Saturday, 23 March 2019

Former Xerox employees facing retirement benefit cutbacks

Before he got the note, Hollander had never been in the health insurance market before, having received coverage from his employer since he first started with Xerox in the 1950s.   After the news, he struggled to calculate how much he would have to pay, and how much that would affect his finance.  

“I don’t know,” he sighed.  “It’s the unknown that killing me. before, I would know.”

The letters from Xerox warned thousands of workers that benefits of the “New Plan” for those who retired in the 1990s, and the “Flex plan” which succeeded it would be eliminated at the end of December, and that employees covered by the “old plan,” who had retired before the 90s would start having to pay for half their coverage, most of it supplemental coverage for their Medicare.

Xerox declined to comment to News 10 NBC on the issue.

Industry observers said it was not a promising sign that, in the midst of its struggle to stay afloat, Xerox was turning to deep cost cuts in its retirement plans, but considered the move understandable given Xerox’s position in a market of businesses, many of which already had lower costs because they offered leaner benefits. Chuck Wade with Brighton Securities called the Xerox plans “Cadillac” benefit packages.

“These companies took care of you while you work there,” he said, “and they made the promise to take care of you when you when you retire. Unfortunately, times change and what they are realizing is that they have to change the benefit packages too.”
“The company is not the company that I joined in 63,” said Dave Coriale, a retired Xerox employee turned advocate who tried

unsuccessfully to sue the company after its last round of retirement benefit cuts. Coriale estimated most of the affected retirees would be hit with about $ 200 dollars more in costs a month to keep up their coverage.

“It’s basically the beginning of the end,” he declared.  “They are cutting off the retirees.”

Scott and Joyce Hollander expected that to fully replace their coverage, Medicare supplement coverage and dental, not including prescription drugs, they could end up paying $5000 more a year, a damaging blow to their finances.

“Right now we’re starting sit back and say ‘Okay, What can we cut back on that we don’t absolutely need?’” Hollander said.  “We had thoughts of going down to Florida for January and February.  We’ve already canceled that. There is no way I can afford to spend that money right now considering I don’t know what things are going to cost me.”


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