Retired USEC workers’ insurance in danger

USEC, the former contractor at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been making changes to their insurance plans, changes that extend to the workers who retired from the plant, many of them years ago.

Hundreds of retired workers received mailed packets a few months before the turn of the new year about the changes to their insurance coverage, but the changes only affect some of the retired workers.

  • Those who worked and retired from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant who are 65 or older
  • Those who selected post 65 USEC supplemental insurance and are currently still under USEC’s plan
  • And have not talked to an AON health exchange representative for coverage in 2015

Union representatives are doing all they can to try and get in contact with all those members affected by this change, but it’s not an easy task especially because there are almost 200 people on the call list.

United Steel Workers 550 Benefits Representative, Mike Myers says it’s been a challenge to get in touch with everyone. Myers says, “They were completely unaware as we were there was going to be a change.”

Especially because of the new year and the importance to be re-enrolled Myers says it’s more important than ever to let those impacted know of the changes to their insurance. He says the supplemental insurance means a lot to those retirees on medicare.

James Harbison is a retired USEC worker who received his letter, and was concerned knowing the insurance he had for so long was changing, “The older you get the more problems you have so you need as good insurance as you can get.”

Harbison successfully made the change-over, but there are those who still don’t know they could be without coverage, “We have no way of notifying them other than word of mouth,” says Harbison.

Especially in a world of changing technology, there are many members who are without listed phone numbers or different addresses. There are also a number who have no close friends or family to help them changing their insurance. Donna Steele, the president of the Union re-emphasizes to all her calls of the importance to go through with the change, “It’s crucial you get a hold of them today.”

Harbison, Steele, and Myers all say this is an issue that’s close to their hearts. With such close working and personal relationships, they all feel the need to help. Myers says, “It becomes a humanity issues, we know these people, and they need coverage and feel like they need to be told.”

The insurance change impacts the 20 percent supplemental payments in addition to the retirees’ medicare, but as the union told me, 20 percent worth of supplemental insurance means a lot to those on medicare.

For those who are not able to enroll or choose another option, the union says anyone is welcome to shop insurance on their own, but if they aren’t able to re-enroll they won’t be eligible to receive the yearly stipend from USEC.

If you or a family member qualify under these changes, call the local steel worker’s office at 270-442-3668 ext 207.

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