Ruling Backs Illinois Retirees on Health Benefits

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By Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court has sided with retired state employees who argue that health insurance premiums are a protected retirement benefit.

The court's 6-to-1 ruling Thursday reverses a lower court decision to dismiss a challenge to a government move forcing employees to pay for a portion of their own health care.

The justices sent the case back to the lower court, where retirees can proceed with their challenge.

At issue is a cost-cutting measure lawmakers passed in 2012. Illinois had paid premiums for some retirees with 20 years or more of service. Under the new law, retirees had to cover part of the cost.

The case is seen as a possible indicator of how the court will rule on a wider challenge to a statewide pension overhaul approved last year.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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