Employee Benefits:

Extent of Companies' Retiree Health Coverage

HRD-90-92: Published: Mar 28, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the extent to which a random sample of 5,500 companies provided retirees with health benefits.

GAO found that: (1) although over half of the companies provided health coverage to active workers, only about 4 percent had retiree health plans; (2) those companies providing retiree health benefits tended to be larger businesses, and they employed 40 percent of private-sector workers; (3) over 5 million retirees participated in company-sponsored health plans, and 40 percent of those retirees were under 65 years of age; (4) less than 1 percent of the companies had terminated their health plans for retirees or active workers since 1984; (5) over a third of the companies required active workers or retirees to help pay for health benefits coverage; (6) there was little variation among companies' retiree health benefits by industry group; and (7) those companies that did not offer retiree health benefits cited a lack of retirees and little demand by employees as reasons for not having such plans.

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