Deere to front load company contribution to retirees
Deere & Company announced today that retirees covered by a new health care benefits program will receive their entire 2008 company contribution of retiree medical credits or health savings account funds in January instead of having those resources available over the course of the year as first planned. Medicare-eligible retirees will receive retiree medical credits while those retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare will receive contributions to their health savings account.
“We have heard from some retirees that having the company contribution available immediately will help them make a transition into this new program. We are taking this action to help our retirees as we work together to change how health care expenses are managed and paid,” said Mert Hornbuckle, Vice President, Human Resources, Deere & Company.
Deere recently also announced an extension of its enrollment periods for the new retiree health care program, which covers eligible former Deere salaried employees who retired after July 1, 1993. Medicare-eligible retirees have until December 14 and those not yet eligible for Medicare have until November 21.
“We have seen opportunities to accommodate changes in our original plans to help adapt the program to best serve our retirees,” Hornbuckle said. “As retirees enroll and assess their overall costs, many are finding they will pay the same or less for health care coverage but will pay their overall costs differently than in the past.”
Hornbuckle said by providing the retiree medical credits and health savings account funds in January 2008, the program improves the flexibility of how retirees can pay for various health care expenses.
Deere said many retirees have already enrolled and the company is on track in its implementation of the new program as planned for January 1, 2008. Deere continues to provide strong financial support to retirees while introducing a health care benefits program made possible by changes in federal legislation and the Medicare program.
Deere has held meetings, provided mailings, provided telephone assistance and offers information on a website to help retirees make a decision about their best option. The Web site is located at http://www.deere.com/healthydirections/retireehealthcare/
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