NU Online News Service, Aug. 15, 10:43 a.m. – The Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, has released a report that finds that employment-based retiree health benefits, which have been getting trimmed in recent years, are likely to continue shrinking.
Reasons cited include recent business accounting changes, age discrimination rulings by federal courts, medical inflation, and potential federal legislation.
The shrinkage in retiree health benefits is not very apparent to current retirees, because the courts have ruled that an employer has a right to terminate or amend retiree health benefits only if it has proved that such a right has been reserved or stated in specific language, and on a widely known basis, according to the EBRI report.
Partly as a result, retiree health benefits are being restricted in many cases by making it harder for workers to qualify for them, EBRI says.
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“While these trends do not appear to be having much impact on current retirees, they are likely to be felt most by future retirees, who are not yet or may never become eligible for retiree health benefits,” says EBRI President Dallas Salisbury.