UPDATE: GM Retirees to Get Dental, Vision Coverage Back

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- Retired General Motors and Chrysler workers will get their once-revoked dental and vision coverage back, according to a release from the trust that administers health care for retirees.

A statement to workers found by News 10 on the Facebook page for Local UAW 598 says because of "questions raised and speculation on this issue," VEBA (the union-run trust) is releasing the following information:

Former GM and Chrysler hourly employees will have coverage for a preventive dental program and routine vision exams every 24 months, among other changes to retirees of all the Big Three automakers.

The coverage will begin in 2012.

This had been a sore spot for retired workers after GM and the UAW announced their tentative deal last Friday.

Rudy Reyes, for instance, worked at General Motors for nearly 40 years.

"In one day, it went, 'Swoop,' and the dental and optical was gone," he said. "Just totally gone."

The United Auto Workers ceded dental and vision coverage for retired workers back in the days of GM's bankruptcy crisis in 2008.

Reyes said he was hoping the latest tentative four-year deal between the automaker and the union would reinstate at least one of those benefits.

"Out-of-pocket money, it comes out to way over $500 a year, way over $500," Reyes says of his expense for dental care.

But GM for years has argued retiree health care is simply too expensive. Before its trip through bankruptcy, the automaker said it had spent $103 billion on insurance in just 15 years.

And with an army of 400,000 retirees, something had to give.

GM retiree and national advocate Leroy McKnight wasn't buying it, noting GM's sales are up and its workforce is down.

"We've seen the wages cut in half in the last agreement, from $28 an hour to $14 an hour, and we've seen the retirees come under attack," he said.

McKnight blamed the loss of retiree benefits on a plan in 2007, just before bankruptcy, that unloaded GM's retiree insurance obligations into a trust called a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Assocation) that was underfunded by billions of dollars.

The deal allowed GM to get its more than $50 billion in retiree health care obligations off its balance sheet, but left open the possibility the funds could run out.

Now, it would appear the VEBA is well-equipped to restore some lost benefits to retirees.

Officials from the VEBA, the UAW Local 602 and UAW Local 652 were not available Thursday for comment.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Carroll Casey Location: Bella Vista, Ar on Nov 23, 2012 at 09:36 AM
    Does this article about getting dential insurance back apply to salaried retirees also?
  • by carolyn s. hayward Location: lake odessa on Nov 22, 2012 at 03:22 AM
    We need to know how much coverage we have got our Medical, dantal, vishion.My husband is retired from GM
  • by valade Location: detroit on Apr 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM
    I was salaried retiree A DETROIT DIESEL an promised full benefits at retirement itwas all taken away. this is my reward for doing a great job. dont take a salary job it can happen to you.
  • by Nancy Location: NY on Feb 19, 2012 at 09:08 PM
    When GM took our benefits out, after thierty years of service, I felt the Slap on my face but I'm glad they are doing good and return at least,dental & eye service, but we still missing heath Ins.& medicines
  • by Roscoe Herring Location: Grosse Pointe Woods on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM
    I am very anxious to know if salaried retirees will get there dental coverage back? Our teeth are important also.
  • by will Location: lansing on Jan 5, 2012 at 07:31 AM
    Well the new year is in now i am paying state tax and insurance going up still paying for dental if i was not to old i would get a job but where
  • by Sharon Franklin on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:38 AM
    Do the ones that dropped there insurance get it back and if so what about the ones that paid there preimums. do they get reinbursted
  • by harold k call Location: dayton ohio on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM
    the question I'm asking is . retirees getting dental and vision coverage restored, is this only UAW retirees?
  • by ken wilson Location: florida on Nov 13, 2011 at 06:50 AM
    Retired in 1999 hourly, just curious, are we getting our dental benefits back?
  • by gennie Location: shreveport,la on Oct 29, 2011 at 03:55 PM
    I have been paying for my dental and vision coverage. Where do I go to cancwl it?
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