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3M Drops Health Insurance For Workers

From the Wall Street Journal:

3M to Change Health-Plan Options for Workers

OCTOBER 4, 2010

3M Co. confirmed it would eventually stop offering its health-insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor.

The changes won’t start to phase in until 2013. But they show how companies are beginning to respond to the new law, which should make it easier for people in their 50s and early-60s to find affordable policies on their own. While thousands of employers are tapping new funds from the law to keep retiree plans, 3M illustrates that others may not opt to retain such plans over the next few years.

The St. Paul, Minn., manufacturing conglomerate notified employees on Friday that it would change retiree benefits both for those who are too young to qualify for Medicare and for those who qualify for the Medicare program. Both groups will get an unspecified health reimbursement instead of having access to a company-sponsored health plan.

The maker of Post-it notes and Scotch tape said it made the announcement now to give retirees a chance to explore different options during this year’s benefit-enrollment period, according to a 3M memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. A 3M spokeswoman, Jacqueline Berry, confirmed the contents of the memo.

"As you know, the recently enacted health care reform law has fundamentally changed the health care insurance market," the memo said. "Health care options in the marketplace have improved, and readily available individual insurance plans in the Medicare marketplace provide benefits more tailored to retirees’ personal needs often at lower costs than what they pay for retiree medical coverage through 3M.

"In addition, health care reform has made it more difficult for employers like 3M to provide a plan that will remain competitive," the memo said.

The White House says retiree-only plans are largely exempt from new health insurance regulations under the law.

Is this their advantage? That the government hasn’t yet stuck their noses into retiree healthcare plans?

The company didn’t specify how many workers would be impacted. It currently has 23,000 U.S. retirees..

Democrats that crafted the legislation say they tried to incentivize companies to keep their retiree coverage intact, especially until 2014. The law creates a $5 billion fund for employers and unions to offset the cost of retiree health benefits. More than 2,000 entities, including many large public companies, have already been approved to submit claims for such reimbursement. 3M did not apply

Exactly how far will $5 billion dollars go? And isn’t it just putting off the inevitable, anyway?

Meanwhile, it would appear that the employees of 3M were lied to by Mr. Obama and the Democrats when they were told they would be able to keep their plans under Obama-care.

(Thanks to Rod for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “3M Drops Health Insurance For Workers”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    First, let’s ask the correct First Question … how the hell did it get to be the employer’s responsibility to give us health insurance, to begin with?

    Second, when did employees become ‘workers’?

    And Third, where the hell is the free market in insurance, you know, the free market competition that drove the cost of a $10 million computer down to $649, reduced it’s size from a specially built room the size of my house that required a dozen people to operate to something I carry around with me the size book and so vastly increased it’s performance that the chip in my phone has more computing power than the first IBM system my father bought in 1963 for an entire textile mill???

    That free market? Remember it?

    • proreason says:

      That would be the free market, GBJ, that has forced blacks to live in houses with only 2 bathrooms and 2 cars, multiple ipods, plasma tv’s and $200 sneakers…..while bigots like Donal Trump live in luxury off the sweat of African American brows……except of course for a few hundred thousand isolated black leaders like Rev Al and Obamy who have to make due with a few paltry million a year.

      Where is the justice?

  2. U NO HOO says:

    We got notice last week, Aetna Medicare is not available next year. No reason given, just “attached is a list of other insurance companies.”

    • proreason says:

      Medicare Aadvantage programs were the primary target of Obamycare. Too much free enterprise going on in those things. The insurers had way too much leeway about the services offered.

      The medigap programs are all rigidly controlled by the government. They are relatively safe…..for the time being.

      The medigap programs are good programs, probably better than Aadvantage programs for people who use a lot of medical services. But that will change as soon as all of the Aadvantage program are wiped out.

  3. amber says:

    This will be fun. The largest town, within 30 miles of me, has oabout 1/3 of their employment comming from 3M and another 1/3 from Kraft.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Who didn’t see this coming 500 miles away?
    Get ready for the corner barber to start blood letting and leeching.
    Soon the rock apes (taliban) will have better health care than we do and they live in the 8th century.

    • proreason says:

      “Get ready for the corner barber to start blood letting and leeching.”

      The black market in medical services in the U.S. is poised to be one of the biggest industries in the world.

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