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AARP 'Deeply Disappointed' by Supreme Court Decision on Retiree Health Care Benefits
Date:3/24/2008

WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner on the Supreme Court decision today declining AARP's request to review a federal rule allowing employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they reach 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Last December 26, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finalized and published the rule that AARP had challenged in lower federal courts.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070209/NYF043LOGO)

"AARP is deeply disappointed by the Court's decision today. The Court's action clears the way for employers to discriminate by reducing or terminating benefits for older retirees simply because they've turned 65 years old.

"This double standard, one tier of coverage for those under 65, and another lower tier for those 65 and over, is especially troubling because it comes from the EEOC, the federal government agency created to enforce anti-discrimination policies.

"Beyond blatant age discrimination, the new policy is an ineffective Band-aid for the bigger issue facing American employers and workers: the skyrocketing cost of health care. By allowing employers to reduce or even eliminate health benefits for retirees when they reach age 65, this rule essentially shifts the costs of all retiree health care on to the backs of older retirees. The timing of this new rule couldn't be worse; due to rising costs and fixed incomes, many retirees are already foregoing needed services that have simply become unaffordable.

"Instead of discriminatory rules that simply shift health care costs to older retirees, we need real solutions that control ongoing and dramatic increases in health care costs. Political, business, union and non-profit leaders, as well as individual citizens, all have roles to play in d
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SOURCE AARP
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