GM retiree health coverage agreement reached

GM retiree health coverage agreement reached

By Thomas Gnau, Staff Writer

Updated 12:53 PM Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The IUE-CWA and General Motors Corp. have reached agreement on health care coverage for retirees, the union said Tuesday, Sept. 1.

As of Jan. 1, 2010, coverage will cease for retirees older than 65, those who are eligible for Medicare, said Jim Clark, president of the International Union of Electronic Workers and Communication Workers of America.

"We tried long and hard to get post-65" coverage, Clark said, but GM would not put those "costs" on the new, post-bankruptcy company, he said.

As of Jan. 1, the new coverage plan for retirees younger than 65 will include monthly contributions of $95 for single payers, $140 for couples and $180 for families. The annual deductible will $2,500 for single coverage and $5,000 for family plans.

Under the pre-65 plan, retirees should assess their situation and "other options available," Clark said.

He said the union will soon send retirees letters explaining coverage.

In the last couple of weeks, the union won an additional $50 million for a total $467 million coverage package for pre-65 retirees. The union can spend the entire $467 million on its members, Clark said. Previously, GM had required that when anyone had opted out of coverage, that "windfall" would have returned to GM, rather than the union.

Current health coverage will be in place through Dec. 31, 2009.

Also Tuesday, Clark said GM will "top off" pensions for Delphi hourly retirees who were GM employees when GM spun off Delphi in 1999. A number of other eligible retirees covered under a 2007 memo of understanding will also see their pensions made whole, the IUE-CWA said.

Delphi hourly and salaried pensions are being moved to the federally backed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., and their benefits are expected to be reduced. GM had previously said it would bolster hourly pensions.

"That is extremely large for our people," Clark said.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2390 or

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