June 7, 2017

Piedmont Took Away Health Care From Early Retirees

Having worked for Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center for 16 years in the laboratory and on the night shift, I looked forward to an early retirement at age 60. Careful planning and living frugally would allow me to achieve my goal.

One of the great benefits of working for the hospital was an early retirement benefit that would provide affordable health insurance coverage until I reached age 65. Shortly after my retirement in August of 2016, I received notice that as of Jan. 1, 2018, the hospital would no longer offer early retirees any health insurance.

There are about 90 or so early retirees who have been affected by the decision who attended a meeting Apr. 26 at the hospital. We were told that this was purely a business decision. There were nurses, X-ray techs, laboratory workers, custodial workers and others, all 60-plus years old, being told that the insurance they were promised will be discontinued, and you will have to go to the open market and provide your own insurance now. Some of the former employees have worked for the hospital for more than 30 years. There were many sad and frightened  faces in the audience. Some will have to go back to work after having planned a lifetime to get to early retirement.

To pull their insurance after a lifelong commitment to an organization is unethical and immoral. When a large company takes over and starts cutting expenditures, it’s the people it hurts. But of course, it’s a business decision.