The most shocking revelation in the GAO’s August 2018 report on Postal Retiree Health Benefits is that the USPS has stopped making payments for retirees’ health care on a pay-as-you-go basis. This explains where the USPS is getting the money for thousands of new postal vehicles. Instead, it is drawing down the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which peaked at $52 billion.
The RHB Fund is projected to run out of money by 2030. Once that happens, the USPS would be required by law to make the payments necessary to cover its share of health benefits premiums for current postal retirees. Some critics question if that will be possible given the current legal constraints on the USPS.
The Postal Services’ comments to this report are spot-on. The GAO warns, “Although our discussion of the various policy approaches specifically addresses postal retiree health benefits, most could address federal retiree health benefits broadly, as both are currently the same for postal and non-postal federal employees.” Congress, under this administration, may decide that now is the time to reform the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for all federal employees and retirees.
The Postal Services’ preferred solution, Medicare integration, seems to be the least bad option. The U.S. Armed Forces, most state and local governments, and many corporations already do this for their retirees over 65. The sad reality is that health care costs have gone through the roof, especially for older folks. That’s why Medicare was created in 1965.
First Name: Don
Last Name: Cheney
Union/Local: APWU – Auburn WA Local
Office held if any: Retired President