GM Retirees Lose Coverage

Retirees who were salaried employees during their stint at GM are starting on an unfamiliar quest—shopping for health insurance.

Retirees who were salaried employees during their stint at GM are starting on an unfamiliar quest—shopping for health insurance.As of January 1, GM is ending its health insurance coverage for salaried retirees, adding $300 a month to their pension checks to help them pay for healthcare or buy their own health insurance. The move will eliminate part of the $3.3 billion the giant auto maker spent last year on healthcare for retirees.

Many of the retirees who will no longer have company coverage worked for GM much of their lives and have never shopped for health insurance before. As of October 15, a month earlier than the rest of the country’s seniors, they can enroll in a Medicare program of their choice. For many, the complex maze of Medicare plans that includes basic Medicare, Medicare Advantage HMOs, Medicare gap policies, and, possibly the most intimidating of all, the Part D Prescription Drug program, may prove an overwhelming task.

Complicating the job of finding a health insurance policy is the fact that some retirees are likely to find that the $300 a month that GM is putting into their checks won’t cover the healthcare policy they choose, especially if they opt for prescription drug coverage. And buying coverage for healthcare that Medicare doesn’t cover, like vision and dental services, can boost premiums even higher.