EEOC Drops Uniformity Policy on Retiree Health Benefits Washington Post (08/22/01) Vol. 29, No. 17 p.E3; Crenshaw, Albert B.; Grimsley, Kirstin Downey
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission voted to drop its policy, which requires employers to maintain retiree health benefits that are equal to that of younger workers despite retirees' eligibility for Medicare. The commission also will no longer pursue anti-discrimination cases involving employers that offer different health care plans to retirees than those offered to younger workers. Businesses, labor groups, and employees had expressed concern that the policy would force employers to rescind health benefit offers to retirees because costs are too high and accounting rules have changed, causing employers to reduce benefits. The commission plans to review its Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) policies. The original policy was developed after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ADEA applies to retiree benefits as well, which prohibits employers from offering inferior options to retirees just because they are eligible for Medicare.