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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116780
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I am interested in information regarding an employer's

Customer Question

I am interested in information regarding an employer's obligation to provide Health Care Insurance after retirement. Specifically I am interested in the obligation to provide insurance supplemental to Medicare after retirement. I am an American citizen
living in Canada in a border city to Detroit Michigan. I worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for nearly 40 years when I had to go on long term disability in 2007. In all my employment there until present I have had BCBSM coverage paid by my employer.
Last year (my 65th birthday) the company advised me I had to apply for my pension and that my disability payments would be reduced by whatever my monthly pension benefits equalled. This year I have received a letter from the long term disability provider (Blue
Cross Blue Shield Association) that since my disability payments from them are 0 they are no longer going to monitor and assess my disability status. I contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan regarding the impact of this letter on my Health Insurance.
I use health care providers in Michigan for my intractable migraines (reason for disability) and have recently been diagnosed as needing a knee replacement and an auto immune disease so I have several appointments pending. Based on my email the employee benefits
person contacted me today. She stated that another person in the company has to make a formal reply but that they cannot offer me a Medicare Advantage plan (the only option she says offerred to a retiree which would be my status after disability ends) because
my home address is in another country. I explained to her that I have Medicare with this address and that I know I cannot use it in this country but any complementary insurance to Medicare should be handled the same in my way of thinking. What I would like
to know is whether this limitation is a federal government ruling in their instructions to the individual insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage or is it just a decision of the insurance company or worse, a limit in the computer system they bought
or created for Medicare Advantage. After giving 40 years of my life to this company I don't want to just back off without some sort of more solid information. My address at the company was in Canada since 1973, and I have always had insurance with them and
used mostly American providers of service. I am Social Security eligible and have active Medicare A and B. I still pay lots of American (and Canadian) income tax, and this is very important to me. I summary, I have used your services befor and was greatly
satisfied, I was wondering if there was an expert lawyer of elder law person who could help me with some information on if or how I should move forward. Thanks you for your help and understanding. Linda Hudson
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that even with retiree health, absent a written contract to the contrary, there is no legal obligation in the US for the employer to provide healthcare to employees. Even if the employer provides retiree health by some contract, when an employee qualifies for medicare, the employer can make the employee leave the retiree health plan for medicare and can even require they pay for their supplement parts.
This is the problem with even the current affordable care act insurance, the employer is not mandated by laws in the US to continue such retiree coverage and I am afraid that if your employer does not choose to continue the coverage, unless you had a written contract with them to specifically cover this benefit beyond medicare eligibility, there is no law that would mandate them to do so.

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