Retired county law enforcement gathered outside of the Monroe County Office Building in protest

Retired Monroe County law enforcement officers came together outside the county office building, holding signs and protesting what they believe is a bad deal.

“It’s very bad," said Doug Moffett, 73. "You don’t know day to day what’s going to happen.”

Moffett is a retired Monroe County jail deputy who joined dozens of others in the Sheriff’s Office Association of Retirees to protest changes made to their retiree healthcare plans by the county last year.

His wife recently got out of surgery for cancer and he had to pay a copay nearly 10 times higher than in previous years.

“My [old] copay would’ve been $100," Moffett said. "Under this new plan, my wife is lucky — she only had stage-one cancer so there was no chemo or anything — it was almost a $1,000 copay.”

Last year, the county cut what it says were unnecessary costs by having retirees 65 and older enroll in the same zero-dollar plan the county offered, but through the healthcare marketplace instead. They then used some of the money they saved to pay their 1,800 county retirees $600 a year for copays.

Moffett said that’s a betrayal.

“We retired under contracts that said we’d have paid medical for life until the day of our demise and so would our spouse," Moffett said. "They’ve done away with that. Last year they did away with our medical totally.”

The county, however, disputes that claim, saying that coverage hasn’t changed. What has changed is how retirees are receiving it.

The county added that “courts have ruled in favor of the county’s current retiree healthcare practices eight times, including a unanimous decision on June 29 from the New York State Appellate Division.”

Still, Moffett said he’s paying a lot more.

“I should be taking [my wife] on vacation instead of paying a $1,000 bill,” Moffett said.

He just wants their benefits to return to what was promised when they retired.

“When they’re taking care of you and running toward the gunfire or doing whatever they have to do to put their lives on the line to save our community, then they should be doing the same for us.” Moffett said.