Skip to main content

Health Insurance Reform Facts for Retirees and “Pre-Medicare” Retirees

Health Insurance Reform Facts for Retirees and “Pre-Medicare” Retirees

  • There is no health insurance reform proposed before Congress that would create death panels, allow euthanasia, ration care or that directly addresses government-funded abortion or birth control. Anything else you hear is a myth – a scare tactic to divert attention from the real issue.
  • Even if you have employer- or union-provided health care as a retiree, health insurance reform matters to you. Besides helping those who aren’t as lucky, reform should help cut costs across our entire health care system, making it better and more affordable for all of us.
  • Medicare was created to make sure Americans didn’t have to choose between saving their health and spending all they had saved. It provided for those with the burdens and pains of untreated illnesses. Now, we find ourselves in a critical moment, facing strangely familiar syndromes of societal suffering, and are called to find a way to provide health care for all Americans.
  • Health care reform means strengthening Medicare by slowing spending, cleaning up waste and taking control of rising costs that are crippling our entire health care system. If we fail at health insurance reform, Medicare cuts are up next.
  • Before Medicare, growing old meant poverty, disability, and going without health insurance. Before Medicare, only half of all older Americans had health insurance and 35 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, levels of poverty among seniors have dropped by two-thirds and all Americans 65 and older can get health insurance through the Medicare program.
We believe real reform will include:

• A robust public plan to compete with private insurers and help drive down costs,
• Real “pay or play” – covering all employers
• Relief for companies and unions that provide pre-Medicare retiree coverage, and
• No taxation of health benefits either directly or indirectly.

Regarding relief for companies and unions that provide pre-Medicare retiree coverage, here are
some helpful facts:
• Many Americans between the ages of 55-64 – the “bridge years” – struggle with declining income and health but with more limited access to health care at increasingly higher costs;
• Retirees in this age group who do have employer-sponsored coverage have been forced to shoulder an ever-larger share of the cost of health care.
• A good way to help keep employer-sponsored coverage for retires in the 55-64 age group is to help shoulder some of these higher health costs by having a temporary reinsurance program.
• Currently about four million pre-Medicare retirees receive health insurance coverage from their former employers or a VEBA (Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association.) A reinsurance program will encourage employers and VEBAs to continue this coverage, by providing assistance with some of their catastrophic expenses.
(A reinsurance program would provide significant relief to employers and VEBAs so that they can keep providing insurance to this vulnerable pre- Medicare retiree population.)

• A temporary reinsurance program should reimburse for significant claims. The House and
Senate HELP bill provide for an 80 percent reimbursement for health claims ranging from
$15,000 to $90,000.
• Importantly, the reinsurance provision rightly provides for a dedicated funding mechanism -
- the “Retiree Reserve Trust Fund” – that is funded with $10 billion. This provides the certainty needed to make the temporary measure work.

Visit and the Alliance for Retired Americans’ Web site,, for more information on why health insurance reform is important to retirees, and for facts addressing common myths.

Popular posts from this blog

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)

Trump To Cut Social Security

Trump’s Promise Not to Cut Social Security has been Broken by Robert Roach, Jr. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget is a non-starter. He has betrayed America’s seniors. In fact, $2 trillion in deficit reduction turns out to be just a math error. The budget cuts $72 billion over ten years from disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Trump promised repeatedly to protect – not cut – Social Security. Yet his first budget does just that, harming millions of disabled Americans.  The Trump budget also slashes $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), total Medicaid spending was $368 billion in 2016. Almost two-thirds of that was for seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on Medicaid for health care and long-term care. This cut is drastic and dangerous by any measurement. This budget also decimates the Community Development Block Grant, which pro…

The Ship of Fear

My Destroyer, the U.S.S. Walker, was tied up in Pearl Harbor.

The Newspaper headlines for several days along with lengthy articles told of a merchant ship, "the Pomona" that was tied up in Honolulu waiting for crew to take it to the far east. The Captain had been murdered while at sea and the crew was afraid that the murderer was still aboard. The ship finally got underway again and my memory is that it had rudder problems and had to return to port. Then, after getting underway again it had a fire on board and had to return again.

While on liberty one day in Honolulu, I stopped in at a saloon on my way back to my ship. There, I met a merchant sailor who happened to be a sailor aboard the Pomona. He offered to take me back to the ship and let me come aboard her. We did and headed for the bow of the ship where there was a lot of noise. There sitting on the deck were a number of sailors, mostly drunken, talking about their predicament.

This occurred sometime between 1961 and…