I live in Kansas, and I am the agent under my aunt's durable power of attorney. Together, we appointed her daughter as power...Read more
Can an Employer Cut Retiree Health Benefits?
- May 13th, 2008
Some fortunate employees belong to employer-provided health care plans that carry over to retirement. But how secure are those benefits after retirement? Under what circumstances may the company reduce or terminate them?
In fact, nothing in federal law prevents employers who offer retiree health benefits from cutting or eliminating them -- unless they have made a specific promise to maintain the benefits.
The key to understanding your particular rights lies in the Summary Plan Description (SPD), which employers are required to provide within 90 days after you become a participant in the plan, or other plan documents. If your employer has reserved the right in the SPD and controlling plan document to change the terms of the plan, you may lose coverage at any time during your retirement. If your employer made a clear promise that you will have specific health care benefits for a definite period of time or for life, and did not reserve the right to change the plan, you should be covered.
But benefit plan documents are often difficult to interpret. To help employees or retirees evaluate their plan documents, the U.S. Department of Labor has prepared a brief that explains, among other things, what to look for in such documents, the implications of conflicting or ambiguous language, and special cautions for early retirees.
To read the Department's advice, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/retiree_health_benefits.html
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Attorney Samantha Simmons Fredieu is an associate at Hale Ball. Ms. Fredieu graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School where she was the symposium editor on the Vermont Law Review, a production editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, and a member of the Moot Court Advisory Board. She has clerked for...
Law Offices of John L. Laster
John Laster is a lawyer licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He limits his practice to wealth transfer planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney, health care decision-making issues, estate administration and related tax, elder law and disability concerns. Listed in The Best Lawyers...
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...