Two new pieces of federal legislation have stirred hope for some 44 million American workers and retirees worried about having their earned healthcare or pension benefits modified or even terminated.
The recently introduced Employee Benefits Protection Act (H.R.5523) and the Bankruptcy Fairness and Employee Benefits Protection Act (S.2418) are bills that propose to safeguard retirees’ earned benefits by making it more difficult for employers to make changes to its employee’s healthcare and defined benefit pension plans.
Leading national retiree healthcare advocacy group ProtectSeniors.Org has been battling on the frontline of Capitol Hill to help introduce bi-partisan legislation that would provide protections for retirees’ earned benefits.
“The introduction of this legislation is a great win for the millions of retirees who are worried about the security of their benefits,” said Jim Casey, President of the Washington D.C.-based ProtectSeniors.Org.
The group recently released a video, “Let’s Win Retiree Benefit Protections!”, on their YouTube channel outlining how both H.R.5523 and S.2418 would provide legal protections retirees seek.
The bills require that retirees be informed of any modification or termination of their benefits and creates a legal presumption that earned healthcare benefits cannot be reduced or terminated during retirement.
“Post-retirement health benefits are not entitlements, they are earned benefits that were paid for by workers and guaranteed by employers. It is critical that Congress is seeking to acknowledge this and make companies live up to their fiduciary responsibilities,” said Jack Brennan, Chairman of the 128,000 member Association of BellTel Retirees, headquartered in New York.
S. 2418 and H.R.5523 were introduced to Congress in respectively summer 2014 and fall 2014 and have since been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Congressional Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
The link to the legislation is below: