Retired UAW auto workers will get upgraded health, dental benefits in 2012

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UAW retirees from General Motors Co. of Detroit and Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Mich., will get enhanced health and dental benefits in 2012 via the UAW Retired Medical Benefits Trust, the union announced on its Facebook page.

In a statement also released on its media Web site, the union for American auto workers said the changes will be "officially" announced in November, but because of widespread speculation "caused by the media" the UAW is choosing to release information right now to ease concerns raised by retirees and currently employed auto workers that everyone has forgotten retirees during contract talks. Media reports went beyond the statement to say a vision program will give retirees and dependenrs eye exams every two years. The price: $25 co-pays.

The trust is not run by the UAW or the auto manufacturers but is an independent entity funded by OEMs and union workers on current U.S. OEM payrolls. The improved benefits coverage for about 400,000 U.S. auto worker retirees from GM, Chrysler and Ford and more than 250,000 of their dependents was approved by the trust's trustees in August. Changes beyond those released today will be explained in letters that will be mailed to retirees in November.

GM and Chrysler retirees will get a new preventive dental program that includes better coverage than before for cleanings twice a year and better deals on X-rays and fillings.


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