The benefits currently provided for retirees and their spouses are not “vested” benefits. This means the Trustees have the right, at any time, to change the eligibility rules or benefits, to increase self-payments for the benefits, or to reduce or completely terminate the benefits provided for any category of participants or beneficiaries.
COBRA COVERAGE FOR RETIREES
Retirement is a qualifying event under COBRA coverage. If you are entitled to Medicare when you retire, you can elect COBRA coverage for up to 18 months, but you cannot elect the Plan’s Retiree Comprehensive Plan coverage.
Medicare entitlement is a terminating event under COBRA coverage. If you become eligible for Medicare before your 18-month COBRA period ends, you will lose the right to make any additional self-payments for COBRA coverage.
If you elect COBRA coverage, you cannot get into the Retiree Comprehensive Plan later, regardless of the length of your COBRA coverage period or the reason your COBRA coverage ended.
If you are eligible for the Retiree Comprehensive Plan and elect to make self-payments for that coverage, you forfeit your right to elect COBRA coverage in the future.
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RETIREE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
In order to be eligible for benefits under the Retiree Comprehensive Plan, you must meet all of the following requirements:
If you are eligible and make the required self-payments, your spouse will also be covered for the same self-payment amount.
Dependent children are not covered under the Retiree Comprehensive Plan.
EFFECT OF OTHER COVERAGE AND MEDICARE – Retiree Comprehensive Plan coverage CANNOT be elected for any person who is covered by another group health care plan or who is entitled to Medicare.
If your spouse has other group health care coverage when you retire (for example, if she continues to work and, therefore, remains covered under her employer’s plan), she will not be covered under this Plan. If she later retires and loses her other coverage, she will then become eligible for benefits from this Plan-provided you have maintained your own eligibility by making all required self-payments.
Neither you nor your spouse can be covered under this Plan if you are entitled to Medicare (whether or not you have actually enrolled in Medicare).
BENEFITS PAYABLE FOR ELIGIBLE RETIREES AND THEIR SPOUSES
The medical, prescription drug, dental and vision benefits provided to retirees are very similar to the benefits provided to active employees. These benefits are summarized on the Schedule of Benefits.
HOW THE ACTIVE AND RETIREE COMPREHENSIVE PLANS RELATE TO EACH OTHER – The Active Employee Plan and the Retiree Comprehensive Plan are separate from each other. Any benefits paid on your (or your spouse’s) behalf by the Active Plan will not count toward the maximum benefits payable when your coverage starts under the Retiree Comprehensive Plan. Any deductible amounts you or your spouse had previously satisfied under the Active Plan will NOT carry over to the Retiree Comprehensive Plan.
The self-payment amount required for coverage is determined by the Trustees and may be changed at any time. If you are eligible and make the required self-payments, your spouse will also be covered for the same self-payment amount. (The amount is the same for the retiree only or for both the retiree and his spouse.)
Payments are due on the first day of the month for which coverage is desired.
CONTINUING COVERAGE FOR SPOUSES
If you die while you are making retiree self-payments for yourself and your spouse, your surviving spouse can continue making the self-payments under the same terms and conditions that applied to your coverage. She can continue to make self-payments until she remarries,* becomes covered under another group health plan, becomes entitled to enroll in Medicare, or until the occurrence of one of the other events listed in the section entitled “Termination of Benefits for Spouses of Retirees,” whichever occurs first.
*However, if she remarries within 36 months after your death, she may be entitled to make self-payments for COBRA coverage to continue her Retiree Comprehensive Plan coverage until the end of the 36-month period that began with your death.
COBRA COVERAGE – The spouse of an eligible retiree may be able to make self-payments for COBRA coverage in the following circumstances:
COBRA coverage may not be elected by a remarried surviving spouse if the spouse’s remarriage occurs more than 36 months after the date of the retiree’s death.
Except as specified above, the rules governing COBRA coverage for spouses of retirees are the same as the rules for active participants.
TERMINATION OF BENEFITS FOR RETIREES
Your benefits will automatically terminate on the first to occur of the following dates:
If your coverage under the Retiree Comprehensive Plan is terminated for any of the reasons stated above, you will not be able to get back into the Plan later.
TERMINATION OF BENEFITS FOR SPOUSES OF RETIREES – Benefits for your spouse will automatically terminate on the first to occur of the following dates: