Part of smart retirement planning includes anticipating healthcare needs. Yet your employer provided health care benefits may not automatically transfer over into your retirement. In addition, benefits coverage may change, and your company may not be legally obligated to inform you of certain changes. As a result, it is smart idea to consult with a securities law attorney to plan for your financial future.
Federal laws may not protect your retirement health benefits
Your employment may impact your benefits. For example, federal law does not require private-sector employers to promise retiree health benefits, nor does it prohibit such employers from eliminating those benefits absent a specific promise to the contrary. You may be at risk for losing coverage in retirement. As with any plan, however, the specific language in the documents governing the plan must be examined.
Understanding Your Plan Documents
A summary of your employer-provided retiree health benefits, called a Summary Plan Description, must be provided to you within 90 days of becoming a plan participant. Although you may not have read all of the fine print, it is important to keep this document, as well as any accompanying written documentation, such as an insurance contract or collective bargaining agreement.
If these documents were in effect at the time of your retirement, they may be the controlling documents for any legal interpretations. A securities law attorney can review the Summary Plan Description for language making a specific promise to provide certain health care benefits for a defined time period, or even for life.