Health Benefits

Dear Member,

DC37 Local 2507 is committed to keeping you informed about your health benefits. DC37 Local 2507, together with the Municipal Labor Committee, has been focusing on reducing costs and maintaining quality benefits for public employees in New York City.

One of the major components of cost for the hundreds of thousands City workers enrolled in the GHI-CBP programs is hospital costs, which rise each year.  As you know, hospital benefits are provided by Empire.  Empire is currently negotiating a new contract with New York Presbyterian Health System (Presbyterian) that would be effective on January 1, 2019.  Presbyterian has asked for a substantial rate increase and Empire is resisting.  Presbyterian facilities, like other New York hospitals, provide quality services.  However, Presbyterian costs, we are advised, already are significantly higher than other hospitals.  For example, the average cost this past year for hip joint replacement at Presbyterian was, we are told, nearly 30% higher than the other well-regarded hospital systems in our area.

While we hope the parties are able to reach a balanced agreement, Presbyterian’s seemingly intractable stance makes it possible that, as of January 1, 2019, Presbyterian may become an out-of-network provider under the Empire plan and would continue to be out of network unless a deal is reached.  This means that the cost of any services received at Presbyterian will be substantially higher.

We, together with the MLC, City and private sector unions have urged Presbyterian to find a way to reign in healthcare costs.  To-date, Presbyterian has not agreed.  As a result, State law requires that Empire notify all covered individuals who utilized Presbyterian facilities in the past 12 months or live in close proximity to those facilities.  Empire will be mailing this notice towards the end of this month.  This does not affect members enrolled in the HIP Program.  Please know that if you currently receive or intend to receive services at Presbyterian during any period when it is not part of the Empire network, you have several options:

  • First, you can switch your care to another quality facility in the New York area that continues to be in network.  Empire can assist you in locating such facility by calling (800) 495-9323.
  • Second, you may continue to receive services at the Presbyterian facility.  However, if you continue, please know that you will be charged at the out-of-network fee schedule.  To learn more about what that may mean to you, please contact Empire at (800) 495-9323.

It is our hope that Presbyterian and Empire will heed the cautions and requests of not only their patients and subscribers but also of leading local and state government representatives, and come to a reasonable agreement without the need to interrupt Presbyterian’s participation in our network.  However, that may not occur, and [Union] wants to ensure that you have the information to make informed choices about your health benefits.



Oren Barzilay
FDNY EMS Local 2507