Wednesday, October 12, 2016

12,500 Patriot Coal beneficiaries told health care money to run out by end of year

About 12,500 bankrupt Patriot Coal beneficiaries received letters this week informing them that funds for health care benefits will run out of money by the end of the year, Jeff Jenkins reports for West Virginia Metro News. Phil Smith, spokesman for United Mine Workers Union, told Metro News, “We’ve been working very hard not to have to send this letter out to retirees. It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten to this point but here we are.”

Jenkins writes, "Congress is considering the Miners Protection Act to fund the programs. It was approved by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee two weeks ago. As proposed, annual transfers in additional funds would come from unspent money in the Abandoned Mine Land Fund until the benefit programs reach actuarially sound levels"

"Eligibility for health benefits would be extended to UMWA retirees who’ve lost those benefits following bankruptcy or insolvency of a coal company," Jenkins writes. "Supporters are hopeful the lame duck Congress will take up the bill. The possible insolvency affects 120,000 miners and their families including about 22,000 West Virginians. First up are the 12,500 beneficiaries of the Patriot fund, Smith said."

No comments: