 million a year.