102 hours later
May 16, 2007
Paulette Strong, a former school bus driver, worked for less than 30 years and retired before she turned sixty. Nonetheless, Strong still received lifetime health insurance from Michigan's Office of Retirement Services. Thanks to a loophole, all Paulette had to do was re-enter the system at age 60 as a "school aide," work 102 hours, "retire," and then reap the benefits. Her aide salary was supposed to be $6.50 an hour, but, after lifetime dental, vision, and medical care is factored in, she effectively made $1,470 an hour. And Strong isn't alone. In 2006, thirty retired employees were rehired for 102 hours, then quit, and received lifetime health plans. During their first year in the retirement system, the medical bills of those thirty folks cost taxpayers $268,558. According to the Detroit News, Allan Short of the Michigan Education Association "shrugs off the impact of the loophole." That's odd, considering that we thought the union wanted more money for educating kids.
"The $1,470-an-hour Loophole: Retirees Work for 13 Days to Earn Lifetime Health Care," by Ron French, Detroit News, May 11, 2007