GE retirees rally as they face drastic changes to heath care cov - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GE retirees rally as they face drastic changes to heath care coverage

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Former GE Appliance Park employees held signs above their heads Saturday that read “retired and robbed” while chanting “take our health for your wealth.”

The retirees are standing together in solidarity.

“GE doesn't consider us as people,” retiree Roy Streeter said.

General Electric will cut supplemental Medicare plans to about 130,000 former workers and their spouses across the country. It's a move that will reduce the company's expenses for retiree benefits.

Retirees say they feel robbed of their health benefits after working most of their lives at Appliance Park.

“It really isn't fair to work 43 years in the workplace," retiree Norman Mitchell said. "Think you've got it made, only to find out corporate greed says now you got to go buy your own."

“So for many of the retirees that are on a fixed income, it's going to hurt them,” Mitchell said.

Roy Streeter spent 35 years at Appliance Park. Since retirement, he's had four heart operations, undergone chemotherapy for colon cancer, has diabetes and has to take 10 pills a day.

“It's going to cost my wife and I close to $300 extra a month," Streeter said. "$300 that is no way in my budget."

Now he'll have to shop for individual coverage on a private health insurance exchange. GE says it will pay up to $1,000 towards premiums and medical expenses.

Current GE union workers say they are standing with the retirees, because one day they will be in their shoes.

“We're planning to go the whole nine yards. If we have to take them to court that's where they'll go,” Dana Crittendon, president of IUE-CWA Local 761 said.

GE Appliance Park released the following statement: 

GE believes that the private insurance marketplace combined with the company's plan for support is a responsible means to address post-65 retiree health needs.

Those directly affected think otherwise.

“Mark my words: There will be a retiree in the General Electric chain that will die because they can't afford the prescription drugs,” Mitchell said.

The healthcare changes are expected to take affect Jan. 1, 2016. 

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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