Retiree Health Benefits: Examples of Employer-Reported Obligations in Selected Industries

GAO-02-639R Published: Apr 29, 2002. Publicly Released: May 29, 2002.
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In addition to providing an overview of a company's business operations, the annual reports submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission present important information on an employer's estimated obligations for postemployment benefits, including retiree health benefits. However, the assumption used to estimate obligations for postemployment benefits vary across companies and are not comparable. Financial Accounting Standards Board guidelines give employers latitude in calculating these obligations. Moreover, changes in companies' benefit offerings or financial stability would likely alter companies' obligations for retiree health benefits. Most employers also reserve the right to change or terminate retiree health benefits.

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