Monday, December 23, 2019
A Win for PBGC Pension Holders!
This week, the U.S Senate and House of Representatives voted in favor to reauthorize the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) through December 31st, 2020.
APFA supported the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) Reauthorization Act (H.R.1939) which helps keep healthcare costs manageable for PBGC pension holders once they retire. It was set to expire at the end of this year. The HCTC subsidizes healthcare costs for these retirees between ages 55-65 by bridging the gap between retirement and Medicare eligibility. It is important for retired and soon-to-retire APFA members with PBGC pensions— members who have already lost retiree medical benefits during airline bankruptcies and have been relegated to reduced pension formulas under the PBGC. Due to the cost of healthcare, some APFA members are not able to retire as soon as they would like. However, the HCTC helps mitigate some of those costs. The cost of basic healthcare should never be an impediment to retirement and PBGC pension holders should not have to lose benefits.
If you qualify for a HCTC COBRA subsidy or are enrolled in plans through the Airline, Auto and Steel Industry Trusts, it is important to keep paying for 100% of your premiums. The IRS did not have sufficient time to restart the monthly program, but if you qualify for a subsidy and continue to pay the full amount for your premiums, you will be able to apply the credit when you complete your tax return for 2020. Please remember that employer sponsored plans, and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Plans are not deemed qualified to receive the subsidy for the HCTC program.
Earlier this year, APFA Retirement Specialist Kim Tuck joined APFA Government Affairs Representative Allie Malis in Washington to educate lawmakers on the importance of the renewal of the HCTC. During our Lobby Day this past October, APFA union members addressed the HCTC reauthorization with members of Congress and Senators directly.
Thank you to our elected officials who took the lead on this issue. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH-10), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
We worked closely with the Cone Retiree Health Group on this issue and would like to express our gratitude for their efforts.
Stay tuned for updates as we receive additional information.
Senators Portman and Brown Press Release
In Unity and Solidarity,
APFA National Government Affairs Representative
APFA National Retirement Specialist