Employee Benefits:

Financing Health Benefits of Retired Coal Miners

HRD-92-130FS: Published: Jul 22, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1992.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information regarding proposed legislation for coal industry retirees' health benefits and existing pension trusts, focusing on: (1) the characteristics of the trusts' beneficiaries; (2) the benefits provided; and (3) the present and projected financial condition of the trusts.

GAO found that: (1) both trusts provide inpatient and outpatient hospital benefits, physician and primary care services, low prescription drug copayment benefits, and other specialized benefits; (2) enrollment in the trusts totals about 116,000; (3) many employers and signatories to the trusts are either no longer in business, their business status is unknown, or the company is unidentifiable; (4) annual net costs for both trusts total about $230 million; (5) requiring beneficiaries to reenroll or recertify would not identify a significant number of ineligible beneficiaries; (6) nonsignatory mines operated by signatory companies produced about 66 million tons of coal in 1990, and a significant number of formerly signatory mines are operated by nonsignatory companies; (7) the trusts' funding formula is based on employee work hours and additional contributions coming from employers through coal tonnage purchases from other operators; (8) past and pending lawsuits attempt to require signatory and nonsignatory coal companies to fund the trusts; (9) changes in the actuarial surplus include plan benefits, actuarial assumptions used, and the plan's actual experience; and (10) withdrawal liability of the largest companies totals $350 million.

Jul 21, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

May 12, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Mar 4, 2016

Oct 30, 2015

Sep 9, 2015

Aug 17, 2015

Jul 9, 2015

Apr 27, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here