Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Companies Reorganizing Under Chapter 11 Battle With Former Employees Over Lifetime Health Benefits
The Wall Street Journal: "Linda Roberts thought she would enjoy lifetime health benefits after a dozen years lifting radiators and iron in a factory for Visteon Corp. But the car-parts maker won bankruptcy-court approval to terminate those retiree benefits, just months after Ms. Roberts, 62 years old, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and leukemia. Now, a federal appeals court has given the Roberts family and thousands of other Visteon retirees some potential relief. In mid-July, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of Philadelphia reversed decisions that allowed Visteon to terminate benefits for more than 6,000 retirees without taking certain legal steps in bankruptcy court." Companies that go through the Chapter 11 process maintain "they can simply no longer afford the costs to pay for retirees' health care and pensions" and they usually win when a fight brews over ending these contracts. "Yet with stakes so high, former employees are engaging in wide-ranging, 11th-hour fights to hold on to the benefits, if even for a few extra months. The battles have become especially contentious in the midst of the economic downturn" (Spector, 8/12).
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