From left, retirees Lynda Hastings, John Goon, and Ellen Scarpitti await a "Delaware MedicareDisAdvantage Plan for State Retirees" protest against changes to their health care plan at the Louis L. Redding City County Building in downtown Wilmington, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. A new state sponsored plan entitled Medicare Advantage would replace the original Medicate plus supplemental plans.

Delaware judge blocks change to Medicare Advantage health plan

A Delaware Superior Court judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked an effort to move state retirees to a Medicare Advantage health care plan.

Judge Calvin Scott ruled that the state shall “take all necessary and proper steps” to ensure that retirees’ current health care insurance and benefits “remain in full force and effect.”

Headed to trial

A trial will be held to make a final determination on the future of the Medicare Advantage plan, the ruling stated.

THE BACKSTORY:Delaware Legislature to hold special session amid outrage for retired Medicare Advantage plan

The temporary block is a major win for a group of state retirees, who have been protesting the switch in recent weeks. The deadline for the 30,000 state retirees to opt out of the Medicare Advantage plan, and as a result lose state-sponsored health care, was set for Oct. 24.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, argued that the state failed to follow administrative procedures when implementing the change, particularly regarding transparency and allowing retirees to offer input.

Karen Peterson, a former state senator and Department of Labor employee, was one of the plaintiffs.

“I took no pleasure in having to sue state officials with whom I worked for many years,” she said in a statement. “But retirees are entitled to the medical coverage they were promised during their years of working for the state, and somebody had to fight back.”

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