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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Duke Energy Is The Latest Big Company To Move Retirees Off Heath Plan

Gibson Station, located in Gibson County, Ind., is Duke Energy’s largest power plant. (Duke Energy/Flickr)

Gibson Station, located in Gibson County, Ind., is Duke Energy’s largest power plant. (Duke Energy/Flickr)

Starting next year, Duke Energy’s 14,500 retirees will no longer have a company-run health insurance program. Instead they’ll get a stipend from the company, which they can use to buy their own health insurance.

Duke joins large companies including IBM, General Electric, Time Warner, DuPont and Caterpillar that are moving retirees off company-run health plans and offering a direct subsidy.

Many companies making the shift are moving retirees to a health exchange, where they can shop for plans. Duke is different because it only offers a stipend to retirees who buy coverage from the company’s insurer, United Health Care.

Most retirees qualify for Medicare, but retirees have supplemental plans to cover gaps in government coverage.

Experts in the field say the move will benefit some employees who can switch from a one-size-fits-all plan to one tailored for them. But workers who need more coverage may end up paying more for their health care in the long run.

Duke’s move is part of a historic shift in health insurance coverage. The Wall Street Journal reports that among large companies offering health care to employees, almost three quarters do not offer it to retirees.

Guest

  • Dave Scanzoni, spokesman for Duke Energy.

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