Moody's: RI Cities May Shift Retiree Health Costs

Nov 15, 2013

In a new report, investment research firm Moody's says more Rhode Island cities are looking into shifting retirees into health plans on the online health insurance exchange to save money. That's just one of several strategies cities are considering to deal with rising health care costs. 

Rhode Island municipalities, like Providence, need to rein in costs or risk a credit downgrade.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Moody's new report makes it clear that no Rhode Island city or town has gone public with plans to shift employees or retirees into health insurance plans on HealthSource RI, Rhode Island's health exchange. In most cases, tweaking a public employee health plan would take a lot of negotiation. But Moody's, which rates Rhode Island cities' credit worthiness, points out that pensioners' health care costs are rising faster than inflation. And the Ocean State's municipalities will have to do something to rein in costs or risk a credit downgrade.

It's a similar story in some other cities across the nation. And many are also considering bumping up retiree and employee co-pays or transferring more retirees to Medicare. Woonsocket and Providence have the highest unfunded health care liabilities, according to Moody's.