Some Troubled By Cutbacks in Retiree Benefits

Employers are cutting back on retirement benefits, which will mean that many aging baby boomers will be without this type of health insurance.

That’s the conclusion of a new study released by the General Accounting Office. About half of the larger companies in the United States offer retirement health benefits today, compared with about 70 percent a decade ago, the report said. The government auditors cited rising health care costs, corporate takeovers, foreign competition and the diminishing influence of unions.

In testimony before a Senate panel in June, Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefits Research Institute said his group is concerned with those who cannot work because of poor health. “Of the 21.5 million near-elderly Americans, 2.3 million are not working because of an illness or disability,” he said. “Only those who are very poor or disabled qualify for health insurance under Medicaid or Medicare.”

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