Retiree Health-Care Benefits In Jeopardy

Compiled By Tonya Vinas Retirees with employer-supported health-care benefits will likely keep them -- although pay more for them -- while a growing number of future retirees will be on their own. The non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation and benefits consultants Hewitt Associates report these trends as part of a recent survey on retiree health-care benefits. The report found:

  • 95% of large employers plan to continue to cover current retirees in the next three years.
  • 22% say they are likely to eliminate retiree coverage for future retirees.
  • 82% expect to increase retiree premiums, and 85% plan to raise prescription drug co-payments for co-insurance over the next three years. The average retiree premiums increased 19% for pre-65 retirees and 20% for 65-plus retirees between 2001 and 2002.
  • 13% say they terminated benefits for future retirees over the past two years.
"This study is the latest bad news for American workers on the health-care front," says Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Current retirees are being asked to pay more for their health coverage, and current workers are less likely to get health benefits from their employer when they retire."
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