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Pangborn ups insurance costs for its retirees

May 07, 2001

Pangborn ups insurance costs for its retirees



Hagerstown

By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A union representing Pangborn Corp. employees has filed a new complaint against the company for limiting retirees' health insurance choices and increasing the costs.

Two weeks ago, Local 842 of the International Union of United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America won the right to maintain benefits for its retired members. Pangborn had decided to stop providing insurance after April 29, when the latest contract expired, but the union prevailed.

Last week, the company notified retirees they would have two choices of coverage - single or family - instead of the eight previous categories, which included retirees, spouses and family, with or without Medicare.

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Depending on the insurance plan, retirees paid between $62.78 and $151.53 per month for single-person health insurance coverage. The monthly rate for a retiree and a spouse, both with Medicare, ranged from $199.60 to $394.29, according to the union.

However, Pangborn Vice President Randy Hudson told retirees in a letter that the monthly rates changed to $372.40 for a single person and $931 for a family.

The cost of dental insurance increased, too, but very little.

Doug Stone, the local union president, said Friday that the company's notice came as a shock.

"They're forcing people to get out of the plan," he said, "because they're forcing people to get insurance they don't want or don't even need."

The changes affect almost 100 retirees, plus their families, according to the union.

Neither Hudson nor Pangborn's Washington attorney, Maurice Baskin, could be reached for comment late Friday afternoon. However, Hudson and Pangborn President and CEO Ronald L. Stewart previously have said the company will not comment on the dispute or any internal matter.

Robert E. Paul, a Washington attorney representing Local 842, filed a complaint with U.S. District Court in Baltimore asking that the matter be reopened in court unless Pangborn reverts to the old insurance rates and coverage choices.

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