August 26th, 2019

Protect Our Earned Retiree Health Benefits




There has been much speculation regarding the specifics of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how it will affect Americans. My husband and I would like to share our experience. We are covered by a prescription drug plan from the company I retired from. This is NOT a perk. It is an earned benefit. Employees took less pay and vacation time to have these benefits.


A year ago we received information regarding changes to take effect in 2013. It said, “Like many larger employers, we have been receiving a Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) from Medicare to offset some of the cots of providing prescription drug benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees and dependents. Due to healthcare reform provisions that take effect in 2013, the RDS that we and other companies receive from Medicare will no longer be tax effective. Additionally, those health care reform changes make it more cost-effective to provide a prescription drug benefit for Medicare-eligible participants directly through the Medicare part D program.”


“As a result, the prescription drug program will be eligible for subsidies from Medicare and additional discounts from pharmaceutical manufacturers beginning in 2013. These subsidies and discounts will help offset the company’s cost of providing prescription drug coverage for retirees, making the program cost effective and sustainable.”


They stated our co-payment would be comparable to our current company-sponsored prescription drug plan.


My husband and I each take three medications. Our “comparable co-payments” have increased 110%, 344%, 497%, 567%, 568% and 584%. This is not acceptable. This robbery has to stop.


There is an organization, www.protectseniors.org, representing us seniors. They are fighting for legal and Congressional protections for the benefits of all retirees with the Earned Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act of 2011 (HR1322).


I urge you to check their website to see the wonderful work they are doing for us. Then contact our Congressman, Peter Welch, and ask him if he will co-sponsor and vote for HR1322. To avoid lip service, just ask for a yes or nor answer: “Will you co-sponsor and vote for HR1322?”


Working together we can stop this assault on our earned healthcare benefits.




Brenda Thow







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