In notices signed by Chief Health Director Kyu Rhee, IBM has told retirees in recent weeks that to keep receiving coverage, they will need to pick a plan offered through Extend Health, a large private Medicare exchange run by New York-based Towers Watson & Co.
Medicare is the federally administered system of health insurance for people age 65 and over, and the disabled. Some people buy Medicare Advantage plans, administered by private insurers, and others buy policies to cover gaps in Medicare coverage.
IBM told retirees that its current retiree coverage will end for Medicare-eligible retirees after Dec. 31, 2013, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by IBM.
Instead of subsidizing retiree health premiums directly, IBM will give retirees an annual contribution via a health retirement account that they can use to buy Medicare Advantage plans and supplemental Medicare policies on the exchange, as well as pay for other medical expenses. Retirees who don’t enroll in a plan through Extend Health won’t receive the subsidy.
Be careful out there. On the other hand, it appears IBM employees are basically getting assistance in paying for Medicare. How do I sign up for that when I retire?