Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Advocating for retiree health insurance without a union

An important part of advocating for yourself or your loved one is to deal with health insurance.

And, when the patient is over age 65 and retired, you are dealing with Medicare (God help me) and your patient's former employer.

Now a days, there are many employers who simply do not offer a group health insurance plan for its retirees. It is a big expense. But the decision to provide retiree benefits speaks volumes about the employer.

I admittedly have given a lot of grief to my dad's former employer, RTI International in RTP, NC. The policy was not designed for over age 65 retirees. And the premiums were crazy high!

My dad was a medicinal research scientist with RTI in its infancy (circa 1964). He loved the place. Even when dad was offered other jobs, he stayed with RTI until his retirement in 2000.

I grew up as an "RTI kid." I spent time at RTI family picnics (old fashioned ones with 3 legged races), bowling leagues and ACS chemistry conferences My first summer job was at RTI during college. I lasted about two days. (I was not good at making telephone interviews --- I was shy then ---LOL!!)

I betcha RTI International wished I was still shy.

Dad would be mortified if he knew the grief and nagging I gave almost everyone at RTI (from the RTI Human resource Office to RTI's president). I wanted all of the retirees to have a better plan.

It was not my doing. RTI HR was already working on the new insurance program for retirees. I just kept them focused.

God Bless RTI, International. They have a new plan for retirees in place for 2009.

More employers should reward loyalty and help those who built the businesses. Unions should not be (and in fact are not) necessary. RTI International has no union representation to get a change in retiree benefits.

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