Sangamon County judge issues injunction ending retiree health care premium hikes

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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — A Sangamon County judge issued a preliminary injunction barring Illinois from collecting higher health care insurance premiums from retired state employees.

In a 6-to-1 ruling in July, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision allowing the state to require retirees to pay for a portion of their own health care. The court said state-subsidized health insurance is a protected pension benefit and the state cannot charge premiums for it.

The state continued to deduct premiums from retiree pension checks because the Supreme Court sent the case back for reconsideration by the lower court. The preliminary injunction issued Thursday by Judge Steven Nardulli stop the deductions.

Officials say the withholdings should stop for checks going out October 1. Unresolved is how to return premiums paid since July 1, 2013.

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