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Healthcare changes shock FirstEnergy retirees

Updated: Thursday, July 24 2014, 06:46 PM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- For former employees at Stratton's Sammis Plant and the Toronto Power plant, the letters about a change in health care came as shock.
For some of them, 20 years away from the industry isn't enough to avoid the decisions the company makes in 2014 as a difficult Jan. 1 deadline fast approaches.
The letters received by former FirstEnergy employees outline changes to their coverage, specifically the subsidized portion of their health care insurance, which will be discontinued.
Company officials say they warned everyone in 2009, but former employees say that isn't true. It was 2011, and at that time, they were told that it COULD happen.
"I was under the impression that they were going to reimburse us until we die,” said one FirstEnergy retiree. “They never told us any different. This is a slap in the face."
“Going forward, retirees will have two options for their healthcare coverage, one of which is the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The other option would be the FirstEnergy group plan, which won't have the company subsidy," said Stephanie Walton, FirstEnergy spokesperson.
Former employees said that the company's provided alternatives will not work within their tight budgets.
Officials with FirstEnergy say coverage will not change for 2014. And they added that they recognize this will be difficult for those impacted, but said there was nothing they could do, primarily because the cost of health care coverage has increased tremendously over the years.

Healthcare changes shock FirstEnergy retirees

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