More than 45,000 steel company retirees, spouses and dependents 55 to 64 years old in three states, including thousands from the Mahoning Valley, will be eligible for a tax subsidized health care trust, a law firm said Wednesday.
The Steel Retiree Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association Trust, approved Tuesday by the bankruptcy court for the southern district of New York, gives retirees from LTV Steel Co., Wean United Inc. and others in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan access to health care through the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit.
The care, which includes dental, vision and prescription drugs, pays 72.5 percent of the monthly premium for union and salaried participants who had their pensions turned over to federal insurer Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
A benefit plan also is being offered for those 65 and older, which coordinates with Medicare.
The trust is identical to one set up earlier this year for auto industry retirees, stemming from the economic stimulus bill passed in 2009, said Gary Kaplan with San Francisco law firm Farella Braun & Martel LLP that worked to establish the plan.
The auto VEBA is scheduled to start July 1, with the steel plan to follow shortly soon afterward, he said.
Details of the Steel Retiree VEBA Trust will be explained at meetings June 13 and 14 at St. Demetrios Community Center on Atlantic Street in Warren.
Sessions are scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. both days. Information also can be obtained at the www.coneinsurance.com website.
Local companies in the steel VEBA include LTV Steel Co., Wean United Inc., Copperweld Steel Co., Copperweld Tubing Products, Falls Steel Tube & Mfg. Co. and Valley Vulcan Mold Co.
Previous trusts were established for individual companies; these are the first to offer industrywide coverage and get approved by one bankruptcy court, Kaplan said.
"We're happy we're finally able to help out tens of thousands of people
Details of the Steel Retiree VEBA Trust will be explained at meetings June 13 and 14 at St. Demetrios Community Center on Atlantic Ave. in Warren. Sessions are scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.