OTTAWA, March 26 Retired federal workers will
pay more of their supplemental health costs under an agreement
with the Canadian government intended to align the public sector
with the private sector, Treasury Board President Tony Clement
said on Wednesday.
Retirees' contributions will rise to 50 percent of the cost
of their health plan from 25 percent now. The supplement plan
pays for drugs, eye-glasses and other items not covered by the
general medical care plan that is free for all Canadians.
Low-income pensioners will not be affected.
The government will also require six years of employment,
instead of two, to be eligible.
"Updating cost-sharing ratios for the health care plan means
C$6.7 billion ($6.0 billion) will be put towards fighting the
deficit and returning to balanced budgets," Clement said. The
savings are over a period of six years.
The broad lines of the changes had been announced in the
Conservative government's Feb. 11 budget, but agreement had not
been reached with the unions and retirees. The package was
sweetened with some modest improvements to current benefits,
including eliminating a C$60 annual deductible for single
individuals and C$100 for families.
The February budget charted a return to a balanced budget in
2015, partly through savings exacted from public sector
(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)