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Tower Automotive Retirees Will See Health Premiums Soar

About 1,200 retirees of Milwaukee’s Tower Automotive plant who opt to keep their current medical coverage will see their monthly health insurance premiums quadruple, or more. Premiums for some of the retirees have increased to more than $1,000 a month. Company officials say skyrocketing healthcare costs have given them no choice but to raise the premiums.

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From NewsRx.com

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MILWAUKEE — About 1,200 retirees of Milwaukee’s Tower Automotive plant who opt to keep their current medical coverage will see their monthly health insurance premiums quadruple, or more.

Premiums for some of the retirees have increased to more than $1,000 a month. Company officials say skyrocketing healthcare costs have given them no choice but to raise the premiums.

Tower Automotive recently sent notices to the retirees telling them of the increase.

Smith Steel Workers Local 19806 plans to file a grievance over the matter, union president Duane McConville said. Retirees and the company already are in mediation to resolve a federal court lawsuit challenging changes the company previously made to the retiree health insurance plan.

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The premiums increase affects 1,200 workers who retired from Tower’s Milwaukee plant since January 1998, according to the Novi, Mich., company.

“While we recognize that the size of their premium increase is substantial, it reflects the considerable and ever-increasing cost of retiree health benefits,” company spokesperson Bev Pierce said.

Copyright 2004 Health Business Week via IncRx.com

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