Kodak Employees Retirees Face High Increases In Health Insurance Costs

Numerous Eastman Kodak Co. employees and retirees are seeing their potential costs double or triple for 2010 medical coverage.

Letters that went out to retirees this week indicated monthly costs for preferred-provider (PPO) coverage administered by MVP Health Care are going up from about $400 to more than $1,000.

PPO rates for current Kodak employees are going up 16 percent, while employees opting for coverage in the PPO Max will see their rates double, according to Kodak.

Company spokesman Alan Brakoniecki said the costs for retirees and current workers are being pushed up by overall increases in the cost of medical care and by heavy use of health care by the people who are covered.

The spike in costs also comes as Kodak in 2008 said it would greatly scale back its spending on retiree health care. Last year, the monthly bill for two-person PPO coverage went up about $100, while PPO Max coverage rose by $500 to $800 a month.

The amount retirees pay varies by age, when they retired and the amount of time they spent with Kodak.

Rates are rising differently for retirees and employees because the two groups are rated separately in Kodak’s self-funded insurance plan.

The company, in its enrollment literature, has been urging retirees and employees to the Consumer-Driven Health Plan, which has no monthly premium costs but higher upfront deductibles. Under the CDHP, retirees pay the first $1,200 out of pocket ($2,400 for family coverage) and then the company picks up the majority of costs; retirees have an annual cap of what they would pay of $3,600 single or $7,200 for family coverage.

Brakoniecki said the company’s contribution for health care is the same whether a person is in a PPO or the CDHP.

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