Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Layoffs | A tip about retiree medical coverage

In an e-mail, a reader asked me to post the following for the benefit of older folks recently laid off. I've changed a few details at their request to help keep them anonymous.

Hi, Jim.

When I got laid off years ago, Gannett did not inform me that I was entitled to join the retiree medical plan. (I found out by accident and it was a months-long billing ordeal to get it switched over from COBRA.)

They will tell you only how much it would cost you if you ask. I think age and possibly years of service need to reach a certain point to qualify for it, as opposed to the cost for COBRA.

COBRA, however, runs out after 18 months; the retiree plan covers your medical until age 65. It doesn't cover dental or vision, though, so they would need COBRA for the 18 months that they can get it.

I live in the East, but I presume it applies to everyone in Gannett. I also was never able to get any literature about the plan -- to this day.

The only hint that Gannett offered was after I had signed up for COBRA, when a little asterisked note appeared on the bottom of the Web page about my health benefits that I had "opted out" of the retiree plan.

Related: the U.S. Labor Department's FAQ on COBRA.


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  3. How can you know about something that you have never heard about?

  4. retiree medical is VERY expensive! i'm paying over $1200 Per month for me and spouse. only a few more months to hit 65 and then only have to pay for spouse with i think will be about $900 per month.
    coverage is same as employee plan.

  5. When my Ad Operations department job was eliminated in October 2010, I WAS TOLD by my newspaper sites' HR manager that I qualified for the Gannett Retiree health insurance.

  6. I've looked into the retiree plan as opposed to COBRA and the cost for the retiree plan is DOUBLE COBRA! How is this?


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