Thursday, December 18, 2008

Survey: Employers Look for More Changes in Retiree Medical Benefits

The International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists has released a survey about providing medical benefits for pre-65 and post-65 retirees that finds that employers are struggling to balance conflicting objectives in responding to organizational cost pressures, rapidly rising retiree contributions, administrative challenges, and the transition of older workers into retirement. "In the absence of a panacea, employers are examining ways in which current market offerings can be designed and deployed to help 'change the deal' with employees and retirees without undermining workforce management initiatives or inciting undue employee or retiree unrest."

Conducted with Towers Perrin, the survey--"Employers Are Poised To Take Action On Retiree Medical Plans"--reports that while the long-term trend toward employer exit is clear, with only 39% of employers offering retiree medical to new hires, over 70% of respondents still offer retiree medical to current retirees and some portion of their current active population. While only 7% of employers have ceased financial support for pre-65 coverage in the past two years, 42% have either changed or plan to change the cost-sharing deal between company and retiree. For post-65 retirees, 60% have capped their subsidy report plan costs in excess of the cap, almost 40% have or will recast cost-sharing terms with post-65 retirees, and almost 20% have ceased--or plan to cease--providing any post-65 financial support at all.

Source: International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists Press Release (December 18, 2008)

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