Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, Honeywell International — which had merged with Allied Signal — will no longer provide health insurance for Medicare-eligible employees who retired after July 1992. Their group plans will be terminated, and retirees have been referred to a third-party benefits adviser to choose individual plans to supplement their Medicare coverage.
In 2011, Unilever’s U.S. retirees will be shifted to individual Medicare health plans. In recent years, retirees have also lost company-provided life insurance and dental coverage. Unilever will continue to contribute to retirees’ health coverage by depositing $100 a month per participant in individual health savings accounts.
The Eastman Kodak Company announced that starting in 2009 it will: no longer cover dental or company-paid life insurance; increase retirees' medical copays; and begin completely phasing-out medical coverage for dependents over the next decade. The changes are expected to affect half of the former employees who retired on or after October 1, 1991.
Chrysler -- Management Retirees
Management retirees from Chrysler were notified that effective June 1, 2008, they would no longer receive company-sponsored group life insurance. Instead, Chrysler offered eligible retirees a one-time $4,000 payment and made arrangements with MetLife to provide current retirees with a one-time opportunity to purchase life insurance at group rates.
General Motors is eliminating health coverage for salaried retirees age 65 and older as of January 1, 2009. Union retirees are scheduled to lose their health care benefits after January 1, 2010, according to the new agreement reached by the union and GM last year.
On July 26, 2007, EMBARQ, a large telecommunications company headquartered in Overland Park, KS, announced plans to reduce its retiree health care coverage obligation by eliminating "medical coverage and Medicare premium subsidies for Medicare-eligible retirees and Medicare-eligible dependents, effective January 1, 2008." EMBARQ also "capped the maximum amount of life insurance benefits through the company-sponsored plan for qualified retirees at $10,000, effective January 1, 2008, and eliminated company-provided life insurance coverage for retirees who have benefits through a separate subsidiary company-sponsored plan, effective September 1, 2007."
This will affect the over 14,000 retirees of EMBARQ, formerly Sprint-Nextel, in 18 states. EMBARQ expects cost savings of this plan to be approximately $30 million in 2008. It is interesting to note that at about the same time the company announced this change to its retirement benefits, it "completed a restructuring program" that resulted in 420 employees being offered severance in the amount of $30 million (an average of over $70,000 per person). Could EMBARQ really be cutting the EARNED retiree benefits of so many to support so few?
For years, Lucent Technologies has been reducing its retiree's earned health care coverage, increasing premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and taking earned benefits away from its retirees. They also took away their employee's and retirees "death benefit" a non-insurance one time payment to a surviving spouse that equaled one times the employee's last year of pay.
And now it has happened again. In a letter dated June 30, 2007, Alcatel-Lucent explained to its management retirees that it would be changing its prescription drug coverage to be similar to Medicare Part D. The company admits that retirees' "out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will most likely be higher in 2008." In this letter, Alcatel-Lucent also announced the elimination of its Rx Only option for Medicare eligible retirees age 65 and older as well as the reduction of health care coverage for dependent children.